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Type: Book chapter
Title: Constructing phallic beauty: foreskin restoration, genital cutting and circumcisionism
Author: Wisdom, T.
Citation: (Re)Possessing Beauty: Politics, Poetics, Change, 2014 / McNamara, S. (ed./s), Ch.6, pp.93-134
Publisher: Inter-disciplinary Press
Publisher Place: United Kingdom
Issue Date: 2014
ISBN: 978-1-84888-125-9
Editor: McNamara, S.
Statement of
Travis Wisdom
Abstract: The unnecessary procedure of male circumcision is largely performed for secular reasons in the Western world, which is sustained by a variety of rationalisations. Among these reasons is aesthetic value, which is one of the dominant discourses that propagate circumcisionism. Circumcisionism is defined as the hegemonic view that genital cutting is a normative and acceptable practice. Amputation of the foreskin is a way for a cutting culture to express hegemonic conceptions of masculinity and male beauty. Increased awareness about the benefits of the foreskin and the effects of circumcision has led many men to engage in foreskin restoration. Restoration entails non-surgical gradual tissue expansion over a period of time. Foreskin restoration can be therapeutic and psychologically empowering. As an act of bodily reclamation, restoration serves as a way to resist and to challenge circumcisionism. This chapter presents the ways in which men disrupt circumcisionism and construct non-majoritarian conceptions of masculine beauty by engaging in foreskin restoration. It offers the testimonies of those who are currently or have undergone restoration and provides a collective experience of restoring men. The men’s journey to healing is symbolic to establishing a new, whole body image. Foreskin restoration is a way to challenge hegemonic standards of male beauty by constructing a masculine aesthetic that validates and embraces the restored male body alongside the normal, intact (not circumcised) penis, as opposed to the circumcised male body.
Keywords: Foreskin restoration; circumcision; circumcisionism; male genital cutting; medicalisation; reclamation; empowerment
Rights: © Inter-Disciplinary Press 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of Inter-Disciplinary Press.
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