I’m Not Your Victim
Politicizing the penis us a popular pastime for many gay men. We are a little dick-obsessed and no wonder, we’re gay men. Not only do we possess a pecker, we have a desire to see what our counterparts are packing. There are many reasons: comparison, admiration, judging one’s member against your own, aesthetics, and pure eros. That’s men for ya.
Recently, photographer Drasko Bogdanovic had a showing of his work called ‘Submission’ at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. If you’ve never seen Drasko’s work, he focuses his lens on the male form. Many of his images are of men in various states of dress—from fetish wear, jocks, any kind of attire, to nude.
Because I am circumcised, I am not a victim of violence.
His work has been very popular for years and often appears in the pages of many local queer Toronto publications on a regular basis. While his work is erotic, sensual, sexual and to some a little controversial it has become a little political. The artist recently posted a comment he received from an attendee at ‘Submission’. To wit:
“Beautiful pics I saw on the site, but wanted to put out there – would you have photos of women victimized by genital mutilations? I would assume not, then why any more acceptable for men? It just serves to normalize, consciously or not, genital mutilations as ok.”
And so the politicizing of the penis continues. Bogdanovic replied (publicly) that he has never photographed men or women who have been genitally mutilated—unless circumcision is considered mutilation. And the floodgates opened.
Yes, people get very excited when it comes to the state of the penis. The aesthetic becomes the politic. The penis goes from a representation of male beauty, power, sensuality and sexuality to being the victim of violence.
I am not a victim. I am not your victim. I have not been victimized.
I read the comment as it was posted and took offense to it. I bridled at the idea that, because I am circumcised, I am now a victim of violence. I have never considered myself a victim and I suddenly got rather perturbed that someone I have never met had projected their penis politics on me and deemed me a de facto victim of violence because 48 years ago my parents had me cut. I am not a victim. I am not your victim. I have not been victimized.
Many men have mixed feelings about their penis. Whether it’s size, shape, cut, uncut, performance, prowess, the penis is not just a tube of flesh that hangs there, it’s part of a man’s identity and even self-esteem. The last thing any man needs is for someone to project their politics on their penis and invoke feelings of victimhood or shame.
Circumcision is a controversial issue, yes. More and more parents are choosing not to have their sons circumcised. But while the tide is turning, kindly have a little consideration for those of us who were raised in times of different cultural norms and just accept us for who we are. Cut.
photo credit: Vectorportal
Tags: Andrew Vail
, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
, Drasko Bogdanovic