Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Looking Like Dad and Genital Integrity

I look like my dad in a lot of ways. We have a similar build and similar physical features. A lot of people say I look the most like him out of all my siblings. We share DNA so it is to be expected that there would be some similarities. Where I don't look like him is below the waist. You see I'm circumcised and my dad is intact. I don't know when I learned that we were different in that area of our bodies, but I can say that I have never given it more than a moments thought at anytime in my life up to now. That's why when I first discovered that circumcision was such a controversial topic about two years ago, I was surprised to learn that looking like one's father was one of the central arguments people made for wanting to have their sons circumcised. I don't think I have ever heard an argument for circumcision, besides to address a serious medical issue, that is sound enough to make me consider ever circumcising any sons I may have. I certainly wouldn't do it so his penis could look like mine.

I have only seen my father's penis a handful of times in my life. Most of those times was when I was a young child. I come from a family where we weren't permitted to see my parents naked past the age of 4 or 5 so seeing my dad's penis was a rare occurrence. Until I was told that I was circumcised and what it meant the only difference I saw between our respective penises was that his was bigger because he was an adult and I was a child. I am the second boy in my family and I was born in the hospital along with my older brother who is also circumcised. This was long before circumcision became the hot button topic that it has become on social media. I never asked my parents why they had us circumcised, but I'm guessing it was because we were born in the hospital and the hospital personnel asked if my parents wanted it done and like most parents even today they probably didn't give any real thought to the necessity of it or lack thereof. That's probably why parents still do it today. My younger brothers born at home are intact so circumcision was not a mandatory thing for my parents.

I have never known any fathers and sons who sit around comparing the physical appearances of their penises. I know I've never had such a conversation with my dad. I doubt any young boy would place any real significance in the appearance of his penis as compared to his father and I know older boys wouldn't even want to think about it or even care. It's not a conversation you have at the dinner table or anywhere else for that matter. Removing a piece of skin from a boys body so that his penis can look like his father doesn't make much sense to me. Even if I was intact like my father that's probably where the similarities down there would end. We still wouldn't be identical down there because we are two separate people. My older brother is circumcised and there are still differences between us.

Having a boy circumcised to look like his father actually makes sense to some people. I'm not one if those people. Would it make sense if a mother noticed that her newborn daughter's labia or vulva was different from hers so she decided to have some if it altered or removed so that she and her daughter would match? The outcry from such a procedure, especially if it became routine, would be tremendous. I don't know of anyone who would think that would be an acceptable thing to do to a baby girl for the reason given to have it done. If altering a girls vulva to match her mother would be unacceptable and ridiculous to most, why is it okay to do it to a boys penis for that same reason. I think boys who are the biological sons of their fathers look enough like them where it counts without removing a part of their penises. I think it is one of the most invalid, illogical, and ridiculous pro circumcision argument out there and it's one that people need to seriously rethink.

I wouldn't mind looking like my father down there because it would mean that I would still be intact. I'm not and that's okay. I bear no ill will against my parents. They got it right with my younger brothers and that's good enough for me. I can say that if I ever have a son his penis will not look like mine and that's okay because it would mean that what he has is what he was born with and I can happily live with that.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kids Craft: DIY Latch Board

I've been seeing latch board tutorials all over pinterest lately, so I decided to give it a try. I just headed up to Menard's and picked out a few door latches, hooks, a handle and some washers. I also picked up a small can of yellow paint and a round board.  For everything it was about $30.

First I painted both sides of the board. I also saw on pinterest to use push pins to hold it off the table when painting so it doesn't stick. Worked great! 

Once it was all dry I laid out my parts to figure out where I wanted them so they wouldn't touch each other and worked best. Then I waited for Mike to get home so he could assemble it. I probably could of done this part myself, but I wanted him to help out too.

 He played with it for a few minutes and that was about it. Marley played with it too, but in the end Mason picked up his cars and went on his way. Maybe he'll play with it more when he's a little bit older.

*This post was written by Melanie. She's a mom to two and a full time blogger at Growing to Four *

Friday, December 26, 2014

Breastfeeding: The Argument Against Perv Blaming and Breastfeeding

We see the images of Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and other stars making the rounds on social media. Usually there's a lot of comments about how slutty they dress and how distasteful and disgusting they are for showing so much of their bodies in suggestive fashion to their audience. Invariably there will be the contingency of people who say that females should not be slut shamed because of how they choose to dress especially if they are of the age where they can make those decisions for themselves. I personally wouldn't want my daughters or females in my family to dress that way, but just because some women choose to dress a certain way does not automatically make them sluts nor does it make all females sluts by association. So there is a great deal of validity to the argument against the slut shaming of females.
There's another shaming or rather blaming going on with regards to breastfeeding. It seems like anytime the subject of breastfeeding comes up especially in the presence of others there's always a contingency of people who try to shame mothers into hiding using what I am going to call the perv blaming of males. We always hear about how mothers should cover up or nurse their babies elsewhere because pervs will get off on it or some perv might follow a mother home and sexually assault her or men will leave their wives or significant others for the mothers they see nursing their babies simply because they caught a glimpse of a woman's breast. People seem to have this idea that males will turn into uncontrollable horny beasts whenever they see a breast. When all else fails it's time to blame the shaming of mothers on every make being a pervert. Just like slut shaming is offensive to females, perv blaming when it comes to breastfeeding is offensive to men.

There are 3 reasons why as a male I personally find perv blaming extremely offensive.
The first reason why perv blaming is offensive is that males see women in provocative or revealing outfits on a regular basis and we manage to control ourselves. We can go to the mall, or park, or anywhere women are likely to be and there is likely to be at least one female with a low cut top or outfit that shows off a significant portion of her body. Somehow we manage to keep our libidos in check. We can go to the beach during the summer and see more breasts than we could possibly see from average breastfeeding mother. Guys manage to control themselves there as well. It is also interesting to note that nobody including those who use perv blaming to shame breastfeeding mothers seem to be too worried about playing the perv blaming card when it comes to the skimpy beachwear of the females who frequent the beach. Why not the same concern? Why label all men perverts only when it comes to trying to stipulate how a mother should feed her baby? There are no logical answers to those questions which means that people are only picking and choosing when to perv blame to suit their purposes which is to shame mothers into hiding when they go to feed their babies.
The second reason that perv blaming is offensive is because it is unfair to the many males who are respectful. How many times have we heard stories from mothers who say they have received more support and encouragement from men than they have from their fellow women? Very seldom do you hear stories where guys have exhibited creepy behavior or treated a breastfeeding mother horribly. Most decent guys will condemn that type of behavior. Most guys grew up with mothers like mine who did take the time to teach them a healthy respect for women. It isn't fair to respectful guys to take the few exceptions to the rule of respect and decency and hold them up as reasons why mothers should hide when feeding their babies. Using the guys who do exhibit less than stellar behavior towards breastfeeding mothers paints a negative picture of all males in the minds of new mothers who are breastfeeding and mothers to be who are planning to breastfeed. It can discourage them from feeding their babies around males and make their breastfeeding journeys more difficult because they have been led to believe that all makes are dirty minded perverts whose sole missions in life are to cop looks at the breasts of unsuspecting mothers. Why not take the majority of guys who do show respect and decency and use them as a examples to encourage mothers to nurse their babies wherever they are with comfort and ease? After all there are more of those guys out there than the guys people consider perverts.
The third and final reason why the perv blaming of males when it comes to breastfeeding is offensive is because not all males are pervs, and perverse and creepy behavior is not limited to breasts. While it is true that some men can be perverts and many men are attractive to the female body which includes breasts not all men take their attraction too far to where it becomes a problem sexually or a problem for women in general. It is also true that some men have breasts fetishes. But it is also true that some men have fetishes that involve just about every other part of the female anatomy. Some men have foot fetishes, some have hair fetishes, or hand fetishes etc..., but we don't tell women to cover up those areas of their bodies to prevent men with fetishes from fetishizing them. What's the difference? We've over sexualized breasts for one, but if a guy really has a sexual fetish involving other parts of the female body then wouldn't the exposure of those parts place women in just as much danger as people think they are when they breastfeed their babies? In most cases women will say if a guy has a fetish with another visible part of their bodies that's his problem and it won't stop them from wearing what they want and going where they please. So the argument that limits male perv shaming to breastfeeding is inconsistent, hypocritical, and illogical.
Guys are people too and sometimes it seems that people forget that we can be decent upstanding human beings too. It is not fair to shame the majority of breastfeeding mothers by blaming or accusing all males of being perverts when in fact perverts are the exceptions rather than the rule among males. If mothers choose to cover or breastfeed out of the presence of males because it makes them uncomfortable that's perfectly fine. What isn't fine is to expect all mothers to do so because people think they know how all men think and their perception of how we think is always negative. Most of us are decent when given the chance to be. Just like it would be unfair to label all females sluts and whores just because a few females may choose to dress or act in a highly provocative way, it isn't fair to take the less than ideal behavior of some males and use their behavior to define all males. Let the slut shaming and the perv blaming cease!