Monday, March 29, 2010

Annals of Phallocentrism: Volume XXV, Number 2 (Spring/Summer 2010)

If you go to your local search engine and enter “plastic surgery to lengthen penis,” you will learn that there is a procedure performed by a Canadian surgeon named Robert H. Stubbs, who is a descendent of the famous British painter George Stubbs. Dr. Stubbs’s work is based on a procedure discovered by a Chinese surgeon, Dr. Long, who first applied it in l984 to deal with a young man whose penis had been bitten by a dog. Phalloplasty, as it is called, is also performed by a urologist named Dr. Whitehead at Mr. Sinai.  A Dr. Giunta, from an outfit called Aesthetic Plastic Surgery International of Alexandria Virginia, provides a series of before-and-after images of men who have undergone a similar procedure. (Dr. Giunta’s practice also performs gynecomastias, which is surgery for men with overdeveloped breasts.) The site is very graphic and, shockingly, the “after” shots don’t seem that much better than the “before." Bigger is usually, but not always, better. A Wikipedia article on the subject mentions microphalli (small penises) and several non-surgical techniques used for penis enhancement. Some of these techniques are: jelqing, a form of muscular exercise, clamping (cock ring or related device), stretching, and hanging.
What is the significance of penile enlargement as a subject? On the most basic level, it is something that many men consider regardless of their endowment. Chekhov reputedly said, “Dissatisfaction lies at the heart of every great talent.” It also is quite simply la condition humaine. People are never satisfied with what they have. Another reason for putting penile enhancement on the table is the passage of President Obama’s health plan. It is unlikely that cosmetic surgery will ever be part of any universal health care plan. Norway is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, and certainly a hot spot for medical tourists, but let’s take the hypothetical case of Sven Wayne Bobbit getting his penis cut off by an angry Oslo lover; it’s unlikely that his cure would be covered by the socialized medicine offered to citizens of that country.

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