Why the man who confessed to his penis enlargement on This Morning brought a tear to my eyes (for all the right reasons)
Identified only as 'Danny', This Morning guest said he was suffering from 'penis dysmorphia'Blames women, society and the media for 'toxic' attitude to penis size
16:47 GMT, 12 July 2012
A man made daytime television history by discussing penis enlargement surgery on ITV's This Morning.
Interviewed by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby in a pre-recorded segment to protect his identity, the anonymous figure revealed how he had paid 5,000 to have fat removed from his love handles and injected along the shaft of his manhood to increase its girth.
Breaking new ground for pre-watershed viewing, this nine-minute feature peaked when before-and-after photos flashed up on screen; no doubt to cackles of laughter in the production office and across the country.
Crusade: A man known only as 'Danny' appeared on This Morning to talk about his penoplasty (penis enlargement) operation in the hope that it would help stop what he calls society's 'toxic' attitude towards penis size
A penis On show Let's point and laugh. That's what they're there for.
But it wasn't the difference in this man's penis size that impressed me.
Far from it. Although he'd certainly got what he'd paid for courtesy of Harley Street's Dr Roberto Viel, I was more amazed that this brave chap – who actually had a perfectly good penis to start with – had coined a phrase to describe an illness that so many men suffer from: penile dysmorphia.
And, given that we're now in 2012, it needs to stop.
Borrowing terminology from body dysmorphia, which sees patients clinically pre-occupied with a non-existent physical fault in themselves, this ordinary bloke with his back to the camera had summed up an endemic problem with two words and given the burgeoning men's movement, as well as his body, a boost.
As a fellow men's rights activist, I salute him. He hadn't undergone surgery for vanity or to out-do his mates in the changing room. Why would he None of them care. Nor had he done it to correct a medical problem which was blighting his life (one that wouldn't have been taken seriously, even if he had).
Ashamed: The man chose to remain anonymous, his identity protected by a wig, for fear of ridicule in a society he says mocks men unfairly for their penis size
Instead, he was simply trying to undo years of 'toxic messages from women and the media', which had left him psychologically scarred. The very messages which affect all males, from young boys to war veterans.
It was this – not the gory footage of the operation – which brought a tear to my eye.
Namely because he stood up for the basic dignity of all men, including me, the bloke next door and the latest guy being drafted to serve in the Helmand Provence.
/07/12/article-2172493-1408E935000005DC-40_468x331.jpg” width=”468″ height=”331″ alt=”In demand: Dr Roberto Viel performs four to five penoplasty operations every week, costing 3,000 for a girth increase and 3,500 for a boost in length ” class=”blkBorder” />
In demand: Dr Roberto Viel performs four to five penoplasty operations every week, costing 3,000 for a girth increase and 3,500 for a boost in length
Rarely is the defining part of a man's body respected for simply being the amazing, multi-functional, life-creating organ it actually is.
Yet, despite such messages creating generation after generation of men and boys who suffer in silence, they are constantly regurgitated.
And, although I run the risk of sounding like the male equivalent of Samantha Brick, it's women who are mostly to blame.
As a man with many close female friends and many women in my immediate family – women who are often smart, successful and emotionally intelligent – I can honestly say that 90 per cent of them have offended me at some point by mocking another guy's penis.
I love my sister-in-laws, but they've done it. As have the wives of my best friends. So too have celebrities I've interviewed for magazines, one of my former female bosses and, perhaps most disturbingly, clever women who have young sons, loving husbands and fathers who deserve better.
I was once at a friend's 21st birthday party, which was festooned with pictures of him at various stages in his life; including some as a child in the bath. Even here, while celebrating his passage into adulthood, there were women whom I overheard say: 'Hmm, he hasn't changed much…if you know what I mean.'
My heart sinks for the brotherhood. I've never once heard any of the men in my life subject their girlfriends to the same humiliation and paranoia.
Another time, during a man's speech about prostate cancer at a major health seminar in London, two women in the row ahead of me leaned in to each other and made an inch gesture between their thumb and forefinger.
Both times, my heart sank – not for me or my body. I'm happy. But for the brotherhood.
Comparatively, I've never once heard any of the men in my life subject their girlfriends to the same humiliation and paranoia.
But can we really blame women Yes. And they need to take responsibility for their words. But it's also right to point the finger at the media.
Whether it manifests in a Lily Allen album track (there are two which do this – charming, I know) or one of the countless female characters in film and TV who take great delight in belittling men over the penis – a kick in the crotch or a wiggle of their little finger – it's offensive to all men; the overwhelming majority of whom are good, good people.
Likewise, if a presenter like Jeremy Clarkson rated women on the tautness of their vagina (which, FYI, varies as much as men's genitalia) like certain loose women, there would be an outrage. It would be offensive. And rightly so. But, sorry girls, it's no different when the victims are male.
To make matters worse, there are virtually no positive or neutral messages about this wonderful part of the human body to counteract the above.
And it has a knock-on affect for every other men's issue, from self-esteem and sexual health to male genital mutilation, otherwise known as domestic abuse.
Recently, a woman was arrested in the U.S. for allegedly drugging her husband, restraining him, cutting off his penis and destroying it in a garbage disposal; all because he asked for a divorce. The response Sharon Osbourne declared on live TV that it was 'quite fabulous'.
Unsurprisingly, she kept her job, which is funny given what Andy Gray was fired for.
Perhaps this wouldn't have happened if men demanded more respect for their penises.
Feminist author Susie Orbach once said that fat was a feminist issue. I suspect she's right, but if she is, then penis size is an issue of the same scale for men.
Thanks to the gentleman on This Morning's sofa today, my faith in U-turning this has been somewhat restored; namely because the people who judge the size of his penis might pay more attention to the size of their brains.
After all, not only did he have the courage to be honest about his most private body part on national TV, he also had the balls to tackle male sexism head-on.
Now that's big.
Watch the interview in full on the This Morning website here.