Foreskin advocate, Glen Callender thinks One Direction's uncircumcised penises are what makes them beautiful.
Photo courtesy of Can-FAP website
Glen Callender is figuratively an advocate for skin, and literally a foreskin advocate. Since 2010, the founder and leader of Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (Can-FAP. Yes, we know), Callender has been fighting to stop the forced circumcision and genital modification of penis foreskins all over the world. But more pressingly, he wants to save the member of One Direction’s Harry Styles. “I think it’s important from a cultural point of view that we make it known that Styles has an uncircumcised penis and educate more people about it,” says Callender over the phone. “We have a lot of North American girls who are being conditioned to say that foreskin is yucky and they don't even understand that they young beautiful men they idolize have their penises intact.”
According to Callender, who is a writer and has done scripts for video games Need for Speed Undercover and follow-up The Run, circumcision isn’t a practice necessitated by health and medical concerns but instead influenced by culture. “When I was a child and I learned about how boys were having their foreskin chopped off it absolutely horrified me and that horror has never left my system,” says Callender. Since then his passion project has spurred him to take on celebrity giants like U2’s Bono, Oprah Winfrey, and most recently Bill Gates for funding nationwide male circumcision procedures in Africa. But it's a two-year-old report from tabloid National Enquirer who reported that Taylor Swift left Harry Styles after he refused to get his penis snipped that has his pants in a pinch. True or not, Callendar believes these type of stories send a negative message that it's weird to have an uncircumcised penis. “I have prevented the circumcision of many babies because I protested at these public forums and got parents to start thinking maybe their child should experience life with a full penis,” Callender explains. ”The foreskin is a pleasure organ, it makes people happy, and that’s what the world should be like.” While Callender was getting ready to protest outside of a One Direction show in Vancouver, we chatted with him about why it's wrong to be anti-foreskin and what Styles’ penis might look like.
NOISEY: In a way couldn’t circumcision be a way of getting rid of something your body doesn't need. From what I understand it elimates the process of having to maintain your penis on a daily basis.
Glen Callender: Well, it's true there are religions like Sikhs and Hindus who do not cut their hair and yes daily body maintenance is important. But the difference is those body parts grow back but the nerve endings in your genitals certainly won't. The genitals are a very sensitive part of the body and can bring someone enormous pleasure or pain and that's why it's horrifying to me that people cut them off. Why would you do that? Sometimes I really have to ask what is going on in a society where the first order of business after the birth of a perfect little boy is to take a knife and start cutting parts off his penis. And obviously that’s not always true of some religions but it’s true in secular society, I’m not singling out Jews and Muslims here, I’m talking about just basic secular North Americans that think it’s just an order of business to chop off a part of their son when he’s born.
In all cases I think it’s a really horrifying attitude towards that child, his body, his rights, his sexuality, and we need to respect children and allow them to have their human rights. If a person wants to cut off part of their penis to make an invisible man in the sky happy or whatever, it’s your body so go ahead. But you shouldn’t be able to force that upon somebody else, and that is the key to this whole movement, you have autonomy over your genitals, you can decide for yourself if parts of them get cut off. By the way, do you have your...
Yes, I do.
You do! Okay, that means the conversation will be different. Whenever I’m on the radio and dealing with a host who has a foreskin versus one who doesn’t, it’s a very different conversation. There are all these myths that are thrown like it's hard to clean your foreskin which any intact men knows is bs and prejudice.
Have any celebrities you’ve spoken against reached out to you personally?
So far no. I mean we’ve influenced their behaviour a little bit. For example, during our protest when at one of Oprah Winfrey conferences we basically got her to cancel her Q&A period because we were out in front of her venue and I know her staff saw us beforehand and were wondering what we were going to say. I mean I’m very vocal so its hard to ignore a guy who’s in front of your show for 21 nights and getting in the newspapers. I'd also like to think maybe Bono will get in touch with us at some point since he’s more a man of the people than an Oprah or Bill Gates but who knows, it's not over yet. I’m sure a lot of these celebrities don't read a lot of the science behind this and it's pretty ridiculous.
For instance, chopping off parts of people’s penises to prevent HIV, things like that generally work poorly. The efficacy that circumcision seems to have in the studies doesn’t translate into effectiveness in the real world, and the problem of course is that it doesn’t make any sense to give a man the proposition where, ‘oh well you could either keep all of your penis and wear a condom or cut off a piece of your penis and still have to wear a condom,’ it doesn’t make any sense. The reason why a lot of these men in places like Africa are getting circumcised is because they think that they don’t have to wear a condom once they’ve been circumcised. If he’s already HIV positive when he’s circumcised, he actually much more infectious in the first few weeks before he’s healed up than otherwise.
How do you think One direction and their fans are going to respond to your protest?
Well, One Direction, of course, are all British except for one who I think is Irish and I’m quite confident most if not all of their cocks are intact and that’s what we want. I think a lot of their fans don’t even understand that these young beautiful men they idolize have their penis intact so we have to educate them. That’s the point of all this. We have to go out and change these perceptions that foreskin is yucky and gross. I'm sure the entire band are very healthy and handsome men and there’s nothing wrong with them so this will only make the Can-FAP cause more visible. Or let’s look at it this way, DiCaprio has done very well for himself as a heartthrob and his penis is intact when you see it in his movies. Even Elvis Presley had his foreskin and he was an American sex symbol. So, again it's important to look at all these examples and say well clearly a handsome man that appeals to women can have foreskin and still be attractive in the public light.
Is Harry your favourite One Direction member?
Yeah, I think so he reminds me of a young Mick Jagger who was also this kind of sex god so I hope Styles follows in his footsteps.
What do you think Harry styles penis looks like?
I think it looks like a completely normal penis with foreskin and a nut sack attached. I’m also sure he’s doing very well with it and I don’t think women are turning him down when they discover he has his foreskin.
Have you ever imagined what a celebrities penis looks like?
Well, you don’t have to imagine in some cases, but I mean I’ve seen Colin Farrell’s sex tape so I know that he has his foreskin. I’m sure at some point we’ll see Justin Bieber. Most times I usually assume that they all have smaller than average penises. I mean there’s just no way all of them are packing. For me if I can hear about these strange rumours in celebrity culture it allows me to turn it into an opportunity to really talk about the value of foreskin and the harm of circumcision. That’s what I’m really in it for.
I understand you’ll also be showing up at a Taylor Swift’s show in August to protest. If by chance she reads this what would you like her to know about uncircumcised penises?
Well, I would like to know the truth behind the rumour that she doesn’t like foreskin and my hope is that it will turn out that she is really an enlightened 20th century woman who has no problem with it at all. It would actually be amazing if she could actually make a statement that it is a completely healthy, normal and good thing for penises to be uncircumcised. She has a very powerful voice and I think it would make a huge difference in influencing and changing a lot of misconceptions about foreskin.
Jabbari Weekes has no words — @DaysandWeekes