The circumcision “debate” is missing the point: adults can do whatever they want to their genitals. No one gets to carve up a baby’s hoochie!

20 Sep

 

Lots of new folks here, which is great to see, but please be advised:  do not waste your time explaining how girl’s bodies are so much more precious than boys and how male and female circumcision cannot be compared.  To me, you’re arguing that slavery was better for women because they got to be mammies and really, that’s not so bad, is it? 

 

Do. Not. Waste. Your. Time.

 

I will not publish those comments. 

 

Cutting up a baby’s genitals is barbaric.  Full stop.  The whole idea makes me just want to puke.  What are we, fucking stone age cretins imagining that wild creatures inhabit the wind and monsters lurk in the dark?

I have nothing against genital mutilation, per se.  Pierce them, tattoo them, cut them, shred them, go to town with a cheese grater on them for all I care.  It’s your body and your choice.

my choice

Where have I heard that phrase before?

Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern takes on a group he calls “Intactivists” for their supposed denial of sciency facts.

For doctors, circumcision remains a complex, delicate issue; for researchers, it’s an effective tool in the fight for global public health. But to intactivists, none of that matters. The Internet is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas, where human reason leads the best ideas to triumph. There are plenty of other loud fringe groups that flood the Internet with false information, but none of them has been as successful as the intactivists at drowning out reasoned discourse

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/09/intactivists_online_a_fringe_group_turned_the_internet_against_circumcision.html?wpisrc=flyouts#

Let’s see just what Mark is talking about, shall we?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released its new Technical Report and Policy Statement on male circumcision, concluding that current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks.

…only 1 of the arguments put forward by the American Academy of Pediatrics has some theoretical relevance in relation to infant male circumcision; namely, the possible protection against urinary tract infections in infant boys, which can easily be treated with antibiotics without tissue loss. The other claimed health benefits, including protection against HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, and penile cancer, are questionable, weak, and likely to have little public health relevance in a Western context, and they do not represent compelling reasons for surgery before boys are old enough to decide for themselves.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/12/peds.2012-2896

pills

So, baby boy dinkies can get infections, which can easily be treated with antibiotics.  No tissue removal required.  I wonder how the AAP recommends treating strep throat?  By their logic, a tracheotomy ought to do it, huh?

The other benefits?  Hacking off a baby’s foreskin can help prevent HIV, genital herpes, genital warts and penile cancer?

Well, aside from the penile cancer, aren’t the aforementioned things you acquire by fucking? How many baby boys are out banging that cute chick from swimming class?  If you’re mutilating an infant in the hopes of preventing the spread of HIV, I think you may have jumped the gun a little.

Babies don’t have sex.

And penile cancer?  It’s pretty uncommon in the West, and rarely seen in men under the age of 50. Again, that is a stupid justification for cutting a baby.

Whether circumcision results in reduced sexual pleasure really doesn’t concern me.  Getting sidetracked by that debate obscures the point:  if an adult freely chooses to surgically remove his foreskin, then the risk is his to bear.  A baby cannot make the decision to cut away part of his flesh, and no matter what the consequences for his pleasure, his basic right to bodily autonomy has been violated in a way that should strike almost all of us as a completely and utterly horrifying.

Who takes a knife to an infant?

girls

And of course, when the infant in question is dressed in pink and sports frilly bloomers, we all respond in EXACTLY that way. Cutting an infant girl’s genitals is barbaric and criminal.

The main reason I am even addressing this so-called debate is because of this double standard.

Feministe: In Defence of the Sanctimonious Women’s Studies Set has a piece about those damn mouthy men who insist boys deserve the same basic rights as girls to NOT have their genitals sliced off, and it’s kind of stomach churning to read the commenters who get all shrieky about how cutting a girl is SO MUCH WORSE than cutting a boy.

Every time female genital cutting is mentioned on Feministe — every time — someone from the “intactivist” community shows up to derail the conversation and make it all about the alleged horrors of male circumcision.

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2013/09/18/how-intactivists-are-ruining-the-debate-on-circumcision/

Alleged horrors?

Alleged?

Are you fucking kidding me?  A surgical blade is used to slice off the skin that protects the end of an infant boy’s penis, usually WITHOUT ANAESTHETIC.

circumcision

Does this picture make you flinch? What part of that is not horror?

Part of the feminist response is ignorance – they just don’t know what is involved in male circumcision, but part of it is the ugly truth that a whole lot of feminists really don’t give a fuck what happens to infant boys, and some are probably even gleeful about the pain little boys endure having this barbarous act carried out on them.

Getting into debates about the specific outcomes or consequences of circumcision lets the main point slide under the bloodied waters:  you either believe in the right to bodily sexual autonomy or you don’t.

There is no reasonable argument to be made that women deserve to reach adulthood with their genitals intact and that boys do not.  Arguing about the degree of cutting, or effects on sexual pleasure or disease prevention or any other aspect of this kind of mutilation is a way to divert attention away from the fact that CHILDREN’S GENITALS ARE BEING MUTILATED.

My advice to intactivists is to stick to the point:

uncut

Every child should be protected from a blade taken to their crotch, full stop.  And every adult has the right to do whatever they like to their crotch.  If you want to cut your genitals as an expression of your faith, go right ahead.

When you’re 18.  Make the choice yourself.

Arguing about what forms of mutilation are acceptable is like arguing about which people it is acceptable to enslave.

Slavery is acceptable or it is not.

Cutting up babies is acceptable or it is not.

When anyone argues that it’s okay to cut boys, but not girls, that tells you a whole lot about that person and how they feel about boys and men in general.  Couching the argument in terms of degrees or rationales or outcomes is pure sophistry, designed to draw your attention away from the fact that women’s bodies belong to women and men’s bodies belong to everybody.

Cutting little boys is the first step in getting them to understand they are mere utilities.  Something disposable, and they should get used to it.  They will be thrown into trenches, jails, dirty, shitty  difficult jobs, and one bedroom flats should they be foolish enough to marry and then face the “fairness” of divorce courts.

Let me clear here:  anyone who tries to argue on this blog that cutting girls is just ever so much worse than cutting boys will be banned.  Cutting infants  is a sick, disgusting, medieval practice and I am not amenable to any discussion of why it should continue.  Perhaps that will result in no comments at all. That’s fine.

My purpose today is to shine a light on the fact that the “debate” about circumcision grants women bodily sexual autonomy automatically, while claiming that men have no such right or need.

And that is bullshit.  Any discussion of infant genital mutilation should center on one topic and one topic only:  bodily sexual autonomy.

baby body

If men can be denied the right to bodily autonomy based on faith, then why can’t women be denied the same right? Abortion should be outlawed based on the faith of the pregnant woman’s parents?  Selective service should be outlawed based on the faith of the male draftee’s parents?

Well, that’s one way to make sure all the rich folks convert to Quakerism, isn’t it?

yarmulke

Orthodox Jews follow a rule that requires them to keep their heads covered.  The men wear a little hat called a yarmulke or kippa.  Lots of Jewish men have decided that there are plenty of ways to observe their faith without following an ancient ritual that singles them out and makes their personal beliefs public.

And holy moly, didn’t the whole fucking world just adapt and move on.  I could spend several thousand words describing which ancient laws we have decided are not worth observing any more, and yet religion still maintains a stranglehold on most people’s lives.

http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html

Whatever.  I don’t care.  Believe what you like, just don’t try to govern my life based on beliefs that have no evidence to support them other than faith.  I require a little more to go on.

So let’s say we outlaw genital cutting until children have reached the age of consent.  How many Jewish men will choose to undergo the ritual as an expression of their faith?  Yeah, probably about the same number that continue to wear yarmulkes.

Give adults the information and choice and you will see this cruel ritual cease to exist almost immediately.  Because it IS cruel and stupid and ugly and pointless and medieval.

big red

Feminists say “hey, MRAs, you don’t need a movement because we’re fighting for all the same things you are.  We’ve got it covered”.

http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/solution-mra-problems-more-feminism/

Oh really?

Circumcision is a perfect litmus test of just how much faith we can put in that claim.  You either support the right to sexual bodily autonomy.

Or you don’t.

There is nothing else to debate.

Is it your body, and your choice?

Or only your body and your choice when you’re a woman?

That’s a little far off the equality mark, isn’t it?

And of course, that’s exactly the point.  Feminists aren’t arguing for equality.  They are arguing for special privileges and protections that apply only to women and girls.

Yeah, well, fuck you feminists.  Put your money where your mouth is.

Protect little boys as well as little girls.

I’ll wait here for the day that happens.

field

Crickets.

Still chirping.

What a surprise.

Lots of love,

JB

158 Responses to “The circumcision “debate” is missing the point: adults can do whatever they want to their genitals. No one gets to carve up a baby’s hoochie!”

  1. Christine Martin September 23, 2013 at 18:59 #

    Thank you!

  2. Christine Martin September 23, 2013 at 19:04 #

    Anyone who actually knows anything about the MOST COMMON forms of FGM, particularly the type of Sunat that takes place in South East Asia would never dare say “female is worst than male”. imo both a wrong, but when you look at the ritual nic and removing the entire prepuce, how can you say its worst for girls? over 90% of South East Asian women will tell you they are HAPPILY circumcised.

  3. Kaynejack September 25, 2013 at 01:24 #

    Thanks so much for writing this. You are correct.

    Personally (and I am male and circumcised… badly) I don’t understand why RIC of males and FGM need separate categories. They are done for the same reasons. They are done to innocents who cannot protest. They are done for culture and religious conformity. They remove choice and pleasure from the child. They leave a scar that will never fade.

    I believe both are HUMAN genital mutilation, or INFANT genital mutilation. I wouldn’t wish either form on anyone.

    My own circumcision took too much skin, making erections painful. I was left with circumferential adhesions, was given an acroposition (meaning the skin twisted before it healed, and my frenulum (the most erogenous zone of the intact penis, and most circumcised ones too,) was completely excised. And I have Meatal Stenosis (a mild form) that makes peeing difficult, painful, and caused urinary tract infections when I was a child. I was left with a dead stick incapable of any feeling except for heat and cold. The only thing they didn’t do to me was neuter me… maybe they should have.

    Is this “better” or “worse” than female genital mutilation? I don’t know. But I do know this, If female genital mutilation causes half the pain my RIC caused me, then it should be banned.

    I see no benefit that circumcision gave me. Sure, I’ve never had an STD, but that is kinda like an amputee claiming that thanks to the loss of his legs, he’ll never have athlete’s foot.

    Both male and female cutting is the same evil, and both should be banned equally. There is no sensible argument I’ve heard suggesting the opposite.

    JB, I greatly appreciate your stance, and today you have found a new follower.

    • Kaynejack September 25, 2013 at 01:37 #

      Oops. Where I said “acroposition”, I should have said, “Malapposition”. I meant that my skin twisted on my shaft before it healed in place. I guess I need to brush up on my medical terminology.

      Sorry about that.

    • Terri O'Brien October 10, 2013 at 23:02 #

      Kaynejack the only problem I have with what you posted was that you said they were to young to protest. I can assure you that they do protest rather vociferously the problem is that no one is listening to them. I know this because when my son was born he had to be in the NICU and someone objected to me nursing him in the unit so we were given a chair in a storeroom for nursing that most unfortunately was the room next to the circumcision room and I still can’t the sound of those poor babies crying out of my head! Anyone who tries to tell you they sleep through it or whatever other bs is full of bs trust me. I have raised 7children and worked with kids my whole life and have NEVER heard anything like that before or since and hope never to again

  4. wolf September 27, 2013 at 16:00 #

    You judgybitch I like. You are an angel cause you stand up to this double standard. I wish all mothers to be were like you.

  5. Allyssa September 28, 2013 at 05:23 #

    What do you say to the bitches who comment that because women bleed monthly and have babies, the men deserve to be cut?

    Love the article! One day, I’ll get the guts to post something blatantly anti-RIC on my FB page but I’m not prepared for backlash atm.

  6. Jessica September 28, 2013 at 07:39 #

    I love this. This is a matter of basic human rights, regardless of gender. My only issue is that I self identify as a feminist and find the idea that female genital mutilation is “worse” absolutely disgusting. I guess there are different versions of feminism? But I would argue that any feminist who would throw “men’s” issues aside in favor of “women’s” issues has lost sight of what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Feminism is supposed to be a demand for equality, not a “girls rule boys drool” attitude…….. BUT coming back on topic: this article is brilliant. I wish more people would stand up for such basic human rights as bodily autonomy. Thanks!!

  7. Passerby September 29, 2013 at 14:59 #

    Thank you!

  8. Misguided Child October 4, 2013 at 06:06 #

    We know that circumcision is incredably painful and tramatic. We also know that childhood trama and abuse leads to adults who commit crimes. I began looking for research into the effects of circumcision on crime. Amazingly not much research has been done on this connection. Here is what I found.

    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/august312012/circumcision-violence-rm.php

    Original FBI’s Criminal Profilers who led the Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico, Virginia know circumcision is a factor in some serial killings and partly responsible for America’s generalized asocial violence.

    It has been inferred Robert Ressler, in an off the record comment when interviewed by Mothering Magazine’s web-editor, related the fact that the FBI realizes circumcision is a factor in violence. He explained they do not mentioned this because they would be considered raving lunatics and lose their jobs. Robert Ressler coined the term Serial Killer.

    This attitude pervades throughout Law Enforcement from the U.S, Department of Justice down to local Sheriff Departments and Child Protective Services. Many have no clue, the same as the parents who are Conned into the ritual. The Con is the criminal Approach used to lure victims.

    In Norway, the only country that records the circumcision status of rapists, 2% of the population are circumcised and commit more than 80% of their rapes. And, since 1991 almost all wars involved one circumcised country with some conflicts between both factions being circumcised. This includes all USA conflicts since Vietnam.

    No other statistical records are kept regarding the individual and social percentile circumcision status of serial killers or rapists. Yet, over 50% of rapes in Sweden are perpetrated by the minority of men who belong to circumcising cultures. Circumcision status may factor highly in the USA’s highest of all other country’s incarceration rate to population.

    Semper Fidelis

  9. Sarah October 10, 2013 at 18:11 #

    Thank you for this post. I take it you apply the same principle to intersex babies, who are frequently subjected to medically unnecessary procedures to normalize ambiguous genitalia. I’m concerned that this is largely motivated by a strict gender binary perspective. Many people won’t accept that biologically and psychologically, there are degrees of variation.

    • judgybitch October 10, 2013 at 18:39 #

      Of course I do! Particularly with ambiguous genitals. How in the hell do parents think they can just “pick” which gender their baby will be? It doesn’t work like that.

      Leave well enough alone and the person who owns the genitals make the final decision.

  10. DJ October 15, 2013 at 03:53 #

    There’s a “debate” about this going on on the Prevent Disease FaceBook page…

    Most of the commenters there just don’t seem to get it.

  11. Gaius November 13, 2013 at 14:11 #

    One tactic I can’t recommend enough – presenting MGM as a feminist issue that harms women too. Is it totally honest? No. Do people deserve honesty? Fuck no. They need to hear whatever will make them act human. NOTE – I think that these statements are mostly true, but even if they weren’t true they could still work.

    First, where on Earth do the FGM activists think the idea came from? No country cuts girls that doesn’t also cut boys and even force the procedure on grown men.

    Second, circumcision exists to make men into better rapists. It turns something sensitive into a blunt club. Argue that anything a patriarchal culture forces on people’s junk is designed to facilitate rape. Whether it works or not isn’t the point – the intention is there.

    Third, foreskin protects women from rough thrusting by both cushioning the thrust and making the man more sensitive.

    Fourth, the foreskin has estrogen receptors and its own immune system.

    Fifth, as long as MGM exists it will be used to justify other mutilations including FGM. Even if the anti-FGM activist says there is no comparison, they cannot deny that FGM practitioners and most MGM practitioners do equate them.

  12. Dee November 13, 2013 at 20:10 #

    As new grandmother to a once perfect grandson, I am still grief stricken and furious that my idiot son-in-law practically threatened my daughter with divorce to accomplish his preference to mutilate their child. What was his compelling argument in support of the procedure? Nobody knows. Without any statistics or logic, he just wanted their son deformed and he wanted it bad. Hahaha, he may yet get that divorce. My daughter perceives the forced mutilation as a symptom of her husband’s unfitness as a parent and partner.

    In response to those who would say that female circumcision is more vicious and barbaric….Let’s take that perspective–a clitorectomy seems to be more serious than a prepucectomy. So what if the removal included only the structures comparable to a male foreskin with the same argument–hygiene. Do those “it’s worse for girls than boys” people think that it would be okay to snip off only the hood and the inner labia?

    Regarding the “freedom of religion” argument: The mutilation of girls’ genitals is also based on religious beliefs. I am speechless. How can it be okay to cut little boys based on religion, but not to cut little girls based on religion? How can people with a brain NOT understand that genital mutilation is mutilation, regardless of the sex of the child?

    Regarding the “parents have a right to make health decisions for their children” argument: Parents are not given the rights to choose what they believe is best for their child’s health on other matters. Parents have been prosecuted for choosing faith healing or herbal remedies instead of submitting their child to medicines, chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Have there been any such charges filed against the parents of circumcised infants who were crippled or died from complications? We truly do live in a double standard world, don’t we?

    Do logical people really believe that exposing the urethral opening in infants helps prevent UTI? Logic would seem to indicate that the opposite is true. In fact, with all the research I am doing with regard to the new grandson, I have discovered the cause of the UTI. Ready for this? It’s DIAPERS. Yep, our Western culture has all these great ideas, and instead of the third world parenting (point and shoot the baby away from the caretakers body), we soak up their wastes and hold them against the baby’s body until it is convenient to deliver our babies from their own sewage. You get the idea. But diaper-free baby is not the subject of this thread. Google it if you want to know more. There is more evidence to support getting rid of diapers to prevent UTI than getting rid of the foreskin.

    So parents have the right to select surgery for their minor children, as long as it is penis trimming for boys, or ear lobe piercing for girls. And they do not have the right to choose abortion for their minor daughter….or even to spank their kids. Is that weird? You can chop off part of your son’s genitals, but you can’t slap him?

    Unfortunately, the legislation of circumcision has everything to do with feelings and emotion, and nothing to do with logic and objectivity. And it IS hard to find exactly the right rule. If parents have ABSOLUTE rights over their children, they could nurture or maim as they choose. But if they don’t have absolute rights, where is the line drawn? How can that line be drawn fairly, so that it offers equal protection to children regardless of gender, yet allows parents to follow their convictions?

    Plan of attack. Two factors have a great effect on circumcision rates: the recommendations by the medical profession, and health insurance coverage. The circumcision would be likely to drop dramatically if there was not medical insurance reimbursement.

    Even if health insurance covered circumcisions 100%, requiring physicians to recommend against elective/cosmetic surgery for infants could help some parents make a non-invasive decision. In addition, requiring informed consent to include viewing video presentations prepared by both the pro- and anti-circ crowds, it is likely
    parents would choose to leave the “personal choice” to the person who is most affected by that choice.

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