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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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”.
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.
What a surprise.
Lots of love,