Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let It Be

Today I'm going to talk about a pretty sensitive topic that I feel strongly about.  DUN DUN DUN - circumcision.  I heard today that a baby who was born with hemophilia (a clotting disorder in which the afflicted's blood doesn't clot properly, causing often life-threatening excessive bleeding) was circumcised and is now at risk of dying.  Couple this with the recent death of the baby who had a heart condition and was circumcised anyway and I've got some shit to say on the matter, now.

I personally think it's ridiculous to cut a properly functioning piece of any animal (human or otherwise) off at any time in their life.  For those that aren't convinced, here are my (somewhat sardonic) responses to many of the common arguments.  If anyone has any other "reasons" I've missed here they'd like me to speak to, please do comment and let me know - I'd LOVE to put in my two cents.

1) Foreskins are gross and dirty.

This one is often heard coming from women, sadly.  Foreskins are no such thing, in fact.  Saying that is like saying labia or clitoral hoods are gross and dirty, and we know what the purveyance of the idea that vulvas are gross has done for women.  Do a little research because foreskins actually help keep the penis clean and make sex more pleasurable for women.

2) I don't like the way foreskins look.

See point 1 above.  Furthermore: Seriously?  Are you that immature and closed-minded?  I might have said that when I was 16 and had only seen a handful of penises but if you lived anywhere except North America you'd be saying you didn't like the way mutilated penises look.  Seriously, ask a European woman, they'll tell you the idea of a circumcised penis is really weird.  Besides, have you gotten all your ideas of what penises are supposed to look like from mainstream California porn flicks or what?  Grow up!

3) Circumcision reduces the risk of penile cancer.

Um, no, it doesn't really.  Of course, any time a piece of the body is removed the likelihood of it becoming cancerous is drastically reduced - some might even say it's eliminated - but think on this for a moment: firstly, penile cancer is less common than male breast cancer and secondly, more babies die from circumcision surgeries than adult males, circumcised or not, die from penile cancer.

4) Circumcision reduces the risk of HIV/AIDS.

Nope, wrong again.  Look at the statistics: when comparing North America to Europe, for example, North America has HIV/AIDS rates more than triple that of Europe's, despite the fact that the adult circumcised population in North America is more than SEVEN TIMES that in Europe.  When looking at less developed nations, there is no correlation between circumcision and reduced HIV/AIDS rates; in fact, in many areas where mass circumcisions were performed on adult males the HIV/AIDS rates increased as the men thought circumcision made them impervious to sexually transmitted infections and stopped using protection where they previously had.

5) It's for religious reasons.

This is perhaps the most preposterous to me.  Female circumcisions are done for religious and/or traditional reasons, too but they're illegal.  Even pricking the clitoris of a female child to draw a single drop of blood is illegal but removing what would be 10-20 square inches of flesh on an adult male's penis is still okay because Abraham did it?  What the fuck is wrong with people?!?!  And then I'm supposed to 'accept' this procedure because it's your 'religion' or 'belief' that you have to fulfill a covenant with some god?  I say again, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!?!  I ask you this, in all seriousness: What if I said I was a member of the Church of Satan and he had commanded me to amputate my child's left hand as part of a covenant with him?  What if I said I worship the god Baal and he commanded me to sacrifice three cats, a goat, two chickens and my child's right pinkie finger, three toes of my choosing and both earlobes as part of a covenant with him?  What if I said I worship the god Razzmatazz and he commanded me to cut off the tip of my child's nose as part of a covenant with him?  What kind of god are you worshiping, anyway, that he/she/it/they want you to cut a piece off of their perfect creation?  Why didn't they just make the baby without the darn thing if they were going to tell you to cut it off?  Is this not a direct indication that what you worship is fallible?  What about the fact that all other male mammals on the planet have a prepuce organ?  Should theirs be cut off, too?  Am I making my point, yet?  I know some of the really intelligent religious types are saying, "But those gods are bad or not real or not the one true god." or something to that effect but COME ON, don't be so bloody daft!  This is all relative!  We have to use our heads a little and draw a line in the sand - just because something has been around a long time and is a commonly held belief that society accepts as somehow (unknown to me) different from 'freaky' cult shit does not preclude the fact that it is a violation of human rights, plain and simple.

6) We want him to look like his father.

Ya, 'cause I know a lot of young men who are playing swords with their dads as a pastime.  I am shocked and amazed that this is the most common reason given for circumcision in the United States.  In our 'enlightened' and 'civilised' society, "We want him to look like his father" is considered a valid reason to cut off the most sensitive tissue on your child's body?!?!  I say again, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!?!  If a father is missing a finger from a farming accident are you going to cut off the same one on his son at birth so they look the same?  And, really, it's far more likely the child will notice the difference on the hand than on the crotch, I'm sure.  If a mother has stretch marks on her belly from carrying a baby in it are you going to stretch out her daughter's stomach, too, so they look the same?  Never mind the obvious point here which is that EVERYONE ON THE PLANET LOOKS DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER, even identical twins have differences, for crying out loud!  If a child were ever to ask why their penis is different from their father's (and let me reiterate how fantastically unlikely that would be) it seems to me a simple, "Everyone is different, all our parts are different, too." should suffice for the younger child or the parent who doesn't want to explain it for whatever reason.  For the older child a simple, "I was given a surgery as a baby where they cut that part off of me, we decided to leave that decision to you when you're an adult, though." should suffice.

7) We don't want him to be made fun of.

Well, first off, circumcised children are the minority now (thank goodness for that) so really you're dooming your amputee child to be mocked if the assumption is that minorities are discriminated against by majorities.  Besides, do you really want to make decisions about your child's genital integrity based on the possibility that someone might mock him?  Is that a good message to send?  "We cut off that huge part of your penis, rendering you forever sexually damaged, because we didn't want people to make fun of you.  No, you can't have that expensive jacket or those brand name shoes, though - we don't care if all the other kids have them."

The bottom line here is that I cannot see any possible reason whatsoever to cut any piece of a perfect newborn baby.  Let me know if you think of any others so I can debunk them, too.  Let's leave babies how they come - perfect and unmarred.

If you'd like a little example of how ridiculous this whole 'circumcision thing' may appear from an outside point of view, have a look at this ceremony performed in an African tribe (the ridiculousness is astounding).

"For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see.  There will be an answer, let it be." -Paul McCartney


  1. 100% agree! RE religion: the new testament actually says that circumcision is unnecessary and will get you nowhere in regards to heaven etc so yeah, these people should read their bibles a little better. Following :)

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. At the hospital, the nurses tried to come in three separate times to get my son for his circumcision. The third time my husband was so upset he practically yelled at the poor woman. Next time, we're skipping all that and doing it at home!

    Also following! :)

  3. Jamie, that's so sad that all they could think of was mutilating the penis of your brand new, perfect little guy! I definitely encourage you to birth at home next time (as a woman who has birthed unassisted). I think (barring criminalising the act which would obviously be my preference) hospitals should have a program in place where they educate the parents on the functions of the prepuce, instead. I'd rather the parents have to REQUEST the amputation surgery than be offered it (three times, no less) and I think if they DO request it, they should have to watch a video of a circumcision first and also be present during the procedure on their child.

  4. This is great! I agree with everything you've said here.


  5. I couldn't agree with you more and I find it astounding how the pro-circ people get angry because "what they do to their child's body is none of anyone's business." So, by that logic, is it then nobody's business if a parent physically abuses their child...? And yes, I've read that response several times in online conversations about the issue! I do see circumcision as abusive and barbaric so every time I read peoples' arguments about why they circ their kids I just respect those people a little less. Because I view them as barbaric.

    I've read a lot about this issue (because my husband is circed and there is no way in hell I will allow it to be done to our children if we have boys so I need to arm myself with as much information so that I know that my decision is sound and defendable) and it amazes me that people are bound and determined to circ their kids but don't have the balls to be there for their child for the procedure: it's as though deep down they know it's wrong, can't stomach it but have to follow the protocol. Yes. I am ranting. This is one issue that really bothers me.

    Another argument I have heard in favour of the procedure is that uncircumcised men in personal care facilities are more difficult to keep clean. I can't comment on the validity of this but I figured I'd share.

    Love you blog.
    Found you on the water kefir facebook group page.

  6. restoring my foreskin as of now


Keep it clean, guys.