Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Circumcision is for weiners!

And by weiners, I'm not referring to penises.  I'm referring to parents who are so afraid of doing their job that they resort to circumcision in hopes it will make their job easier.

"I heard that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV and some other STI's, so I know it was the best choice for my child"

Super.  Wow, where do I start?  -bangs head against desk-  If only I had a dollar for every time I've seen/heard this "reason" for male genital mutilation.

Let's see if I can put this into perspective for you.  Tell me how intelligent I sound when I say this:

"I heard that pulling all my child's teeth would reduce the risk of oral health problems, so I'm just doing him/her a favor so they don't have to suffer later"

Yeah, heaven forbid you just teach them proper oral hygiene and treat any problems in a reasonable way IF they ever arise!

Hmmm... sounds kinda crazy when applied to any other body part, eh?

"Oh but the foreskin is just a useless piece of skin, don't get so worked up"

I'm going to get brain damage from banging my head on this desk.  I blame it on you :-P

First off, the HIV/circumcision studies in Africa have been repeatedly called out as majorly flawed.  The foreskin (aka prepuce organ) is far more than a little piece of skin, and it certainly has very important purposes.  Although it just looks like a little bit on an infant, the amount of tissue removed by circumcision would equal about 15 square inches on the adult penis (the size of a 3x5" index card, see example here).  Have you ever even seen a foreskin?  Do you even know what circumcision really is?  You can learn about the many functions of the foreskin here.  Read up, you may be very surprised!!! 

Anyway, here is my big problem with circumcising to prevent sexually transmitted infections:  It is a MAJOR cop-out on the part of the parent.  "Oh goody, I can just cut off part of my son and skip all those awkward conversations about sexual responsibility.  He's free to be a man-whore, hooray!" 

Okay, anyone who really gives this more than 2 seconds of thought is going to see that there is no way in hell that a lack of foreskin can insure adequate "protection" against HIV or anything else.  It will never come close to the protection that a condom can provide.  If your son operates on the assumption that he doesn't have to be careful just because he is circumcised, he's going to be at MORE risk.  Circumcised or intact, I certainly hope your son wears a condom with any sexual partner unless they are in a long-term, trusting, monogamous relationship.  In essence, when you circumcise your son for the purpose of "preventing" STI's, you are undermining his common sense and morals.  You're telling him he's too stupid to be a responsible adult, and that you were too lazy or afraid to teach him how.

As Adam so eloquently put it in a previous blog (here) "The reason of "one has a lower STD acquiescence rate if circumcised" takes away a piece of my trustworthiness, in assuming I will not take precautionary measures to have safe-sex, as it is clear a condom is cheaper, more effective, and more reasonable than making a permanent cut to my penis."

How would YOU feel if someone decided that you might be sexually irresponsible someday, so they removed vital parts of your genitals "for your own good"???  When these reasons are used in other cultures to justify female genital mutilation, we are outraged, and we say that NOTHING can justify doing that to girls/women.  Yet we buy into the most ridiculous reasons to have the same thing done to baby boys. 

Are we really so pressed for time these days that we're willing to amputate healthy tissue from our children so we can delude ourselves into worrying less about their future sexual lives?  As I have brought up in a previous post, if we removed every part of our child that *might* become diseased or infected, we'd have no child left (except maybe hair?).

That brings me to the related reasoning that "circumcision might help prevent UTI's and such".

Does anyone have an Advil?  I've got this pain in my forehead... and why is there a big dent in my desk?

Females are far more prone to urinary tract infections than males.  If you got a UTI and your doc said "Hey, lemme just take my scalpel to your genitals, and then you won't have to worry about that anymore!" wouldn't you want to kill the friggin idiot?  How on earth is that a good enough reason to cut a baby?  Welcome to this century... we have these amazing things called antibiotics IF your child ever does need them.  If you really want to protect your child from infection, having an open wound in his diaper getting covered in urine and feces isn't the most logical way to do so.  He'll be at risk for MRSA, that "super bug" that can make your skin look like it's rotting away.

So much for doing the kid a favor!  The additional circumcision risks could fill pages.  Although rare, isn't ANY risk too much, just for a cosmetic procedure?  Babies do sometimes DIE from complications of circumcision.  Babies do sometimes suffer major scarring, or even a loss of part or all of the penis.  Some have been given gender-reassignment and raised as girls because of it.  And WHY?  Most men around the world have their foreskins for life and function happily and healthily.  IF a need ever arises for your son to truly need circumcision (which is extremely rare), he can have it done then.  Removing healthy foreskin doesn't make any more sense than removing any other body part just because something *might* happen to it.  There are far more serious things that can happen in other parts of our bodies, but we don't remove them "just in case".  We deal with it IF it happens, and when it comes to the foreskin, it is usually very simple, and doesn't require circumcision.

Please don't put your child at risk just because of some medical myths and traditions.  Please don't alter a valuable part of his body just because you think it will be "easier".

Your child is perfect.  Bring your whole baby home.  His foreskin is no more of a risk to him than anything else, and it requires NO special cleaning or care.  A circumcised penis, however, requires a lot of special care to prevent infection, adhesions, etc.  When you decide to leave your child intact, please remember this:  Only clean what is seen!  The foreskin is adhered to the head of the penis just like your fingernail is stuck to your finger.  Forceful retraction of it can do damage and THAT can cause infection.  This is why some people think circumcision can prevent infections, but if they just leave it alone like it is meant to be, all will be hunky dory.  You wouldn't break your daughter's hymen and clean up inside her vagina, and you don't need to clean under your boy's foreskin.  It will retract on its own in late childhood or puberty, and I certainly hope he is cleaning his own penis by then, so you don't have to worry about "extra work".  Just clean his penis during diaper changes and baths just like you would a finger.  (See Intact Penis Care)

That brings me to a final question.  WHY do some people complain about how "dirty" an intact penis is?  Have you ever seen a vagina?  Women have a lot more going on down there, but we manage just fine thank-you-very-much!!!  To assume your son is too stupid to wash himself is ridiculous and insulting.  To cut off an entire body part of your child for your own "convenience" (which I hope you now know isn't even true) would make you SO lazy that you shouldn't have had a child in the first place.  And if you would circumcise just because "it looks better" then you are so confused and beyond help that the only thing I can suggest is therapy.  Really now, what if someone said your vagina was so gross they had to cut it apart?  What kind of perv do you have to be to think like that about your kid?  "Yes son, I just couldn't stand the look of your junk, eww it grosses me out".

I encourage you to open your mind, put yourself in your son's shoes, and really think logically about this.  No medical association in the world recommends routine infant circumcision, and in fact there is a movement working to make it illegal so that boys can be equally protected alongside girls (see here).  It is a cosmetic procedure, so unless you would justify a nose job on your baby, then you should also see there is no justification of circumcision.  

I realize there are plenty more excuses that parents give for circumcision, but I've covered some of them before, and I will focus in on other specifics later.  I am purposely focusing in on just a couple of the reasons given.  You can find more of my thoughts on this issue in previous blog posts, along with statements from moms who regret circ'ing, and even the perspective of an adult man that was cut as a baby. 


That Freebie Place said...

I apologize to the 2 commenters that were here before. I had to delete and re-post this entire entry, so please feel free to make another comment :-)

Danielle Arnold-McKenny said...

Absoutely BRILLIANT!!!! I'll be reposting your blog .... because I too have given my self brain damage from banging my head off my desk in frustration!!

Laura said...


Rebekah Costello said...

Excellent! I just started reading your blog a little bit ago and I think you're doing a fabulous job!

Irena said...

I have eight children and four of them are boys...I am so grateful to my doctor, who after my first son was born, told me she had not had her own son cut nor did she understand the need to...I am also grateful to my husband who had no issues with me not wanting to cut my boys(even though he was cut as a child..He did not have issues with his and his sons genitalia "matching"...)

Anonymous said...

There was a huge "discussion" on circumcision on an Attachment Parenting board yesterday. I lurk on this board and was ASTOUNDED by how many people that claim to be advocates of peaceful parenting were arguing the benefits of circumcision. A few posters likened the procedure done to boys in America to female circumcision and there was practically a public lynching. What kind of world do we live in that mothers that claim to parent in a "child led" fashion support genital mutilation on an infant just hours old.

TD said...

Once again, you've hit it out of the park, Rachele.

Brava, woman!

Honey said...

I posted your blog link to my facebook blurb thing. Hopefully another voice will help get the mssage across. American men & women are outraged by removing a clitoris but not the foreskin...sounds hypocritical t me.

I had a bumper sticker on my van you might like..."Dr's get a tip & your son gets the shaft. Stop circumcision." This made such an impression our back window (which sported it) was busted out.

By the way...we're a freaky family too...midwives, 26 month old is still nursing & cosleeping, vegan, anti-vaccinate, unschooling/waldorf/montessori family.

Proud wife & mama to two intact males, Honey

MomE said...

Every time I read your blog, I love it just a little bit more. :)

- E

Restoring Tally said...

I have a headache also, but not from reading your blog. Great job. It just seems to take some common sense to realize that the common justifications for circumcision don't hold up.

PS: The anti-spammer word verification for my comment is weeni. Did you do that on purpose?

Bernadette said...

I've just found your blog today - I think we've been separated at birth. Thanks so much for the rockin' post.

Anonymous said...

We were torn about what to do when we found out that we were having a boy. I'm circumcised, so to be honest it was a little bit of fear about "what do you do with that thing..." Happily we actually did some research. We started out asking friends and family, and most of the replies we got were "well, his Dad is circumcised and we wanted him to be the same way..."

We came to a website that actually showed pictures of the procedure. I didn't get passed them strapping the baby down when I was convinced we didn't want that done to our baby. Coming into this world out of your nice comfy Mom is traumatic enough without your parents letting someone take a knife to you.

7 months later and we are extremely happy we didn't do it. And no sign of STD's yet... ;}

As for the future... Explaining to him why he is different than Daddy will be a simple "You're grandparents followed the advise at the time."

I do worry a little about him being made fun of in the locker room... Kids can be cruel and that is a very sensitive age. But if it happens we will deal with it. Some comeback about "why are you checking out my junk in the first place?" will probably do... ;}

Poppet said...

We were also torn about getting our son circumcised when we found out he was a boy - by torn I mean my partner wanted it done (because he had it done and it "looks better", urgh), and I was dead-set against it. We had MANY arguments, and decided to compromise by... not getting it done... LOL! I also did a bit a research just to hammer it home that it was not necessary. We had a fair amount of opposition, actually - we are in a small rural town where ALL boys get cir'ced because it is the done thing, and we were told all the reasons above as to why we should do it. Thankfully, I'm stubborn and wouldn't back down.

Must admit, though - when my own grandmother basically scolded me for not getting it done and told me to "clean him really good", I started to wonder if I'd made the right choice. Thankfully, there are people like you out there who are like-minded and willing to put your opinion out there for everyone to see. Thank you! I no longer need to feel that little niggle of guilt.

Anonymous said...

I, an intact man, am moved to tears that a woman with a cut husband would blog with such ferocity in defence of the most intimate and most sexual part of the male body. Babies should not feel that pain. The adult men they will become should not have their sexual pleasure put at risk in this fashion.

Here's another example in history of women stepping in where men simply won't do the job: France in 1420. Everything was falling apart, brigands roamed everywhere, the British occupied half of France including Paris, the most powerful man in Europe was the Duke of Burgundy, and the French Crown Prince refused to be made king.

And then an illiterate teenage farm girl, from a part of Europe that spoke a French dialect but was not France, went to the Crown Prince and said "Give me weapons and command over troops and I will liberate France." The French Powers that Be decided "What the hell" and humoured her. Amazingly, she won battle after battle. The British captured her, convened a kangaroo court that condemned her for witchcraft. She was burned at the stake. No matter, because over the next 25 years, the French drove the foreign armies out.

The teenage girl was Joan of Arc.

I blame the American Foreskin Holocaust on my sex. Most snippers are men doctors, doing it because the baby's father insists.

When it comes to the foreskin, the USA in the 20th century was like 15th century France. And the American Joan of Arc is Marilyn Milos. That's why when millions of men are feckless cowards in defence of their intimate bodies, I am not surprised that women rise to the occasion. Women intactivists, I give you a 21 gun salute.

That Freebie Place said...

Anonymous @ 4:27

Thank you SO much for your comment. It means more to me than I could possibly say!

Anonymous said...

Honey, that your putting an intactivist bumper sticker on your car led to nontrivial vandalism, is an indication that the obsession of the American mainstream to stamp out the foreskin won't go quietly, as it has in the other English speaking countries.

Other evidence of violence. A Canadian woman who blogs on YouTube in defence of the foreskin has said that angry women have Emailed her using the c word. This reminds me of the reaction in parts of the USA 50 years ago, when the call went out to end the many indignities to which blacks were then subject.

Intact American men have definitely been a misunderstood sexual minority. Are they also a despised one as well, at least in some quarters?

Anonymous said...

Please everyone go check out this post on circumcision, with names & email addresses for the AAP doctors who are currently considering *recommending* routine circumcision. Write now, while they're still just considering, and before they make a decision!


Emlynsmommy said...

@Anonymous @ 4:27 - Wow, thanks so much for coming forward! I've been fighting this fight a LOT recently, with a LOT of heartache and frustration. I've even lost friends over it, though I personally maintain a respectful tone always. Even though your comments were for woman, uncensored, they encourage me as well. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Baby Girl Williams/Morse said...

To all the circumcised dads out there that made a stand for their son, I say BRAVO!

I just asked my 12 year old son, who is happily uncut, about the locker room situation. Granted, he's not changing underwear or wearing protective gear yet (he's only in the 7th grade) but when asked, his statement was, "No one cares".

I live in California, and I know the "seaboard" states tend to be less apt to cut, statistically speaking, but I think it's a good sign for things to come for your little guys.

Unknown said...

Woman, that was a kick ass blog! You are right. Weenie reasons. You know my favourite one (may I bang my head on your desk too)? "I want my son's penis to look like mine." Is it because I'm a chick that I find this to be the most random, lamest reason ever? I am well endowed in the boob area, and my eldest daughter (who's had grown up breasts for years) is not. Shall I insist she get a boob job to look like me? She has a gorgeous, womanly booty. I do not...I tend more towards the pancake. Should we do something about this? Will our relationship be endangered because we have very different bodies?

My husband is cut, my sons are not. One day, when one of my sons was 3, he looked at his nude father and asked, "Daddy, why do you have a fire man's helmet on your penis?" And we explained about circumcision. I'm pretty sure he was glad we hadn't done that to him. He didn't seem to mind at all being different from his father, and my husband was certainly not willing to sacrifice his son's foreskin because of a need for similar penises.

Thanks for a great read!

Anonymous said...


My wife showed me this post. We discussed male mutilation before marriage because it was very important to her. Well little did she know (until asking) that it was very important to me.

I learned about what I lost when I was a young teenager. I stumbled across Just a little digging around was all I could handle.

If anyone wants to sexually mutilate my child, boy or girl, they will have to do it over my dead body.

How you intactivists take the euphemisms, the false excuses, the dehumanization, day after day and still come back fighting is amazing to me. I cannot see or read too much of this. It is a reminder of what was stolen from me and from my wife, without my permission, against my will.

Good luck to you all.

Sanfis Daly

OurSentiments said...

I wanted to add something but first I wanted to comment on two comments.

Anonymous Jan 22 @4:27:

I have only felt powerful from one other man in my life and that was my father. You are now the second. After many 'short' years of fighting for things natural I am starting to get worn down. You talked to my soul, or should I say written to it. History Stories are a special part in me. My Great Grand Uncle used to tell me about the wars he's been in. I brought back a special feeling and empowerment. Thanks for the refill. Please except this virtual respect I am sending you.

Sanfis Daly:

Men take some heat and come back too. I do agree that it's mothers who stand up when there is a need. I am sorry for your loose and the feelings you get from the truth. I can't imagine what I would do in your situation. Please keep strong and keep telling your story. It can't change the pass, but from experience, it does help. Hugs!

Here's is my comment, or confession. We did not know what K2 was while I was pregnant (well we knew she was a baby, but not the sex). The topic came up that if she was a boy that 'he' would be done. I did not say anything at the time, because, I was plain out dumb. I did do some looking into about the issue, and I cried myself to sleep. However at the time, I did not have the voice I do now. I am sad to say that if K2 was a boy, I would be crying right now.

Now from the information at hand, and wonderful people like everyone here. That tells and keeps telling. If I ended up having a little boy, over my dead and spoiling body will that child be mutilated.

So to all, please keep the word out, it does do something. Look at me. One person at a time will change the world.

Honey said...

These comments are so sad. To see a grown man brought to tears of pain & loss is horrible. When will parents learn to stand & protect their children?

And, a response that I gave when I was asked don't I want our boy to look like his daddy..."I'd love him to have his eyes & his smile, but if he doesn't I'm not going to seek plastic surgery..why would I seek it for his penis?" Btw...his Dad is intact & I'm very happy to say at least his parents got that right!

Also, you do know the number 1 reason circ came to life?....the Victoian era believed circumcision would prevent much for the medical benefits they toot about on their horns.

Btw...has anyone seen any of the 'our sons get the shaft' bumperstickers? I need a new one & can't locate any.

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Imagine this is a dinner party. Differences of opinion are welcome but keep it respectful or the host will show you the door. If you're rude or abusive, your comment will be deleted. This is "Woman Uncensored" not "Random anonymous jackass that needs therapy Uncensored". Feel free to get your own blog and rant all you want there.

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