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Is Circumcision Male Genital Mutilation?

Circumcision. If I'm talking about female circumcision in the Western world, I'll rightly be met with gasps of horror. How could people think about cutting off the clitoris and labia of a healthy girl? If I'm talking about male circumcision, people react far more calmly, as if they're being offered full milk or half and half, as if the difference were purely cosmetic.

The fact that many parents elect to have their male children physically mutilated shortly after birth without anesthetic is a perfectly normal and indeed, legal, part of our society. Are we insane?

My own boyfriend casually mentioned one day that if we had a son, he would be circumcised. 'You'll have to go through me first,' I told him, and I was quite serious. Circumcision, even when done in hospitals, involves strapping a baby boy down, slicing his foreskin down the middle and then shearing it off with a clipping device.

At no time is any anesthetic given because it's not safe to drug a newborn, (though it is apparently quite safe to remove parts of his genitalia.) The baby, quite rightly, howls in pain the whole time. I can't imagine, as a mother, allowing someone to do that to my child. In fact, the idea alone fills me with a primal sort of protective rage and I don't even have a baby.

Circumcision is an ancient practice, and in ancient contexts it makes sense. I understand the tradition of circumcision if you're a member of a desert culture with little to no access to water for hygiene purposes. Circumcision at least makes some kind of practical sense in that scenario. But in a modern context? No. If your kid can manage to wipe his ass, he can learn to clean his genitals as well, it's not rocket science.

Then there is the cosmetic aspect of circumcision. Some people think a circumcised penis just looks better. Does it? And if it does, is that justification for performing hack and slash operations on infants who have no say in the matter? Many of us freely mocked Heidi Montag when she transformed her perfectly serviceable face into something resembling a porn-bot, but at least Heidi Montag made the choice of her own free will, and at least she wasn't conscious the entire time the operation was being carried out

The foreskin isn't just a useless floppy bit of skin. It has a purpose both in protecting the penis and in enhancing male pleasure. Scientists state that the foreskin is analogous to the female clitoris in that it contains many sensitive nerve endings which aid in male pleasure. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, if you clipped the clitorises of newborn females, you'd be put in jail, but for some reason if you remove what would one day be an inch or two of pleasure inducing male flesh, people will toast your efforts and celebrate the event.

It's time to live up to all this equality we keep yammering on about between women and men and extend the same protections to male children as we do to females. It's not okay to forcibly remove a part of someone else's genitals, whether or not they happen to be your child. That should be a self evident truth, so why is male circumcision still legal?
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  • Louisa - Enemy of the State 2010/02/11 00:09:38
    Louisa - Enemy of the State
    +29
    Get over it! If you don't want to have your male children circumcised, then don't do it! They could always elect to do it later if they chose to do so.

    But why is it that right away you want to "ban" something or make a "law" against it? Why should YOU or anyone else make that decision for other people? It's been a Jewish tradition for centuries and it DOES have its advantages.

    I suggest you stop worrying about the penises of my future children or grandchildren because I might happen to have opposite beliefs.

    I'm sorry. I don't mean to be hard on you but it really irks me that because YOU don't want your kid circumcised you care about the sexual pleasure that my son will be denied. It's people like you who have screwed up America with your self righteous political correctness BS. Go jump on the abortion bandwagon! That's what I call mutilation.

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  • Mizzy Z'droj 2013/05/11 09:14:46
    Mizzy Z'droj
    +3
    Dear friends,



    I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People,
    a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov, and ask for your support. Will you add your
    name to mine? If this petition gets 100,000 signatures by June 10, 2013, the
    White House will review it and respond!



    We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama
    Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets
    enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.



    You can view and sign the petition here:



    http://wh.gov/JEEL

    Here's some more information about this petition:



    Ban infant male circumcision.


    Children should be protected from permanent bodily alteration inflicted on
    them without their consent in the name of culture, religion, profit, or
    parental preference. Under accepted bioethical principles, parents can
    consent to surgery on behalf of a child ONLY if it is necessary to protect
    the child's life or health. "Routine" circumcision fails this
    test because it painfully and permanently removes a normal and healthy part
    of a boy's penis, does not protect the child’s life or health, and in
    fact creates new risks. Removing the foreskin is no more justified than
    removing a finger or any other health...

    &

    Dear friends,



    I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People,
    a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov, and ask for your support. Will you add your
    name to mine? If this petition gets 100,000 signatures by June 10, 2013, the
    White House will review it and respond!



    We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama
    Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets
    enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.



    You can view and sign the petition here:



    http://wh.gov/JEEL

    Here's some more information about this petition:



    Ban infant male circumcision.


    Children should be protected from permanent bodily alteration inflicted on
    them without their consent in the name of culture, religion, profit, or
    parental preference. Under accepted bioethical principles, parents can
    consent to surgery on behalf of a child ONLY if it is necessary to protect
    the child's life or health. "Routine" circumcision fails this
    test because it painfully and permanently removes a normal and healthy part
    of a boy's penis, does not protect the child’s life or health, and in
    fact creates new risks. Removing the foreskin is no more justified than
    removing a finger or any other healthy body part.

    If girls are protected by federal & state laws from forced genital
    mutilation, regardless of religious/cultural preferences of the parents, why
    aren't boys protected?
    (more)
  • Mizzy Z'droj 2013/05/11 09:08:26
    Mizzy Z'droj
    +3
    Dear friends,

    I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People,
    a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov, and ask for your support. Will you add your
    name to mine? If this petition gets 100,000 signatures by June 10, 2013, the
    White House will review it and respond!

    We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama
    Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets
    enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.


    You can view and sign the petition here:



    http://wh.gov/JEEL

    Here's some more information about this petition:



    Ban infant male circumcision.


    Children should be protected from permanent bodily alteration inflicted on
    them without their consent in the name of culture, religion, profit, or
    parental preference. Under accepted bioethical principles, parents can
    consent to surgery on behalf of a child ONLY if it is necessary to protect
    the child's life or health. "Routine" circumcision fails this
    test because it painfully and permanently removes a normal and healthy part
    of a boy's penis, does not protect the child’s life or health, and in
    fact creates new risks. Removing the foreskin is no more justified than
    removing a finger or any other healthy bod...

    &

    Dear friends,

    I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People,
    a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov, and ask for your support. Will you add your
    name to mine? If this petition gets 100,000 signatures by June 10, 2013, the
    White House will review it and respond!

    We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama
    Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets
    enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.


    You can view and sign the petition here:



    http://wh.gov/JEEL

    Here's some more information about this petition:



    Ban infant male circumcision.


    Children should be protected from permanent bodily alteration inflicted on
    them without their consent in the name of culture, religion, profit, or
    parental preference. Under accepted bioethical principles, parents can
    consent to surgery on behalf of a child ONLY if it is necessary to protect
    the child's life or health. "Routine" circumcision fails this
    test because it painfully and permanently removes a normal and healthy part
    of a boy's penis, does not protect the child’s life or health, and in
    fact creates new risks. Removing the foreskin is no more justified than
    removing a finger or any other healthy body part.

    If girls are protected by federal & state laws from forced genital
    mutilation, regardless of religious/cultural preferences of the parents, why
    aren't boys protected?
    (more)
  • Joshua Shaffer 2013/01/21 06:01:01
  • Jacques Burgering 2012/07/15 00:37:16
    Jacques Burgering
    +4
    Thank you so much for openly discussing this issue. Being a man, I can not imagine being circumcised. I consider it straight forward bodily mutilation! There is a reason why mother nature equipped us with a foreskin, namely, that it protects a sensitive part of our body. Despite the fact, as you mentioned, there were good reasons in the past for circumcision, I personally don"t see any reasons in our 21st century world to mutilate young men. This is the first traumatic experience, deeply traumatic experience, for this newborn baby; it shapes their physical and intuitive outlook on the world. I can not imagine mutilating my son, after my partner worked so hard for nine months to deliver my child in one piece. In my mind, the world would be a better world without circumcision.
  • mandy 2011/12/23 21:42:49
    mandy
    +1
    people cut the clits of females all the time and are not in jail..
  • Jacques... mandy 2012/11/11 17:49:10
    Jacques Burgering
    And that's absolutely unforgivable!
  • Michael Schooley 2011/11/14 03:55:45 (edited)
    Michael Schooley
    +3
    Hello. Biblical Circumcision or brit milah involved a tiny snip or puncture wound for convenant, and was done with wine and plant based anesthetics. even then...things were much more careful


    But now male circumcision is being performed in a more serious way.

    I agree noone should be forced in these matters.

    Education is key.

    All people want to do right...by the law
  • marty 2011/11/04 21:18:13
    marty
    +3
    People keep making the claim for male circumcision on grounds of religion and culture. Sooo why can't some tribesman have his daughter circumcised? Whoa, that's BARBARIC! Regarding culture: never mind the clothing, foods, writing: let's show our circumcised penises to everyone! If a jungle tribesman walked up with a pierced penis, nose ring, or stretched earlobes, he's 'primitive' and 'unclean.'
    *Fine, if your culture dictates hacking up your offspring, then don't judge others' treatment of theirs'

    “Prevention of UTI.” Oh man, if we only had antibiotics... “I said PREVENTION!” Okay... he might end up obese like his parents or other relatives: let's give his a gastrointestinal bypass now. Or cut his hands off, less he becomes a thief. “But, but studies show that it prevents HIV” Mmhmm, in HIV-rampant AFRICA. I dare-say that majority of us aren't in, from, or ever will raise a family in Africa. Besides: the results were for MEN...not boys.

    “Well, he won't look the same as his father/me or other boys his age.” I don't know about your family, but in mine, male-bonding activities never involved whipping out our penises. Children tend to laugh at or be jealous of anything different. Height, weight, skin color, speech, ethnicity, how far above/below average he...



    People keep making the claim for male circumcision on grounds of religion and culture. Sooo why can't some tribesman have his daughter circumcised? Whoa, that's BARBARIC! Regarding culture: never mind the clothing, foods, writing: let's show our circumcised penises to everyone! If a jungle tribesman walked up with a pierced penis, nose ring, or stretched earlobes, he's 'primitive' and 'unclean.'
    *Fine, if your culture dictates hacking up your offspring, then don't judge others' treatment of theirs'

    “Prevention of UTI.” Oh man, if we only had antibiotics... “I said PREVENTION!” Okay... he might end up obese like his parents or other relatives: let's give his a gastrointestinal bypass now. Or cut his hands off, less he becomes a thief. “But, but studies show that it prevents HIV” Mmhmm, in HIV-rampant AFRICA. I dare-say that majority of us aren't in, from, or ever will raise a family in Africa. Besides: the results were for MEN...not boys.

    “Well, he won't look the same as his father/me or other boys his age.” I don't know about your family, but in mine, male-bonding activities never involved whipping out our penises. Children tend to laugh at or be jealous of anything different. Height, weight, skin color, speech, ethnicity, how far above/below average he is in class...Given that many boys, including Americans, aren't getting circumcised and that going to the shower room or restroom doesn't occupy a big portion of the school day, this would happen very rarely if it all.

    “It's just cleaner!” I suppose that if your son is an imbecile and can't wipe his ass or feed himself, then maybe a circumcision and for good measure, castration, are called for. Maybe the men who advocate circumcision on grounds of cleanliness are too lazy to wash down there. But I suppose it's a good reason IF 1)You live in a filthy country with inadequate clean water 2)amazingly, you had anesthetics, clean water, and antibiotics at the time of your son's circumcision but will never have that ever again

    “okay, GOD said so!” Are you sure? Have you actually read your holy book or did you stop as soon as you read 'circumcise?' http://www.hebrew4christians.... I quote: “But if the question is whether a Christian should be circumcised in the physical sense, as a Rabbinical rite that is intended to symbolize inclusion into Israel (i.e., "conversion" to Judaism), the answer is a resounding "No!" If you have trusted in Yeshua as your Savior you have no need for any further conversion.” As for any other religions, I don't know.
    (more)
  • Heywood Jablomi 2011/04/02 00:11:28
    Heywood Jablomi
    +4
    I can't help but note the spelling/grammatical errors, (not to mention the ridiculous arguments) on the part of the pro-circumcision crowd.

    But I don't have time to argue with each and every one of you. However, I'd like to address Louisa's "Get over it" comment.

    Louisa, I doubt very seriously that you'd oppose a law against deflowering girls in infancy, nor would you accept the arguments that "She'll heal with only minor scarring" or that "She won't remember the pain when she grows up." You would consider any such act to be rape. In fact, chances are that you would consider it to be a crime if anyone so much as touched a baby's privates without a legitimate reason.

    Nor would you oppose a law against cutting off a baby's earlobes. Sure, the baby wil be just fine without earlobes, but you would consider that to be mutilation nonetheless.

    So why the defense of cutting off part of a baby's penis? Is it a crime to cut off any other part of the body, or even to touch his penis without a legitimate reason, but perfectly OK to cut off part of his penis? How do you justify this?

    I have met several men who were permanently deformed as a result of botched circumcisions. How would you like to walk around for your whole life with permanently deformed genitalia?

    And then there...







    I can't help but note the spelling/grammatical errors, (not to mention the ridiculous arguments) on the part of the pro-circumcision crowd.

    But I don't have time to argue with each and every one of you. However, I'd like to address Louisa's "Get over it" comment.

    Louisa, I doubt very seriously that you'd oppose a law against deflowering girls in infancy, nor would you accept the arguments that "She'll heal with only minor scarring" or that "She won't remember the pain when she grows up." You would consider any such act to be rape. In fact, chances are that you would consider it to be a crime if anyone so much as touched a baby's privates without a legitimate reason.

    Nor would you oppose a law against cutting off a baby's earlobes. Sure, the baby wil be just fine without earlobes, but you would consider that to be mutilation nonetheless.

    So why the defense of cutting off part of a baby's penis? Is it a crime to cut off any other part of the body, or even to touch his penis without a legitimate reason, but perfectly OK to cut off part of his penis? How do you justify this?

    I have met several men who were permanently deformed as a result of botched circumcisions. How would you like to walk around for your whole life with permanently deformed genitalia?

    And then there are the risks of infection, particularly staph. Not all circumcisions are without complications, and in some cases they can be life-threatening.

    If you think circumcision is harmless, then I challenge you to examine the evidence presented in the following articles. (Warning: Content is graphic and nauseating.)

    http://www.catholicsagainstci...

    http://www.cirp.org/library/c...

    http://www.cirp.org/library/c...
    (more)
  • ampcweer 2011/02/23 17:57:33
    ampcweer
    +5
    No one with an ounce of sense would believe in circumcision these days. The hygiene/health argument has been disproven, and the religion argument isn't an argument at all. If you're doing it purely for religious purposes (or possibly trying to make up other reason as justification) then you have zero credibility.
  • D 2010/07/25 17:40:43 (edited)
    D
    +5
    Would you be opposed to cutting off the finger of a newborn baby because of tradition? I think so, and if not, you're sick.



    The foreskin is a part of the human body. It is something you are deciding to cut off of a defenseless infant before it can make the choice for itself. That is a violation of human rights, and THAT is forcing YOUR beliefs on someone else.



    The author is expressing her desire for protection of infants and children until they can decide to make the choice for themselves. Preventing others from forcing their view and beliefs on the infant at the expense of that infants body part.
  • Disko Pickle 2010/07/20 23:13:18
    Disko Pickle
    +1
    Male circumcision is a religious ritual in the same way that human sacrifice is a religious ritual. The only difference is the part of the body that gets cut.
  • Icarus 2010/07/20 15:18:38
    Icarus
    +2
    "The fact that many parents elect to have their male children physically mutilated shortly after birth without anesthetic is a perfectly normal and indeed, legal, part of our society. Are we insane?"

    Without a doubt. It's an atrocity.
  • kneedragon76 2010/07/20 15:16:29
    kneedragon76
    YOU KNOW THIS IS A GREAT ARGUMENT TO ABOLISH ABORTIONS
  • Joseph ... kneedra... 2013/02/13 18:36:25
    Joseph Lewis
    Actually, to be in favor of (male) circumcision is inconsistent with either side of the abortion debate, making the abortion debate a red herring.

    "My body, my choice" is hypocritical, unless it applies to both sexes.

    And "the rights of the child" include both his right to life, AND the right to his body.
  • Cloe 2010/07/14 05:18:54 (edited)
    Cloe
    +1
    Honestly..circumcising because it's part of your religion is ridiculous. If your gonna circumcise at least let it be because your in bad living condition, therefore improving the child's likely hood of getting disease and so forth, NOT because your personal want or urge to.



    Way to Go Louisa for sounding like a typical Over bearing religious women spouting nonsense based on your own opinion as well.

    Were SO sorry for worrying about circumcising because YOU feel differently.



    Get your head out of your a**! We all have our own opinions. We all are stubborn and want to be heard, but there's NO reason to tell some what to shut it because YOUfeel otherwise.

    Get over yourself!





    If African Americans were still slaves and I was blogging about how we should all be treated equally you'd be one of those people attacking my opinion solely based on your beliefs; beliefs based on your religion.





    So your right in one part.

    "They could always elect to do it later if they chose to do so. "

    So why is it such a big deal to make a law making it illegal in the states? Cause you're so bent on circumcising your child and you know there's no way in hell he would chose to do so later knowing how ridiculously painful it'd be, and for what, because it's a practice, because it's the religions tradition?



    If you had a penis I highly doubt you'd go through with circumcising yourself
  • kneedra... Cloe 2010/07/20 14:57:33
    kneedragon76
    STFU - OPININIONS ARE LIKE AHOLES AND YOURS STINKS TOO!
    RELIGIOUS OR NOT THERE IS JUST AS MUCH SCIENTIFIC INFO TO SUPPORT CIRCUMSISIONS AS THERE IS SAYING IT IS BENIGN... FACT still remains I know 3 people that have has circumsisions perscribed by doctors! all healthy clean people that got urinary track infections. furhtermore if papalomavirus is such a problem why not take dirty d1cks out of the equasion?
  • Joseph ... kneedra... 2013/02/13 18:38:19
    Joseph Lewis
    You cite science as long as it agrees with you.

    Would you be in favor of "research" that shows female genital cutting isn't as bad as you believe?

    Would you go cut your daughter if "research" showed a reduced prevalence of HIV in cut girls?

    Even though you're "not religious?"

    I know a few women who had to have their labia reduced because they were so long it caused them pain and discomfort.

    So now let's cut all the girls.

    Right.
  • Brett 2010/03/12 15:05:02
  • John 2010/03/09 18:26:44
    John
    +5
    I am indeed horrified that people still circumcise today. We should all be smarter than this. If religion is your reason...do you REALLY think God cares one way or another? Of course not. I believe that we SHOULD make this illegal except for medical necessity. Let the man decide for himself. Parents should not have the right to mutilate their child and YES, the same goes for ear piercing, tattoos, body piercings, etc. Stop the madness. - John (New York)
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