You are right that the word 'mutilation' has a strong inherently negative connotation. And there are both pros and cons in using it to describe male infant circumcision. The first pro is that it makes people think about something that they otherwise mightn't. 'Circumcision' is a euphemism. It is a cold and technical word that doesn't express the reality of the procedure. It 'medicalises' the non-therapeutic removal of healthy functional erogenous tissue from the genitals of children.
'Mutilation' is a word that goes to the other extreme, deliberately provocative and arguably hyperbole in this context. No one would argue that parents who circumcise their boys want to 'mutilate' them any more than parents who circumcise girls want to 'mutilate' them. This is a downside to using the word 'mutilate'; also it can be offensive to circumcised males (who don't want to believe their genitals have been mutilated). And yet intact males in circumcising cultures have had to suffer for their penises as well, being judged as inferior and called 'weird' and 'gross'. So again we have an example of balance (justice).
All the procedures you mentioned in your comment - from braces to breast implants - are cosmetic adjustments. If circumcision is considered such an 'adjustment' then there is absolutely no reason for it to be done to an infant. It is a permanent body modification that should be the sole choice of the owner of the body when they are old enough to make such a decision. The foreskin is not a birth defect; it is natural anatomy. Socalled circumcision permanently removes the foreskin and in so doing forever alters the appearance and function of the penis.
Braces on children are not removing any body-parts, and the work of Dr Weston Price has shown us why people have crooked teeth: it is a result of our diet and lifestyle and as such is something that can be eradicated if we want to live a more healthy natural existence. There is a great deal of evidence to support the idea that the human body is an innately perfect machine and that it is what we do to it over the years and the generations that is the major and perhaps only cause of its deterioration and disease.
Barbaric. No child of mine will undergo circumcision. If he wants to carve off a perfectly good potion of his penis, it will be on his watch, not mine.
As far as cleanliness goes, I have family members that have not undergone the procedure. They are fine. And they now have vaccines that protect boys from the diseases that circumcision was supposed to protect.
Just Say No. It is a barbaric and ancient practice based on superstition.
I caught holy crap for insisting that my boys remain whole. The MD forced the skin open and roughly cleaned it saying that it was going to be a pain for me (While the baby was screaming!) My dad had been born and raised at home on a farm and was not circumcised. He wrote me a note telling me what to look for and what to teach my son about keeping clean and growth issues. Sometimes the tissue at the top stays partially attached until puberty. At that point natural growth causes it to separate and it can hurt a bit. Topical Steroids can treat many of the problems that used to 'require' later in life circumcision.
Here is more information from Contemporary Pediatrics.
As a postscript- I've found women opposed to breast feeding because it was 'unsanitary' and 'the doctors don't like it' and 'I'd never do that- it's vulgar!' Sick, isn't it.
Thank you for sharing your personal story. I am just going to clarify a few points on raising intact boys, for the sake of other readers who may be uninformed on the subject of natural penile anatomy and development. The foreskin is fused to the glans at birth and usually does not begin to separate until childhood. Some boys do not achieve full separation until adolescence. This is all perfectly fine and normal, and there is no reason to forcefully attempt retraction of an infant or child's foreskin. This is painful and damaging. As the saying goes: if he's intact then don't retract. The first and only person to retract his foreskin should be the boy himself, which will happen in its own good time. If there is any concern about this then you can discuss it with him or have him examined by a foreskin-friendly doctor.
Cleaning of an infant boy's penis is very simple: only clean what is seen. And when the boy, usually in adolescence, is fully-retractable then he just needs to Retract, Rinse, Return. Many US doctors are unaware of these simple facts, as your own experience reveals. So parents should be careful which medical professionals they allow to handle their intact boys.
"Parents need to know that the original penis is a normal penis, it's a natural penis, and if it's healthy then nothing needs to be done to it, absolutely nothing." Dr George Williams, Australian pediatrician
I don't see how its an exaggeration (hyperbole) to say that male circumcision is cutting away at someone's body irreparably (mutilation). It's only seen as such, because as a culture, because it is a norm, and we've grown numb to what it is.
Its not exaggerating by calling it something you don't like it to be called when that is what it is.
I'm not to sure I'd call the skin attached to the penis as genital mutilation. But I also do not have a penis. I have a vagina. And in FGM, the clitoris and clitoral hood is removed, barring ANY sexual pleasure.
Depending on where you go, a girl could have her clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora removed after then she is sewn up like a basketball.
Other places may just remove the prepuse only(akin to male circumcision).And still other places may remove the clitoris and the labia minora.
There are not any dulling agents, and usually the instruments are dirty which leads to infection. Also, depending on where the girl is born, she may get the FGM package as a kid, but is more likely to get it when she is reaching the group's idea of "womanhood".
It's done for solely control reasons: a woman who is fully intact might be "loose" while one who has been changed, so to speak, would be more docile.
Circumcision for the male is elective, not really forced. Now, the parents do make the choice for the kid(don't they always?). The choices range from laziness(they want to teach him how to clean it with the extra flap of skin) to religious adherence. I'm not to sure what I'm going to do for my son,because I do not have one yet. I might just let him pick what he wants to do(and teach him how to clean properly).
What bothers me is the argument I come across in that area. I have heard many men refer to it as genital mutliation, to which I want to say "Have you ever seen someone who has truly been mutilated?". It is not a pretty sight in the least. With the removal of the male prepuce, you may have annoyance(again I am not sure) to plain indifference of it not being there. I know there are groups who are forming rallying around the idea it is genital mutilation and that they are only half a man because of it.
I say until they have to go through what my cat naruto did(he's...fixed), please refer to it as an annoyance. When you go to the doctor, they aren't going to go "Great GOD what happened to YOU?!" unless you have something funny on your johnny.
So I guess I would say, in around about way that it is not hypocrisy. For it to be out and out hypocrisy, there would have to be a total removal of what would be the male version of the clitoris(that would be the entire penis). Also, it would have to be the end all be all way that a male child is given to their parents. Depending on the parent, they would leave their male child "intact". Because the penis is important(it really is, not being sarcastic). While the female genitals, in the places where FGM is performed, is seen as a bit of a problem. Women are not expected to feel pleasure from sex. They are to be receptors for the husband's penis. One man described it as "she has to fit me like a shoe". Hense why after the birth of a child, the woman would be sewn up again(keep in mind, this is where the full on FGM is occuring). The woman is little more than an object, something to keep alive and made to be put into a hovel to die if she grows ill from the "surgeries".
So unless there was a male equivalent, I'd just call it hyperbolic if someone called circumcision genital mutilation.
The only question is, what would the campaign be called? Because every single one of those terms I'm coming up with only proves that I'm not the adult I think I am(lol).
No, but seriously. If circumcision of the male penis is that bad(honestly, I don't know, don't have one) it should be talked about. But I don't know if it should be likened to what some of my friends went through is Somalia.
Monica I'm utterly stunned at your myopia and insensitivity. About 100 U.S. infants die annually from the medicalized procedure.
But if you want to focus on Somalia, then maybe I can enter into evidence just the Eastern Cape province of South Africa where about 100 boys die annually from circumcision.
MOST of the FGM on earth affects the hood only and is exactly analogous to male circumcision. The U.S. AAP last spring said male circumcision is much worse than a common form of clitoral incision. They were making an appeal to allow their members to do it so girls would not be dragged overseas for more radical mutilation. Of course within a month they rescinded the appeal amid public outcry, but they never got around to calling for males to be protected from the "worse" procedure.
Obviously womens' rights have a long way to come, but at least we have gotten 94% of the world's women covered by anti-FGM laws (yes, rarely enforced), while no males are protected.
I can walk into a doctor's office and instruct him to cut my boy in a manner I believe ensures he won't get pleasure from masturbation and nobody can legally object.
There is no culture cutting girls that does not also cut boys. It is utterly foolish to expect any culture to heed our outrage about genital cutting when we allow half our population to be cut.