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I think one of the things that we far too often overlook in this country is that fact that genital mutilation of newborn boys is common practice, if not standard. Why isn't there more of a cry against this? Do the benefits of circumcision (if any, and I don't see any valid argument that there are any) outweigh the cost and mutilation of a boy?

Of course circumcision isn't the only genital mutilation in the world, but it's the only type in practice in the United States. Female genital mutilation is just as barbaric, if not more so. Americans, and Europeans in general, ban female genital mutilation of babies, but why the hypocrisy in not doing the same for males?

Tags: Christianity, God, Judaism, circumcision, clitoral, covenant, genital, mutilation

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You seem to me like a man who is simultaneously trying to be objective and yet also trying to justify your own circumcision.

You're wrong about circumcision being simpler and safer than appendectomy and tonsilectomy. Few people die from those surgeries, but many babies die from circumcision. And in a sense they are the lucky ones, as many 'survivors' have to live with botched jobs which impact their lives to varying degrees. It's just not something that most men talk about (just as death-by-circumcision is not something that most doctors talk about), but the internet is full of the laments of such men who have been damaged for life in one way or another (just as some records of infant circumcision deaths are available online).

All these scenarios aside, it is not uncommon for baby boys to have to return to the hospital/clinic for post-operative complications which need to be fixed.

Regarding hygiene, anyone who claims that the removal of healthy functional tissue somehow contributes to health and hygiene is a fool. If the penis is so 'dirty' then what does that say about the vagina? Where are all the studies on female circumcision and hygiene, or would such things be 'inappropriate' in the USA?

Even if the penis was somehow 'dirty' then there would still be no reason to amputate the foreskin of an infant. This is because the foreskin at birth is attached to the glans, like skin to muscle or fingernails to the nail-bed. It must literally be torn off the glans. A foreskin does not usually even begin to separate from the glans until childhood, and smegma does not start to develop until adolescence (not that there is actually anything dirty about smegma, which is shared by both men and women).

In fact, removing the foreskin from the glans - an internal organ - is actually unhygenic as it the body is cut open leaving a wound to heal (usually in a dirty diaper) and exposing an organ that was not supposed to see the light of day for years and years. What's more, the urethral opening is permanently exposed too, which was meant to be protected by the one-way-opening of the acroposthion (which lets urine out and nothing in).

As far as following the advice of an obstetrition, different obstetritions give different advice, especially regarding circumcision in the USA. What is not up for debate, though, is that no medical organisation in the world recommends routine infant circumcision, so if you do have an obstetrician in favour of the procedure then they would need to explain to you why they are going against the vast majority of doctors and medical organisations in the world. What I think that you won't find is an obstetrician who is intact (or married to an intact man) advocating for circumcision. Something to think about.

And in a sense they are the lucky ones, as many 'survivors' have to live with botched jobs which impact their lives to varying degrees.

 

I'm one of those men. My life has been permanently changed, damaged, by circumcision as an infant. My dorsal nerve was severed during the procedure, leaving half of my penis with very little sensation.

 

I was not "adjusted". I was not "corrected". I was "mutilated".

 

I did not give consent for my body to be altered. And yet it was, and there is nothing I can do about it.

Dear Jarod

Your contribution to this long-running debate is timely and honourable.

We grieve with you as regards the ill-conceived and needless tragedy that was inflicted upon you as an innocent child. 

 

 

That is very sad. A hard cross to bear. Perhaps we can use our sufferings, though, to help overcome our own ignorance and help others overcome theirs, and in so doing create the soil for a better world.

I wish more men like yourself would speak out against this ignorant and negative practice. Much of the world is under the impression that circumcision is trivial and harmless. This is obviously not the case.

Many lives, yours included, have been ruined or damaged because of this mutilation, and it is just one symptom of a society with warped views on sexuality, which is connected to warped views on life and love.

Is there any way you can sue or take any kind of legal action against the person or people involved? And have you explored any possibilities for healing the nerve damage? I hope I'm not being rude by asking these questions.

 

Many doctors used to recommend labotomies and leaching; it doesn't make their opinions valid. You say some doctors recommend it while others feel it is unnecessary. This is an incomplete appraisal, as many doctors go further than saying it is unnecessary; they outright discourage and condemn the practice.

 

The idea that because most American doctors are circumcised (or married to circumcised men or know nothing else or had their own children circumcised) their  opinions may be biased (for whatever reason) is not illogical or inconsistent at all. It is a very reasonable proposition.

 

Your populaton is obsessed with sex because you live in a highly sexualised and dysfunctional culture. You have repressed sex and judged it with guilt and shame for so long in your prudish religious history that it has become an unhealthy obsession. This is basic psychology. Additionally, your highly commercial and materialistic culture makes a god out of sex because the sexual urge and pleasure can be so easily exploited to manipulate people into spending billion of dollars, which is what sales and marketting is all about.

 

If you look at more balanced cultures, whether they be sophisticated European societies or more primitive tribal ones, sex and nudity are neither judged nor obsessed over. It is about healthy attitudes based on acceptance and love, as opposed to the religious ideas of prudence and conservatism that lead to guilt and shame about our own bodies and their natural functions.

 

Another argument is that circumcision goes even further to create sexual imbalance because it deprives of a man of a complete sexual experience which becomes like an itch that can never be fully scratched leading to further obsession.

 

If you look at the cultures that practice circumcision, namely Jewish, Muslim, and American, then it is very evident that (1) they all come from the Abrahamic lineage (in which Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness), and (2) are consequently OBSESSED with sex and how to control and restrict it. The Old Testament is full of references to circumcision and the shame of nudity. Recall how Noah excommunicated one of his sons for seeing him naked? This is a very very unhealthy perspective and it has caused untold suffering and damage to the world.

 

If it's not a big deal for you then that's fine, but there are men for whom it is a big deal.

 

 

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.

 

http://www.cirp.org/library/hygiene/camille1/

 

 

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.

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