Female circumcision and male circumcision can most definitely be compared as there are different types of both. FGM can involve different degrees and kinds of mutilation from socalled hoodectomies and clitoridectomies to labiaplasties and hysterectomies. It can also involve infibulation. The point is that all of these procedures are looked at with revulsion and are even illegal to perform on infants and girls in some countries, including the USA. It is illegal to prick the genitals of a girl with a pin but it is legal to cut off a boy's foreskin. Many types of female circumcision remove less tissue and less nerve-endings than male circumcisions. The foreskin contains around 20000 nerve-endings, the clitoris only 8000.
I don't think that female circumcisions are performed to punish females so much as to try to control and moderate them. Secular male and female circumcision originated in the USA during the 1800s, however, for the explicit purpose of punishing masturbation. The perceived hygeine reasons for circumcision also began around this time, the thinking being that masturbation, "nervous irritation" (sexual lust) and smegma caused disease. As the medical paradigm changed, the justifications evolved to infections and cancers.
I don't quite understand how an intact guy could be "missing out" on being circumcised. If you miss out on a loss of pleasure and function then I would think that to be a good thing. Also, just because millions of men have not spoken out about circumcision does not mean it has not affected them. First of all there are thousands of men that are speaking out against it now because of the internet. Second of all, many circumcised men probably don't know they could be missing out on anything because they know nothing else and most of them have grown up in circumcising societies. And third of all, speaking out about penile problems is not exactly an easy thing for a guy to do.
I think that genital mutilation is up there with the great atrocities perpetrated by religion. The foreskin is not a small piece of skin. In an infant it is of course relatively small, but it grows to a size of about fifteen square inches of densely nerve-laden erogenous tissue in an adult male.
I think that most intactivists believe any alteration to the genitals of males or females should be a personal choice made by a consenting and informed adult about their own bodies. Otherwise circumcision should be like any other surgery: performed out of medical necessity (given a thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology and the available treatments and cures known by doctors).
There are many atrocities in this world, but the genital mutilation of children is definitely one of them. Having your foreskin forcibly amputated is just as bad as having a hand forcibly amputated. Being threatened or killed because of sexual orientation is up there with having your genitals mutilated for the fact of being merely sexual!
You are downplaying the destructiveness of circumcision because you yourself are circumcised and it must be very hard for you to acknowledge that your anatomy and sexuality were irreparably altered without your consent. The permanent damaging of infant genitalia, whether they be male or female, is a heinous crime perpetrated by a sick society which has negative effects that no one can fully appreciate. Quite apart from the physical and sexual damage there is psychological damage that men carry with them throughout life. This affects society as a whole.
Your minimisation and trivilisation of this issue is an insult to all the babies that have died as a result of this disgusting practice. It is an insult to all the men who have had their sex lives destroyed and even their entire lives destroyed. You speak as someone who has obviously done no real research on the issue, for if you had then you would find that there are many men who didn't come out of the procedure as well as you; men who have suffered the side-effects of botched jobs (which are actually quite common). Side-effects such as total loss of sensation or function, terrible scarring, chunks missing, skin bridges, skin tags, painful erections, meatal stenosis, and the list goes on. These boys and men have had to live with the consequences of a badly performed operation that was totally unnecessary to begin with. This is a very serious issue and the quicker we as a species can come to a more healthy attitude towards sex, sexuality, and our own bodies, the sooner we shall see a much happier and more peaceful world. Don't underestimate the roll that sexual repression has in creating the kind of society where the other crimes and abuses you speak of are commonplace.
"Having your foreskin forcibly amputated is just as bad as having a hand forcibly amputated." "being ... killed is up there with having your genitals mutilated"
Let's not go overboard. We use our hands all the time, our foreskins only occasionally. The case against circumcision is quite strong enough without overstating it. The rest of what you say is pretty good, but our opponents will take overstatements like that one out of context and use them against us.
(I prefer to use understatement, myself. It makes my case more watertight.)
I understand your point and appreciate your reply. However, my statements are a matter of perspective. Having your foreskin forcibly amputated is just as bad as having a hand forcibly amputated in the sense that they are both involuntary and unwanted ablations of normal healthy functional body-parts. As to whether a person would prefer the one over the other is debatable. I once read an intact man allegedly write that he would prefer his hand was cut off than his foreskin, but this may have been hyperbole.
And as someone who believes in life after death and that there are many possible human sufferings far worse than death (whether there is survival or not), I don't consider death to be the ultimate evil and horror that many people seem to believe. In my opinion having parts of your genitals cut off as an infant is an anti-sexual procedure just as being threatened or harmed for your sexuality is an anti-sexual act.
In light of what you said, though, what do you think of the term 'genital mutilation' which many people (Mr Whitfield, who I was replying to, included) consider to be excessive and unnecessarily provocative?
P.S. Are you the Hugh behind the intactivism pages?