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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I'm not sure it's fair to say that female genital mutilation is just as barbaric. It's my understanding that the purpose of female genital mutilation is to make sure the girl doesn't enjoy sex. I guess the thinking (if you can call it that) is that if she doesn't enjoy sex she'll be a virgin when she marries & she won't cheat on her husband.

Circumcision is often seen as a boon to hygiene, although I think the evidence is inconclusive. It's also, as I'm sure you know, practiced by certain religions. It's not done to make sure the boy doesn't ever enjoy sex. Also, as someone who's circumcised, I don't like to think of the process as "mutilation" per se. On the other hand, it's a very traumatic procedure and it's usually performed in infancy, long before the boy can give anything resembling consent. I think that raises some ethical issues. Also, circumcision is a medical procedure and all medical procedures carry risks. Performing any medical procedure that does not offer a high probability of a beneficial outcome seems foolish to me, and as far as I know there's no conclusive evidence that circumcision confers any benefits.
In Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book (Infidel), she talks about her first sexual experience. (She was also genitally mutilated.) She had grown up reading romance novels and thought it was supposed to be romantic. Her husband was suspicious of her for trying to be romantic and wondered if she was a whore. So, apparently in this kind of society, men want their wives to "just lie there"? I can't help but think the sex must be shitty for the men, too.

She does assert that FGM doesn't even achieve its purpose--she was still attracted to lots of people! She talked a little about having a relationship when she emigrated to Europe, but didn't describe whether she was able to enjoy sex despite her mutilation. I would have liked to know about that, although I had read a story from another woman who had FGM and said that she was never able to enjoy sex.
I love Ayaan Hirsi Ali! I'm glad you mention her. I haven't read Infidel yet but I intend too as soon as I get the chance. I love to hear her speak out against these misogynistic injustices in the Muslim world. She is a symbol of hope for all of us, and a reminder that we have to fight this. People want to KILL her just for writing a book, for daring to be free and escape to Europe and the USA, for daring to leave a religion.
Infidel is a great book. She's definitely a hero of mine. The Caged Virgin also has a whole chapter on FGM and its consequences.
I agree. It's a very powerful book.
I saw her speak once on CSpan and was very impressed.
I'm not sure it's fair to say that female genital mutilation is just as barbaric.

The barbarism of both procedures is in the reasoning, not just the method. As you note, [male] circumcision is a medical procedure, but that's only because it has been medicalised. And under the rubric of medicine, it is thus respectable, and not at all like that procedure on girls that goes on in the mud and dung huts of Africa. Also, that male circumcision is performed on infants hides somewhat the barbarity of it. Babies' only means of communicating distress verbally is through crying, so one more instance of crying brought on by the trauma of circumcision just disappears into the excuse of, well, that's what babies do - cry. It's much easier to dismiss the cries of anguish of a baby as normal than it is to dismiss the cries of anguish of pre-adolescent or adolescent girl.

Male circumcision is directly related to the religious and cultural idea that Yahweh's Chosen People have a special mark. That is a barbaric idea. That cultural ideas about male circumcision have changed, using so-called medical or aesthetic reasons does not diminish the barbarity of the practice when it is performed on infants unable to grant consent.
Just a thought; African pre-adolescent male circumcision is quite barbaric too, as you may gather from reading Nelson Mandela's description of his own experience with the ritual in 'Long Walk to Freedom'. Every year, there are lots of deaths resulting from infection.
You don't have to go to Africa to find deaths from male circumcision, although just the Eastern Cape of South Africa reports about 80 per year.

A study estimated over 250 US deaths per year. The study dug into medical records to include many deaths that were originally tagged as bleeding, infection, necrosis, sepsis, reaction to anesthesia, failure to thrive, etc, with no mention of circumcision in the official cause of death. A baby who had a heart attack within minutes of being cut in a UK synagogue was recently officially declared dead of a heart condition, with the circumciser completely exhonorated.

Would the baby be dead if NEVER circumcised? The official inquest doesn't care. This is what we're up against in trying to call attention to the problem, and UK is a very pro-foreskin medical community. Imagine the shenannigans that go on in the US.
You don't have to go to Africa to find deaths from male circumcision, although just the Eastern Cape of South Africa reports about 80 per year

The above a quote. I used to believe infant circumcision was barbaric and dangerous. That it was always painful. When you see a probe inserted into the foreskin and the forceful separation of the skin from its bed, you know that must hurt. When you see a hemostate crush a line along a doral slit the circumciser just cut with scissors, that says it must hurt.

For years these were done with no pain releaf and the baby howled. Today two penile nerve blocks of lidocaine (similar to dental anethetics) is injected at the 11 and two o'clock positions. Then three types of circumcisions can be done.

The most gruesome to watch and truly is a dissection of tissue, the GOMPCO clamp, pateineted by a Jewish mohel in the 1930's, Goldstein. GOMCO stands for GLODSTEIN MEDICAL COMPANY.

The other procedures use a Mogan clamp, rather like a vice grip, and the Plastibell, which has a groove and a string. With this procedure, the skin isn't cut perse, it dies over a period of days. The glans is protected by a plastic shell. (These are just so cute and inventive, aren't they.

You can view these procedures from the Stanford Medical website. They run about five minutes each.

If I wanted a son cut, I'd say I'd like the Mogan clamp. The risk here is a fool may entrap the glans in front of the vice and slice it off. Yes, that's happened before.

So with modern science attempting to keep routine circumcision alive and to meet the pain argument with lidocane injections, I'd say the argument against is necessity of this operation, its cost over millions done a year, the human right of a male to make the decsion for himself even if it means waiting for an adult circumcision.
Actually Leonard Glick's "Marked in your Flesh" traces how circumcision became medicalized, and it doesn't come directly from Jewish circumcision. It was more a matter of gentile doctors admiring some aspects of Judaism, and being obsessed with preventing masturbation. (Circumcision didn't work, of course, but boys who'd been caught masturbating and circumcised for it - punishment as much as prevention - would make damned sure they weren't caught again, lest worse befall, so the adults would think it had worked.) Then once a generation of circumcised boys had grown up, they could bring "a boy should look like his father" into play.

There was also the claim of Sir Jonathan Hutchinson that Jews had less syphilis than gentiles because they were circumcised. (His sample had more gonorrhoea, but he ingeniously used that to show they were no less promiscuous, not that circumcision might increase their risk. In fact his non-random sample, all STD patients, proved nothing.) With no cure, and insanity and death its final stages, syphilis was a terrifying disease. Circumcision has always been touted as the answer to the most frightening disease of the day.
Well said.
You might be interested in looking into your local options for foreskin restoration.

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