Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Circumcise your daughter?

I saw this blog post on http://www.womanuncensored.blogspot.com/ and just had to re post it. I have been thinking of writing something like this for a while but have been a little intimidated. Call me lazy I guess but she took the words right out of my mouth. Try to have an open mind when thinking about this subject and really think..are our boy's bodies less important than our girl's?

I was talking with a guy friend of mine who'd recently had his first child: a perfect baby girl. He chatted happily about the joys of being a new parent, and then mentioned an upcoming appointment. "Oh, just a usual checkup?" I asked casually. "No, its time for her snip-snip" he replied, equally casually. I was confused. "You know, her circumcision of course", my friend clarified. Oh, right... that. I asked how he and his wife had come to the decision to have the procedure done on their daughter. Now it was my friend's turn to look confused. "Well, everyone does it, don't they?". "Far from it, actually." I replied. "But I'm interested in your reasons, so go on". And he did. He talked about how he wanted his daughter's genitals to look like his wife's, so she wouldn't be confused later in life. At this point, I wondered if he also intended to get his daughter a nose job, boob job, etc. He mentioned not wanting her to be teased in the locker room someday. I stopped him. "Wait, was she born with a deformity?". He said of course not, but that an un-cut vagina was just funny looking. Then he went on about how dirty they are, and being cut makes them cleaner. He said little girls don't know how to wash themselves anyway, and it would be gross. He said her husband would be glad for it someday as well. I stopped him there too. Would her husband also be glad that his wife felt less pleasure? My friend was confused about that. In his mind, removing parts of his daughter's genitals didn't mean she'd experience less pleasure. Right, how silly of me to think that. I had a million more things to say and ask, but I tried to stay civil.This conversation was clearly becoming strained and painful for both of us, but he felt the need to defend his decision further. My friend then told me about how so many women get yeast infections, UTI's, and such, and that the circumcision might prevent that, and maybe even lessen her risks of some STD's too. I'd seen these supposed studies, and also the ones that debunked them. I guess he'd missed those, and also missed the fact that not a single medical association in the world promotes this "procedure". It was obvious he was doing something he thought was good for his child. I just looked at him, baffled. He then stammered on about how he was the parent and he had every right to make this decision for his child. Everyone else in his family had done it, and they were "fine" and "happy" with it. My mind was reeling with questions and anger. Did he really believe that all baby girls were born defective? Should they have to undergo cosmetic surgery to have "prettier" and "cleaner" genitals? Was it really that hard for a child or any person to spend a few seconds washing down there? Certainly washing one's hair takes more time, but we all seem to manage that. How could he look at his perfect little girl and think that something on her was so disgusting and ugly that it had to be cut off? How could he think that it was "normal" and that "everyone does it"? How could he put her through the risks of a surgery for such stupid reasons? He even thinks that removing her parts would prevent infections and diseases. Following that logic, we should remove ALL teeth because they *might* get cavities, breasts because they *might* get cancer, and well... EVERY other part of the body because they may become infected or diseased some day. What odd reasoning. Certainly there are better ways to prevent and deal with such things. We do it for every other part of the body, why not the genitals? And why would he assume he has the right to make such a decision for his child? Her genitals were posing no immediate risk to her, so didn't she have a right to her own healthy body parts? Isn't it HER body? Aren't we supposedly all about "rights" and "choices" in America? Where were his daughter's rights and choices? He was going to walk right into that doctors office and pay to have his child's most sensitive parts mutilated. I felt sick to my stomach and just left him with a half-hearted excuse about needing to get home.You may be sitting there, SHOCKED at how something like this could happen in America. You may think this isn't even true. The truth is, the healthy genitals of non-consenting minors are cut apart every single day, and many people don't even think twice about it. Many people defend the decision to do so with every fiber of their being. Many people even have it done to their child without really even knowing WHY. They don't even think twice about it. I've encountered numerous people who feel just like "my friend" in this story, and use the very same reasons that he did. The one thing I lied about is the child's gender. When this story is told about a baby girl, most people would be HORRIFIED and would want to see the parents imprisoned for mutilating their child. However, when we talk about a baby boy, suddenly it is a parent's "choice", and supposedly a valid and legal one at that. WHY? Why do we protect our baby girls like mother bears, but throw our sons under the knife every day? Because his penis is ugly? Because it is dirty? Because it is different from his father's? Because it *might* become infected someday? Because his wife will be glad? Because its what everyone else does? Because its "no big deal and it does'nt hurt anyway"? Because its "just a useless piece of skin anyway"? Wrong. Just like every part of the female genitalia has purpose, function, and sensation, so does the male foreskin. Most of the world, in fact, and now about half of Americans. Those who DO have circumcisions performed on their sons, operate under the assumption that it is just the normal thing to do. It is not. It was, for a very short time, considered "normal" in a few parts of the world. It was promoted heavily during the times that masturbation was seen as dirty and even dangerous to the body and mind. Doctors...the finest medical minds of the times truly believed circumcision would cure blindness, insanity, bed-wetting, and all sorts of other medical problems. As those myths were debunked, they tried coming up with other "reasons" to mutilate our boys. Myths sprung up like weeds. Its time for the insanity to stop. Its time for the sexism to end. In a time where we've fought for the rights of minorities, children, and women, we've left one portion of our population out. We've trampled on the human rights of our baby boys, and we've done it holding our heads high and justifying ourselves.



Eoin said...

Dear Sarah.

I work for IntactAmerica.org, an organization devoted to ending routine infant circumcision in the United States. I’m thrilled to see you’re speaking out on the issue, and helping to educate parents about how circumcision is medically unnecessary.

Did you know that several leading medical organizations (CDC, AAP, AAFP) are considering recommending circumcision right now? We at Intact America are trying desperately to stop the current cycle of misinformation and educate doctors, expectant parents, and the public about the ethics and harms of infant circumcision.

We’d appreciate anything you could do to help spread the word about this troubling development. Perhaps you could write about this issue on your website, and/or link to our website (www.intactamerica.org) for more information for parents who are struggling with the decision. We also have a petition on our site that people can sign, which will be sent to the CDC urging them not to recommend circumcision for all U.S. baby boys.

Every day, thousands more babies are circumcised unnecessarily… so any exposure you might add to our cause would be extremely valuable.
If you have any questions about our organization, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Eoin Cahill
Intact America
P.O. Box 8516
Tarrytown, NY 10591-5455
T 914.372.2273
F 914.372.2302

The Lovable Wetzels said...

wow, that was amazing. Thank you for the post.

Sweetpea said...

Intense, and a good way to get the point across, I think. It always seems like such a double standard that in this country most people hardly blink at male circumcision, but gasp in horror at female circumcision. How can people not see the issue there?

Cathy said...

Right on!

My baby is going home from the hospital JUST LIKE HE CAME TO US!
(Not to mention there have been Papal Bulls issued on circ, and it was also forbidden during the Council of Florence, 15th. C)


Jeff and Kelly and kids said...

So I know that you are against getting boys snipped because for one thing it takes pleasure away. What I want to know is how does anyone know that pleasure is taken away from them? No one can make that statement and know for certain it does. You have also said that you think doing this to boys takes away their choice, but what about the parents choice. This is their child, and just like you make choices for your children everyday, so these parents are making choices for their children. They are doing what they think is best, not what you think is best. Every parent is allowed to make these decisions because it is their child, not yours! I am not saying that I am for or against circumcision, but I just hate when people from one side thinks that they are right and tries to force everyone to think like they do. Or even worse, tries to portray people who think differently than they do as monsters who want to harm their children. I totally understand about making a post like this is if it were about parents abusing their children. But the fact is, that this procedure is done in hospitals, and is not abuse. So please, just try to see things from both sides, and don't portray innocent people as monsters.

Sarah said...

I do not think of innocent people as monsters. If my daughter had been born a boy, I would have done it because I thought it was just one of those things you had to do. I know many friends and relatives who I am pretty sure just went with what everybody else did and did not know they even had a choice. I DO think it is abuse and even worse if the parents know facts about the risks and the reasons Americans have done this to our boys for decades now. It IS a human rights violation and is should not be up to the parents. It is their child but they are permanently altering their child's body for cosmetic reasons. I can't take my new baby boy to a tattoo parlor and get him a tat so he can look like his dad can I?
I honestly can't think of a single good reason to circumcise a baby unless there is a true medical reason or if their religion requires it(even then, it is still a human rights violation)
I see you are a med student..have you seen the procedure? As soon as my husband saw one done on the internet, he was 100% sure we would never do that to our child. He at first was all for it and we realized that it is a very sensitive subject for men who were circumcised as infants because they don't want to feel that their penis is butchered or somehow not perfect. Men also want to brush the topic aside so that they do not have to deal with the feelings that might arise when they think that a part of their genitals was cut off without their permission.
I disagree with your hospital reason that it is not abuse. If FGM was done in hospitals, would it make it any less horrific? Let me let you in on something...Doctors make $$ for performing circumcisions. Hospitals are businesses.
No medical organization in the world reccommends routine infant circumcision.
I know that occasionally when I post about this subject, some people reading it may feel bad but I think that is probably because those people can not go back and undo the decisions they have made. No one thinks you are a bad parent if you have done this to your children already..most people are just not informed about it. YOu can, however read up on it and make a different decision should you have more sons.
I do not know you but I am a religious person. I believe I was created and made in the image of God the Father. I do not believe he made a mistake on half of the population. Every part of the body is made with a function in mind. Foreskin is not a birth defect and I am grateful to have my genitals intact. What school you send your child to may be the parents' decision but genital integrity belongs to the owner of the genitals. Also, medically, you should not be allowed to remove a body part without consent and infants can not give that. Their cries should be enough.

Marlis said...

When I compared circumcision to genital mutilation I was swiftly 'uninvited' from the parenting forum I used to frequent. That was a mere 10 years ago. I now have both a lovely daughter and a son and both have all parts present just as nature supplied them with. Great article. Just hope lots of people read it!


debz020485 said...

I just wanted you to know how much your blog helped me find the words to the feelings I have on this subject!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!