Bad for girls - good for boys?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2005
Bad for girls - good for boys?
43
Fri, 06-04-2010 - 3:27am
I was discussing this article with my husbands cousin

http://www.news.com.au/national/push-to-let-australian-doctors-mutilate-genitals-of-baby-girls/story-e6frfkvr-1225872274181

We were pretty much in agreement that doctors faced a difficult choice - don't do it and parents get someone who does a botch job and they fix the consequences or do something they don't agree with. My husband's cousin (who is female BTW) said it's mutilation and child abuse...which I agree with...but with the same breath said she would circumcise her son if she ever had one! I was gobsmacked. Her only reason was cleanliness.

A bit of background: I'm British living in Australia as is my husband's family...they've been here longer than I have. I maybe considered conservative - a traditional stay at home mum. Circumcising my son was never an issue - I've only ever known one circumcised man and he is muslim. Anyway, I came here looking for information as I only have limited knowledge and my gut instinct to go on.

So my question is why do people believe it is ok to circumcise males but not females? and I'm curious...Why is circumcision so widespread in the USA?
I've learnt quite a lot already reading other posts - thanks!
Anita


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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2006
Fri, 06-04-2010 - 1:34pm

This from the article is very telling:


<>


If you take this statement and replace "Koran" with "Bible" then you have the exact reasons why so many parents in the US circumcise their infant boys.

2010 Siggy
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2009
Fri, 06-04-2010 - 3:08pm

Hi, Anita, and welcome to the board!



"....We were pretty much in agreement that doctors faced a difficult choice - don't do it and parents get someone who does a botch job and they fix the consequences or do something they don't agree with....."


There was a similar, short-lived attempt of the same here in the USA but, as you can see in the following link,


http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/05/27/pediatricians-group-reverses-female-genital-cutting-policy/


the AAP backed out of it soon due to the outcry. However, many of us have the nagging suspicion (cinics that we are....) that the original reason for the AAP to promote a female "nick" had less to do with protecting girls from worse damage and more with providing a 'balanced' approach to playing God with babies' genitals which could serve to continue justifying male circumcision in the USA.


Which brings me to your first question ("why do people believe it is ok to circumcise males but not females?").

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2009
Fri, 06-04-2010 - 11:37pm

First, Anita - welcome to our debate board!


The link you gave presents a contentious issue which we have recently discussed here. When the USA media first brought this up some years ago, the action was described as a 'prick' just sufficient to draw a spot of blood. The current suggestion is a 'nick', which implies a small cut, drawing more blood, which approaches an act of mutilation.


Personally, I must reiterate my standpoint that if a prick would really satisfy religious or cultural demands in place of even the least destructive type of circumcision for girls #the clitoral hood alone#, I would support it. Would that boys were given the same consideration, I would support that too.


But the body of your message, together with your thread's title, questions the dichotomy between the genital integrity given to girls and its total absence afforded to boys in America. This is beyond comprehension - to you and me. We are both British, but I live in England. The 'cleanliness' excuse is as foolish as any other; it just happens to be an enduring reason for Americans to remove their boys' foreskins. Goodness, the foreskin is self-cleansing! Why would nature design it any other way?


Our American friends on this board outnumber you and me, what... ten or fifteen to one? They are eminently able to answer the question: "Why is circumcision so widespread in the USA?" In this day and age, I'm still trying to understand why, but cultural normalcy and insularity from the rest of the world plays a huge part.


Christopher


CL - Circumcision Debate


"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant


"Almost any manmade phenomenon is explained by tradition, inertia - or both." Anon


CL - Circumcision Debate


"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2009
Sat, 06-05-2010 - 12:00am

"male circumcision in the USA is something very close to a faith belief (or a "secular religion", as I once wrote and which got me into a semantics discussion with our community leader Christopher ;) )."


Ah, Federico, I had forgotten that. But it's still a contradiction of terms, my friend! :)


The rest of your reply to Anita I have no issue with at all!


Christopher


CL - Circumcision Debate


"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant


"Almost any manmade phenomenon is explained by tradition, inertia - or both." Anon


CL - Circumcision Debate


"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2009
Sat, 06-05-2010 - 12:16am

".....But it's still a contradiction of terms...."

You mean, like in "health benefits of circumcision"?

Regards,

Federico.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2010
Sat, 06-05-2010 - 4:01am

I think you just nailed it, I doubt it really extends much beyond that. It's simply so ingrained into our culture and every facet of our society, that to suggest that it's anything other than normal throws most people through a loop. We're so separated from the rest of the world that anything "they" do is automatically weird and backwards. At some point it just became the thing to do until it became part of our identities.

At this point, I think you have to really beat most people over the head to get them to view circumcision as harmful. I mean, circumcised men still have a strong sex drive, so what's the problem? I've never met anyone who complained, so what's the problem? I think that's the attitude.

For example I was telling my mom about the complications that circumcision causes, and even the deaths it can result in. It didn't really phase her at all.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2005
Sat, 06-05-2010 - 4:19am
Thank you for answering my question.
I was so stunned at my husband's cousins response that I really didn't know what to say...I think I suggested she google it and she might change her mind! I know I can't bring myself to look at any videos of the procedure...I did find this australian website about circumcision http://www.circinfo.org/parents.html it seems to be anticirc. The author is a children's doctor who thinks it is 'unethical' and 'unnecessary' and the article states 'Only the owner of the penis has the right to decide if he would like its appearance, structure and function altered by circumcision or any other unnecessary procedure.' Which is how you (and I) feel...and good on you for standing up for what you believe in for your boys - it's not easy when everyone around you is conformist.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2005
Sat, 06-05-2010 - 7:54am

Hi, Thanks for the info.
As an English teacher, I like the oxymoron 'secular religion' it provokes us to think about the way our culture behaves. The oxymoron works if you think of religion as rituals and beliefs that are performed because your father/family did them from generation to generation, rather than a spiritual belief. Religion requires us to 'do' certain things to show our faith whereas in secular society we are 'required' to 'do' things to fit in.

So an A* from me...Regards, Anita

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 06-05-2010 - 12:02pm

Sometimes I think challenging people to learn what a foreskin is, does and is intended for can open minds more than learning more about it's removal or "pros/cons" of removing it.

Much like the ignorance about the nutritional differences between breast milk and breast milk replacements, there is much ignorance in the US about the natural penis.

For instance, if one doesn't even know that the foreskin is fused to the glans at birth and gradually separates as the boy matures (much "cleaner" in infants than circ'ed), how can one effectively weigh arguments about having it removed?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2009
Sun, 06-06-2010 - 8:47pm

>> You mean, like in "health benefits of circumcision"? <<


Up to a point, but not exactly.


The definition of 'secular' is any or all of these: worldly, terrestrial, mundane, temporal, material, lay, non-clerical, non-ecclesiastical, non-spiritual, non-religious.


"Secular religion" doesn't really mean anything, since


CL - Circumcision Debate


"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance.

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