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more on circumcision


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last night i watched penn & teller's 'bullshit' special on circumcision. the show filled me with anger, rage, and a numbing depression. penn and teller made every attempt to bring humor to the topic, but they also brought very graphic scenes of the actual process, which, if you think it's awful to think about, just wait until you've seen it. this thing is, without a doubt, a human rights violation, no less brutal than the genital mutilation of infant females in africa.

it made me sick to my stomach to listen to 'advocates' of the process explain how the babies are strapped down to a plastic tray as they displayed a whole array of snipping devices - and then to hear them say 'oh, the baby recovers from the pain very quickly' as we're watching a child scream to the point of of a body-shaking silence.

the show featured a young couple, pregnant with a boy, trying to decide whether or not to curcumcise their kid. their only real concern: conformity. 'i don't want him to feel different,' the mom says. i just wanted to scream. oh, so you'll remove 30% of his sexual pleasure, remove his physiological ejaculatory trigger all so that one day in high school, in the locker room shower, he won't feel different? um, honey, what if he turns out to be gay? or worse, what if he chooses to be different, or hey, what if he actually develops a goddamned sense of self?

the episode ends without telling us what they decided to do.

now, i'm gay (surprise), and i've seen a lot of penises (shock). and i'm at least thankful that whatever heartless bastard doctor who sliced me, at least did an ok job of it. some guys have healed horribly, and i just can't imagine what that must be like.

something else i can't imagine: experiencing sexual pleasure the way millions of years of evolution intended for me to.

i wrote about this awhile ago, and did recieve a very nice apology from my dad afterward.

some anti-circumcision resources:
(there's some pretty impressive acronyms here..)
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers: NOCIRC
National Organization of Restoring Men: NORM
Attorneys for the Right of the Child: ARC
Doctors Opposing Circumcision: DOC


3 responses to “more on circumcision”

  1. Blogger whetstone 

    you have convinced me that circumcision is a bad idea. but "no less brutal than female genital mutilation"? i guess it depends on what kind. i know that fgm in egypt is often "cosmetic," only removing the labia minora. if that were the end of it, i could agree with you. but as it is practiced elsewhere? clitoral excision, followed closing the vaginal opening except for a tiny hole for urine and menstrual blood (which must then be cut open to acacomodate her husband's penis when the girl is married, and is continually ripped and restitched with each birth), is significantly more brutal than male circumcision. and that's not even mentioning hygeine and the comparative skill of the practitioners. maybe if your neighbor had used a piece of broken glass to remove not just your foreskin, but 2/3 of the glans as well, you could make a case for equivalence.

  2. Blogger j 

    hmm, mayhaps m'lady, mayhaps..

    i'll agree that the post-op traumas are not equivalent, but having seen those kids scream and shake from an operation given in hospitals without anesthetic, i'm gonna say that the initial trauma is, if not equivalent, pretty close. they are both human rights violations.. and i've seen guys with scar tissue on the glans. awful. and have heard horror stories about guys who aren't left with enough skin to get proper erections and must endure terrible pain every time they get one.

    but it's true, they're not equivalent in the long run. one of the reasons circumcision continues is because we grow up not ever knowing what was really done to us, and are generally oblivious to what we've lost. it makes me so angry every time i think about it.

  3. Anonymous Michael Ditto 

    And then there is the rash of Rabbis spreading STDs and other infections to babies in NYC and elsewhere with the tradition of using their mouths to suck the blood out after they perform the circumcision using dirty equipment. Many babies die or are permanently brain damaged from encephalitis after neonatal infection from herpes.

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