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Female Circumcision - Basic Information

By catseye in Culture
Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 10:48:16 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Recently on K5, there has been a lot of comparison between male and female circumcision, and it seems that many people do not realize exactly what is done during a female "circumcision".


Female "circumcision" is a misnomer. What is done is not the same as male circumcision (removal of the foreskin), but is a generic name for a number of different procedures done on women's genitals. The preferred, and more accurate, term is FGM or Female Genital Mutilation. Most of the information presented below comes from the FGM Network (Rising Daughters Aware) unless noted otherwise.

There are 4 types of FGM:

  1. Removal of the prepuce (clitoral hood), with or without removal of the clitoris. Please note it is more common to remove the clitoris and hood than just the hood.
  2. Removal of the clitoris with partial or full removal of the labia minora (inner labia).
  3. Removal of all external genitalia and stitching the wound shut to narrow the vaginal opening. This is called infibulation.
  4. Miscellaneous, which includes piercing or cutting the clitoris or labia, stretching of the clitoris or labia, or cauterization of the clitoris or labia.

When people hear of female circumcision, they most often think of 1, sometimes 2. The third type, infibulation, is the most dangerous and the most damaging to the female. The opening left is rarely sufficient for urine or menstrual blood to pass, and these women are prone to infections, heavy scarring, incredibly painful sex, inability to have sex without being cut open, incredibly painful childbirth, infertility, and inability to have gynecological exams.

Who does this?

This practice is performed in about 30 African and Middle Eastern nations, and in parts of Asia, although it is not as prevalent there. See Stats from Amnesty International. It is thought of as mostly a Muslim practice, but it is practiced by non-Muslims as well. The Muslim Women's League, an American Muslim organization, has put their view on it on their web site.

When and how is this done?

It is typically performed between the ages of 2 and 15, although infants may have this done as well. It is typically performed in unsterile conditions using rudimentary instruments such as razors, knives and broken glass, without anesthetic. As well, instruments may be used on more than one girl, possibly spreading disease. In more urban areas this procedure can be performed by medical personnel, but most often it is not.

Why is this done?

Traditionally, it has been done in order to control the woman's sexuality, prevent infidelity, and preventing lesbianism. In some tribal cultures it is believed that if an infant's head touches the clitoris during birth, the infant will die.

In many cultures, it is considered a rite of passage and a celebration occurs upon the event. In many cultures, where women have little room for advancement and honor, it is the only thing celebrated, aside from marriage. In some cultures, the only way to secure a marriage for a daughter is to make sure she is circumcised. As such, many women want their daughters to be circumcised in order to secure a marriage and to keep with the tradition.

Now that we know what it is, is there anything that can be done about it?

Organizations like the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and a number of public and private groups are trying to wipe out this practice by raising awareness of it and by trying to educate people in the countries in which it is practiced. It is working, to some extent, as many women's groups in Africa are now speaking out against it and it is illegal in many countries (although not enforced).

Other Resources

I debated whether or not to put links to photographs, but decided against it due to the fact that many people view K5 from work. You can find photographs of procedures by doing a Google search. Many of the photographs I found were disturbing, as they were of procedures being done to girls in rural areas, without anesthetic, in unsterile conditions, being forcibly restrained by older women.

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Related Links
o Google
o FGM N etwork
o Stats from Amnesty International
o Muslim Women's League
o infant's head touches the clitoris during birth, the infant will die
o AllAfrica. com
o Amnesty International
o Female Genital Mutilation Education and Networking Project
o World Health Organization
o Also by catseye


Display: Sort:
Female Circumcision - Basic Information | 229 comments (204 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
A question (3.58 / 36) (#3)
by bc on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:09:46 PM EST

Why is someone who mutilated her own child moralising about the mutilation of other in other countries?

Just seems a little hypocritical, that's all.

♥, bc.

Not moralizing (2.81 / 11) (#6)
by catseye on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:20:18 PM EST

I'm explaining what it is, and explaining the differences between male and female circumcision.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Huh (4.00 / 6) (#8)
by bc on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:32:18 PM EST

Now that we know what it is, is there anything that can be done about it?

That's a strange category for such an unbiased article.

And there is always the graphic, clinical 'shock tactics' of the rest of it. This is an explanation, but it also takes an implicit moral position on the matter at hand.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

I guess I'll take the bait if it will quiet you. (3.50 / 8) (#11)
by catseye on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:47:19 PM EST

If I take the bait and answer, will you go away?

Personally, I find infibulation horrible. The practice causes all sorts of medical problems and in my opion should be outlawed.

Excision of the clitoris, while not as horrible as infibrulation, is still pretty bad. It's the equivalent of cutting off the head of the penis on a male. It does not remove function, but does remove pleasure.

Removal of the female clitoral hood is about on par with removal of the male foreskin, except for one thing -- on a very young child it is difficult to tell the difference between the hood and the clitoris, where it is not difficult to tell the difference between the head of the penis and the foreskin on a male.

Even though I had my male child circumcised (in a doctor's office, with anesthetic, for the record), I'm not an advocate of male circumcision. I asked my fiance why he was in favor of the circumcision and he said one of the reasons he wanted it done was so that other boys would not make fun of him. Apparently this happened to uncircumcised boys in his gym classes from elementary through high school on a pretty regular basis.

Perhaps if we can stop through education severe forms of mutiliation like infibulation, we can then turn our attention to more minor (medically) issues such as foreskin and hood removal.

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How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Okay (4.75 / 8) (#17)
by bc on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 05:07:13 PM EST

So you are saying it is a matter of degree. That female circumcision is much worse than male circumcision, and that it is therefore okay to ignore the latter until the former is sorted out.

Of course, this is very much a cultural perception. Male circumcision is regarded as barbaric in many parts of the world, and female circumcision is not - as is the reverse.

Both are carried out for purely cultural reasons, and both have absolutely no health benefits, and both (to varying degrees) may actually harm health.

What I don't understand is the doublethink in not being bothered by one, and indeed supporting it by allowing it to be performed on your own child, whilst attacking the other, when the difference you claim (from a purely medical standpoint) is only a tiny part of the picture.

After all, if you had your own child cut for purely cultural reasons, as you say, why is it not such a great leap to accept that other cultures may wish to do the same to females, despite medical risks?

Is that not hypocritical? And even patronising - you wish to force western cultural notions (such as, medical health is more important than various cultural practises) upon them, it would seem, despite that you yourself seem to accept many of the same notions in the example of your son.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Reply (3.28 / 7) (#24)
by catseye on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 05:42:25 PM EST

RE: After all, if you had your own child cut for purely cultural reasons, as you say, why is it not such a great leap to accept that other cultures may wish to do the same to females, despite medical risks?

Male circumcision does not cause anywhere near the health problems that infibulation does. Male circumcision does not remove all sexual pleasure, as does infibulation. You do realize, don't you, that when a husband impregnates an infibulated woman, she has to be cut open then sewn back up afterwards. The two still do not even compare.

Male circumcision in the west right now is a cultural thing.. almost at the level of fashion.. with most proponents speaking of hygeine and whatnot, regardless of whether that has any bearing. It's an inconvenience.

Female circumcision is about men controlling women and women's sexuality. It's about reserving sexual pleasure for the male and making women docile, as is admitted by the cultures that do it, regardless of whether or not the women want it.

More and more women are beginning not to want it and refusing to have it done, only to be kidnapped by relatives and have it forcibly done.

It's totally different.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Huh (4.14 / 7) (#30)
by bc on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:00:33 PM EST

Male circumcision in the west right now is a cultural thing.. almost at the level of fashion.. with most proponents speaking of hygeine and whatnot, regardless of whether that has any bearing. It's an inconvenience.

Female circumcision is also a cultural thing. Some female circumcision is doubtless medically barbarous, other forms of it are not. However, the point is that you are claiming that it is merely a matter of medical degree, and that other considerations do not matter, and openly admit to being guilty yourself of the same things you are condemning (except, of course, it is different in medical degree, by your argument).

You still haven't answered why it is okay to demand other cultures change their ways (cultural imperialism, etc), whilst not worrying about your own culture's adoption of similar values.

I would disagree that male circumcision is just an 'inconvenience'. The organ is important, having a number of important functions.

Female circumcision is about men controlling women and women's sexuality. It's about reserving sexual pleasure for the male and making women docile, as is admitted by the cultures that do it, regardless of whether or not the women want it.

Perhaps in a western society it would be. Why are you judging other cultures on the values of your own?

More and more women are beginning not to want it and refusing to have it done, only to be kidnapped by relatives and have it forcibly done.

I was unaware that male circumcision is a voluntary process, carried out with consent of the victims.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

blah blah blah (2.00 / 4) (#31)
by ODiV on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:13:19 PM EST

If cultural relativism is the way to go, shouldn't you shut up with your condemnation of male circumcision?

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
If you read my comments (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by bc on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:21:46 PM EST

You'd understand I am trying to understand how catseye can condemn one, and support the other.

I am free to condemn both, and I do.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

You answered yourself (1.33 / 3) (#36)
by ODiV on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:31:48 PM EST

It's a matter of degree.

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Oh I see (1.50 / 2) (#40)
by bc on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:48:06 PM EST

So she accepts circumcision in principle then?

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
Does it matter? (1.50 / 2) (#41)
by ODiV on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:52:08 PM EST

We know what she actually accepts and why.

What does talking about something "in principle" matter?

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Well yes (2.66 / 3) (#44)
by bc on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:59:28 PM EST

It matters very much, when she is arguing her case, and we wish to understand why she believes her case to be right, and wonder why we should be convinced of it.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
Unnecessarily argumentative (1.00 / 3) (#106)
by catseye on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:26:15 AM EST

Personally, I think you're being unnecessarily argumentative and annoying. My beliefs in this don't actually matter, and neither do your opinions of me. There was no reason for personal attacks, other than to be annoying. If I'm a little illogical, so what? No one's perfect.

I presented an explanation and some statistics on FGM. Do with it what you will and form your own opinions, and stop wasting time trying to point out my personal flaws. It's too important an issue to be trivialized by your dislike of me.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
wtf (none / 0) (#129)
by bc on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:04:36 PM EST

Please point out where I personally attacked you.

Please point out where I insulted you.

I did neither. I was merely arguing with you and trying to understand how you can think what you do. Forcing you to make your case, if you will. I don't believe I got personal anywhere. I do not dislike you, I have no opinion on you. You seem reasonable enough, you just need to stop being so sensitive and inventing phantoms in your mind of people 'personally attacking' you when they aren't.

I presented an explanation and some statistics on FGM.

You provided a moral position on it and took sides, and I am perfectly justified in arguing about it. If you don't want your opinions challenged, perhaps you should have posted the article somewhere that does not have a discussion forum, like a personal homepage.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Sorry (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by catseye on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:46:51 PM EST

I plead bad day and getting your posts confused with other, more insulting ones.

My apologies.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
It's more a matter of ethics (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:56:15 PM EST

Some people are more ethical than others. Leave cultural relativism out of it. (why did anyone bring it up in the first place?) .

If you believe, as I do, that Catseye and Odiv are ethically bankrupt people, then their positions on the subject of male and female circumcision make much more sense.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
damn... (1.50 / 2) (#46)
by ODiV on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 07:08:47 PM EST

I wish you had written that in a more sig friendly way.

Can you reply with "ODiV is ethically bankrupt." or something along the same lines?

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Specifics. (4.25 / 4) (#38)
by Redemption042 on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:35:34 PM EST

It seems to me that what bc is arguing here is not specifics but that the basic underlying ideology is the problem.

FGM (or whatever you want to call it) and male circumcision are essentially the same thing if you view them as unnecessary medical procedures that are performed simply for cultural values.

I'm not arguing that female circumcision is not worse or is not a horrible thing. It is. However, if you look at the basic premise between the two, they are essentially the same thing. How can one, then, be acceptable to you and the other not.

[ Parent ]
As I heard someone once say (2.50 / 4) (#39)
by ODiV on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:39:40 PM EST

Mind if I kill a few of your cells?

Mind if I kill all of em?

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
so why does no one bring up consent ? Afraid? (5.00 / 17) (#52)
by migrantatheist on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 10:12:25 PM EST

gawd.

Since it came up on my article last week, i've been itching for a 'childhood mutiliation' discussion. Seems we've got one. And then imagine my surprise to find the author in a previous posting admitted to having had her own son's genitals cut up because, and I'll grant i'm making assumptions, 'it's what a lot of folks do.'

Criticism of the hypocrisy is already being directed her way, so I'll bring up something else that I find dreadfully disturbing. Something which, frankly, bothers me more than yet another hypocrite who wants different standards applied to their behaviour than "other people's" behaviour.

Consent. I'll say it again. "Consent." It's not a dirty word. Let's try another, this time a phrase. "Irrevocably permanent body modification." I feel like Mr. Rogers here, but say it with me, kids. "Ir-rev-oc-able and perm-an-ent".

I see people every time this shit is brought up trumpeting that it's ok, because [list of stupid reasons including...] the adult the child grows into will not recall any pain, or the actual procedure. Oh. Ok. Or, even more enlightened, some will actually show some brain activity and point out that (since they wish to sound considerate) many adults who are survivors of childhood body alterations seem to be accepting of what happened to them.

Well, gawsh, it must be ok then, if the adult doesn't obsess about a horror they no longer have any ability to change. Golly, if a person can cope with something, that something must be a ethically ok thing to do! Even better if they can't remember it!

I suppose these same people have interesting views about the use of roofies on dates. After all, if they can't recall afterwards, it's ok, and even if they later learn of it, it's still ok, right, because they aren't horribly psychologically scarred, right?

That kind of thinking, literally, makes me want to vomit and stay the hell away from people who think like that.

Let's go back to today's word. "Consent."

Why are you people afraid to touch it? It is the thing, the constant, the universal aspect in all these situations that makes them wrong beyond question, beyond debate, beyond any other consideration. You are debating taking another person's body and fucking around with it for reasons that have nothing to do with that person's needs (health or otherwise) and blithely ignoring the fact that just because the person at present isn't able to consent doesn't mean you get a green light - it means you get a red light! A BIG FLAMING RED LIGHT.

Statutory rape is rape because it is presumed the person being raped is being raped because they are unable, due to lack of maturity, to give consent. The rapist doesn't get a green light because the victim is unable to give consent! What are you people thinking?? It's the same thing! The future adult will have to live, forever with what happens to thier body-under-construction. They are vulnerable, weak, defenseless for a very long period. Parents and caring others are supposed to protect and safeguard that body until there is a person in it capable of directing that defense, and making decisions regarding it on thier own.

It isn't a license to do as *you* please, but a charge to see that nothing happens to it that the future adult would not have absoltutely consented to. Tough call, but all the more reason to approach any permanent changes with extreme trepidation.

Don't even get me started on the mutilation of intersexed children, or folks who happen to be born with a tail or other cosmetic deviation fro the standard mold. OK, I guess I am started, but since it relates to an argument I've heard regarding the current discussion: "It'll prevent them being made fun of when they are older."

Uh, excuse me? Someone is handing out a 100% warranty that no one will ever make fun of my child for anything, if only I have this cosmetic surgery done to him as an infant? Wow. How cool is that? I could have used that when i was a kid. So could every kid I ever knew. Because it's bullshit. Kids make fun of kids. It's 90% of what they do for a while. Cutting up your kid to prevent them using that one thing to make fun of them? Um. Doesn't cut it as a justification, sorry. In fact, it's incredibly poorly-thought out, even for the usual caliber of arguments on the "I'll cut up whomever I want to as long as I have custody of thier body." side.

Here's something to test your position : if an uncircumcised adult male winds up in a coma, does the next of kin have the right to have that person circumcised at that time? NO? Well, now, it does seem that maybe someone needs to get started ahead of time on tomorrow's word.

"Consistency", the bane of hypocrites everywhere.



[ Parent ]
Consent (2.75 / 4) (#145)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:35:30 PM EST

Why are you people afraid to touch it? It is the thing, the constant, the universal aspect in all these situations that makes them wrong beyond question, beyond debate, beyond any other consideration. You are debating taking another person's body and fucking around with it for reasons that have nothing to do with that person's needs (health or otherwise) and blithely ignoring the fact that just because the person at present isn't able to consent doesn't mean you get a green light - it means you get a red light! A BIG FLAMING RED LIGHT.

Bzzzt! Wrong, thanks for playing.

I am, of course, referring to the parents decision to circumcize a child. A baby, to be precise.

As a parent, it is my duty and my responsibility to make decisions for the child with or without their consent, until such a time as they are mature enough to give consent on their own.

I am circumcized. My sons are circumsized. My father is circumsized. I've never seen my granfather's penis, so I can't comment on previous generations but I'm willing to bet that they were, too. Why did I circumsize my sons? Because I was, and because, to me, "it's the right thing to do."

Yeah there's that slim, holding-on-by-a-thread argument about cleanliness but that's an argument for ages past; today it's no more difficult to keep an uncut penis clean than it is to keep a cut penis clean. To me, circumcision is a cultural thing, just the same as celebrating my German heritage with Oktoberfest.

Properly done, male circumcision doesn't interfere with sexual or waste elimination function. My penis looks like practically every other penis I've ever seen. I'm not trying to give medical or scientific arguments for circumcision, because I don't think there are any anymore. I had my sons done because of two reasons: it doesn't harm them and because that is what is done in my culture.

Now let's take a moment to look at the culture aspect and the "harms my child" aspect and how I weigh them. Let's say that I am circumcised and that everyone around me is, but my circumcision makes me feel weird or it causes me pain. Let's say that every time I have an erection my face turns green because of the circumcision. I'm now facing the decision of having my newborn son cut. Do I do it? Well I don't know now... Why is it my circumcision is so different? Will my son have the same problem I do? If so, I will most likely not do it. I don't want to cause my son more grief or put him through the same troubles I had growing up with "makes my face green" erections caused by circumcision. I don't follow culture to the letter, just where it makes sense to me.

Of course, what makes sense to me is based on how I was brought up... my culture, if you will. But back to your word of the day: consent.

Statutory rape is rape because it is presumed the person being raped is being raped because they are unable, due to lack of maturity, to give consent. The rapist doesn't get a green light because the victim is unable to give consent! What are you people thinking?? It's the same thing!

No, it's not the same thing. At all. It is a cultural difference.

If my child is misbehaving and I ask, "Do you want to go to your room?" the answer is of course, "NO!!!!!" Does that mean that it's a red-light against forcibly picking him up and putting him there (or the corner or over my knee, or whatever is appropriate)? Of course not. Broad generalizations like what you present in your post are stupid. Rape is illegal because the woman is not giving consent, and in the case of young'uns (stat. rape), the child's guardians aren't giving consent. Of course there are cases where it is the guardian doing the raping and in that case it falls back on ... yep, that's right. society and culture. It is unacceptable behaviour in our culture for a parent to have sexual intercourse with a child, which is why it is illegal. Not because it is assumed that they are unable to give consent because of their maturity (age).

Parents and caring others are supposed to protect and safeguard that body until there is a person in it capable of directing that defense, and making decisions regarding it on thier own.

I agree. And again, I see nothing wrong with male circumcision. I'm not damaging their body. Is piercing ears or braces damaging the body? What about some kind of small inconsipicuous "family tattoo"? Again, it is a cultural decision as to what is damaging and what is not.

Here's something to test your position : if an uncircumcised adult male winds up in a coma, does the next of kin have the right to have that person circumcised at that time? NO? Well, now, it does seem that maybe someone needs to get started ahead of time on tomorrow's word.

Actually I think that whomever the comatose uncut male gave medical power-of-attorney to does have that power. Very unusual for such a thing to be done, since most circumcisions are done in infancy. Very weird indeed, but certainly not wrong.

This isn't in the same league here, but what about bobbing tails or cropping ears on dogs? What's your take there?



[ Parent ]
I'd just like to point out that (4.50 / 2) (#172)
by bgalehouse on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:21:22 PM EST

The parent disciplines the child for specific future benefits to the child. Self discipline in adulthood, fewer childhood injuries, etc. When it doesn't happen for some specific reason, it is very easy to cross into the realm of child abuse.

You've just stated that circumsicion is a cultural thing. You've done nothing to argue that it has any specific future benefit beyond 'cultural identity'.

In other words, you've said nothing to displace the claim that male and female circumcision are qualitatively the same - permanent genital mutilations done for purely cultural reasons.

For the record, I do think that the point has been made very well by the article that they are quantitatively very difference, and least in many/most cases of FGM. But you are responding to an article claiming qualitative similarity.

[ Parent ]

and people wonder that evil walks the Earth... (5.00 / 2) (#217)
by migrantatheist on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 02:08:17 AM EST

because the person at present isn't able to consent doesn't mean you get a green light - it means you get a red light! A BIG FLAMING RED LIGHT.

Bzzzt! Wrong, thanks for playing.

Well, hey I'm sure a lot of child-molesters, rapists, and others inclinced to ignore that trivial detail called 'consent' would readily agree with you.

The simple fact though, which you seem not to notice, is that "Saying don't make it so."

If you want to disagree, fine. But if you want to dismiss an entire line of reasoning, you're going to have to come up with something more substantial than, "Well, I want to (and have done this), so I'm going to say it's ok. Don't ask me to explain why in reasonable terms. It's just what 'my people' do to little kids."

Of course, what makes sense to me is based on how I was brought up... my culture, if you will.

And if no one expected you to think, then by all means, go with the flow of what others do around you, and blindly mimic the cultural patterns you were exposed to as a child. Goodness no, we wouldn't want you to develop a sense of ethics that involved anything as complicated as rational thought and principles. Please, do just take this copy, conveniently provided, of 'Our Way', and do what it says.

Don't ask me to respect that lifestyle though.

Rape is illegal because the woman is not giving consent, and in the case of young'uns (stat. rape), the child's guardians aren't giving consent.

Yes, I'm sure all across the world, raped children are crying themselves to sleep because the mean person didn't ask thier mommy or daddy first. I'm tempted at this point not to bother responding to the rest of your post. This is sickening.

But, assuming you meant strictly 'statutory rape' where both parties are consenting, and the law still prosecutes, it's not illegal because the guardians don't consent. In many jurisdictions it's still considered a crime because a person below a certain age is considered unable to form informed consent. Same reason they can't vote, sign contracts, or hold public office. It's something they specify an age for, because it's easier than making a case-by-case judgement of maturity. I can agree that there are mature folks below age of consent, just as I agree there are folks well over the age of consent who are still too immature to exercise informed consent. The law can't verify case-by-case though. It'd be an impossible task. Thus, the 'age of consent', as well as the 'voting age', 'age that you can drive at', 'age you can drink at', 'age this', and 'age that.'

As to my 'broad generalizations', you clearly got your hackles up so quick and early, you didn't read very carefully. I made it quite clear that the purpose of guardianship is to safeguard the person in your custody until they can take over the responsibility for themselves. Of course discipline and inculcation of a sense of ethics, right and wrong is a part of that. Don't get so caught up in dismissing everything that someone who disagrees with you says. It makes it harder for people to agree with you when they spot that. Target specific points in a persons argument that make the conclusions untenable. Straw-man, while an easy fallacy to throw out, is also as easily seen through.

I was quite clear in pointing out that bodily mutilation is an ethical no-no because it misuses the authority of the guardian to ends that are not serving the child's interests. Cosmetic or 'cultural' body modification makes a hell of a lot of assumptions about what the child will later give you retroactive permission to do. For starters, it assumes that the child will in fact be a member of your culture on adulthood. Speaking as one free-thinker, I can tell you it ain't a good bet. Ask any atheist named "Christian" or "Chris" how effective that stuff is at forcing a kid into a particular lifestyle.

And again, I see nothing wrong with male circumcision. I'm not damaging their body. Is piercing ears or braces damaging the body?

I'm wondering at this point how clearly I have to spell out 'P-E-R-M-A-N-A-N-T' or 'I-R-R-E-V-E-R-S-I-B-L-E'. You are removing without hope of repair, a portion of the anatomy. That on it's own is mutilation. Further, it isn't a lump of dead tissue, like hair, or toenails that might grow back or not be missed while absent. It is tissue from one of the most sensitive regions on the skins's surface. Gone, along with any sensation that might have been detected by it.

It is, in fact, damaging. If you still are in denial, perhaps you could help the rest of us out by explaining exactly how much tissue has to be permanently removed, or how much loss of sensation is acceptable before you'd callit 'damaging'. Might help if you used a dictionary and compared with other, related terms like 'injury', 'maim', and 'mutilation'.

As to braces and such, those are all a) temporary and b) for the child's medical benefit. There is no parallel between a cosmetic procedure and a medical one. That both use surgical tools and such is not relevant. It's a 'false generalization' to lump them together. You may as well compare doctors and attempted murderers who use a knife. Just because both use a knife to cut a person up doesn't make the acts ethically equivalent. Technique isn't intent.

Again, it is a cultural decision as to what is damaging and what is not.

Well, I'm pretty sure a postmodernist could argue that everything is relative, left is right, up is down, and all that, depending on your culture. I, myself, prefer to use the dictionary so I can speak the same English that most everyone else is speaking. But go ahead, you go and redefine 'injury', 'maim', and 'mutilation' and all that until you're sure nothing you'd want to do is covered by those terms, as you understand them. Just please let me know which definition you want to use next time we talk, your's or the dictionary's.

Actually I think that whomever the comatose uncut male gave medical power-of- attorney to does have that power.

Ok, are you at all capable of differentiating the possession of authority or capability from the right to use it in a particular way? Is authority its own justification for you, or do you in any way suppose that perhaps authority is granted that a person might use it towards particular ends only? A cop has a gun, does that imply to you an unfettered right to use it? A congressperson or other government official has the power to legislate laws that we must all obey - does this imply to you the unbounded right to dictate *anything* in law, whether it serves a public interest or is just for the benefit of the official's friends or family? The executives at Enron had full control and authority over the actions of the company. Do you mean to tell me that where there is authority and power granted, there can be no misuse of that authority, that power?

We have people like yourself to thank for giving corrupt officials (corporate or governmental) the perception that they have a 'blank check' to do as they like. And no, that's not an exxageration. Unless your going to go inconsistent and argue that you do believe that other people can misuse power, but not you.

This isn't in the same league here, but what about bobbing tails or cropping ears on dogs? What's your take there?

This is the first sign of an actual attempt to delve at the principles we are arguing over. This one sentence is worth more to support your position than the entire post preceding. For an answer, it is the same 'league' - it's an issue of the principle of what are the bounds of the authority and power one has over an entity that cannot speak for itself on an adult level.

No, I do not think one should do such things to an animal. A pet's body isn't a piece of clay to be sculpted or cut up to suit one's fancy or impress one's neighbors.

You'd do better to raise the issue of spaying/neutering animals. :) I do have a problem with this, but having tried to take care of a cat that wasn't spayed, I finally gave in because I couldn't stand to watch her suffer...poor kitty didn't have any male friends and was miserable.

This of course starts us on the whole 'what kinds of suffering are medically treatable.' aspect...like, ok, being perpetually horny/in-heat with no way to get release is pretty bad. But does it justify spaying? I've had to conclude 'yes', but I also see the sense in the other position. Tough one. All I can say is the cat was sooo much happier afterward. And yes, I could tell. :)



[ Parent ]
Wow who shit in your cornflakes this morning? (3.00 / 2) (#218)
by tzanger on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 11:53:03 AM EST

I won't be able to write quite the lengthy rebuttal as you were able to but allow me a few highlights:

    Well, hey I'm sure a lot of child-molesters, rapists, and others inclinced to ignore that trivial detail called 'consent' would readily agree with you.
I'm sure you read the very next sentence of mine explaining in which situations you're clearly wrong. Namely that of circumcision. You made no qualification of your statement. I did.

    Yes, I'm sure all across the world, raped children are crying themselves to sleep because the mean person didn't ask thier mommy or daddy first. I'm tempted at this point not to bother responding to the rest of your post. This is sickening.
No, what is sickening is your temper tantrum. If you didn't want to read my entire post, you shouldn't have bothered replying. At all. Period.

    But, assuming you meant strictly 'statutory rape' where both parties are consenting, and the law still prosecutes, it's not illegal because the guardians don't consent. In many jurisdictions it's still considered a crime because a person below a certain age is considered unable to form informed consent.
What about the (hypothetical) case when both sets of parents consent to their underage kids having sex with each other? Does the law still prosecute there, or is it no longer stat. rape? To be honest, I don't know. My gut instinct is that it is not stat. rape.

    As to my 'broad generalizations', you clearly got your hackles up so quick and early, you didn't read very carefully. I made it quite clear that the purpose of guardianship is to safeguard the person in your custody until they can take over the responsibility for themselves.
Exactly. We agree on this. However I say that cultural things such as male circumcision also fall under that umbrella of guardianship because, to me, guardianship also implies raising the child along the cultural guidelines that the child is living in.

Now let me try again to make clear that if female circumcision were as simple and straightforward as male circumcision, did not interfere with the female's ability to perform or enjoy sex or perform normal bodily functions, I would be okay with it. It is not, and therefore I am not. Please also refer to the paragraphs in which I also create the hypothetical situation of a circumcized penis causing my face to turn green every time I had an erection and how I would deal with that when I was making the decision to have my son circumsized. I am not creating any double standard; I am not saying that it's okay to 'nip the tip' because I've been done. I am saying that it causes no harm to bodily or sexual function and should therefore be considered an elective surgery based on whatever whim I desire. It's my child, it's not hurting who he will be / what he can do in the future, and it is what is done in my culture. In case you're not counting, that is a three-term logical AND there. For my daughter the second term evaluates false so she doesn't get circumcized. I fail to see what the problem is.

    Don't get so caught up in dismissing everything that someone who disagrees with you says. It makes it harder for people to agree with you when they spot that. Target specific points in a persons argument that make the conclusions untenable. Straw-man, while an easy fallacy to throw out, is also as easily seen through.
Where is my strawman argument? I got all uppity at your comment because you were generalizing. I am giving specific cases and arguing what I believe is a cultural point. Please show me where I'm not doing this.

    I was quite clear in pointing out that bodily mutilation is an ethical no-no because it misuses the authority of the guardian to ends that are not serving the child's interests.
And this is where I disagree with you. I think that much is obvious.

    Cosmetic or 'cultural' body modification makes a hell of a lot of assumptions about what the child will later give you retroactive permission to do.
"Retroactive permission" ?!! What kind of new-age PC bullshit is that? I do what I feel is in the best interests of my child. Period. If they don't like it, that is damn well tough shit for them, now isn't it? I didn't do it to make fun of them, nor because it'll build character or some such bullshit. If they don't like their name because they were teased all though public school they have no right to come back and sue me for "lack of retroactive permission". If you were cut as a baby and don't like it now, I'm sorry, but that is just tough shit. What are you going to do, agonize over an inch of flesh you'll never have use for the rest of your life? What if you lost an eye in a freak accident as a kid? Are you going to live your life moaning about how you'll never be an astronaut? I'm sorry but this line of debate is pathetic.

    For starters, it assumes that the child will in fact be a member of your culture on adulthood. Speaking as one free-thinker, I can tell you it ain't a good bet.
I too am a free-thinker (although perhaps more towards the "grumpy old man" end of the scale these days) -- I'm not of the same religion as my parents. I don't hold all the same values as my parents. Have I ever asked them why they had me circumsized? Is it a big deal to me? Is it a big deal they called me Andrew? Or that they refused to let me play with GI Joe's growing up? The latter is especially important in this debate; while it is not genital mutiliation it could probably be considered irrevocable, no? What if I didn't give retroactive permission to raise me that way?

    You are removing without hope of repair, a portion of the anatomy. That on it's own is mutilation.
I hear (no proof right now, though) that doctors are removing tonsils these days even when they aren't diseased "to prevent the possibility of tonsilitis." Is this considered mutilation as well?

    Further, it isn't a lump of dead tissue, like hair, or toenails that might grow back or not be missed while absent. It is tissue from one of the most sensitive regions on the skins's surface. Gone, along with any sensation that might have been detected by it.
I may be a little short on my biology knowlege here, but if I'm not mistaken it is the head of the penis, not the foreskin, which is packed with nerve endings and which gives the most (by far) sensation during sex. I can say from personal experience that I have no loss of sensation from not having a bit of my foreskin. While it's not a big topic of discussion in my group of friends, I have never heard any of them claim that sex just isn't fun because they don't have their foreskin. Further, it is my understanding of basic anatomy that the foreskin is meant to protect the head of the penis and is therefore not very sensitive by necessity. If I am mistaken in this, please let me know.

    Well, I'm pretty sure a postmodernist could argue that everything is relative, left is right, up is down, and all that, depending on your culture.
It doesn't take a postmodernist to realize that one man's definition of a horribly disfiguring procedure is another man's "who gives a shit?" Don't try to make my arguments absurd by taking them to the level of "black is white, up is down."

    Ok, are you at all capable of differentiating the possession of authority or capability from the right to use it in a particular way? Is authority its own justification for you, or do you in any way suppose that perhaps authority is granted that a person might use it towards particular ends only?
<sigh> here we are again with reduction to absurdity. I specifically said in my comment that while the person with power-of-attorney over the comatose uncut male does have the power, it is unlikely he would do so. Just because a cop has a gun does not mean it is right for him to draw it when pulling a kid over for not wearing a helmet. What part of "I feel that it is within my rights to consent to having my son circumsized" don't you understand? I have given my reasoning, I have reasoned why I do not also have my daughter circumsized, and I have reasoned why I feel it is perfectly alright to have males circumsized and not females in general. If you diagree, that is fine. I enjoy a good argument now and again. I don't see circumcision as mutilation any more than I see tattooing or sub-skin implants as mutiliation. Perhaps it is because I don't see circumcision as matching any of the three definitions of mutiliation as given by dictionary.com. Foreskin is not an essential part: #1 doesn't apply. I don't consider it as disfiguring or damaging: #2 is gone. I do not consider circumcision as making a penis imperfect. #3 gone. What was your argument again?

    We have people like yourself to thank for giving corrupt officials (corporate or governmental) the perception that they have a 'blank check' to do as they like. And no, that's not an exxageration. Unless your going to go inconsistent and argue that you do believe that other people can misuse power, but not you.
Thanks for the personal attack, I now know you are running short on your end of the argument. I do not think I'm misusing power when I have my son circumsized. Where is the inconsistency?

WRT bobbing tails / cropping ears: I agree with you that this is a cruel thing to do to an animal. Why is it that I don't think that circumcision is a cruel thing to do to a human baby? Probably because of my culture, again. If I were raised with professional dog groomers and was accustomed to it and was raised that it was "right" I wouldn't have a problem with it. Funny, that's one of the major points I'm trying to make about circumcision: It's a cultural thing. Further, it's a cultural thing which doesn't impede the body's normal functions. Further yet, I feel I have the right to make that decision on behalf of my child. Three-input AND, just like I had stated earlier.

And I do not mean to flame up something here, but your cat doesn't enjoy sex. Feline reproduction involves the barb-like penis of the male forcing the ovulation of the female. From what my veteranarian friends claim, it is quite painful to the female cat. I agree that a spayed cat is happier after the procedure but at what cost? She has no sexual desire anymore. To me, this is similar to what happens when female humans are circumcised. (I have a spayed cat too.)



[ Parent ]
late reply.. but here it goes... (none / 0) (#221)
by fn0rd on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 12:23:01 PM EST

What about the (hypothetical) case when both sets of parents consent to their underage kids having sex with each other? Does the law still prosecute there, or is it no longer stat. rape? To be honest, I don't know. My gut instinct is that it is not stat. rape.

This is such a disturbing statement. You think it's OK for guardians to let someone have sex with their underage children?! The law doesn't support you here, not to mention plain old right-and-wrong. What if the guardian is the one who wants to have sex with the child? The consent of the guardian is obviously implied. In any case, you can't just let people have sex with your kids, even if the kids want to as well, just as you can't let your kids vote, or drive if they're under 16, however much they might want to. You simply don't have the authority!

I may be a little short on my biology knowlege here, but if I'm not mistaken it is the head of the penis, not the foreskin, which is packed with nerve endings and which gives the most (by far) sensation during sex.

Wrong. The foreskin has plenty of nerve endings (stretch receptors), and also, by protecting the head from contact with clothing, renders the head much more sensitive. The head of the penis becomes desensitized through years of casual contact with one's clothes.

I can say from personal experience that I have no loss of sensation from not having a bit of my foreskin.

No you can't! You have no basis for comparison! Unless you are equipped with more than one penis (been known to happen), and at least one is uncircumsized. If that is your situation, then I guess you know better than I...

While it's not a big topic of discussion in my group of friends, I have never heard any of them claim that sex just isn't fun because they don't have their foreskin.

Then again, they don't know what they're missing, do they?

Further, it is my understanding of basic anatomy that the foreskin is meant to protect the head of the penis and is therefore not very sensitive by necessity. If I am mistaken in this, please let me know.

Consider your knowledge updated.

I hear (no proof right now, though) that doctors are removing tonsils these days even when they aren't diseased "to prevent the possibility of tonsilitis." Is this considered mutilation as well?

No, this is known to the rest of the english speaking human race as "surgery". I, personally, consider this kind of unnecessary prophylactic surgery to be slightly unethical, as the tonsils do have their place in the body and help to ward off illness. If the tonsils in question have been shown to be inordinately susceptible to infection, then it's a different story, and if that's what you were referring to, then the comparison with circumcision does not hold. The foreskin being removed would have to show some sign of being inordinately prone to infection, in my book, and that's not likely to happen until after puberty.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

oops... a retraction (none / 0) (#222)
by fn0rd on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 12:48:59 PM EST

duh, my reading comprehension seems at an ebb... in the case of 2 underage kids having consensual sex w/ each other, I don't think the law allows for them to be statutorily raping each other, at least I hope not as that wouldn't make much sense. I think the issue of guardians giving permission in this case is completely moot. I stand by the rest of my assertions, though.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

And my reply... (4.00 / 1) (#223)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 03:27:49 PM EST

    This is such a disturbing statement. You think it's OK for guardians to let someone have sex with their underage children?!
Where did I say I was okay with it? Honestly, if you're going to argue, read my side first! I was simply putting forward a hypothetical situation and asking what the legal view on it was. I did not say that legal guardians consenting for their underage children to have sex was okay with me.

    The consent of the guardian is obviously implied. In any case, you can't just let people have sex with your kids, even if the kids want to as well, just as you can't let your kids vote, or drive if they're under 16, however much they might want to. You simply don't have the authority!
You're arguing my side of the debate now... that it's a cultural thing, and the laws we live under are derived from our culture, not the other way around. Taking this back to circumcision: it's not illegal because it's culturally acceptable. And it's acceptable to me, personally, because it doesn't hamper function or enjoyment.

    The foreskin has plenty of nerve endings (stretch receptors), and also, by protecting the head from contact with clothing, renders the head much more sensitive. The head of the penis becomes desensitized through years of casual contact with one's clothes.
I stand corrected. I can't imagine my penis being more sensitive if this is the case, but logically your statement makes sense. As far as my having more than one penis, I do not. And I have one friend that I know fo who was circumcised as an adult and his comparison tended to support my side of this argument; that there is no appreciable difference in sex. Anyway this is but a sample of one, and a scientific study this does not make. :-)

    No, this is known to the rest of the english speaking human race as "surgery".
Funny, my son's circumcision was called a surgery as well. As is removing a wart. Simple, local-anaesthetic surgery, but surgery nontheless. Please stop the personal attacks and fecetious remarks. They do absolutely no good to your side of the debate.

    The foreskin being removed would have to show some sign of being inordinately prone to infection, in my book, and that's not likely to happen until after puberty.
Historically it was shown that this was the case. (yes I know it was ancient history, but the cultural aspect is still there.) And this is what I am arguing about all along: circumcision of male babies is a cultural thing which appears to me to not affect body function or sexual enjoyment of the male. To risk an absurdity, it's like a cultural tattoo. It changes the look, but not the function. For all intents and purposes, tattoos are irreversible.



[ Parent ]
my last word. (4.00 / 1) (#225)
by fn0rd on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 11:07:02 AM EST

It changes the look, but not the function.
You're making two arguments:
1)Circumcision does not significantly alter the function of the penis.

2)Circumcision is ok because my culture declares it so.

Counter to argument 1)If it was the fashion of the majority of people to cut off the left pinky finger of their newborn sons, you'd probably find a lot of 9 fingered dads who claimed that the left pinky finger was useless and its absence had no effect on the usefulness of the left hand. This belief would appear to the rest of us to be irrational, so we would rely on science to get at the truth. Here's a study about the effects of circumcision on erogenous tissue. According to this, your beflief is irrational. So you're left with argument 2.

Is it really a singularly defining aspect of your culture that males need to be circumcised? Are uncircumcised males shunned? Is the anniversary of the circumcision usually marked by celebration? Do most people consider circumsized men superior to uncircumsized men? No, no, and no. I can speak authoritativly to this because I share in this culture as well. Circumcision is only a big deal to certain religious minorities and a portion of the medical profession that claims extremely dubious benefits to the procedure, which incidently makes them a couple hundred bucks for about 5 minutes worth of work. These doctors pressure parents into getting their sons circumsized by propogating myths about cleanliness and infection. The ancient history you referred to is, like much ancient history, fraught with error and superstition.

I know I'm not going to get you to change your mind about this practice, since your main argument has already devolved to essentially:"it's ok because other people do it". You haven't really given a reason to do it other than others do it and have been for a long time. This same line of reasoning is what likely destroyed the society on easter island, "hey, we need to expend all our energy and very limited resources erecting giant stone heads everybody! Why, you ask? Because that's just the way we do things here, what, are you trying to start trouble or soemthing?" Since we live in a society that values science over superstition, I can only hope that soon people holding your point of view will find themsleves in the minority soon, and, being the sort that respond to cultural pressure (even to the point of mutilating their children in order to fit in), they'll stop circumcising their sons.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

Hypocracy (4.00 / 1) (#162)
by dasunt on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:46:43 PM EST

So, because FGM is a common way to limit female pleasure and thus control female sexuality, you disagree with it, but since male circumcision became popular in the US because, in part, it was a cure for masturbation (thus controlling male sexuality), you agree with it?



[ Parent ]
No (2.50 / 2) (#164)
by catseye on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:53:41 PM EST

If you ask a person in the US why circumcision is done (for modern reasons, not the origins), people will say health, hygeine, and that's just the way it's done.

You will no longer hear the average person or physician saying, "To keep him from masturbating."

In countries where FGM is performed, if you ask the people why it's done, you will year "that's just the way it is," but you will also hear "to calm her down", "to keep her faithful", or "to make sure her children are mine" (from the husband). The discriminatory reasons are right out there in the open.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Quick question (3.00 / 1) (#174)
by bgalehouse on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:26:26 PM EST

Do you believe that the ethics of an act are measured by intention, or by the whole of the expected effects?

Also, do you believe that forgetting some expected effect when it goes out of style is hypocracy?

[ Parent ]

Health Benefits (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by katie on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:05:43 AM EST

"Both are carried out for purely cultural reasons, and both have absolutely no health benefits"

ISTR hearing there is at least a statistical link between uncircumcised males and increased risk of cervical cancer in their partners.

So it's more like it's not a health benefit /to the boys/...

{It was something like it's easier to keep clean, hence they don't carry the viruses thought to be major trigger of cervical cancer..}



[ Parent ]
Do Americans not wash? (4.85 / 7) (#89)
by davidmb on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:04:09 AM EST

I keep hearing hygiene used as an excuse for male circumcision in these comments.
Basically keeping clean is not a problem with a foreskin. When you pull it back, it's out of the way.
I would imagine that you might have a problem if you never washed, but anyone that doesn't wash is going to have a pretty manky crotch area anyway.

ps. Do American men shave their pubes? If they're willing to lose their foreskin to gain the illusion of extra hygiene, I imagine they'd want to lose all that hair too...
־‮־
[ Parent ]
Of course it is a matter of degree... (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by Curieus on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:38:14 AM EST

...most things are.
Helping someone cross the street is good. Helping him/her cross every street in town is not.
A practical example:
It is advised to drink 2 liters of fluids every day.
Drinking more than 20 liters of water in one go is lethal.

Some things are black and white, for example it is difficult to kill someone a little bit. But many have a more fluid scale.
Example: To get rid of too long nails you can cut them, or you can claim to go to the root of the problem and cut off all arms and legs.

Moral: Be not too righteous.

[ Parent ]
Circumcision decrease in the US (4.71 / 7) (#18)
by vefoxus on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 05:16:34 PM EST

one of the reasons he wanted it done was so that other boys would not make fun of him. Apparently this happened to uncircumcised boys in his gym classes from elementary through high school on a pretty regular basis.
Just FYI: from this link, it seems that the percentage of male babies circumcised in the USA dropped from 90% in 1971 to 60% in 1994. So your son would probably not have been made fun of after all.

[ Parent ]
oh please (4.77 / 9) (#62)
by ChannelX on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:22:00 AM EST

I asked my fiance why he was in favor of the circumcision and he said one of the reasons he wanted it done was so that other boys would not make fun of him. Apparently this happened to uncircumcised boys in his gym classes from elementary through high school on a pretty regular basis.
This is what I hear all the time and its ridiculous. As someone who isnt circumcised I can tell you that the amount of time spent in the shower in grade school was pretty minimal compared to a lifetime of not having something that you were born with. Hell...in high school I dont remember *anyone* making fun of me. Making fun of a guy in HS because of that is basically admitting you were looking at his dick....not something most guys (in my HS anyhow) were about to admit. Had some fun made at my expense in grade school but not all that much and I wasn't scarred by it for life. I did have issues with it after HS for awhile wondering why I was different (and not having a father to ask about it) but that was short lived as well. You know what the reason was? Family members pointing out pictures of uncircumcised guys and making comments about how it wasn't normal to be that way (even tho they were older than me and knew damn well I wasnt circumcised).

[ Parent ]
Agreed wholeheartedly. (3.75 / 12) (#9)
by valeko on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:41:55 PM EST

The statement "what can be done about it?" takes an implicit position against the practise of Female Genital Mutilation, and yet the author openly endorses Male Genital Mutilation of the same dimensions. This also coincides rather unfortunately with a criticism of the practise in other countries - whereas in most countries of the world outside of the US, male circumcision is virtually unheard of or regarded as uncivilised, inhumane, and even as criminal as FGM.

Thank you, bc, for uncovering the overt hypocrisy of yet another critic of such practises.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Question: (3.00 / 8) (#12)
by Alarmist on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:48:41 PM EST

I think calling male circumcision something in the same dimension as female circumcision is overstating things.

When a male is circumcised, it doesn't generally lead to painful sex, difficulty in keeping clean or healthy, painful (or impossible) birth, or any of the other things that female circumcision causes. While it may reduce the pleasure of intercourse, it doesn't remove it altogether.

How are these two things comparable in degree?


[ Parent ]

this is quite easy (4.62 / 8) (#61)
by ChannelX on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:13:43 AM EST

because the child is not consenting to having it done. we seem to be caught up here in the list of things that are done to the woman. in both cases this is being done without someones consent. the health benefits of male circumcision are debateable. why do it?

[ Parent ]
Quick question (4.00 / 1) (#160)
by dasunt on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:29:51 PM EST

For those societies that practice FGM on young women, as a tribal ritual, since those women are presumably of an adult or near-adult age, and should take adult responsibility, if they willingly undergo FGM, should we stop them? (I'm especially interested in the libertarian response.) On one hand, it sounds pretty horrible, on the other hand, if we interfere with them, we are admiting that we think they are incompetent.



[ Parent ]
i would say no if (3.00 / 1) (#168)
by ChannelX on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:51:34 PM EST

it is clear to them that they know what the consequences are....just like for anyone here (the US) who is into body modification. If they willingly do it why should it be stopped? That would be their choice. It wouldnt be any different than stopping someone here from getting a tattoo or some form of body modification.

[ Parent ]
Well. (4.66 / 3) (#100)
by valeko on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:09:02 AM EST

There are numerous immunological implications to removing the foreskin, according to empirical scientific research.

Beyond that, there's a reason why evolutionary processes put the foreskin there, and it's not for ornamentary purposes. It doesn't need to be removed any more than your eyes, nose, limbs, or clitoris or whatever.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

well (3.00 / 4) (#102)
by gibichung on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:25:33 AM EST

If you wear clothes, the foreskin is just a redundancy; its purpose is protection. And if you do wear clothes, you'd better be careful to remove them and wash carefully, often. Infection of that region during expeditions where baths and changes of clothes were not readily available was a real problem in the past.
Beyond that, there's a reason why evolutionary processes put the foreskin there, and it's not for ornamentary purposes. It doesn't need to be removed any more than your eyes, nose, limbs, or clitoris or whatever.
Or your beard or fingernails?

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
Try that again (4.50 / 2) (#130)
by tjb on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:15:38 PM EST

Beyond that, there's a reason why evolutionary processes put the appendix there, and it's not for ornamentary purposes. It doesn't need to be removed any more than your eyes, nose, limbs, or clitoris or whatever.

Still make sense?

Evolution is a weird beast, and some parts of your body have gone from being helpful (evolutionary adavantage) at one point to being useless or possibly even dangerous (but not yet selected out). Not saying this is the case here, but your statement is not correct in the general sense.

Tim

[ Parent ]
Yabba dabba doo. (4.66 / 3) (#148)
by FieryTaco on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:53:51 PM EST

Speaking anecdotally, I have both my appendix and tonsils, but not my foreskin. I don't plan on having either my tonsils or appendix removed unless medically necessary. I don't know of any culture that regularily removes the appendix or tonsils as a standard practice without overwhelming medical reasons (ie. appendicitis.)

[ Parent ]
Yuppers. (3.00 / 1) (#146)
by FieryTaco on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:36:15 PM EST

Ignoring any clinical aspects of male circumcision, it is relevant to note that when it's performed as part of a religious rite, there are occurances of the tip of the penis being cut off. It's not intentional, but it does happen during the process of having the foreskin removed.

[ Parent ]
Ridiculous (3.00 / 6) (#53)
by Demiurge on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:13:07 PM EST

Male circumcision in no way hinders a male's sexuality. It's of no more import than getting your tonsils removed.

[ Parent ]
Two Different Things (2.90 / 11) (#13)
by Bobby Orr on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:56:13 PM EST

Male circumcision is totally different. It has totally different ramifications. In the Jewish culture, for example, it was done the 8th day of a baby's life. The baby will not remember it. It is close to painless. It has no ill effects later in life. The health benefits are debated, but many people feel that there are health benefits.

Contrast to female mutilation. Girls 2-15 are HELD DOWN, while parts of their sexual organs are cut off! This results in pain, scarring, and easy infections the rest of their life!

How do the two even begin to compare?!

"The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory." -- Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
painless? (4.28 / 7) (#33)
by Delirium on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:19:51 PM EST

It is close to painless.
Are you sure about this? Certainly the pain will not be remembered, but this doesn't mean the procedure is painless.

[ Parent ]
Do babies not have nerves? (4.00 / 4) (#122)
by Rhamadanth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:03:19 PM EST

Because that's the message that I'm getting here. When you're born, you're born without nerves. Hence, getting a procedure that CUTS OFF A PIECE OF YOUR BODY is now painless.

That's the only way I can fathom it.

When a child is born, it is entirely a human being. It doesn't have experience or size, but it's fully functional. It can think, learn, and FEEL. It has a sense of touch...just try touching the sole of your newborn's foot.

"Painless"? Where are you people getting this from?
-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
Painless?! (4.80 / 5) (#67)
by zerth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:55:39 AM EST

As someone who got snipped(quite against my will) at a later than normal stage(11-ish) while getting a herniated testicle rearranged, I must strongly(perhaps with a bat) disagree that is close to painless. While I had the benefit of being semiconscious when they did it and under anasthesia, I still kicked one the nurses across the room when the doc gave me a "freebie" since it was sterilized anyway.

Do you want to talk about pain? I couldn't walk for a week, urinating practically sent me unconscious. Heaven help me if I had had one of "those" dreams, I'd've probably had to get it reattached.

Now, I'll agree that it is hardly equivalent to getting everything chopped off, but man whenever I hear someone say it isn't so bad...

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]
Always look for the silver lining... (4.33 / 3) (#71)
by LordEq on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:41:00 AM EST

someone who got snipped(quite against my will)
I had the benefit of being semiconscious when they did it
the doc gave me a "freebie" since it was sterilized anyway
I couldn't walk for a week, urinating practically sent me unconscious.

But at least you're living like a king off of your malpractice settlement.  Right?



--LordEq

"That's what K5's about. Hippies and narcs cavorting together." --panck
[ Parent ]
I wish (3.66 / 3) (#116)
by zerth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:56:07 AM EST

I just got a puppy and a bottle of "big boy" painkillers. The dog got put down just a year later too. And my parents wondered why I changed so much at puberty...

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]
Just think what it is like for THEM! (3.66 / 3) (#112)
by Bobby Orr on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:25:29 AM EST

Again, according to Jewish and Christian tradition both, a baby boy has this done before walking, before much moving around. I can attest from personal experience that a baby remembers nothing about the experience. Also, my own baby boy (who is now three and brilliant and beautiful, sigh) really didn't seem to mind it much.

Now, contrast this to what you were saying about your experience and just think what it must be like to be a girl, exposed in non-sterile conditions, having her genitals excised??!! The one paper said their legs are lashed together for weeks at a time and they are denied water so they won't have to urinate!

Normal male circumcision happens to boys, at a very young age. Normal FGM happens to girls (obviously) at a later age. Just think about what this is like for them!

These two just do not compare. That is what I am saying. They just don't compare.

"The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory." -- Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
um (4.33 / 3) (#114)
by zerth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:42:15 AM EST

Talk about double standards.

Unless you really are saying FGM would be perfectly okay if it was done early and in a sterile environment?

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]
Where? (3.50 / 2) (#117)
by Bobby Orr on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:05:00 AM EST

Where is the double standard? </HONEST QUESTION>

FGM is wrong in every case all the time. This wrong is further compounded by the conditions in which it is done.

I was contrasting your (exceptional) case with FGM's normal case.

Sorry if I belittled your pain or your experience.

I am acknowledging the painfulness of your "freebie." I am then considering how much worse it is for the girls that experience FGM. I then further the contrast by considering that your case is exceptional, therefore much worse than normal for male circumsision, where the FGM being considered is normal FGM. See?

Again, not to belittle in any way your pain, just to emphasize the female victim's pain: The worst of male circumcision is better than the best of FGM.


"The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory." -- Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
Confusion (4.33 / 3) (#134)
by zerth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:36:15 PM EST

Doubting that you have experienced either, I fail to see how you are capable of making the statement that the worst circumcision is better than the best of FGM.

Perhaps I am misinterpreting, but I see your post as being functionally equivalent to:

"yes, I understand that in your country the police regularly beat up people, but that is normal. In this other country the police regularly kill people, so you don't really have a problem. Even if you were beaten till you were paralyzed, at least you aren't dead."

Why must we emphasize FGM, isn't it horrific enough without having to deny the pain of others? Saying that the one act of violence makes another negligible does strike me as a double standard.

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]
deny ? (5.00 / 1) (#180)
by twi on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:55:44 PM EST

You can still acknowledge that something sucks if you think that something else sucks even more. I, too, believe that the circumcision of boys is less painful than that of girls (especially later on in their lifes). But since it can always be worse that doesn't say it's a piece of cake. Not all evils are created equal, some are indeed worse than others and shouting louder about them doesn't make the smaller evils good. And that does not a double-standard make. That would be the case if someone said "FGM is evil but circumcision of boys is good". Well, some people do say that, but I think your parent-poster wasn't one of them.

[ Parent ]
double standard (5.00 / 2) (#138)
by kataklyst on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:02:17 PM EST

Where is the double standard? </HONEST QUESTION>

FGM is wrong in every case all the time. This wrong is further compounded by the conditions in which it is done.

Please consider the following list of Male Genital Mutilations:

  1. Removal of the foreskin
  2. Removal of the head of the penis
  3. Castration
  4. Miscellaneous piercing, cutting, or burning
The double standard is that you believe it is always wrong to perform an FGM without consent, but you believe it is sometimes OK to peroform an MGM without consent.

The worst of male circumcision is better than the best of FGM.

Are you sure? There's alot of talk about the worst of FGM, but I haven't been able to find much information about the best of FGM. There do exist various procedures that count as type 4 FGMs that would be less harmful than what was done to zerth.

The point is that mutitlating a child's genitals is wrong due to the lack of consent, regardless of the amount of harm caused.

[ Parent ]

Not a double standard (4.00 / 1) (#195)
by TheSleeper on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:27:52 PM EST

The double standard is that you believe it is always wrong to perform an FGM without consent, but you believe it is sometimes OK to peroform an MGM without consent.

How does this constitute a double standard? While there is a basic similarity between the two (i.e. both acts involve cutting off bits of someone's genitals), these acts are wildly different, in the manner in and intent with which they are generally performed, and in the repercussions that they carry for the recipients later in life.

The two are by no means qualitatively the same, and the shrillness with which many are insisting that they are is an indicator of just how endemic misogyny and instinctive oversimplification are around here.

How many of the people shouting "double standard!" now would have brought up FGM and started going on about double standards, if catseye had written about the horrors of male circumcision while previously showing a tolerance for FGM? That's what I call a double standard.



[ Parent ]
No double standard here. (3.50 / 2) (#147)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:49:21 PM EST

Unless you really are saying FGM would be perfectly okay if it was done early and in a sterile environment?

If female circumcision were exactly like male circumcision (no reduction/impairment of sexual/body function) and as easy to do as male circumcision, yes. I would have zero problem with that. However removal of the hood of the clitoris is extremely difficult to do on an infant female.



[ Parent ]
Not a fair comparison (3.00 / 14) (#14)
by maynard on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:56:55 PM EST

As one of the few American men who haven't been circumcised, I feel particularly suited to replying. For years I've strongly opposed male circumcision of babies as a form of unconsensual mutilation, particularly as practiced here in the US where it's administered by default to almost every male baby born. However, the physical damage done by male circumcision pales in comparison to what happens in the course of female genital mutilation. Just because the author chose to have her child circumcised doesn't make her a hypocrite for writing a factual article on FGM.

I also note some interesting developments which suggest that male circumcision may reduce risk of HIV infection (another article). This is by no means for certain and is still hotly debated. However, it does show that there may be some rational reason behind the ancient practice. Even so, I'm still opposed to performing the act upon babies who, by definition, cannot give informed consent. JMO.

Cheers,
--Maynard


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

HIV and male circumcision. (4.00 / 2) (#92)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:50:46 AM EST

Well said, that is perhaps a first insight about a real benefit of the practice.

Still I will oposse it because such a drastical approach can be left to an informed adult deciding about his own body.
---
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
[ Parent ]
There are better ways to prevent HIV. (5.00 / 2) (#178)
by kelp on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:39:20 PM EST

If we want to prevent HIV people need to wear condoms and practice other kinds of safer sex. Sure this may be a real benifit of circumcision, but it doesn't justify it in my mind (and I know thats not what you are saying), espeicaly since male circumcision is not without complications, and I beleive those complications are frequent enough to outweigh the reduced risk of HIV.

[ Parent ]
Not relevant (4.50 / 2) (#99)
by jonathan_ingram on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:53:19 AM EST

I also note some interesting developments which suggest that male circumcision may reduce risk of HIV infection

But not nearly as much as practising safe sex (mainly through condom use) reduces the risk of HIV infection.

It is an interesting point that circumcision is a cultural meme, that has propogated itself by virtue of the fact that circumcised males are less likely to get STDs with unsafe sex. This fact, while interesting, in no way makes the practise of circumcision anything less than barbaric.
-- Jon
[ Parent ]

What's your point? (4.00 / 1) (#207)
by maynard on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 08:15:06 PM EST

I've already said that I oppose circumcision of babies who -- by their nature -- lack the ability to give consent. Where do we disagree? Do you oppose circumcision always? Should adults be barred from engaging in the practice? Should thirteen year old Jewish boys be barred from their rite of passage into adulthood at Bar mitzvah?

Use of a condom is obviously safer than circumcision as a disease prophylactic. This doesn't make the potential discovery of circumcision as another disease prophylactic any less interesting.

Cheers,
--Maynard


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

When are you allowed (none / 0) (#215)
by Mitheral on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 04:16:48 PM EST

I've always thought that you shouldn't be able to recreationally, surgically, alter your body until you can both legally drink and vote. And you shouldn't be able to die for your country until that time either.

[ Parent ]
Oh puh-lease (3.00 / 5) (#137)
by tzanger on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:53:03 PM EST

Why is someone who mutilated her own child moralising about the mutilation of other in other countries?

What kind of assinine comparision are you trying to make? There is an incredible world of difference between a male circumcision and the procedures described in catseyes' article.

Male circumcision is a fast, serile procedure which to my knowledge does not interfere with the male's sexual or waste-elimination functions at all. It used to be performed for cleanliness, but today it is often not necessary, performed mainly for tradition. Female circumcision, as described in this article, is a barbaric rite of passage which either ends up injuring the woman, preventing her from enjoying sex or outright killing her. How can you even try to compare them?

I'm missing a bit of skin on my dick. Whoop-dee-do. Sex is great. While I don't have to worry about shooting a 10lb baby through it, I can piss freely and frankly, I think it looks "right." If my wife was missing her clitoris or had her vagina sewn shut, had her labia removed or any of these other variations she couldn't claim the same.

I smack my kids sometimes to discipline them. Does that mean I'm a hypocrite if I decide to write an article on child abuse? Or what about if I get my daughter's ears peirced? Am I a hypocrite if I write an article about extreme body piercing?



[ Parent ]
Who cares how unsterile it is? (4.00 / 18) (#15)
by forii on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 04:59:56 PM EST

In reading the information sites/pages about Female Genital Mutilation, I'm struck by how much emphasis is placed on how these procedures are done in an "unsterile" environment, and infection is such a problem.

This sounds to me like complaining that the Nazis were so cruel to use Gas during the Holocaust, when they could have been using Lethal Injection instead!

In other words, it's completely missing the point. If done in a clean, antiseptic environment, with proper equipment wielded by well-trained professionals, in such a way as to minimize the amount of pain felt by the patient, would the mutilation of a child's genitalia be considered acceptable?

Oh wait, as long as the child is Male, it is!
Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
Not to be morbid... (3.25 / 4) (#19)
by miah on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 05:29:00 PM EST

I don't mean to be morbid here, but the Nazi's used lethal gas because it was cheaper and easier to implement. People thought they were going to get to bathe and volutarily climbed over one another to get there. If you would have used injections you would have had riots.


Religion is not the opiate of the masses. It is the biker grade crystal meth of the masses.
SLAVEWAGE
[ Parent ]
I've got to do it... (2.66 / 3) (#57)
by kevsan on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:54:57 PM EST

This sounds to me like complaining that the Nazis were so cruel to use Gas during the Holocaust, when they could have been using Lethal Injection instead!

I'm invoking Godwin's Law, even though I agree with you for the most part. :)

-K
[ Parent ]
yeah yeah yeah... (none / 0) (#68)
by forii on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:58:29 AM EST

I know... I thought of that when I was writing it. At least I didn't bring up the 2nd amendment!
Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
[ Parent ]
The 2nd amendment ... (5.00 / 2) (#152)
by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:48:26 PM EST

... gives us the right to guns. Every bit of them. If I'd only known that when I was born!
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Ken takes a bow (1.94 / 18) (#35)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:30:44 PM EST

Looks like I got people talking about a taboo subject (look back in my comment history).

Good.

For the record, it's difficult for me to consider Catseye as an ethical person. Her stance on female circumcision is highly hypocritical, since she had her son circumcized.

I'll wager that Catseye is American, as Americans seem to have this blind spot when it comes to genital mutilation. Strange, that.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
I don't know... (3.16 / 6) (#37)
by ODiV on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 06:34:46 PM EST

if you compare the actual procedures and effects of the two (and not just the names as you seem to be doing) you'll realize that they're quite different.

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
this is a ridiculous statement (4.66 / 3) (#63)
by ChannelX on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:34:20 AM EST

the whole *point* is that catseye isnt worried about the consent issue....shes hung up details of whats done and whether her son would be made fun of. Both practices ignore consent of the person having the procedure and the details otherwise are irrelevant. Is it true that FGM is worse detail-wise? Of course. Men can still get along just fine without a foreskin. You dont find it strange that she condemns other cultures for what is essentially a cultural practice but doesnt seem to have an issue with the fact that she did the same damn thing to her son???

[ Parent ]
Cultural practice? (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by wurp on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:40:31 AM EST

Infanticide, slavery, and cannibalism are also cultural practices. Should we condemn them? Things that hurt people with no benefit are bad. Cultural practices of pressuring people into doing things that are bad for themselves or thier children are bad. Male circumcision does have some possible good effects (improved hygiene), although I agree that it is probably more bad than good. For the record, I have two sons; the older one is circumcised, the younger is not. Female 'circumcision' is a barbarous practice. It should be stopped.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
Circumcision lowers risk of aids (3.00 / 1) (#72)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:55:11 AM EST

A couple of studies (salon article : http://www.salon.com/health/feature/2000/06/30/circumcision/) on male circumcision have shown that it reduces the risk of AIDS. Apparently the foreskin is more susceptible to entry by viruses. While this doesn't touch on the "consent" question, it may explain the widespread acceptance of male circumcision - a sort of cultural survival of the fittest, where the cultures slow the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

And, as always, I may just be talking out of my ass.

[ Parent ]
It would seem to me... (4.66 / 3) (#125)
by Rhamadanth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:08:03 PM EST

...That having unsafe sex is the real problem, here.

If you're with someone that's HIV positive, you shouldn't be sticking your unprotected dick in them, cut or uncut.

In short, who cares? What a completely meaningless statistic. You should be wearing a condom at all times in that sort of situation, anyway.


-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
The differences are pretty huge (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by ODiV on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:47:47 AM EST

I understand your problem with male circumcision. I think consent is definately important when it comes to bodily modification with no clear medical benefits. I personally will not have any future sons circumcised and I question why others get it done.

I can however understand that some people have no problems with male circumcision and be violently opposed to the female version because of the actual procedure and effects.

"Both practices ignore consent of the person having the procedure and the details otherwise are irrelevant."

How pissed off would you be if someone pierced your ear without your consent?

How about if they took off the whole ear with a rusty knife?

I think the details here are pretty damn relevant.

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
I'd be equally pissed off (4.50 / 2) (#126)
by ChannelX on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:23:30 PM EST

I take offense to anything would be done to me without my consent. period. I understand perfectly the differences resulting from a pierced ear and the whole ear (and the differences between male/female circumcision). The details in either one are irrelevant to me because in both cases the persons body is being modified without their consent. In my opinion both are equally barbaric.

In the FGM/MGM scenarios it is most obvious that females will have much greater problems. I don't think anyone here can argue otherwise. However both practices aren't based in any sort of scientific reality. There is no proof of any benefit to either practice.

[ Parent ]

equally barbaric ? (5.00 / 1) (#181)
by twi on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:13:22 PM EST

And if I walk around, modifying unconsenting peoples bodies with my chainsaw until they fit in some very small bags, would I be as barbaric as the parents who have their baby-boy circumsized ? Not, perhaps, a little bit more barbaric ? Do you realy think that "good/evil" is sufficient to describe all moral decisions ?

Of course you take offense to anything done to you without your consent. So do I. But do you consider every evil done to you the same ? I don't. Another example: if somebody hits you in the face and breaks your nose you surely are entitled to be beeing payd for your pain (and perhaps doctors bill). But would that be the same sum he had to pay you if he ripped of your arm ?

[ Parent ]

hmmm (4.00 / 1) (#186)
by ChannelX on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:14:04 AM EST

so you think things can be just a tad barbaric maybe? an "it's ok if its happening to someone else" kind of thing?

Do you think something that has no real medical value but is done to millions of children every year is OK? I don't.

[ Parent ]

"less bad" != ok (4.50 / 2) (#193)
by twi on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 08:49:54 AM EST

> so you think things can be just a tad barbaric maybe?

Or rather, with regard to barbarism and evil, only the sky's the limit.

> Do you think something that has no real medical value but is done to millions of children every year is OK? I don't.

Neither do I, and that's exactly what I said. It's not ok, it were better if it wouldn't be done, But there are other things which are even worse. They are on the same side of the "right/wrong"-line, but one is farther away from it than the other.

[ Parent ]

Differences (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by katie on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:17:49 AM EST

Not when it comes to not consenting they're not.

I've seen, like, two year old kids with pierced ears... they're not in a position to consent to that either.

Having heart surgery or something, whole other ball game. Making permanent revisions to your kids, no matter how major or minor you or anyone else judges them to be, just because YOU want to: not right.



[ Parent ]
American practices (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by DodgyGeezer on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:41:45 PM EST

I don't know why Americans are so keen on male circumcision. I've heard (on the radio) of cases where doctors have ignored parents and gone ahead with the operation. I can't back it up with hard numbers, but I've heard 60-80% of American men have been snipped. Is this true?

[ Parent ]
Actually (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by Zeram on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:52:59 PM EST

To agree with one of the posters below, there is a HUGE difference male and female circumcision. But feel free to ignore me since I'm American, and I like genital mutilation.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Can we deal with both issues separately ? (3.85 / 7) (#54)
by root2 on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:40:57 PM EST

As I see it, there are two distinct aspects of the discussion on circumcision (both male and female)

(1) the health benefits / problems; and
(2) the bodily integrity issues.

Issue (1) is self-explanatory. Issue 2 is about a person's right to control what is done to his/her/its body - i.e. the principle of consent.

In the context of (1), mentioning the fact that female circumcision (as done in lesser developed - read poor - countries) is often done unhygienically is a relevant point. Doing the operation in a sterile environment obviously reduces the risk of infection etc.

Leaving aside the question of whether male circumcision in and of itself has long-term health risks (a topic on which I shall say nothing since I know nothing), it's clear that whatever else may be said, conducting female circumcision in unsanitary conditions should be discouraged. I.e., it is not at all culturally imperialistic to say that if you're going to do it, please do it in a hospital.

That of course doesn't address issue (2). If interfering with another person's bodily integrity without their consent is morally wrong, then doing so in a sterile environment doesn't make it right. In that sense, if catseye's complaint against female circumcision is the health risk, then I see no hypocrisy (assuming she believes that male circumcision poses no health risk).

Of course, if it _is_ morally wrong, then it makes no difference whether it's male circumcision or female circumcision. It's still permanently removing the body part from someone who is helpless can't stop you. It's been mentioned that the girls are held down during the procedure - aren't male babies held down as well ? Don't they also cry (thus showing that there _is_ pain) ?

If I had a .sig, it would go here.
They're consenting? (4.00 / 2) (#60)
by jch on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:07:23 AM EST

"Issue 2 is about a person's right to control what is done to his/her/its body - i.e. the principle of consent."

I'm fairly certain these "procedures" are done on prepubescent females. I don't think this is a matter of personal liberties as they seem to not have much of a choice.

[ Parent ]
Exactly ... (5.00 / 6) (#70)
by root2 on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:38:25 AM EST

You're right - they don't consent. That's precisely the point. The prepubescent girls don't consent, and neither do the baby boys. If you're going to complain about female circumcision on the basis that the girls haven't consented, why then would you permit male circumcision, given that the boys also haven't consented ? That's where the hypocrisy comes in.
If I had a .sig, it would go here.
[ Parent ]
Ad Hominem? (3.85 / 7) (#58)
by BlaisePascal on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:55:58 PM EST

Why is it that the majority of "topical" comments to this article seem to be personal attacks on the author, condemning her but agreeing that female circumcision/female genital mutilation is a bad thing?

I could understand it if, in order to discredit her implied position that FGM should be eradicated, proponents of FGM used ad hominem attacks to do so. I do not understand ad hominem attacks by opponents of FGM.

Could there be more discussion as to the merits of the position espoused in the article, rather than discussion of the author of the article?

no (5.00 / 3) (#64)
by ChannelX on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:39:41 AM EST

because they are very much intertwined. nobody here is arguing that FGM is wrong. what is being argued is why it is any more wrong than male circumcision. both involve lack of consent of the person it is happening to. however the author of the original article seems to find one barbaric and one ok. that my friend is hypocritical and the exact reason why people are taking issue with it.

[ Parent ]
There is nothing in the article condoning... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by BlaisePascal on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:20:49 AM EST

...male circumcision. What purpose is served by interjecting commentary on the author's view of male circumcision into the discussion? What purpose is served by accusing the author of hypocrisy?

At nearly 100 topical posts, the vast majority are either discussing male circumcision or discussing the author's personal positions on male and female circumcision. Very few are discussing female circumcision and its cultural and health ramifications. Very few are discussing the issues the author raised in the article. Almost everyone (including me, I'll admit) are discussing issues raised in comment #3, which appears to be the earliest topical comment still visible.

It looks to me like the people who oppose male circumcision have hijacked the discussion for their own purposes.

[ Parent ]

Methinks (5.00 / 2) (#101)
by fluxrad on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:12:46 AM EST

I think there are two main reasons why the argument is getting so heated here.

  1. Female vs. Circumcision:

    I have to say that many of the people who disagree with catseye have a very valid point when they bring up the relationship of these two. You cannot dispute the fact that male circumcision is done without consent, and its merits (medically) are extremely debatable. Basically, the only real difference between the two is that female circumcision can cause improper genital function (including pain, disease, and more pain). I have to say I can't villify anyone who sees catseye as a hypocrite for circumcising her own child. That being said. I believe that female circumcision is far worse than male circumcision and is an absolutely abhorrent practice. But, you should certainly understand where some of the men are coming from. They simply argue that the lesser of two evils (e.g. male circumcision) is still an evil!

  2. The only thing that bothers me personally about this article is that I don't think it should have been on the front page. I don't think you're going to find a single person on K5 that would actually argue for FGM. In this way, the article seems to strike me as a bit reduntant. We all know that cigarettes will kill you, and I doubt the K5 community would want to read an article on the types of cigarettes on the market, and their prices, and how they can kill you.


So, you see, the reason everyone is getting "all riled up" is because they see two things about this article that annoy them. First, that catseye is not exactly the most qualified spokesperson against circumcision; And secondly, that the article really wasn't a headlining act.

Oh, and FWIW, I was circumcised when I was a baby and I'm fine with it. When I have a child, I will get him circumcised, provided it's a boy ;-)

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
It is relevant.. (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by eightball on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:45:32 AM EST

What the author believes is important in deciding their credibility. Its not even a tangental link (say possible hypocritical link between most people's views on abortion and death penalty), it has to do with the same procedure, just on different people. I base that last sentence on the fact that both procedures are 'surgeries that remove cells from genital areas'.

The reason I believe there is little discussion about female circumcision in the comments, is that despite what the author states, most (seemingly close to all) of the vocal participants all agree that female circumcision is wrong. That is the end of that story.

Just for the record, even though not everyone agrees that it means anything, I believe that female circumcision is worse than male circumcision.

[ Parent ]

because the article is bland (5.00 / 3) (#109)
by mikpos on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:45:42 AM EST

There's nothing to talk about with regards to the article. Female circumcision is bad. No shit. We've known that for quite a while now.

What is interesting is how the author can so vehemently criticise child mutilation, and then practice child mutilation herself. Also interesting is how she can take such a principled stance against child mutilation, and throw all that away and mutilate her child simply because her Husband Says So. This article is as an abomination to all thinking people.

[ Parent ]

Ok... (2.42 / 7) (#59)
by Zeram on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 11:59:09 PM EST

Feel free to beat me down (cause I know you will anyway) simply because I am American, but why is everyone going on about how unacceptable male circumcision is? I'm an American male, I'm circumcised, and I don't see the problem.

Frankly I'm glad that I don't have to wash my penis so thoroughly every time I shower. The only upside I can persoanlly see is that being able to peirce my foreskin would be cool, but that by no means outweighs the benefit of being able to just give myself the once over in the shower.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
no flames here (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by ChannelX on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:44:03 AM EST

you dont see a problem because it has been the norm in this country for male circumcision to be 'ok'. this of course is bullshit because of the lack of consent of the person whos body is being modified. you should (imho anyhow) see a problem with it. you lost something you were born with and cant get back for ridiculous reasons.

As to your second paragraph I dont quite get why you think its some huge burden to have a foreskin. I'm sure it doesnt take me any longer to 'give myself the once over in the shower' than it does you. You can only see one upside because you dont have a foreskin. I can see many more (and none of them include being able to pierce it....to each his own).

[ Parent ]

I'm willing to buy (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by Zeram on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:56:40 AM EST

that I don't see circumcision as a problem because I've grown up with it, but even so what difference does it really make?

this of course is bullshit because of the lack of consent of the person whos body is being modified.

So what exactly am I missing? And why does it matter whether I consented or not? I didn't consent to my conception, nor to my nameing (granted I can do something about my name if I choose to).

you lost something you were born with and cant get back for ridiculous reasons.

Why are the reasons so ridiculous?

I am willing to admit that the probable reason for me not caring is not knowing, but I can't see any benefits, and I sure haven't heard any good arguments (emotional appeals are simply not good arguements).
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Personally... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by Souhait on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:32:28 AM EST

I've read quite a bit that says the foreskin is (was) a very sensitive part of the male genitalia... by removing it it could be decreasing our sexual pleasure by a great deal. But then, I'll never know. I see no problem with voluntary circumcision... hell, knock yourselves out. But I don't see how you can make that decision for someone having never experienced both worlds yourself; not that you could make the decision regardless.

[ Parent ]
From what I've heard... (4.00 / 2) (#73)
by Kasreyn on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:56:39 AM EST

...circ'ed men like you and I are missing out on something we'll never have. *Supposedly*, the foreskin adds a lot to the pleasure during sex. We'll never know, of course, but this is based on the testimonials of those few men who were circ'ed after reaching adulthood. You can find all sorts of info about it online, there was one big anti-circumcision (both genders) site that was very informative.

Personally, I don't care if it's piercing an ear or cutting into genitals - parents should never be allowed to force physical operations, damage, or surgical amputations on their children, unless it's for valid medical reasons. Besides, our bodies evolved the way they did for a reason. They're high precision machines. Try buying a fine antique Swiss mechanical watch, prying off the back, removing one gear, and closing it up. Does it still work as well? Hmm, maybe that gear was put there for a purpose.

That, at least, is my line of thinking as regarding circumcision. If it ain't broke, etc. And frankly, I don't care about religious freedoms; that doesn't excuse injury to a child. Once they're adult they can choose for themselves. Until then, that's one choice parents shouldn't be allowed to make.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Nerve and brain growth is a primary factor here (4.60 / 5) (#79)
by ZenZuZex on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:40:53 AM EST

Actually, the decrease in sexual pleasure experienced my adult men who are circumcised is nothing at all like the decrease experienced by someone who was circumcised at birth.

There is a HUGE amount of growth in the nerves in that area between 8 days old and sixteen, most of it happening during puberty. While someone snipped at birth won't have as many nerves in that area as someone who wasn't, they'll have more than someone who was snipped after puberty. My sympathy to the guy who was involentarily snipped at 11 - for me, at least, that would have been to late.

As far as nerve growth is concerned, the least damaging time to get snipped is at birth. But there is another factor here as well - pain. If you've read the works of glen doman, you know that as far as the brain is concerned, that which is stimulated grows. In practical terms, it means that those men who where snipped at birth have a greater capacity to experience and appriciate pain than those who where snipped after the age of 6.

For those interested in more information about male circumsision, there was an EXELLENT article on the subject in 'mothering' magazine last year. It included some referances on the pain thing and nerve growth that I'm to lazy to include here.



[ Parent ]
Least damaging how? (bit long) (5.00 / 2) (#173)
by Kasreyn on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:25:27 PM EST

"As far as nerve growth is concerned, the least damaging time to get snipped is at birth."

Maybe if we're speaking physically. Now, I'm no psychologist, but I hardly think it can have a good effect on a baby's psyche, it being the total blank slate it is as a newborn, for one of its very first experiences to be a surgical amputation of a natural part of its body that is usually carried out without anesthetic.

Babies are literally *experience vacuums* - they learn from EVERYthing that happens to them, and they know almost nothing. This is a tradeoff from the way other animals are born - other animals have instinct, which is to say certain brain patterns have been pre-hardwired into certain useful configurations, which makes their childhoods shorter, their actions more efficient, and their options far more limited. Humans, conversely, know effectively nothing at birth; their early experiences shape them utterly. How cruel, and how damaging, is it to subject an infant to such terrible pain just as their mind is beginning to try to figure out what the world is? I'm not qualified to answer that question, but I'm sure it's more damaging than I want to have happen to any child of mine.

And go find some pictures of the babies screaming as they're circ'd before you tell me "oh, they don't feel a thing". I don't care if you're 21 or if you're 2 hours old, getting a piece of your body cut off hurts.

So, frankly, I think immediately after birth is the *worst* time to have genital mutilation performed; the effect on the person's personality is bound to be greater.

And I don't care about the gender, as some K5ers in this discussion seem to harp on; the thought of it happening to either horrifies me. I see it as either child abuse / molestation or at the very least a terribly cruel form of ignorance and superstition. I don't care how many ways advocates try to prove it's painless to lose, or unneccessary to have, certain genital parts. I don't care whether they use religion or pseudoscience to justify it. If it was believed that earlobes are dirty and ugly and unfashionable, I'd be against my child's earlobes being lopped off, too. Not because I think they're pretty or functional, which they're not; because they're not my earlobes to chop off. As the parent, it's my job to *guard* those earlobes. And frankly, circumcision is just as ridiculous as chopping off earlobes; it is based wholly on social and religious traditions, with a thin veneer of scientific rationalization to gain the appearance of medical legitimacy.

This is another reason why I advocate boycotting the hospital birth factory and going with home birth. In hospitals in America today they often circ boy babies without asking, or after only cursorily asking an exhausted post-natal mother. Why do they want to circ? Simple, they sell the foreskins to research companies. There's profit in it.

No son of mine (if I ever have a son) will be circumcised until he's adult and not under my control any more. And if any doctor or nurse does it without my consent, I'll do some serious bodily harm first and worry about the law later. And then I'll have them in court as well, and have their license if possible.

Just $.02 from a person whose ethic is based on freedom of choice.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Misunderstanding - I agree with you (3.00 / 1) (#192)
by ZenZuZex on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:53:52 AM EST

I wasn't specific enough - the least damaging to the nerves involved in sexual pleasure is immediately at birth. If you look at the rest of the paragraph, you'll see that the 'vacuum of experience' thing is exactly what I was saying - I was just calling it capacity to experience pain instead. Babies are GOOD at learning, and if they're tortured, they learn to be GOOD at it. Which is what happens to babies who are snipped, they gain a great deal of appriciation for pain and betrayal! Same thing you where saying as far as I can see...

I'm an american, and I agree about home birth - circ isn't the only thing they like to do without your consent or even against your wishes. Immunizations and the vitamin K shot come to mind. In my state, you can sign a waiver for most of it, and they'll not do it, but if you try to prevent the silver iodide in the eyes or the vitamin K shot, you'll get your ass sued for child abuse. Stupid. My daughter is now a year old, and was born at home under midwives' watchfull eyes. The worst thing that was done to her at birth was cutting the cord. (which, interestingly enough, some people don't do, they just wait a couple days and it falls off.) My next child is on the way, and will be born at home sans midwife. More private that way. And less intervention, no needles, lots of fun stuff like that. Most people freak out when they hear about that plan, but home birth with a midwife is PROVABLY safer for mother and baby than hospital birth. Home birth sans midwife is, I believe, safer still, it's just that the statistics aren't available.

There is plenty of variety in midwifery, anything from 'medical doctor-ish' scrubs down and sterilizes things - very controlling, to 'Oh that's fine dear, keep up the good work' and goes back to her knitting. I prefer the one who stays out of the way and leaves me alone!



[ Parent ]
And from what I know... (4.33 / 3) (#83)
by jwaskett on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:12:36 AM EST

The exact opposite is true. I was circ'ed a couple of years ago, and it is much better. There wasn't anything wrong with my foreskin beforehand, but the feelings are vastly improved. It's true that there isn't as much sensitivity to light touch, but the deeper feelings are unaffected and much more stimulated during sex.

Because I'm British, and circumcision is fairly rare over here, I had to fight to get it done. I just wish I'd been able to enjoy it for the first 22 years of my life.

While worthwhile, it's no fun getting it done as an adult. If you ask me, it's a great kindness to circumcise an infant.



[ Parent ]
Why? (4.00 / 1) (#206)
by dipipanone on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 12:02:42 PM EST

Can we ask why you chose to have it done at age 22?

--
Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
personally (3.00 / 1) (#97)
by fluxrad on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:44:18 AM EST

I was snipped at birth. And to be honest, I really wouldn't give a rat's ass if I were circed or not.

Although I find the idea of having my johnson look like a pig in a blanket kind of a turn-off.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Eh? (4.50 / 2) (#75)
by jonathan_ingram on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:03:56 AM EST

Frankly I'm glad that I don't have to wash my penis so thoroughly every time I shower.

Why, does it worry you that you have one? How is it that other species can have a foreskin, and not go around with infected penises, if the foreskin is so damaging to health? Unless you go for years without washing yourself, then this is just not an issue.

Accept the fact that your parents mutilated you as a child, and sue them for damages. If enough people in the US did this, I'm sure your society would quickly end this barbaric practise. Perhaps you lot could move on to some, less damaging form of cutting, like removing the child's earlobes. At least they're not important in normal sexual function.
-- Jon
[ Parent ]

Obviously (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by Zeram on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:30:56 AM EST

I have no idea of wether it is easier to stay clean with a foreskin, I'll admit that. But I have a nasty tendancy to get rashes in the general area of my crotch, and given my sexual proclivities, I think it would only make things worse. Again, I admit that I don't know, but also I really don't care on way or the other. My sexual function is by no means reduced because of my lack of a foreskin, there is much more to my own personal sexual desires than simple gential stimulation, and besides I am a fan of genital mutilation. Caution that link is not for the unwary.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Self mutilation is different (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by jonathan_ingram on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:01:47 AM EST

I used to have a schoolfriend that was into piercings - by the time we left school she'd had her nipples pierced, and was moving on to various parts of the vagina :). I don't have a problem with this -- choosing to pierce/mutilate is a very different thing from having piercing/mutilation forced upon you as a baby.

I also agree that the practise of male circumcision pales into insignificance when compared to the torture of female circumcision. I consider anyone that practises female circumcision a child molestor.

[That link doesn't resolve for me, by the way]
-- Jon
[ Parent ]

Well (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by Zeram on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:46:37 AM EST

Ok, you have a point, consent is consent. Personally I don't see where it really matters, but thats just me, and I also don't see the point in crying over spilled milk. However I do respect what your saying. As for the link, it's probably for the best that it doesn't work for you, it's a page on frenum piercings.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Misnomer? (3.46 / 13) (#77)
by zipper on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:50:06 AM EST

I'd argue that the two are very similar.. according to noharmm.org in a male circumcision, you're removing about 240 feet of nerves, >1000 nerve endings, and about 15 square inches of skin. Sure sounds like genital mutilation to me. The reasons for doing it may not be the same, but the end result certainly is.

---
This account has been neutered by rusty and can no longer rate or post comments. Way to go fearless leader!
15 square inches of skin?!? (4.25 / 4) (#95)
by BlaisePascal on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:30:31 AM EST

As an adult uncircumcised male, I don't have 15 square inches of foreskin. It just isn't there to remove.

According to most studies I've seen, the average size of an erect adult male American penis is around 6 inches in length, 1-1.5" in diameter, yielding a total surface area (assuming cylindrical penis) of 20 to 30 square inches. Since in an erect penis, the foreskin is retracted, exposing the glans, this means that the total skin on the adult penis is around 20-30 square inches. Removing 15 square inches of skin would be akin to skinning 1/2 to 3/4 of the penis.

I find it hard to imagine removing 15 square inches of skin from an infant would do less than completely skin the penis and much of the surrounding pubic area. Since that is not done in male circumcision, it throws doubt on the validity of the rest of the figures cited and on the site they were quoted from.

[ Parent ]

that's not entirely correct.. (4.00 / 2) (#119)
by zipper on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:27:07 AM EST

first off, 15 inches was the average adult male size... you'd snip much less of a baby, but that's what you're effectively removing from the adult. Secondly, your math is off because the foreskin is doubled up. If you'd read the article you would have noticed that... that's why it's 15 square inches.

---
This account has been neutered by rusty and can no longer rate or post comments. Way to go fearless leader!
[ Parent ]
Foreskin doubled up (3.00 / 1) (#121)
by BlaisePascal on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:34:36 AM EST

I know the foreskin is doubled up -- I do have one. However, it is NOT doubled up when erect; it is retracted instead. The size I quoted is for an average erect penis, which would not have a doubled up foreskin.

[ Parent ]
doubled up... (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by CrayDrygu on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:53:46 PM EST

I've got one too, and well, everyone's different. Mine's still doubled up when erect...in fact it still covers most of the head. Some peoples' still go beyond the head when erect.

[ Parent ]
Result the same? (5.00 / 3) (#135)
by StephenFuqua on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:36:51 PM EST

Perhaps you've already read many other comments on this topic, and mine is just redundant. Or perhaps you're like me, and more likely to read replies to your own comment than new comments posted after yours (yep, I admit to that, no shame).

Personally, I think the facts stand out for themselves--FGM is a much more serious issue than male circumcision. Personally, I refuse to use the word "circumcision" in relation to women, as it traditionally is a specific procedure performed on the penis. FGM has far greater lasting effects. It is often performed on children old enough to really experience and remember the pain, and remember--this is not in the safe clinical confines of a western hospital. Finally, keep in mind that many societies attempt (and succeed) to force FGM on young women, even against their parents' wishes.

Male circumcision may or may not be an outdated procedure that may or may not diminish sexual pleasure. From what I've read/heard, this is the only real point. FGM is torture. The effects are not the same, and we need to wake up to this reality.



[ Parent ]
FGM is no more.. (5.00 / 1) (#185)
by zipper on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:08:30 AM EST

... torture than circumcision is. The fact that you don't remember the pain has nothing to do with it. The fact that you've forgotten the pain doesn't mean it wasn't there, and none of this changes the fact that (most likely) the procedure was done against your will.

But hey man, that's cool, right? I'm totally down with the forced (minor) surgery.</sarcasm>

And for the record, just because circumcision happens here in the pretty little western hospitals and FGM doesn't, that doesn't mean the reverse is also true. Male circumcision is practiced worldwide, and not everywhere is as nice and friendly as over here.

---
This account has been neutered by rusty and can no longer rate or post comments. Way to go fearless leader!
[ Parent ]

Here's how that's different (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by StephenFuqua on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 01:33:37 AM EST

People brought up the current American practice of circumcision. Many people seem to be comparing it to FGM. This is an untenable comparison. Now, I'll concede that the comparison might be more valid when looking at circumcision as performed in the same countries as FGM, or other countries with similar health systems.

Maybe I'm just voicing a personal opinion. A doctor in a sterile clinic cutting off a small amount of foreskin on an anaesthesized baby boy is no more torture than removed a sixth finger or an umbilical cord. Cutting off a young woman's labia with a non-surgical knife in dirty confines without anaesthesia is. This is the comparison being made. We can spend time debating whether that clinical circumcision is right or wrong. But I think it is far more important that we use our time fighting this far greater injustice.



[ Parent ]
not circumcision (3.76 / 17) (#80)
by gibichung on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:45:48 AM EST

Female genital mutilation does not compare with male circumcision. A more adequate analogy would be the complete removal of the head of the penis. And while I wouldn't have expected the average k5'er to be an expert on female sexuality, the hostility and ignorance attached to this article is truly shocking.

If the vast difference in scope isn't enough to convince you that this analogy is false, consider the motivations of the parents. Male circumcision (by non-Jews, especially) is undertaken out of a genuine concern for the child's health. Female genital mutilation attempts to control women by removing their ability to enjoy sex, or even in extreme cases to enforce chastity by closing the vaginal opening. Only the most misguided (and, frankly, ignorant) person could consider this beneficial to the child. While many Islamic customs can be interpreted as "respecting women differently," this is not one of them. If you want a better analogy, compare this to the boxing of women's feet in China. The ad hominem tu quoque attacks attached to this article are not only unwarranted, but they are based on another fallacy.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt

This is not an Islamic custom. (3.75 / 4) (#91)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:27:32 AM EST

Don't talk sbout ignorance and then show so much of it yourself.


---
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
[ Parent ]
clarification (3.00 / 1) (#93)
by gibichung on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:18:46 AM EST

While I certainly concede that it is not a universal practice of Islam, it is nonetheless a practiced in many Islamic countries and condoned by many others. I suppose my statement
While many Islamic customs can be interpreted as "respecting women differently," this is not one of them.
does in fact imply that it is an Islamic custom. As such, I retract it and apologize to anyone I may have offended. Such a statement would be false. See also, this excellent source. It was not my intention to suggest this was a mandate of the religion, only that it was tolerated and practiced primarily by people of the Islamic faith. It should be noted that there are few practices with regard to women that are practiced by all Muslims. An interesting case, though certainly an exception, is that of the Ahaggar Tuareg. In this tribe, men wear veils and women do not. While I understand that the practice has been condemned by Islamic scholars, I still maintain:
  • This practice has existed for hundreds of years of Islamic rule and is actually spreading. Note that Egypt has been under Islamic rule for more than 13 centuries.
  • The Islamic attitude towards women only encourages their oppression and provides reinforcement or even justification for extreme tribal customs such as these. See Afghanistan.
While I concede the mistake, the statement in question was only made in support of the thesis of my comment, which I still maintain. Though I appreciate that you've pointed out the error, I take exception to being called ignorant. Such hostility was not warranted. However, no offense is taken. Hopefully, this post has clarified my position to your satisfaction.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
male circumcision (3.63 / 11) (#82)
by leftfist on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:09:27 AM EST

I just have to make a point about male circumcision. I realize that what is commonly called female circumcision is far more extreme and harmful and crazy than male circumcision... However that doesn't mean male circumcision is OK. It's kind of like cutting off a baby's little finger versus cutting off the baby's entire arm. Sure cutting off the little finger isn't as shocking and it won't affect the person later in life as much, but it's still blatantly wrong. It's just a matter of degree. The reason most often given for circumcising males is hygiene - and this is, to put it bluntly, complete crap. The foreskin is there for a reason. The fluids produced help keep everything clean. That's the way it's meant to work. Doctors who bother to inform themselves about new studies in this area know this. Unfortunately, most of them don't bother. The reason circumcision became popular in the United States was to prevent masturbation. Young boys would be caught masturbating and parents would have them circumcised and the boys would stop masturbating or do it less frequently. Why would they stop? Because it no longer felt nearly as good. Most of the nerves in males that give sexual pleasure are in the foreskin. Nowadays people aren't QUITE so stupid, and people know that depriving your son of a significant amount of his sexual pleasure for the rest of his life is not a good response to catching him masturbating. And yet circumcision continues. By the way, circumcised males (like me) will note that the place on the penis that gives the most pleasure is on the underside, just below the head of the penis. In a circumcised penis, this is essentially all that is left of the nerves from the foreskin. Just imagine how sex would feel if your penis was intact and you had those nerves all around instead of just in that one place. Males who were circumcised as adults often say that sex was amazing before circumcision and basically pointless after. At least those of us who were circumcised as babies can still enjoy sex - we don't know how good it could have been. Anyway.. I'm done here. Just please know that circumcising your child - male OR female - is mutilating your child.

Possibly relevant... (none / 0) (#199)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 07:02:13 PM EST

... is the fact that if sensory input is lost from some area early in life, the regions of the brain that would have been devoted to processing those inputs are often times recruted by nearby regions.

Now I don't know that this happens (or to what degree) with the inputs from foreskin, but it does serve to complicate the simple "lost some of the skin from there, therefore never feel as much pleasure from there" reasoning you gave. In the end this is an empirical question.

Oh, I'm not advocating circumcision, just talking about brains.



[ Parent ]

Regarding male circumcision (1.54 / 11) (#88)
by Hopfrog on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:24:36 AM EST

First of all, 40% of the world practise male circumcision. Those are billions of people.
Secondly, in many societies, one is made fun off when one is not circumcized, because other children do not understand why your penis looks so funny.
Thirdly, most porn actors are circumcised.

Hop.

And? (5.00 / 3) (#96)
by jonathan_ingram on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:42:04 AM EST

This is *not* a story about male circumcision.
-- Jon
[ Parent ]
My impression, for the record... (4.00 / 10) (#90)
by Sunir on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:23:50 AM EST

While I was in Nairobi, I went to visit the Kenyan National Natural History museum. There, they had a whole wing devoted to sex education--important considering AIDS, and the need to educate against popular horror story sex myths.

There was one gigantic room there devoted to circumcision, both male and female. It as big as a medium sized auditorium. However, the female section dominated. I cannot begin to describe it. All manners of knives, scalpels, scythes were on display.

I can't imagine what it would be like to live in such a society. All done in the name of fear. It was painful to see. I suppose that was the point.

I hope it worked. Horror story...

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r

Can we get off the penis for a minute? (4.33 / 9) (#98)
by attoret on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:45:27 AM EST

As endlessly fascinating as I'm sure it is, this particular issue is about a specific atrocity carried out on women. Can we try to address that?

(I'm put in mind of a scene in the play Shirley Valentine when she says something to the effect that, "you say to a bloke, "I like spring", and he says "oh, no, I like autumn, and you're doing two hours on autumn, when you actually had something to say about spring.)

Why isn't there more outrage? Any act as horrible as this would be denounced out of hand as torture if it were carried out on people of a specific race or nationality. But because it's just women and because it's referred to by the clinical and misleading term "circumcision", the whole focus is shifted.

The real issue here is not the actual horrific act, but the underlying circumstances under which women live throughout the world. And the fact that no one seems to have a problem with it really concerns me.

For the record, I do not believe in any act being carried out on another person without his/her permission. I did not allow my son to be circumcized (and have since had to deal with the guilt as he was teased about it and agonized when he asked me why I'd put him through this)despite major pressure *from men* to do it. I even withstood the pressure to have my infant daughter's ears pierced to fit in with the cultural expectations of my husband's Spanish family.

Nothing should ever be done against someone else's will. But this particular atrocity should be fought against by any thinking person. I have to admit I'm afraid for anyone who could think complacently of his sister or friend or neighbor being held down and having her genitals cut with a broken bottle or razor by any man who feels so inclined. Would it be OK if it were in a clean, clinical, official environment? Of course not. But at least maybe it would be something we could affect through diplomacy or education. Now it's just a horror show that's spun out of control.

Teasing? (3.00 / 3) (#107)
by brunes69 on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:38:13 AM EST

Who in their right mind would tease a man for being un-circumsized? Just have your son reply "Yeah, well guess what, I'm 10 times more sensitive than you down there because of it, and that means 10 times better sex".



---There is no Spoon---
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but it happens (5.00 / 2) (#113)
by attoret on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:33:29 AM EST

Perhaps if we'd stayed in California, where more little boys were left intact it would be different. In the more traditional northeast though, he is definitely in the minority.

I have been tut-tutted by doctors for years and have been made to feel like I made some sort of selfish feminist radical choice for him. (My thought was he could always do it later if he chose -- but when a few years ago my son was strongly considering having it done the doctor told us that my son would have to realize that "cosmetically" he'd never look the same as the other boys since he hadn't had it done as an infant -- so he didn't go through with it.) His father was also not circumcized and I felt it was important to his self image to be the same (in that way) as him.

Being different has made him self-conscious sexually (I happened to see an email to his then-girlfriend thanking her for understanding "his problem.") Perhaps he will eventually have a more fulfilling sex life because of being "uncut" but since he will never have known any different, it's hard to feel it's a very compelling argument. (Circumcized men seem to enjoy sex too, as far as I've seen.)

At 16 he doesn't talk about it (but how much do you discuss these things with your mom anyway?) but though I am still glad I made the choice I did (it would have agonized me to put my precious, defenseless newborn under a knife), I can't say that I haven't questioned what I would have done this time if my new baby hadn't been a girl.

[ Parent ]

Wow... I had no idea (4.00 / 2) (#151)
by ODiV on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:12:44 PM EST

I'm uncircumcised in Canada (good name for a movie) and never had any teasing. Then again in swimming changerooms and such no one really went out of their way to look at each other's penises. I have no idea what the ratio of circumcised kids to uncircumcised was.

"Circumcized men seem to enjoy sex too, as far as I've seen."

Do we ever. :)

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
or how bout (4.25 / 4) (#155)
by nodsmasher on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:18:48 PM EST

say "hey perv stop looking at my member!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Ha ha ha! (3.00 / 1) (#202)
by gnovos on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 05:01:10 AM EST

Who in their right mind would tease a man for being un-circumsized? Just have your son reply "Yeah, well guess what, I'm 10 times more sensitive than you down there because of it, and that means 10 times better sex".

First of all, not true unless they were circumsized after puberty, and second, if it WERE true, can you imagine what incredibly horrible lovers they must be? 10 time more sensitive? Sure, they might have just enough time to whip it out, but there is no way they could actually get it from thier pants to the woman before it goes off... :)

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

You see, the thing is.... (4.80 / 5) (#108)
by Yellowbeard on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:44:16 AM EST

I completely agree that this is an atrocious act - as a person. But when I step into my anthropologist garb I have to try, as best I can, to be objective. Some of the things you have said above are not perfectly true (as few of the things all of say often are). In the cultures you mention, some girls who are approaching the age of circumcision actually are looking forward to this operation because it makes them fully a "woman" in the eyes of the culture (I am not implying that they are making an informed decision, but who, buried in their own cultural tradition, often does, really?).

This does not change the fact that I personally find it deplorable. But in my field, I have been trained to try and accept whatever odd habits any culture may partake in - from Bovril to penis gourds. This reminds me of feminist discussions of muslim veiling practices - they veiled women might be just as appalled at your going about with your faces uncovered, and who's to say that your opinion is any better than theirs?

Before anyone out there considers coming back with, "one can only take cultural relativism so far," have I claimed expertise on Linux? No. Just because your knee jerk reaction is one way, don't immediately discard what I have said. I have been studying this for almost a decade.

That said, i am sure an Anthropologist out their is still going to totally disagree with me. ;)


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Anthropology (4.50 / 2) (#110)
by pattern on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:12:07 AM EST

Cultural relativism is, of course, only the start. However, there is a standard by which we can objectively judge behaviors within a culture, and that is sustainability. When behaviors become maladaptive to the point where the culture can no longer sustain itself, there's a problem.

A good example is the outrageous AIDS epidemic in Africa, caused in part by the refusal of the men to wear condoms, which are seen as a white conspiracy to (guess what?) give them AIDS. Another is the record levels of the infanticide of daughters in Asia, which are going to leave most of the males in China without partners in the next generation.

Veering back on topic, another is female circumcision. Not because it's inherently wrong, but because enough people in the world belive it is, and I think that eventually the international repercussions will force a change.

That said, I share the horror. I'm one of the people who wants to make that behavior repugnant to all.



[ Parent ]
I think you are missing the point (5.00 / 1) (#120)
by Yellowbeard on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:27:57 AM EST

of Anthropology.

Anthropology is about the study of humans. We are not here to judge, be it by our own cultural norms or by "mal adaptive" behavior. I think you're thinking of sociology.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
I doubt many little girls look forward to this (4.33 / 3) (#111)
by attoret on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:14:48 AM EST

While it is possible that women in some cultures (I'm not sure which, if any) view female genital mutilation as a positive process and welcome rite of passage ceremony, this is not what I have read.

Conversely, for all the anti-circumcision rhetoric, there are many cultures that historically have viewed male circumcision as a positive and manly thing to do. (Anyone who read Roots probably remembers the scene of adolescent circumcision.)

I think it's important to note that in most actual rite of passage or status ceremonies, the processes are carried out by members of the same sex (The Red Tent depicted an early such female ceremony) and are celebrated by the group and the "inductee" him or herself.

As far as veiling, though I certainly agree that different cultures have different views toward modesty, read the news story "Behind the Veil" for interviews with women who were forced to be swathed in burkas and veils. In general, veiling is mandated by men in order to protect the value of what they see as their property.

[ Parent ]

Uhhhh (4.00 / 2) (#118)
by Yellowbeard on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:24:56 AM EST

Female curcumcision is almost always carried out by women as a rite of passage. Doesn't that mean that it qualifies under your definition?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Do you have evidence to support this? (3.00 / 1) (#136)
by attoret on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:40:02 PM EST

My understanding is that it is not generally performed by women, that there is no ceremony and that since it is not performed at any specific life stage (i.e., birth, a certain age or adolescence) that it can't qualify as a rite of passage.

If someone has evidence to the contrary, I would be very interested to find out more.

Females performing an operation on other women that made their very biological functions as women dangerous and nearly impossible would seem to point to a serious lack of logical sense.

[ Parent ]

I'll have to look up specific references (4.00 / 2) (#141)
by Yellowbeard on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:12:39 PM EST

but I have read quite a few ethnographies that deal with this and, from what I remember (though this was a few years ago, I admit), this operation is generally carried out by women on women. Much like male circumcision is almost always carried out by men on men.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Female circumcision (3.00 / 1) (#123)
by Ken Pompadour on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:03:36 PM EST

Is very much considered the 'positive and womanly thing to do' in some cultures. Makes them act more like a female should, don't you know.

You are a hypocrite. Acknowledge this fact.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
actually (4.50 / 4) (#115)
by evilpckls on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:48:28 AM EST

in countries where this is performed, there are now groups working against this. if a baby girl is born and the family insists on having it done(after much discussion), a doctor will do it under sterile conditions and with painkillers. this isnt necessarily a solution, but most people would agree that it IS much better than using other objects like scissors, glass, rusty bits of metal, etc. it greatly reduces the health risks. (i could go on about other alternatives to it, because ive researched this about 5 separate times for speeches, papers, etc.)

-------
"This is proof that fish geeks are just weird. You look like you've wet your pants, and I have a fish in my coat." --nstenz
[ Parent ]

Why no moral outrage? (4.00 / 1) (#203)
by gnovos on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 05:04:55 AM EST

Becuase this is taking place, mostly, in places where a human life is worth a $50 US bill or a pair of new blue jeans. In most of the countries where this is taking place, mutilation is the LEAST of thier worries. Sure it sucks, but so does the beggar's hand getting cut off for stealing bread or the bullets used to silence the "dissidents" preaching liberty. It's all relative. Now find out this is taking place in New York, and we can have ourselves a good old fasioned moral outrage.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
This was bad timing for this story.. (3.42 / 7) (#105)
by eightball on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:05:19 AM EST

Imagine K5 is like a party. There is a big room and there are numerous little parties of people sometimes frantically discussing certain topics.

So one topic comes up and there is heated discussion. One of the participants of this discussion then goes and starts a new discussion, which basically says that the people in the other discussion group are confused with the facts. I think it is logical for the two discussions to co-mingle.. I think most of the people in the other discussion agree with the premise of this story and are perhaps incensed with the accusation.

The reason I think everyone is discussing the other story is that is what was being discussed when this almost identical story was brought up.(granted the devil is almost always in the details and I am not saying the options for both are the same, though I have stated that it is roughly the same procedure.)

I believe that the only comments not actively condeming it are people who suggest that culture has a role to play. (no support for them from me) This is usually the reason (non-jewish) people in the west use to support the one case, and many deny that for the other case. That hypocracy will also incite people.

Still more outraged by female genital mutilation (2.80 / 5) (#124)
by geekcrazy on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:03:53 PM EST

Yes, I agree that male circumcision is wrong, because there aren't compelling reasons why it should be done, and it is almost always done to people against their will. However, I still am more outraged by female circumcision. Although I realize that not all female circumcision involves removal of all external genitalia, let's review what happens when it does.

The opening left is rarely sufficient for urine or menstrual blood to pass, and these women are prone to infections, heavy scarring, incredibly painful sex, inability to have sex without being cut open, incredibly painful childbirth, infertility, and inability to have gynecological exams.

So, circumcised males -- does your circumcised state make it painful every time you pee? Does it make you prone to infections? Does it make it incredibly painful for you to have sex? Does it often make people infertile?



It's terrible, but... (3.50 / 4) (#128)
by Rhamadanth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:53:39 PM EST

I hardly think we're in a position to stop something like that as long as we mutilate our own male children. As long as male circumcision is still practiced, the people that practice FGM will always point to that and say "Look! You do it to your men. How can you tell us that OUR culture is wrong?"


-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
Because the effects don't balance out... (4.40 / 5) (#131)
by Shovas on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:19:01 PM EST

Greetings,

Barring illogical thought processes which would eliminate the ability to persuade the other in the first place, the effects and damages of male and female circumcision do not balance out.

As far as I'm aware, male's who are circumcised have no greater problems than uncircumcised. On the plus side, those who are circumcised have less issues with hygiene. As for pleasure, I'm certain there are no studies which could determine if circumcision increased or decreased the sensations, as this is all subjective.

Contrarywise, female circumcision causes damage in many cases and, I would guess, is done in less professional and less sanitary conditions than circumcision is done.

The story speaks more than I know about the damages of female circumcision, but the point remains: Male circumcision effects are not balanced with the ill caused by its female counteraction and, as such, an logical person will not use the excuse of another culture doing it to their males.

Of course, this assumes all involved parties are logical, which they are not or female circumcision would not be as accepted as it is.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
I don't propose that they balance (4.00 / 1) (#165)
by Rhamadanth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:16:13 PM EST

Not at all. I heartily believe that FGM is the greater of the two evils.

However, the fact remains that we can't expect others to change their behaviour when we don't behave in a consistent fashion.

Circumcision of the male child is mutilation. You've changed his body without his consent, arguably for the worse (and there are men that have been uncircumcised and then circumcised later in life and complained of loss of sexual sensation) and there's no way he can get that back. While an order of magnitude worse, this generic description is accurate enough to cover FGM.

China, not too long ago, tried to point out that they weren't so bad, because the US has a huge track record of human rights abuses. It's hard to tell someone that what they do is wrong when you do something similar. I remember having a hard time understanding why smoking is bad, and my Dad told me to never do it, despite the fact that he goes through half a pack a day. Cultures are tenatious in their beliefs, and telling them that they're harming women is futile, unless we can give them an example to look at.


-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
Ahem, male circumcision has MEDICAL uses. (3.40 / 5) (#133)
by Nikanj on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:27:50 PM EST

I suppose you forgot that male circumcision does have some valid application, like some medical problems. It's not rare for the foreskin opening to be too small, resulting in problematic cleaning, causing infections and painful tearing during intercourse... To name just one painful reason.

And of course the fact that male circumcision doesn't actually hurt the man in question and may in some instances improve the sexual experience, never decrease.

That said, I agree more than 100% with you on the female mutilation part. I consider anyone who practices or endorses female mutilation on the same level as rapists and murderers. It's a crime agains humanity.

[ Parent ]

Pardon me? (5.00 / 2) (#140)
by FieryTaco on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:09:04 PM EST

And of course the fact that male circumcision doesn't actually hurt the man in question and may in some instances improve the sexual experience, never decrease.
Maybe you should do some research before you say that male circumcision doesn't ever decrease the sexual experience. The foreskin contains the bulk of the nerve endings in the non-glans tissue of the penis. When it's cut away, you lose the sensation that those nerve endings would normally provide. By definition the experience has been decreased. Now as far as the subjective experience goes, it's hard to say, since most western males who are circumcised were circumcised as infants and thus have no foundation for comparison. But there is a vocal group of individuals out there campaigning to eradicate male circumcision.

[ Parent ]
Frame of reference (4.16 / 6) (#150)
by spinfire on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:06:15 PM EST

First, a disclaimer. I was circumsised at birth. I have no way of knowing exactly what it would be like to have a foreskin. However, I contest the fact that uncirc'd males have "10 times better sex" (as was stated in a comment above) or even better sex at all.

The pleasure in sex comes from many different factors, and those factors are all integrated by the brain. The feeling of orgasm is just as mental as it is physical. In fact, Tantric techniques teach you to have orgasms that are much more powerful, and thats a discipline of the mind, not of the penis.

It annoys me to see someone comparing (especially quantitatively) the pleasure felt by circ'd and uncircumsised males. There is no comparison. Your brain has had many many years to adjust to the lack of foreskin sensation in circumsised males, and there is no reason why it shouldn't give an equal pleasure. People who have been blind from birth develop an incredible sense of touch/hearing/etc, don't forget...

Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.
[ Parent ]

If thine eye offends thee... (2.00 / 2) (#205)
by dipipanone on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 11:50:21 AM EST

Your brain has had many many years to adjust to the lack of foreskin sensation in circumsised males, and there is no reason why it shouldn't give an equal pleasure. People who have been blind from birth develop an incredible sense of touch/hearing/etc, don't forget...

Perhaps you might want to put out the eyeballs of any children that you have then, in order to facilitate this 'incredible sense of touch/hearing/etc'?

Sounds ridiculous when put that way, no?

--
Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
Re: If thine eye offends... (4.50 / 2) (#210)
by spinfire on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 09:52:49 PM EST

I wasn't advocating circumcision of males. However, I was pointing out that the arguement of "uncircumsised males have better sex" is very bogus. Its quite rude to put words in people's mouths.

Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.
[ Parent ]
Doesn't hurt? (5.00 / 3) (#142)
by kelp on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:19:12 PM EST

Male circumcision most definatly hurts. Its most often done on infants with no anethesia. I don't understand how you could think that doesn't hurt. Also, yes there are medical reasons for it, but they are quite rare. If that were not the case, why don't we have much greater incedences of those diseases in the parts of the world where male circumcision is rare?

An often used excuse for male circumcision is to prevent disease and infection, which makes little sense. Why would you amputate perfectly healthy tissue to prevent infection and dissease that only happens rarely? Women are not getting their breasts removed to prevent breast cancer, and I'm most certanly not getting my testicals removed to prevent testicular cancer. Why would I want my foreskin removed to prevent even less common disseases?



[ Parent ]
There are no doubt medical reasons..... (4.00 / 1) (#198)
by sysboy on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:51:01 PM EST

but in the case of primary phimosis (the problem you describe) it's not the only treatment. This guy here has been regularly treating his patients with a course of masturbation.... very long medical paper

[ Parent ]
Guys don't care much. (1.91 / 12) (#127)
by labradore on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:45:01 PM EST

Like it or not this is not a normal, balanced forum. It is mostly composed of western, english-speaking males. Trying to get sympathy or action out of a bunch of guys, especially in this case, is not likely.

  1. Guys don't want to deal with women's health issues.
  2. The article and commentary basically grosses most of us out. That's not a good way to get someone to want to be involved (although, I'm not sure what the best way is).
  3. Male circumcision is mostly ignored and even promoted, thus reducing the pool of sympathy that an activist might draw upon. Male circumcision is not a major health issue like FGM but it is a psychological issue.
  4. The problem is far away.

This is not a condemnation of your effort but it is a notice that collectively we have other interests that seem more pressing.

Partially true, but... (2.66 / 3) (#132)
by StephenFuqua on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:21:44 PM EST

  1. All the more reason to post a piece like this. Who needs most to be "educated" about the truth of such matters than white male Americans? (That includes me).
  2. Apparently we do care at least a little bit, as evidenced by the fact this this article was modded to the front page.


[ Parent ]
Several misnomers (4.33 / 3) (#143)
by Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:19:47 PM EST

I'm not offended by your post, just amused at some of the misconceptions.

First, this article (and the issue at hand) doesn't "gross me out". It infuriates me. All I can think of is little girls screaming and crying while someone purposefully vivisects them for some stupid tradition. How horrible!

Second, I am interested in HUMAN health issues.

Third, male circumcision is nothing even close to genital mutilation, and in some cases it is necessary for the continued health and well-being of the male in question (e.g. phimosis). Speaking as a male, I'm not certain how male circumcision is a psychological issue, unless you are speaking in a general sense (e.g. anxiety).

Of course, you definitely on the ball in the "it's far away" department. It is kind of hard to know what to do to help, especially when the people involved aren't doing much about it.



--
Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, mhm21x16, and the Patron Saint of All Things Plastic fnord
I'm proud of my Northern Tibetian heritage!
[ Parent ]
Some guys do. (4.00 / 2) (#144)
by Tobias J Lobster on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:30:13 PM EST

In response to your comments, I'd suggest that a subject which 'grosses most of us out' is not going to reduce involvement - IMO it will increase involvement, by virtue of making a bigger impact and being remembered for longer.
As for a comparison with male circumcision, I don't think there's any comparison to be made - these are two very different practices, sharing only a common name.
I live in the UK, and am certain that FGM happens in this country, so couldn't agree that the problem is far away.
Your first point is harder for me to speak against - I can only give my personal opinion - but I have no problem dealing with women's health issues, and would hope that other men wouldn't either.


[ Parent ]
A question: (2.50 / 2) (#209)
by pietra on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 08:52:26 PM EST

Given that

1. Guys don't want to deal with women's health issues.

why do you (straight men) spend the vast majority of your lives desperately trying to get into our bodies? On a purely selfish level, don't you care where you put your dick, at all?

My boyfriend's deeply interested in my health issues, not just because he cares about me and wants me to be happy and healthy, but because anything that affects my health potentially affects his, too. That's pretty much a given when two people have sex, you know? So why don't you (labradore, not everyone with a Y chromosome) care?

[ Parent ]

Female bodies are cool! (none / 0) (#214)
by Mitheral on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 03:37:19 PM EST

I'm deeply interested in Women's health issues. In true geeky nature I've basicly figured out everything about how the male body works and the the female body I find facinating, both internally and externally.

[ Parent ]
I'm so sorry... (2.00 / 7) (#139)
by thiveri on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:08:03 PM EST

...to see such a low level of empathy toward such a big problem from the part of men in this forum. It feels like men cannot do anything else than look at their own penis. At a meta level, it seems that it was a strategical mistake to include comment or comparisons about male circumcision ("What is done is not the same as male circumcision"). One has to be careful how to build and present her rethoric... ;-) I was amazed to read comments such as "Obviously everybody is against female circumcision. What is there to talk about". Why is there so much to talk about male circumcision then? Thx Catseye for bringing that information to me. I am a little bit less stupid already!

Because it's sanctioned (4.60 / 5) (#159)
by johnnyc on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:29:26 PM EST

FGM is a crime against girls and women, no question. But it isn't exactly common in Europe and North America, where the bulk of k5 readers come from. This is not to say that we don't regard it as an atrocity, only that male circumcision is far closer to home for most k5 readers.

Male circumcision, OTOH, is sanctioned in Europe and North America. Most men I know born in Canada between 1960 and 1980 are circumcised, had no say in the matter, and don't understand why this has been done to them. All indications are there is no point to this practice in our culture, yet it's done all the time. Why?

Now I see this story made it to the front page, while there is a story languishing in the moderation queue on male circumcision. So what's the problem? It appears most k5 users, mainly men, saw fit to get the FGM story on the front page while the story on male circumcision may never get out of the mod queue. Seems to me there is very little empathy for the male baby who, as I write , is squealing as the doctor removes his foreskin in some hospital in anytown, Canada.

We have empathy, but while I can be outraged and discuss FGM until I'm blue in the face, the culture in which this atrocity takes place is beyond my reach. I can be informed about it, but that's it. Male circumcision is something many of us can do something about. It's a barbaric practice in this day and age and should be stopped. So too with FGM, but I don't know any victims, don't know of hospitals where this is being done, and I don't even know anyone who knows anyone who has had this done.

[ Parent ]

But there seems to be so much animosity... (none / 0) (#175)
by thiveri on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:09:06 PM EST

toward the author of the essay, not only non-concernedness! As if it's got to be a battle btn male-female.

[ Parent ]
Animonsity (none / 0) (#211)
by catseye on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 09:20:52 AM EST

A lot of people still have their panties in a bunch over the last 2 stories I wrote. ;)

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
If there is little empathy (4.00 / 2) (#179)
by eightball on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:53:19 PM EST

where are the people supporting female circumcision? There doesn't seem to be a lack of people supporting male circumcision.

I am going to try to summarize what my view on it (emphasis on try).. I do not think that it is of the same magnitude, FGM is definitely worse than MGM, however they are still basically the same thing. One is like getting stabbed and the other like getting stabbed and living with a limp the rest of your life (I know, I switched the order around, but the stabbing thing made the most sense in that order, just to be clear FGM=limp)

[ Parent ]

FWIW (warning: triteness ahead) (2.00 / 6) (#149)
by Ken Pompadour on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:55:03 PM EST

Female and male genital mutilation rates are going down in the US, but haven't disappeared.

I don't believe that any serious public policy will be undertaken until an entire generation rejects the willful ignorance of their parents concerning sexuality.

This will, of course, tear some families apart. I predict that those that have had their genitals modified against their will are the most likely to detach themselves from their parents completely.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
Proof we live in a male-centric society (3.00 / 10) (#154)
by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:11:49 PM EST

Start an article about female "circumcision" and what's the main subject of discussion? Male circumcision, of course. Add to this a helpful dose of accusations of "hypocrisy" and claims that those who oppose female circumcision aren't culturally tolerant and we wind up with a bunch of posturing and hot air. In short - a dick-size contest.

I'm against circumcision, period. There's no good reason for it, and don't tell me about cultures and their equality and all that garbage. Cultures that don't change with the times die.

Again - cultures that don't change with the times die. Let's face it - quite a few of the cultures that practice female mutilation are also cultures that have problems feeding themselves, or maintaining adequate health care. Why is it interference in their culture when we try to help them to stop doing this to girls but it's not when we try to keep them from starving, or dying at age 45? Why should they be respected as a self-sustaining culture if they're not self-sustaining? Why should they appeal to our Western morals when they ask for emergency aid and yet ignore us when we give them the aid and start talking about other things that we don't like?

If Westerners are hypocrites, they're not the only ones.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Man are you lost. (4.50 / 4) (#156)
by Yellowbeard on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:19:52 PM EST

We don't respect cultures because they are self sustaining, we respect them because they are cultures.

Much of the debate on this topic has been about female circumcision. Also, probably a lot of the crossover to discussion about male circumcision is because this article was no doubt spawned because the author had been reading my inflammatory article on male circumcision that's still in the que.

My comments about female circumcision being a cultural phenomenon and therefore worthy of respect as such were made as an anthropologist - neuter, inhuman, scientist - not as a penis flaunting male.

Some aspects of your argument seems to be almost the epitomy of ethnocentrism, IMO.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
So it goes ... (3.00 / 1) (#182)
by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:23:44 PM EST

We don't respect cultures because they are self sustaining, we respect them because they are cultures.

If they don't self sustain, they don't exist - how can you respect something that isn't there?

My comments about female circumcision being a cultural phenomenon and therefore worthy of respect as such were made as an anthropologist - neuter, inhuman, scientist - not as a penis flaunting male. Some aspects of your argument seems to be almost the epitomy of ethnocentrism, IMO.

As a anthropologist, someone should teach you the difference between culture and ethnic identity.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
There's a perfectly good reason to talk about this (3.66 / 3) (#166)
by Rhamadanth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:21:34 PM EST

And it's because we can't change others without changing ourselves first. YOU try telling someone "We mutilate our boy children, but we find your mutilation of girl children barbaric! Stop that!"

There's no proof that there's any benefit to circumcising your boys, but we still do it because we (societally) believe that it's more aesthetic, or more clean, or better, or something. Well, they (societally) think that it's for the benefit of the girl, and you have to get that clit out of the way or the baby will die! Neither side is based on reality, but we somehow think we have the moral high ground.

Until we realize that a barbaric act is a barbaric act, we can't change any of them.
-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
different reasons... (4.00 / 1) (#177)
by twi on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:34:49 PM EST

Too bad nobody here is in favor of female circumcision, to tell us why he thinks it's a good thing. But I very much doubt that they realy think it's for the benefit of the girl because, clearly, it is not. The only benefit could be that she is more respectable, because she follows the tradition (or rather her parents do). And that is one crappy reason indeed. Such idiotic traditions need to be abolished. People who think they have to keep them need to be educated, and if they are unable to get it perhaps they even need to be forced to stop it. I'd realy like to hear of this supposed benefits, so that I may understand what thoughts those people have (or at least what they say they think). I'm against male circumcision too, but there the situation is not so clear. The damage is not as severe as with the girls and at least I can believe that the parents believe in those aesthetic- or cleanlines-benefits. If their reasons are not religious, that is, which I would consider stupid reasons too. But stupid would still be better than evil, and that's what I think FGM is, because the conesquences are so obviously bad for the girl and I because believe the original goal of this "tradition" was to deprive the women of any sexual pleasures. Damn, even thinking about this subject makes me angry.

[ Parent ]
Still, more about his than hers (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by pyramid termite on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:28:42 PM EST

And it's because we can't change others without changing ourselves first. YOU try telling someone "We mutilate our boy children, but we find your mutilation of girl children barbaric! Stop that!"

I'm not saying it wasn't a valid point in the debate - but it seems to me that it's dominating the debate to the point where the main issue's being lost.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
I see your point (3.00 / 1) (#184)
by Rhamadanth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:50:10 PM EST

I DO see your point. However, I'm not sure that there's any interesting discussion to be had on the topic. Everyone here thinks that FGM is bad, everyone wants it stopped. The talk on male circumsision is really just us talking about something that we can affect right now, I guess. :)


-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
geez (3.14 / 7) (#157)
by techwolf on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:32:23 PM EST

I have one thing and only one thing to say on this subject. I'm a guy but I still cring at the very thought of this being done. I love my GF and wouldn't want her or anyone else to go through this kind of thing. put simply it is barbaric and wrong. Before anyone starts yelling that we need to respect other cultures and that kind of bullshit, think on this. Why should we respect any culture that promotes ignorance and does not respect thier own people. by what right have they earned respect from anyone? We in the US have earned by creating a nation that strives to increase understanding,and to help other countries, just as many, if not all of the european nations have. they,like us, have EARNED repsect, others that do things like this have not and therefore should get any at all. well I guess that just my $0.000002
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
How can you respect what you stand for? (4.20 / 5) (#167)
by Rhamadanth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 06:25:20 PM EST

They mutilate their children, so they don't deserve cultural respect? I agree.

But WE mutilate OUR children, and it's sanctioned by medicine and religion! What respect does our society actually DESERVE? We got what respect we have being on the right side of the guns. Don't fool yourself.


-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
Clearing the air on Male Circumcision (3.81 / 11) (#158)
by alt on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:11:59 PM EST

I've been reading the comments here, and wish to point out why male circumcision can be a good idea. (This is strictly for those rabid anti-circ. people in this forum.)

1. Cleanliness - If you don't have one, then you have no idea how hard it is to keep clean. The area between the foreskin and head is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

2. Sensation - Painful erections are just that... painful.

3. UTI(Urinary Tract Infection) - My incident of UTI dropped significantly after circ.

4. Infection - Women with uncircumsized partners have a greater risk of yeast infection and other nasties. (see point 1)

I've had to deal with all these issues. I got circ'd at 21, so I know what I'm talking about.

Now, I realize this is a discussion about female "circumcision", so I'll give you a few reasons why it's a bad idea. (and these have already been covered, I'm sure).

1. Removal of the Clitoris is analogous to Castration.

2. Sewing the Vagina shut is analogous to sewing shut the foreskin

3. Removal of the Labia is analogous to removing the head and foreskin of a penis.

But anyone who suggests that removal of the male foreskin is the same as the mutilation of the female genitalia really doesn't know what they are talking about.

I've had none of those problems. (3.66 / 3) (#161)
by kelp on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:30:23 PM EST

I think your experience was rare and unfortunate. I've had none of those problems and am quite happy to be intact, and my girl friend loves it. When we first got together she was actualy quite happy to find out that I am intact.

I have no problems keeping it clean, just takes about 10 seconds in the shower each day, never had any Urinary tract infections, and none of my sexual partners have ever goten yeast infections when I was with them, even when we were not using condoms for long periods.

I'm not apposed to make circumcision if you want it, or if, like in your situation, it actualy solved many problems. But using it as a preventative measure for rare problems is just rediculous. And forcing it on infants is just wrong. Well, at least thats my opinion.



[ Parent ]
Ridiculous, eh? (2.00 / 1) (#204)
by Toasty on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 05:17:23 AM EST

Everyone in industrially developed countries gets immunized at an early age for a variety of diseases, some rare, some common. In fact, many immunizations involve injecting a dead form of the disease into the patient, which in rare cases directly infects the patient with the disease. Is this sort of preventative measure ridiculous? Read the posts written by the people who say they've been circumcised due to medical problems. Now, clearly they are in the minority, but I'm sure that restrospectively they wouldn't have minded being circumcised at an early age to prevent those problems from ever occuring. Male circumcision is not a debilitating procedure, as the male member is still fully functional. And as for ridiculous? Well, I'm sure people used to think that the idea of being injected with cowpox to prevent smallpox was ridiculous.

[ Parent ]
Which is worse (none / 0) (#213)
by Mitheral on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 03:29:59 PM EST

This seems like an overly aggressive preventive tatic to me. After all people DIE from appendicities every year but we don't routinely remove appenidixes. And I'd like to hear from all those men who end up with a barely functional micro penis wether they thought the preventive maintance was a good idea.

[ Parent ]
Anti Immunization (OT of an OT discussion) (none / 0) (#219)
by Mr.Mustard on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 10:40:45 PM EST

It may startle you to know this, but there is actually an Anti Immunization movement that contends that most immunizations don't have benefits that outweigh the risks.

Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
[ Parent ]

medical vs religious and general stupidity (4.00 / 1) (#171)
by crazycanuck on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:12:22 PM EST

you got circumcised because of medical reasons, so did I. we're the minority. the majority of peopel are circumcised because of either religious reasons or because "everybody does it"
it's almost standad practice in hospitals.

however, unless it is necessary for a medical reason, it's a stupid idea.

[ Parent ]
Standard Practice (none / 0) (#212)
by Mitheral on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 03:25:10 PM EST

I think whether it is standard practice is a cultural thing. It sure as heck is standard here in Canada and provincal health plans don't cover it (at least BC and AB) I been told that fewer insurance companies in the US are covering it as well. Which is all good if you ask me. I'm all in favour of voting age people being allowed to cut peices of their bodies off if they want; however, I think it barbaric that anyone would want to do that to a person who can't even speak.

[ Parent ]
Ummm (4.00 / 2) (#191)
by fluxrad on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:32:15 AM EST

1. Removal of the Clitoris is analogous to Castration.

Actually, removal of the ovaries is analogous to castration.

The problem when making analogies from one set of sexual organs to the other is that they don't translate well. The ovaries are basically testicles that grew into another function, and the labia are essentially the scrotal sack that would have contained the ovaries if daddy had hooked up the Y chromosome, but that's as far as the translation goes. You could argue that the clitoris is the female penis, which is true, but after a month of two of growth in-vitro, the organs become totally different and serve utterly different purposes.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
STFU (3.81 / 11) (#169)
by Eight Star on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:02:10 PM EST

So K5 gets an article on FGM, and male circumcision is a big topic of conversation, and you think. 'typical, men can only think about their penis'

Well, think about this for a moment.

How many people here have had their vagina's sewn shut?
How many have had any FGM done to them at all?

None? That would be my guess.

Now how many people here on this very forum had had their foreskins removed?
And how many of those wish it hadn't been?

A fair number I'd bet. So don't put them down for thinking male circumcision is still an important issue. It's basic human nature.


That said, FGM has made my list of things to fix.

Well... (5.00 / 2) (#196)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 05:30:51 PM EST

... I doubt many people here were planning of performing FGM on any future daughters. So the derailing of the conversation away from it is pretty natural. Besides for making that commitment to never do what we weren't planning on doing, the issue is just another of the many "maybe I should give some money to this good organization trying to help people" type things in the world. Sure, if I had a magic FGM-stopping wand, I would wave it. However, I don't have that kind of power, and short of it, there just isn't much I can do about it (nothing, in fact, that I shouldn't first do for more important issues).

In short, I'm convinced, FGM is bad, but posting this article was preaching to the choir and everyone knows that. Until those that would like to cut up their daughters are convinced, nothing changes. If you really care, go talk to them. I've already got more than enough charities further up my list.



[ Parent ]

mu·ti·late (mytl-t) (3.00 / 3) (#170)
by phatkat on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:06:39 PM EST

From dictionary.com, the best I could do on short notice:



tr.v. mu·ti·lat·ed, mu·ti·lat·ing, mu·ti·lates
To deprive of a limb or an essential part; cripple.
To disfigure by damaging irreparably: mutilate a statue.
To make imperfect by excising or altering parts.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Latin mutilre, mutilt-, from mutilus, maimed.]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
muti·lation n.
muti·lative adj.
muti·lator n.




I offer this definition because the word is getting thrown around in many posts and there may be some confusion as to what the word actually means.

I can't speak for anyone else, but my limited foreskin (removed via a male circumcision, to be clear) is certainly not essential for my needs. I have not been damaged irreparably, and I certainly am no less perfect due to the procedure (Your mileage may vary).

Keep this definition in mind as you use the word. I await any competing definitions for mutilation that anyone is willing to provide.

Of course you've been damaged irreperably (4.50 / 2) (#176)
by Rhamadanth on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:32:17 PM EST

Can you grow your foreskin back?

When you're born is one of the few times in your life when you're exactly perfect. You're whole, you're brand new, and everything is where it should be (I hope! :)

When they cut something off that you can't grow back, I call that irreperable harm. You've lost a part of your body that the unmodified, 'perfect' human male has. Human males come with a foreskin, that's the way it is.

Now, I'm not saying you haven't lived a happy, normal life, or that I'm somehow more perfect or more a man than you because I have a foreskin. However, the fact remains that your penis was mutilated at some point - changed in a way that you can't get back - and mine wasn't.


-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
Let's not debate perfection. (3.00 / 1) (#187)
by phatkat on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:59:45 AM EST

Perfection is a dangerously subjective term when applied to human beings.

When I was born, I couldn't control my bladder or anus. I couldn't walk, or talk; I didn't have any hair on my body to keep me warm. I couldn't chew food. My ability to survive was vastly inferior to say, an orangutan. By one definition, I was far from perfect. I would never really try to convince you of this myself, of course, but the perspective is valid.

I think we can both agree that my body was modified. But that modification is judged differently by each person, and I'm the one judging this body. I'm the one that has to live with it. I'm not distressed or disfunction because of the procedure, and by that standard, I see no reason to call my circumcision a mutilation.

[ Parent ]
Just a couple of questions (3.00 / 1) (#197)
by sysboy on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:33:51 PM EST

Would you do it to your son(s)? If so why?

[ Parent ]
Hey, I have an idea (1.62 / 8) (#188)
by Ashcrow on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 01:22:36 AM EST

I'd like to be the first to post that I don't care about this. Sex isn't the only thing in life, and while it is sad that some people belive that removing sexual parts makes them correct it's just as sad that people don't accept other cultures. Just because in the United States it isn't 'PC' or follow feministic ideals doesn't mean it's wrong (or right for that matter).


----------
"Are you slow? The alleged lie that you might have heard me saying, allegedly moments ago? That's a parasite that lives in my neck."
Cultural relativism fine, up to a point. (or two) (4.00 / 1) (#190)
by minra on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 05:01:39 AM EST

A) The motivation for circumcision (all kinds) is religious myth. If you favor evolution over creationism, if you favor medicine over shamanism you should view these practices with some disdain.

B) The affected children have hardly reached what could be called 'an age of informed consent'. Maybe in your culture it's ok for adults to bind the feet of little girls, but it's not a practice that respects the individual's 'natural' right for self determination.

[ Parent ]

That says it all (5.00 / 1) (#194)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 09:04:52 AM EST

I don't see anything more to consider than this.

Yes, female circumcision is much more severe than male. Both are bad. Both (especially on a young child or baby) are a grotesque violation of the right to one's own person.

If you want to gain an understanding of why people believe this or that idiotic political theory, just look at the defenders of male circumcision. They look for medical (or cultural!) reasons to justify a barbaric, archaic ritualistic religious activity.

If the god Yaweh, whom Jews, Christians, and Moslims worship, actually demands, now or in the past, such male circumcision, then Yaweh is a perverted freak.

Such judgement we make on the god Yaweh. Freak.





[ Parent ]
Hmm. (2.00 / 1) (#208)
by pietra on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 08:37:43 PM EST

So I could cut off your dick in accordance with rabid lesbian culture and you wouldn't mind?

Also, it's "feminist" ideals, not "feministic". "Feminist" is already a perfectly good adjective. It doesn't need the suffix "-ic" to make it an adjective, despite the fact that "feminist" can also be used as a noun. (I point this error out only because I'm sick of hearing about "terroristic activities.")

[ Parent ]

MUTILATION of another human being isn't wrong????? (none / 0) (#226)
by antigone414 on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 06:31:14 PM EST

Genital Mutilation, male or female, is still just that: MUTILATION. If you genitally mutilated an adult man or woman in most parts of the world, you'd be sentanced to jail time. Case in point: Lorena Bobbitt was thrown in jail for "genitally mutilating" her husband, but she only did what many countries to do their women. If we were to argue that cultural or religious beliefs MUST be respected no matter what, then her actions could have been labelled as justified had she decided to claim it was a religious belief, and her crime then would have been found not punishable in any court of law.

If you remove the clitoris and/or the hood, sew up the labia, or any other method of female circumcision, you are mutilating another human being and reducing their quality of life PERMANENTLY. that means you have taken something vital and personal away from them FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. Of course, since women are considered "subhuman" in many of the cultures that this occurs in, it's no surprise that this happens. Her only function is to pop out babies and clean the house when she is not being used as a sex object..

Thank god I was born in a country where this does not happen. I am thankful that I am able to enjoy my sexuality, and that I do not live in a culture that grotesquely mutilates women in a MAN-made ritual.

On a sick side note, I would genuinely like to know the answer to a question I have. How do men with wives who have been genitally mutilated feel knowing that, for their wives, sex is nothing more than a sick joke with no punchline? And, would you do this to your own children, or is this practice dying out over time as people become more educated and are exposed to different cultural systems where women are treated as equals?
antigone414 "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people."
[ Parent ]
Just think for one second (3.00 / 1) (#200)
by Celestial on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 07:04:31 PM EST

If this is a cultural or religious issue, does it matter? What give anyone the right to take from another person to be a whole human being? Can anything give anyone the right to take from somebody the ability to be an adult? A woman's sexuality is an integral part of her self, of her adulthood. Female Genital Mutilation is the act of taking from a young girl the ability to EVER be a woman. Even in its mildest form, that is its purpose. You can theorize forever on how and when the practice of male circumcision developed. Its wide spread in western civilization though. Why it is done to male babies is mostly because adults have been told that it is healthier, often because they do not want their boy to be out of place, or have something so personal be something they are singled out and made fun of for. Granted most of what is commonly believed about circumcision is false. But most people believe it to be true. I've had sex with guys who were circumcised and guys who were not. They all seemed to enjoy it alot. Whatever the reasons, the result is not that big of a deal. Its a stupid practice, but does not remove from a person the ability to develop sexual maturity. the two are NOT comparable. I've read all these posts about this or that, people trying to say that its not our place to judge, people trying to say that it is too the same thing... whatever. The idea that its not our place to judge is what allowed millions of jews to be murdered by the Nazi's. Its the same mentality that prevents the neighbors from calling the police when they hear a man next door beating his wife. The origins of this practice are a fear of female sexuality. Anyway, its not a reason to despise the culture outright, it is simply something that any educated and intelligent person should see as wrong. Something we all should agree is bad, and that should be stopped. There are many things that should be respected in each culture, but that does not mean that we need to accept mutilation as acceptable.

Stupid people... (3.00 / 2) (#201)
by gnovos on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 04:41:35 AM EST

Why in the hell do they call it female "circumcision"? IT is in NO way "circumcision". Why not call ritual executions "Love Massage", or call burning witches at the steak, "Cooking Lobster"?

Confusion in terms leads to confusion in understanding. D U H.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen

Because (none / 0) (#220)
by epepke on Wed Mar 06, 2002 at 05:55:36 PM EST

It's so that, when someone objects to circumcision, they can jump up and down and shriek, "HA! Male circumcision isn't as bad as female circumcision, which isn't even circumcision anyway, so shut up!"

In this Brave New World, it has been decided that male human beings hold all the power and have all the goodies with absolutely no cost to themselves. Some men, naively, point out that there are problems that specifically affect male human beings. Their feelings must therefore be trivialized and dismissed. One of the popular ways of doing this is to assert that if a man expresses these feelings, he is necessarily trivializing women's problems. Calling clitoridectomy "circumcision" is just another trump card for doing this. (It does no good to point out that the word "circumcision," which means "cutting around," obviously has nothing to do with clitoridectomy and certainly nothing to do with infibulation. That's just due to oppressive, patriarchal, male lexicographers.)


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Fuck this thread, all y'all are idiots (4.50 / 2) (#216)
by Noodle on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 01:06:37 AM EST

Yadda yadda ya. This is starting to look like your everyday troll-thread on Slashdot.org, and this is even before the Great Migration we are to be expecting any day now. What is wrong with you people? Isn't it obvious that both male and female "circumcision" are fucking barbaric and wrong, and that everything possible should be done to stop them both? It also should be readily apparent that some poor baby's piss-pain is a lot less severe than a woman's permanent inability to ejoy sex or reproduce properly, but still, no matter what, they are both FUCKING WRONG?!?!?

You people... Argh. I'm going back to read Plastic.com, where the truly well-reasoned and insightful discussions take place. And next time folks, if you wish to avoid my wrath but still can't deny the urge to spew obnoxious trolls, head of to one of the many places where it's more traditional.

{The Nefarious Noodle}

male genital mutilation (3.50 / 4) (#224)
by tiger on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 06:49:08 PM EST

Female Genital Mutilation is illegal in America. So catseye’s story made it to the Front Page, because there is not a large majority of mutilated American women, in denial that they were harmed by their mutilation, to vote catseye’s story down. Thus, in essence, catseye’s story is irrelevant. She is preaching to the choir.

Male Genital Mutilation is not only legal in America, it is encouraged in many ways, and widely practiced. My rough guess is that four-fifths of adult American males are mutilated. I myself am mutilated. Thanks to the exposure by bc, we know that catseye is a horrible hypocrite who sexually mutilated her own son. As bc said: Why is someone who mutilated her own child moralizing about the mutilation of others in other countries?

After I saw and read this Female Circumcision - Basic Information story by catseye, I decided to do a story about some of the harmful effects of Male Genital Mutilation, mostly copying material I had just written for a larger article at my website: Monotheism and Imperialism Go Together

I thought my K5 story, Male circumcision in America damages sexual relations, would not last long, and that is what happened. I was asleep when it reached -20 votes for a kill, but my rough guess is that the story was alive for only about 6 hours before it was killed. My own experience is that most mutilated men in America are in denial that they were harmed by their mutilation. I assume it was mostly mutilated American men who voted my story down. Thus, the victims of Male Genital Mutilation are its own best friends, and help to continue this evil practice.



I finally read this (none / 0) (#227)
by Agent Smith on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 12:19:41 AM EST

I actually let this scroll all the way off the front page. I'd been ignoring it. Then I saw a pointer on MeFi, and now I've forced myself to read it (and skim the comments).

Firstly, thanks for educating me. I still can't help but think ''eeeww'', but now I know.

Secondly, it's a shame that 90% of the discussion was off-topic.



Ouch is right! (none / 0) (#228)
by sweetie on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 01:13:19 AM EST

I honesty did not know that women circumcision existed.


"If god thinks he's doing me wrong , he'll strike his ass down with a lightning bolt!"
Have you been fucked with the wrong way? If so then post that Bitch or Dick to my Dick
[ Parent ]
Female Genital Mutilation (none / 0) (#229)
by cariad on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 07:35:56 AM EST

It is not acceptable in this "Politically Correct" world to say cultures who practice female genital mutilation should be respected. These girls are made to endure a painful and humilitating procedure that will affect them for the rest of their lives. This procedure increases the pain of menstruation and increases the mortality rate of childbirth. To say that painful sex is not important because sex is not the most important thing in life is missing the point. This is not a sexual act - it is a form of control.

To say it is in any way similar to male circumcision is an ignorant comment, unless a person understands male circumcision to be cutting off the penis.

Let's not allow puritanical ideas about women wanting to enjoy sex get in the way of what is basically a violation of those women's human rights. This kind of mutilation to the human body can not, should not, be justified on cultural grounds.

Female Circumcision - Basic Information | 229 comments (204 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
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