We just want to cut our baby… is that so wrong?
When I was pregnant, I heard that lots of kids get ear infections, which are painful, can be expensive to treat, and are difficult to prevent. So my husband and I decided that we’ll just have the inner ears scooped out of our newborn daughter and replaced with a cochlear implant. That way, so many potential problems can be prevented, and she would be too young to remember any complications. We also planned on selling her into slavery when she turned seven years old, because it’s traditional in my husband’s culture to do so, and we might be berated by his elders if we keep her. When we told our friends that we weren’t planning on giving our child more than 300 calories a day, because she may become fat if we fed her too much, they freaked on us and threatened to call the Division of Child and Family Services. We were all like “What the hell?? It’s our baby and our decision to feed her what we want to feed her. Butt out.”
Did we make good decisions? They seemed to make total sense at the time, right? Thankfully, all of these ideas are either defunct, archaic, or just plain illegal, and for good reason. Smarter-than-average people have done research and found that certain actions done to babies and children are harmful to their body or mind (or both). Thankfully, someone is looking out for the young ones among us and is able to educate us on our options as parents. When we’re consistently doing something grievous, such as marrying off our twelve year olds or putting them to work in the mine, the government eventually steps in and makes that grievous action illegal. That’s what has happened in Germany, where routine circumcision of infant boys has just officially been made illegal.This didn’t just happen because someone in the higher ups decided to piss on the cheerios of people who love to chop some weiners. This came after doctors, scientists, and concerned peoples realized that circumcising is an outdated form of STD control, masturbation control, and infection control. It was also used to aesthetically separate one tribe of people from another (because, you know, if you’re not sure if someone is part of your tribe you can look at their penis before just asking them or something). Ok… I’ll grant these things… HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO. But, things are different now, and it’s time to leave the ancient and harmful practices in the past.
There are hundreds of articles about why cutting the foreskin off of every baby boy isn’t a good idea, but I’ll briefly hit some of the arguments for it:
- STD protection - Better controlled through condoms and education. Most can be cured with medication. Horrible reason to circumcise… please don’t do it so that you can safely assume that your boy won’t get AIDS.
- Masturbation control - Hahaha… Trust me, circumcision isn’t going to stop him from wanking.
- Preventing penile infections or UTIs - Can be prevented with proper washing (much like any other part of a person’s body) and can be cured with antibiotics. It’s like cutting the tips of your fingers off to prevent hangnails.
- Aesthetic reasons - If you really believe that taking the foreskin off of a penis makes it more attractive, then you are pretty weird. Those things are ugly no matter what you do to them. More phrases that makes me want to hit someone - “So that his penis looks like his Dad’s.” ”So that he doesn’t get made fun of in the locker room.” ”Everyone else gets it done.” ”The doctor made us do it.” Actually, in 2009, the circumcision rate in the US dropped to 32.5%. If this trend continues, circumcised boys will be the minority in the locker room.
- Tribal recognition - More easily accomplished with choosing various clothing options or complaining in Yiddish. No one does a penile check anymore to make sure that you are Muslim or Jewish.
- God told me to - This one has more facets that I want to tackle. First off, it was written in a book a very long time ago, when things were really different. God said lots of things in those books that are no longer relevant, such as taking slaves, stoning women to death, animal sacrifice, and marrying your dead brother’s wife to make babies. Please get together with your religious leaders and make a change for the better… or, at the very least, keep your own son intact. Who is going to check up on it? Will you be kicked out of your culture for not doing it?
Also, do you not believe that your god made humans perfect? Did he make a mistake and you’re supposed to correct it when the baby comes out? Does God think that babies should suffer in order to believe more fully in him? Finally, if a boy is of a faith that believes that circumcision is an important thing, and he would really like to get one done, then ok. He can see a doctor when he is old enough to make that decision on his own. Hopefully, if he dies before that time, God will be kind enough to give him a get out of hell free card for his young age, even if his penis is intact.
I would like to state that I do not take issue with all bizarre (to me) or archaic rules or rituals of faith. Hey, eating Kosher is a bit strange to me, but I don’t care if you feed your child Kosher food. I don’t care if they have to go to church each Sunday, wear long skirts and long hair, pray five times a day, or sing songs to praise the lord. Although I don’t always understand why these things are done, I’m not going to infringe on a parent’s right to have their child participate, because these things don’t hurt the child. I do, however, take issue when it comes to religious or cultural relying on faith healing to cure a deadly affliction, forcing a child to handle poisonous snakes, or lobbing off part of a child’s genitals without consent. There is a big difference here. Shit, I won’t even pierce my daughters’ ears without their consent. They can have it done when they are old enough to legally walk into a piercing shop and have it done themselves.
Now, as you guys have probably figured out, I’m not anti-semitic by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not anti-any religion, really. To each their own… BUT there is a caveat, and that is that I would really prefer that no religion or culture insist on injuring fellow human beings, and that includes their own people. So, I’m not a fan of things like genital mutilation, for males or females, and no matter which way you slice it (har har), or how desensitized you have become to it (another har har) that’s exactly what circumcision is.
I would like to point out that many in the Jewish and Muslim faiths (the two main religions that believe that boys should be foreskin-less) are turning to alternate ceremonies that mimic the bris or cutting. These people *have* done the research and the thinking, and they have changed their stance or their personal decision and will replace the ritual cutting with something that leaves their sons intact. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. Though they follow a religion, which is fine and dandy, they don’t follow blindly, and they are ok with bucking the system just a bit so that grievous harm isn’t done. We need more people like this in the world.
People, especially guys who have been circumcised, have told me that “it’s not a big deal.” I grew up with it being a normal thing to do to baby boys… most of the penises I’ve met were cut. But when I was pregnant with my first child, it only took about one hour of research and critical thinking to convince me that cutting of a section of my potential son’s penis wasn’t just “unnecessary,” but cruel. My husband, who is circumcised, agreed with me 100%. When you look at the facts, instead of going with “convention,” it just doesn’t make sense. I honestly don’t think that it is a matter that should even be left up to parents. Where is that line drawn? Should it be ok for parents to marry off their three year olds if they think it’s an ok thing to do? I, personally, am glad that’s not legal here… Should incest be allowed if a Mom and her twelve year old son really like one another? Also illegal, and for good reason.
When I’m OK with male circumcision - When it’s medically necessary, go for it. I had my tonsils out when I was a kid, but they were a real issue. Wisdom teeth, gall bladders and appendices also come out if they are causing problems. But they aren’t taken off “just in case” when a child is born.
So I’m going to voice my opinion on it and spread information, especially to expectant parents. I would prefer to do so in a kind and positive way, but if I have to verbally beat someone over the head if their response is just an eyeroll, then I will do it. I would do the same if someone insisted that it’s ok to take the clitorises off of our daughters, or the earlobes off babies, or paving over unsightly belly buttons.
Germany is going to get a lot of backlash on this ruling because they managed to birth the Nazi party last century, Nazis aren’t big fans of Judaism, and because many Jewish people circumcise their baby boys. People are, naturally, going to speculate that perhaps Germany is still a Nazi state and hates the Jews, and is perhaps hoping to make them leave the country, or just really piss them off for shits and giggles. I’m going to counter that with Do you really think that Germany is that stupid?? I don’t. I think that they are pretty smart, and ballsy, and are doing a fantastic job of sticking to their guns. Two thumbs up for Germany. Making the practice illegal will give parents pause — they will have to really think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Hopefully, it means that they will be likely to leave their boys intact, and will start to stand up, and speak out, against a cruel tradition.
Because my husband and I are thinkers, and not blind followers of questionable science or ancient practices, we opted to keep our daughters’ inner ears intact. We also shunned my husband’s elders’ lifestyle and kept them to work on our own farm, and found that 300 calories would lead to more problems than obesity would have. We still have plenty of tradition from both sides of the family’s culture that we will adhere to, and no one has “excommunicated” us yet. I think that we’ll be ok… perhaps more so because we’ve opted to come up with our own conclusions. I hope that all expecting parents will have similar experiences. Please think before you cut. You can’t put that shit back.
Here are photos of babies getting the procedure done, as well as the implements used.
“Circumcision is Harm” does a much better and more eloquent job of explaining the bullshit science behind circumcision excuses.
Here are lots of pictures of adult penises showing botched circumcisions. Probably not safe for work.
One of my personal faves: Intact America.