Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nancy McDermott tells intactivists to 'cut the crap.'

The fact is, routine circumcision of infants is just plain wrong. The foreskin is not a birth defect - but trying to argue that fact with parents is next to impossible.

Any parent whose had their son circumcised will immediately take a defensive position if you start to list the ethical and medical implications that contraindicate this unnecessary surgery - and you really can't blame them for doing so!

Any discussion about the ethics of circumcision leaves that parent feeling like you're personally attacking the decision they've made.

They circumcised their son because they thought it was the best decision for him - as loving, responsible (but ultimately ill-informed) parents. However, when you start discussing circumcision, it invariably leaves those same parents feel like you're accusing them of mutilating their child, being terrible parents and scarring him both mentally and physically for life.

Which is why we'll never have a decent discussion about why circumcision is wrong - and that means this disgusting 'routine procedure' will probably continue well into the future.

But even totally understanding why parents don't want to talk about circumcision - because it hints that they made a poor parenting decision - still doesn't excuse articles like this:
Circumcision: cut the crap
by Nancy McDermott

Intactivists’ who claim that being circumcised abused their human rights, and ruined their sex lives, should get a grip. Full story here.
In this badly written article, Nancy McDermott neatly marginalizes all adult males who feel that their parent's decision to circumcise them at birth was the wrong one.

They should 'cut the crap' she argues - and stop trying to prevent other children from suffering the same fate they did (even if, twenty years from now, they'll end up equally enraged by the ill-informed decision their parents made by permanently altering their genitals.)

McDermott rattles off the tired, ignorant mantra of the pro-circumcision lobby, but neatly sidesteps the facts that undermine her argument. After all, tackling the issue is not what this article's meant to be about.

As a mother, she just wants to make herself feel better about the decision she made - and offer similar reassurance to the thousands of parents left wondering if they made the right decision when they lopped off perfectly healthy flesh from their children's genitals.

Nancy McDermott's article isn't completely worthless, though. It shows that parents are listening, even if they don't like what they hear. All the noise about the ethical implications of routine circumcision seems to be finally getting through.

Desperate, pitiful articles like hers offer evidence that more and more parents are beginning to question the social norms that left their children incomplete - and that means the disgusting practice of routine infant circumcision might have a shelf life.


Darkling Muse said...

I think a valid argument against circumcision is this:

So you had your boy circumcised, why not your girl?

I'm sure 'dirt and bacteria' can also get caught in labia lips...

...oh wait sorry thats only something backwards, unethical third world type countries do right? Its anti-woman and underminds sexuality, causes mental scarring and is a crime so horrible there are laws against it my bad...

...Oh wait...

Naive London Girl said...

If I ever have a boy, I won't circumcise him. If he wants a circumcision later in life, ten I'll support that.

What I really hate about all this is that parents are making very decisions about their child's bodies without the child's consent.

I had my ears pierced when I was two months old. I didn't have a choice in the matter, but I should have. I know that ear-piercing probably isn't at the same level as circumcision, but the principals are the same: my parents made a decision to alter my body for cosmetic purposes.

That, I believe, is wrong.

Adriana said...

It seems are though you're saying every parent who chooses circumcision is ill-informed. I am not ill informed but it would still be my choice. Makes me glad I don't plan to have kids. It's just an argument I'd prefer to avoid.

champagneandbenzedrine said...

Hey Adriana! Thanks for your comments.

As far as circumcision goes, it's not a mother's 'choice' to permanently alter her son's body.

Considering that giving a woman control over her own body (through birth control and the right to have abortions) has been one of the toughest fights this century, I find it SHOCKING that women argue that they have the 'right' to perform unnecessarily alteration's on their children's genitals.

How can they claim that 'it's their body and their choice' regarding birth control, if they don't extend that same right to their children?

Medically, there's no reason to perform circumcisions (the medical board of Canada recently published a paper on this) so it's totally unreasonable to allow them to perform that surgery.

I'm against it for all reasons - aesthetic AND religious.

Anonymous said...

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jenni said...

Just discovered your blog, and was reading thru older posts. I have to weigh in on this one. I have 4 kids, 2 boys, 2 girls. My older son is circumcised. I was totally against it, but his father persuaded me with the old his-should-look-like-mine argument. Since we aren't together anymore and he lives several hundred miles away, I obviously should have listened to my mother's intuition (or whatever you prefer to call it). I have serious guilt over this, particularly since my younger son was born. His father (my current husband) is also circumcised, but thankfully shares my view - God, or evolution, or wherever we came from, is a much better designer than I am, so who am I to change what He/it/whatever obviously saw fit to include on the human body? Changing my own body is one thing, it's mine and mine alone. But I dread the day that I have to explain to my older son that I didn't afford him the same respect that I did his younger brother.

Champagne and Benzedrine said...

Great post, Jenni! Thanks for stopping by.

And anonymous - thank you very much!