There is a blackout in America concerning the human male reproductive system; Americans aren't getting the whole picture when it comes to the human penis. Much of what Americans do know about the human penis is either incomplete, half-correct, if not factually incorrect. This is because most textbooks, sex guides, books on pregnancy, medical websites etc., are all geared towards normalizing the circumcised penis.
In American medical schools, doctors don't learn about the development of males with anatomically correct genitals. Most doctors are taught that all males are circumcised as a matter of course. They are taught to treat, diagnose and care only for circumcised males. The only thing they ever learn about the foreskin is that it must be cut off as soon as possible, because it does nothing but cause problems and disease.
American doctors are taught to treat males with anatomically correct genitals as patients suffering a medical condition, for which the only cure can be circumcision. Before diagnosing or treating any other problem with the human penis, it must, first of all, be circumcised above all else. Only then can a male patient be diagnosed and treated for other problems, nevermind the problems that circumcisions could itself cause.
Actually, American doctors are taught that having a foreskin causes problems, and that circumcision can do nothing else but cure or prevent them. If a male is suffering any sort of ailment, he must be checked to make sure he is circumcised first. It's almost as if American doctors' brains were circumcised along with their penises, for they seem to lack the part of the brain holding information about how the human penis in its natural, intact state, works.
These doctors, in turn, go on to teach the same lack of information, if not misinformation considering the male reproductive organ to other doctors in training, nurses, male patients, parents etc.
This ignorance of anatomically correct human anatomy is reflected in American literature concerning the subject.
The anatomically correct male organ is often, if not always, depicted as circumcised. The foreskin is often, if not always, missing from diagrams depicting male anatomy. It is often described as "that piece of skin that is removed from the penis during circumcision,"
if it's even mentioned at all.
Pregnancy books talk about having male children circumcised as a given, and parents are "warned" about the risks, perils and hazards of letting male children keep their foreskins. There is no question about "if"
a child will be circumcised, but "when."
Not having children circumcised is treated as tantamount to not having them vaccinated.
Doctors, nurses, books, etc., rarely, if ever, mention the fact that 70% of the world's men aren't circumcised, that in pretty much of the rest of the industrialized world, the majority of men have anatomically correct genitals, and that they rarely, if ever, suffer the problems that circumcision was supposed to prevent. They rarely mention the fact that despite 80% of the male population being circumcised from birth, we have higher STD prevalent rates than numerous countries in the world where circumcision is rare if not practiced.
Circumcision is supposed to magically reduce the rates of HIV transmission, but somehow the US manages to have a higher HIV prevalence rate than 53 countries where circumcision is rare or not practiced, according to the CIA World Factbook. We have more HIV than Mexico.
When American textbooks begin to talk about anatomically correct male anatomy, they treat it as a medical liability. The most typical description of the male foreskin in American literature goes like this:
"The foreskin is a loose flap the skin covering the head of the penis, which is removed during circumcision at birth. Not removing the foreskin increases a male's chances of contracting STDs and developing penile cancer. To prevent these problems, it is better to circumcise a child from birth, as adult male circumcision is traumatic and painful."
(Note: All surgery is traumatic and painful; it is not, however, always
medically necessary. In addition, touched off by the race to circumcise
the entire African continent, companies vying for a a piece of the
HIV/WHO pie are coming up with innovative devices that are making adult
circumcision simpler, easier, less painful and/or less traumatic. As a
result, the claim that "adult circumcision is much more
painful and traumatic" is increasingly becoming outdated.)
Imagine, if you will, if I described female breasts as "those mounds of flesh that are removed from a woman's chest during a mastectomy."
"But that's not a fair comparison,"
I can already hear some readers muttering to themselves. "Female breasts have function. The foreskin is an appendage and it may even be the cause of diseases such as penile cancer."
To which I would reply by saying that, actually, the foreskin also has function, and breasts can also be the cause of breast cancer.
When we describe any other part of the body, we begin by describing its appearance, shape and function. When we begin talking about female mammary glands, we begin by talking about their development, the fact that they produce milk to feed young, that they me be sexually arousing for men. We do not begin by talking about the fact that they can develop breast cancer, and that they may have to be removed
Why then, do we begin talking about the male foreskin by describing its removal? All the potential problems and diseases it could be a part of? Why don't we begin by describing it as an intrinsic part of the penis? Its mechanics? Its function? The role it plays in sex? Masturbation?
The peculiar thing about this phenomenon is that it seems to be unique to America. People in the rest of the industrialized English-speaking world get a different story.
In contrast, doctors in other parts of the world learn about male human anatomy in its entirety. They learn about penises with foreskins by default. And why not? This is what all human males have from birth.
Doctors in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan etc. all learn to treat the foreskin as an intrinsic part of male anatomy, like the labia in female anatomy.
They learn to treat the penis with its foreskin as an entire organ, and to turn to surgery only as a very last resort.
Doctors who learn this way learn to treat penile problems differently; they treat the foreskin as an important part of the penis that must be saved if at all possible.
They teach other doctors, nurses, parents, etc. how to care for children with intact organs.
What Americans learn about male human anatomy is starkly different than what their counterparts in other parts of the world learns.
This is a problem.
Browsing my Facebook news feed, I came across a very clear example of this difference in information dissemination.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of what the same website, BabyCenter (BabyCentre in the UK
last accessed 7/12/2016) tells parents concerning circumcision and male human anatomy in newborns.
I want to let readers check and see for themselves.
Why this stark difference in information?
Human anatomy is the same wherever you go.
So why is different information being dispensed for the same body part?
Why this chasm of difference in information?
Isn't denying information to parents actually a disservice?
Is the goal BabyCenter/BabyCentre to disseminate factual information to parents to be?
Or to offer corroboration, comfort and validation?
The fact is no respected medical organization in the world recommends the routine circumcision of infants. The AAP tried very hard to do so
in their last policy statement on circumcision in 2012, but couldn't commit to a recommendation in the end, because, in their own words on the policy statement, "the health benefits aren't great enough." This statement got rejected
by pretty much the rest of the world, because it takes an unfounded position against the best medical authorities in the West.
Pediatric medical associations in every other developed country take clear stances against amputating functional, healthy body parts from non-consenting minors.
These are just a few:
It is my opinion that one of the reasons that forced male circumcision continues in this country is the information blackout that exists concerning basic human anatomy. It is my belief that if doctors taught factually correct information, information recognized by medical organizations in the rest of the world, concerning anatomically correct male anatomy, to other doctors, nurses, parents etc., the forced male circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors would decrease dramatically.
As it stands, doctors teach little to no information, if not misinformation concerning male anatomy. When it comes to intact male genitals, America is living in the dark ages, myths, lies and half-truths abound, and websites like BabyCenter/BabyCentre help perpetuate them.
It is my opinion that part of our work as intactivists is to close this gap concerning information. We need to work raise awareness of this issue, help bring down the firewall that exists between the United States and the rest of the world, and bring American medical literature and academia up to date. The deliberate keeping of Americans in the dark must be exposed and dealt with directly.
INTACTIVISTS: Why We Concern Ourselves