Tuesday, November 19, 2019

International Men's Day Issues: Circumcision

Last year, I wrote a post on International Women's Day.

I had never even heard of International Women's Day. The only reason I even became aware of it was because I started seeing posts about it on my Facebook news feed.

Pardon me if I'm too logical, but I'm one of those kinds of people who thinks in terms of opposites and converse truths.

For every high, there is a low.

For every to, there is a fro.

To and fro, stop and go, that's what makes...

Well you get the picture.

There's a mother's day, there's a father's day. There's an International Women's Day, then conversely there must be an International Men's day.

I mean right?

Is that too outlandish to think?

So I Googled it, and what was the first thing I saw?

Angry feminists, bemoaning that every year, there is a spike in searches for the question “When is international men’s day?”

Apparently, somehow men all get together and collectively decide to antagonize women.

There are a few things wrong with this line of thinking.

First, why is any feminist concerned with others Googling about an existing counterpart day for International Women's Day?

What do they care?

Does International Men's Day, or even people LOOKING UP the goddamn thing somehow invalidate women or their dedicated Day?

Why does it bother them that anyone would want to know?

How absolutely egotistical feminists must be to be concerned over who looks up to see if there's an International Men's Day.

How pettily petulant it is to pout about the fact that some people believe there should be a counterpart to International Women's Day.

The common denominator in all this angry ranting is this idea that “men have had their own celebration all other 364 days a year, for centuries,” and I call BULLSHIT.

I work and maintain my household day in and day out with maybe only major holidays off. Some Christmas Eves I have to work up until Christmas dinner, and I never once asked for a “celebration.”

Fuck, I STILL don’t care that I don’t get a pat on the back. I’m a father. It’s my responsibility to work and raise the kids I begat. In Chris Rock’s words, “You’re *supposed* to take care of your kids! What do you want, a cookie?

Note, I was so busy working last year that November 19th came and went and I completely missed it. That's how much International Men's Day is important to me.

I mean, I care about Men's Issues, but having an International Men's Day to celebrate any victimhood we might have is just not that important to me.

I think about certain issues that pertain to boys and men every day and don't need a special day to do it.

But now that it's here, and that I've remembered, I'd like to make a post about outlining that one men's issue that I've dedicated my life to addressing; circumcision.

Why do I think circumcision is an important men's issue?
People would like to dismiss circumcision as this "tiny snip performed in infancy that no one remembers."

But the problem is much bigger than that.

Circumcising an infant child takes away a man's choice as an adult.

The fact is that 70% of men are intact globally.

29% or so were forcibly circumcised as children or youths as a matter of religious or cultural custom, and less than 1% ever need circumcision as a medical intervention.

This means that, given the choice, men would rather keep their whole penises. 

Forcibly imposing a surgical alteration on a child's genitals that he may not want as an adult violates a man's self autonomy and open future.

"My body, my choice" for girls and women, but not boys and men is a sexist double-standard.

Stigmatization and Body Shaming
In countries where circumcision is the norm, intact men are body-shamed.

In Western countries, it is considered inappropriate to make jokes about women's genitals in any way, much less female genital cutting. We are not to talk about large labia, fish smell or menstruation.

And yet it seems to be quite acceptable for people in American media to take gratuitous swipes at intact men, and even make jokes about having men and boys forcibly circumcised.

Belittling jokes and humor about "all that extra skin" and smegma can be seen in American stand-up comedy, in television shows and Hollywood movies.

Women are not to be objectified.

Feminists resent being seen by men as nothing more than sexual fantasy, reduced to just a walking set of breasts and buttocks.

And yet, it seems it's acceptable for women on social media to reduce to men to walking, talking penises, openly state that intact men are "ew, gross," that they would never date one, and that they will be sure to circumcise their male children to satisfy the sexual preferences of hypothetical daughter-in-laws.

It would never  be acceptable for men to express that they prefer the look of a circumcised vulva, much less bragging on social media that they would circumcise their daughters to appease a hypothetical male suitor.

In non-Western countries, such as different countries in Africa where male circumcision is the norm, it goes beyond the shaming and harassment of intact males. In some African tribes, such as the Bagisu, if a male is found to be intact, they will parade him through the streets and forcibly circumcise him. Some tribes, such as the Kikuyu, go as far as circumcising the males of rival tribes that do not circumcise.

The objectification of men, and the sexualization of newborns needs to stop.

The body-shaming and humiliation of intact men needs to stop.

The bodies of people of both sexes need to be respected.

Invalidation of Men Who Resent their Circumcision
When women who have undergone FGM speak, the world listens.

People lend an ear, and give their empathy and compassion.

When men who were circumcised at birth express resentment of what happened to them, they are often belittled if not dismissed outright.

Some people go as far as expressing disbelief that any men actually resent their circumcision “because it happened so long ago,”, or that their circumcisions have caused them pain or discomfort when masturbating or having sexual intercourse with a partner. “A man can still get hard and ejaculate,” so what’s the problem?” they say.

A circumcised woman could still take in sperm and shoot out babies. Imagine if anyone said that. It’s not acceptable to think of a woman as a baby-making machine, but it’s perfectly fine to reduce a man to a living, breathing sperm bank.

This gets into another point that needs to be raised; the sexuality of women is placed on a pedestal and worshiped, whilst male sexuality is minimized or deemed immaterial. I recently got into an argument on Twitter with a woman who made a comment along the lines of "Why is male sexuality important? When a man and a woman have sex, what matters is that the woman is satisfied. Why does everything have to center around men?" Is it not immediately obvious that if men had the full equipment they were born with, they might know how to use it to please women better? No one ever made the argument that women's satisfaction didn't matter, but the same person in the same breath states that a woman's satisfaction matters whilst a man's doesn't.

It's all interrelated. How are men supposed to know how to pleasure a woman when they've been masturbating with and having sex with damaged equipment their whole lives? You can't dismiss male sexuality issues such as circumcision, where 80% of American men have had their genitals mutilated at birth, and then wonder why, oh why is sex with men so dissatisfying.

Male sexuality matters.

What happens to men affects women. Women who care about pleasure during heterosexual intercourse with men ought to be concerned instead of dismissing it and treating it as inconsequential.

Why do we dismiss and ridicule men who resent their circumcision?

Why does it matter that a man’s circumcision happened so long ago?

A woman is allowed to “me too” about a fuzzy incidence in college she can’t exactly remember, but the rules are different for boys and men.

"Believe her," but not "him."

You can't deny a woman's "lived experience," but you can deny a man's.

Why the double-standard?

A man touches his penis and is reminded of his circumcision every time he urinates, takes a shower, masturbates and makes love. The question isn’t “How can he remember?” The question is, How can he forget?

It has recently become en vogue to criticize men not expressing their feelings as “toxic masculinity.”

Saying “Men should express themselves more” is just lip service if they’re going to be dismissed or ridiculed.

When a person's genitals are forcibly cut, it shouldn't matter what sex or gender they are in order to think his or her basic human rights were violated.

And yet there is this firewall between the forced genital cutting of males and females.

While there are entire organizations and world governments speaking out against the forced genital cutting of girls and women, they are strangely silent when it comes to the forced genital cutting of boys and men.

While human rights advocates fly half-way around the globe to decry the genital mutilation of girls and women, the very same people display a willful ignorance to the genital mutilation of boys in their own countries. While their cameras faithfully bring back images of girls being restrained as they have part of their genitals forcibly cut off, they somehow fail to capture images of the boys who are enduring the same in the very same countries.

And yet, when the issue of male genital cutting is raised, it is met with immediate shut-down.

"We're talking about women's genital cutting, not boys and men."

"Must we talk about men's penises?"

Say some people.

So when are we going to talk about the forced genital cutting of boys and men?

When do we stop talking about vaginas and start giving attention to men's penises?

The irony is lost on people who frame the raising of the fact that 3,000 male infants are circumcised a day in the United States, while FGM is banned in several states, as an "interruption."

We talk a whole awful lot about how women endure FGM in the African bush, by amateurs using crude utensils such as rusty blades and glass shards, but we don't want to talk about the fact that scores of young men die every year on the same continent.

"Men interrupt conversations about women's genital cutting to talk about their penises. Typical."

Say some women.

"We are being erased," they say.

Oh the bloody irony.

It's about time we stopped erasing the boys and men.

There is no shortage of organizations decrying FGM.

It's forced male genital cutting that is erased.

I hope this post gives readers a glimpse of all the issues that surround male circumcision, and I hope they can see that there's more to it than just "a little snip." This International Men's Day let's give male circumcision the overdue attention it deserves.

I'd like to close by giving some of the men in this movement honorable mention.

Thank you David Llewellyn, for all the legal work you do.

Thank you Dr. Dean Edell for being a Jewish voice against male infant circumcision.

Thank you Leonard Glick, for your book Marked in Your Flesh.

Thank you Brian Earp for all the research on this and other topics that you do.

Thank you Steven Svoboda, for running Attorneys for the Rights of the Child.

Thank you Brendon Marotta for your documentary American Circumcision.

Thank you Eric Clopper, for using your voice and making the sacrifices that you have.

Thank you Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon for your documentary Cut.

Thank you Brother K for having the courage to do the things I never could.

And sorry to those of you whom I couldn't remember off the top of my head.

Mission Statement
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails.

The foreskin is not "extra skin." The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, functioning tissue, present in all males at birth; it is as intrinsic to male genitalia as labia are to female genitalia.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents.

In any other case, reaping profit from non-medical procedures on non-consenting individuals constitutes medical fraud.

Genital integrity, autonomy and self-determination are inalienable human rights. I am against the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors because it violates these rights.

Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

Related Posts:
Happy International Women’s Day Marilyn Milos

RED HERRING: The Abortion DebateCircumcision is Child Abuse: A Picture Essay

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