Yes! Different is normal!
So I just recently saw a video put out by Planned Parenthood, entitled "Different is Normal."
It's an interesting little video, obviously aimed towards teens, and it would probably be a very good message if it weren't for one, tiny, detail.
Actually, no, it's actually a rather large detail; it outright tries to call the circumcised penis "normal," like any other part of the body we're born with.
The video starts out with a good message...
"As a teenager, you worry about a lot of things: homework, acne, your profile picture. One thing you shouldn't be worried about is whether or not your breasts, penis, or vulva are normal, but lots of kids do. So, are they normal? Will they be when you're all grown up? Short answer: yes. Long answer: well, when it comes to our bodies, being different is normal."
Well, there's a slightly longer answer, but Planned Parenthood won't be addressing it here.
"You already know that our bodies are just like snowflakes, no two are alike. Our faces are all made of the same parts: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, but they all look completely different. If that goes for your face, then why not the rest of your body? The reality is that normal is different. It's all over the place."
Do you see where this is going?
They start with the penis.
"Here's a flaccid, or soft, adult penis. All penises have the same parts: glans, shaft, urethra, and all have testicles hanging below. Here's one that's erect, or hard."
But, where's the foreskin? Is that not a part of the penis? And why are they showing a picture of a circumcised penis, as if it were the way it appeared in nature? Where's the scar?
They show a second slide:
Only THEN do they decide to add:
"Some have foreskins, some are circumcised and have no foreskin."
Did the guy with a foreskin get some sort of body modification? Was he born with some sort of genetic variation? Why are penises assumed to be circumcised by default?
"Some are shorter, some are thicker, some are thinner, some curve when they're erect."
"All are normal."
Well. At least they hope to convince insecure teens.
Let's see how they treat the girls:
"Same goes for girls. Each vulva has an inner labia, outer labia, clitoris,
pening to the vagina, urethra, and clitoral hood."
What's wrong with this picture?
They didn't seem to forget the labia, nor the clitoral hood, nor the clitoris in this diagram. Furthermore, the girls are actually shown different diagrams of different other vulvas, complete with different shapes and sizes of the clitoris, as well as variations in the lengths of the labia.
A stark difference is that the boys don't get to see different types of foreskins and/or glans. It appears the only variations among penises is circumcised and not... Absolutely no mention of the frenulum...
"Even with the same parts, each adult vulva looks completely different.
Some have bigger openings in the vagina, some have bigger clitorises that stick out..."
"...some have wide outer labia..."
"...some have bigger inner labia that stick out..."
"...and often the labia in the pair don't match each other."
"All are normal"
So much dedication and care for the female vulva. Where are all the variations of the male penis? Where are all the large prominent glans? The long foreskins? The short foreskins? The uneven foreskins? Are those not "normal?"
But, more than this, where are all the circumcised vulvas? Where are the vulvas with no clitoris? Where are the vulvas that have been sewn up in infibulation? If they're showing diagrams of circumcised penises, why aren't they showing diagrams of female circumcision? Why does Planned Parenthood try to pass off the circumcised penis as just another variation of "normal?"
Would Planned Parent hood EVER dare to say that ANY of these things was normal?
Female genital cutting is "normal" for millions of girls in Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and all over South East Asia.
But let's not talk about THAT.
"So remember, when it comes to our faces, our hands, and yes, our genitals, different is normal. So you can officially stop worrying about your vulva, breasts, or penis."
Do you hear that, boys? Do you hear that men? You can stop worrying about the fact that someone took a knife and sliced off part of your penis.
Muslim boy becoming "normal."
This is perfectly "normal" and acceptable.
What about you girls who don't have a clitoris? Who are missing your labia? Or who have been infibulated?
For millions of girls globally, this is "normal."
Go sit in a corner and feel sorry for yourself.
Thanks, Planned Parenthood, but NO THANKS.
No, the circumcised penis is NOT normal.
It is a forced, contrived, artificial phenomenon.
It is a subversion of the normal, healthy penis.
No, penises in the world DON'T all have the same parts. (Neither do vulvas in the world for that matter...) Some are missing parts, and it's because they were deliberately CUT OFF.
But let's not get into that; this is a feel-good video for teens, right?
SHAME ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD
This video is pure self-serving GARBAGE.
Planned Parenthood ought to be ASHAMED for trying to normalize genital mutilation.
They ought to be ashamed that they are insulting the youth's intelligence with this crap.
SHAME on you, Planned Parenthood, SHAME on you.
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 normal, natural, healthy tissue with which all boys are born.
Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of 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.
The presence of the foreskin is normal, and its absence abnormal.
Nay, it is a deliberate disfigurement.
Genital mutilation, whither it be wrapped in culture, religion or "research" is still genital mutilation.
The same video touting the same bullshit can be seen here in Spanish.
The New York Times has actually published a very informative article concerning female genital cutting as it occurs in South East Asia and can be accessed here.
Excellent Joseph! Having read your posts about genital mutilation of children for several years I can see how you are honing your writing skills. You just get better and better.ReplyDelete
it's not just craft of writing either, your ability to take this insane and complex subject and present it so carefully, to make it understandable shows a very logical and rational mind.
I hope you might consider writing a book on this subject one day.
Meanwhile this blog is invaluable.
Interestingly the Spanish version of the above video has far more thumbs down than the English version. Hispanic culture generally doesn't harm the genitals of their children and that is reflected in the negative votes for the Spanish video.
Please keep up your excellent work!
Didn't they have some other glaring error in their teen section about this? Ugh. What about the teen girls who look at those slides and realize they are missing something? Talk about distressing!ReplyDelete
@Guggie: cultures that alter the genitalia never dreamed that the day would come when any young person with an internet connection can learn about (s)he is missing. I think that the internet is already having an effect on young Jews in North America, a community where intactivism is not unknown.ReplyDelete
@Joseph: The rise of intactivism has put PP, like the ACLU, between a rock and a hard place. If they tell the truth, they will antagonise their most reliable donors, older well-educated Jews. If they tiptoe around the foreskin, they antagonise us intactivists and crunchy moms. But we don't give millions to PP and the ACLU. I do not support PP because it is the largest abortion provider in the USA. As for the ACLU, it strikes me as "so last century," as my children would put it.
An entity that has forthrightly embraced intact as "normal" is Wikipedia, a fact which elates me. Thanks to Wikipedia, today's American high school and college students are seeing intact penises, and the seeds of non-cutting future parents are being planted.
This is why intactivism is completely ignored as nuttery. This is where you piss and moan? At a video meant to help kids because the video didn't conform to your narrow point of view. You guys are goofy as shit.ReplyDelete
Judging by the users profile page, PSN Home Watch appears to be a shallow waffly person whose opinion on serious matters, as the genital mutilation of non-consenting minors, is worthless and fit only to be ignored.Delete
If you honestly dont understand how this practice is primitive, pointless, and frankly disturbing, I think you just might have an extra chromosome there buddyDelete
Joseph, what a truly great find and spot-on analysis. More and more I am finding that circumcision promoters are on the defensive, attempting to validate it as a "viable normal option." This is just one more glaring example. Planned Parenthood should be ashamed of this video -- they should take a stance against all genital mutilation.ReplyDelete
Yes, I'm sure it's meant to "help" kids.
It doesn't really "help" anybody to tell nice little lies that make you feel good.
No, ignorance is NOT bliss.
It doesn't sound like you read my post at all.
You seem to imply that I "piss and moan" at this video because it doesn't conform to my "narrow point of view."
Maybe you like it because it conforms to YOURS?
Intactivism is ignored as "nuttery" by people who want to keep believing cute reasuring lies.
If it bothers you that much, you're always welcome to ignore this blog and go read something else...
Oh and one more thing...ReplyDelete
Judging by my blog stats, it looks like people pay more attention to this issue than they'd like to lead on to believe...
Love it or hate it, intactivism is here to stay.
Very disappointing of PP to have released a video with such glaring errors.ReplyDelete
How hard woud it be to write that circ'd penises are very common in some cultures and countries, and uncommon in some others.
Normal is not mutilated, unless it is common to mutilate.
Had PP been honest, they'd have said:ReplyDelete
Cut boys, you were deprived an integral part of your penis because your parents were too ignorant, superstitious or indolent to protect you or because your dad was so preoccupied with denying his own mutilated condition that he insisted that you suffer his fate. Either way you got screwed and you can and should blame your parents and your derelict society for the damage you'll have to live with for your entire lives.
Actually, aileen, from the point of view of "circumcised is not the way boys are born," I would argue that mutilated is NEVER normal. It's never "normal" for boys, it's never "normal" for girls.ReplyDelete
But that's actually a very good way that PP could have put it.
PP could have done such a better job of explaining this, but instead they took the route of, "ignorance is bliss."
"Male circumcision is normal, female circumcision doesn't exist," seems to be the message here.
I think that this video is reflective of the attitudes and true feelings of the authors.
Perhaps "why was I circumcised" is something the male authors don't ever want to have to think about? Perhaps some of the authors may be parents of circumcised children, and don't ever want to have to answer this question?
Maybe it's just PP in general. Rather than have to be honest and answer teens with the truth, and hurt the egos of teens and their parents, perhaps even upsetting doctors, better to create this video telling them never to question it, and to believe, instead, that it's "normal."
But what would they tell girls who were circumcised abroad? Would they tell them to think of themselves as "normal" for their insecurities' sake? In that case, would they use the PC response of "different is normal" to avoid a confrontation with angry parents?
I have a feeling that the conversation they had with a circumcised girl would be very different than the conversation they had with a circumcised guy.
Did you reach out to PP on this issue? I'd be curious to hear their response.Delete
No... Not sure it's worth the trouble.Delete
I have a penis, so they're more than likely to pretend I don't exist.
Furthermore, it sounds like they're out in Africa trying to circumcise more men in the name of HIV prevention.
Something tells me they're not going to listen to me.
We have the nerve to go all the way to Africa and South East Asia to tell girls and women that they are mutilated, that their society is disfunctional, and that it needs to be fixed.
But we here at the good ol' US of A?
We can do no wrong.
I wouldn't place this onus on parents though.
Remember, the person holding the knife, the person who supposedly went to school for 10 years or so, the person with the credentials, the person with the professional responsibility, the person who earns thousands of dollars to know better, was the doctor.
Parents give doctors their faith and trust because they are taught to believe that the doctor knows better. We are taught that doctors are to be honored and respected because they've spend so many years in med school, and, at least ostensibly, they're looking out for the well-being of their patients. Can parents really be blamed because there are doctors that betray this trust?
I'll tell you one thing; if my doctor told me that not circumcising my child would condemn him to a life of AIDS and cancer, I would have probably "choosen" to circumcise my children too.
Circumcision continues in this country, largely in part because our medical authorities refuse to take a stand against it. They don't want to hurt mens' feelings, they don't want to sound judgemental towards parents, and they don't want to anger doctors that keep doing this.
I think it is wrong to place all blame on parents, as I believe that all parents have the best intentions for their children at heart.
It is the doctors who are paid to know better. Parents who never even opened up a textbook on human anatomy, let alone gone to med-school, can hardly be held responsible for not knowing any better.
Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have no business performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals, let alone be giving parents any kind of "choice."
Can parents be blamed for being suddenly put on the spot and make a "decision" over something they've never thought to stop and think about?
I really don't think so...
Planned Parenthood should just come out and say it:ReplyDelete
The normal male is the intact male but because of religion and prudishness, many unfortunately men are sexually genitally mutilated so that they have reduced sexual sensation and function. The sad fact is that your parents just do not love you. Planned Parenthood should recommend that these sexually mutilated boys should sue their parents and the doctors and start præputial restoration.
Thank you, Joseph. This was an insightful and emotionally touching commentary. Planned Parenthood comes across as misinformed, intentionally ignorant, and in support of male genital mutilation. I agree with you: If they are going to call one normal, they need to call the other normal as well.ReplyDelete
Victoria, Miami Beach
I was angry when I first watched this video, but then it occurred to me. Planned Parenthood is based in the US. Even they may not know better. They specialize in reproductive healthcare, typically women's. Yes they do have men's and teen and general healthcare and whatnot, but predominately it's contraception, std testing, and information about fertility related things. Not exactly an anatomy class.ReplyDelete
That said I do seek to educate them if possible, via emails and even the chat option they have.
I love this blog! it would be better if PP said the clitoral hood is analogous to the foreskin and the clitoris has a glans analogous to the penis'. then the impact of the foreskin's removal would be implied instead of ignorantly overlooked. i hope gothic fairy has luck with his educating them.ReplyDelete
PP is a healthcare agency that exists within a circumcising culture. Females in leadership roles are probably married to circumcised males. They have probably had their sons circumcised. Males in leadership positions are no doubt circumcised and have primarily observed other males while growing up who were also circumcised. Get the picture? The video is reflective of the culture. Wrong, but it was created within this context.ReplyDelete
PP's funding has also been taking a beating of late and the management certainly does not want to alienate donors who belong to circumcising religious groups.
Its ironic that PP is so vocal about supporting a woman's right to CHOOSE, but is blind to the issue of a boy's right to choose to keep his body intact.
Activists File Complaint Against § 1631d BGB
December 2013 – German intactivist movement tries to tackle circumcision law.
Since december 2012 a circumcision law (§ 1631d BGB) principally allows parents to circumcize their son as desired. Now activists against HGM or any ritual mutilation (i. e. FGM and MGM) have written a petition to the German Supreme Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) demanding that the § 1631d BGB is declared as not being in accordance with the German constitution. Instead they call for an end to all circumcisions done without medical necessity.
27. Dezember 2013
Beschwerde gegen das Bundesgesetz über den Umfang der Personensorge bei einer Beschneidung des männlichen Kindes
Die Beschwerdeführer legen daher gegen dieses Gesetz Beschwerde ein und beantragen durch eine einstweilige Anordnung nach § 32 Abs. 1 BVerfGG diese Vorschrift sofort außer Kraft zu setzen, um alle medizinisch nicht erforderlichen Beschneidungen, insbesondere Rituale wie Metzitzah B’Peh, pria und Praktiken wie im folgenden Link beschrieben, die sicherlich mit einer Zirkumzision lege artis nicht zu vereinbaren sind, trotzdem aber durchgeführt werden, zu verbieten bis das hohe Gericht über die Verfassungsbeschwerde entschieden hat.
Die Beschwerdeführer beantragen zudem, die nicht medizinisch indizierte MGM an nicht einwilligungs- und urteilsfähigen Jungen auf die Liste der Auslandsstraftaten zu setzen, um sowohl Beschneidungstourismus zu verhindern als auch die gegebenenfalls erforderliche Strafverfolgung ortsunabhängig zu gewährleisten.
Hi Joseph, I agree and had written PP as soon as I saw this shit stink 'Normal'. I also wrote about PP's Glossary. It too has the same bent of missing basic info and minimizing important parts and clearly females get treated way better. Clearly no equal balancing of the sexes when it come to genital words and related info. I submitted how I saw their Glossary could be improved and balanced.ReplyDelete
There is a company Foregen that is looking to completely reverse circumcision with regenerative medicine. Here is the link www.foregen.org. They are currently running tests on this.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this information. While I agree that differences in bodies are normal, circumcision is a surgical procedure, it's not a variation of normal. It's very sad to see a circumcised penis presented to be as normal as a slightly larger clitoris or an uneven vulva. We need to stop treating our boys & men like idiots who cant clean, and respect their bodies the same as females.ReplyDelete
You make excellent points Joseph, very well written, gives me a bitter taste of hope in the future. Regardless of what inane nonsense and trite bullshit pro-circumcision dullards want to spew, I am certain that this is going to be a major social fight of our lifetimes, and I'm also certain that within a century or so, infant circumcision will be looked back on as yet another unjust, unenlightened, and barbaric practice, and the writings of those who support it will make an excellent resource for psychology essays looking at past practices and cognitive dissonance of (mostly) American society today. Seriously people, if you dont see how it is genital mutilation, to fuck a baby boys genitals up for life with not a thought as to how he will feel. And those millions of us that recognize what was done, we are left with no recourse and at least in America treated as if our resentment is pathological. Lol, okay, it's not absolutely bonkers to permanently mangle someone's genitals without a single thought as to how they will feel, but it is 'mental' to be disheartened by it and to feel negatively about it is the problem... what the fuck people, if you say you dont get it, either you are being dense on purpose or have some kind of terrible learning disability. And what the fuck is up with all the dullards who support infant Male circumcision yet recognize female circumcision as mutilation.. Why the cognitive dissonance you fools? I'm saying it now, you are wrong to even be neutral or ride the fence on MGM. I hope somehow this comment survives online for another 50+ years and is read in the later part of this century, as of 2019 we are contemporary to routine MGM in America still. I hope all of these posts that are pro circ survive too, it will make a great case study of how far culture can warp a person's mind to the point of irrationality. I think of the big picture, having studied history in uni. A human lifetime is nothing, in the blink of an eye 100 summers will have passed.ReplyDelete