There’s a parenting group of which I see the same tired questions over and over again. It’s a topic that gets censored by the moderators almost immediately, and when I see these posts I have to be very quick at delivering my information before the comments get turned off. Often comments get deleted, and it’s the comments that are AGAINST this “choice”. Only it’s not really a choice.
Breastfeeding or formula feeding is a choice.
Co-sleeping or sleep training is a choice.
Home birth or Hospital is a choice.
But cutting off a healthy piece of your child’s anatomy just because it was once considered “cleaner” is NOT a choice.
Routine Infant Circumcision is Genital Mutilation
I don’t care what your “reasons” are. Unless it was medically indicated to fix an issue that could NOT be fixed any other way, it is genital mutilation. You are choosing to cut the genitals of your baby boy.
It’s uncomfortable to call it what it IS, which is why someone came up with a fancy term “circumcision” to describe the brutal process of strapping down an infant male and removing his foreskin.
And I REFUSE to frame THAT as a parent’s “personal choice”. Sorry (not sorry) but if you have to ask if you should cut your baby boy you are expecting in however many weeks, then I will tell you NO! I will not be kind about it either. I will call it “genital mutilation” and point out that we don’t remove the clitoral hoods off of baby girls.
I know that there are many “reasons” why people do this to their boys. Note my use of “to” instead of “for”. It’s not FOR them. Trust me, no man who learns what was robbed from him at birth would choose to have a sensitive part of his anatomy amputated for reasons more to do with misconceptions, misinformation, superstition, and cultural bias.
In the U.K. there is a very low rate of circumcision. It baffles the people there that North Americans routinely cut their boys’ genitals at birth.
Information on this subject isn’t just reserved for medical professionals; you can freely access it on the internet. There is a reason WHY Canada’s health insurance doesn’t cover it unless it is medically indicated. There’s a reason why parents who want to do it have to pay out hundreds of dollars to do it.
IT. ISN’T. NECESSARY.
The Reasons To Do It Aren’t REAL Reasons
Before the threads on the parent sites get “shut down” and the parents who ask the questions can be properly educated, there are a lot of stupid, outdated reasons that the defenders of genital cutting like to state as a reason for other parents to cut their baby boys’ genitals. You know, because THEY did it to THEIR sons and have to justify the decision rather than simply accept that they didn’t know what they didn’t know at the time, they know better now, and while they can’t change what happened they can recognize that it was wrong.
When you know better, you DO better. Unless you choose to deny that you know better.
Well I’m not here to protect fragile human ego. I have an answer for all these “reasons” and I have logic on my side. Here’s the ones that are said most often:
NO, it’s NOT “cleaner”. There is nothing “clean” about having a wound that may be bleeding inside a diaper with feces and urine. You know what’s clean? An intact penis that hasn’t yet been retracted because the foreskin is still fused to the glans (like a fingernail) until such time as the child naturally gets older and is able to painlessly retract it himself. Until such time, you just wipe like it’s a finger and don’t worry about it. Much like the vagina is self cleaning, so is the penis of an intact male.
“Well I heard of a man who had to do it at 70 because the care aids didn’t clean him properly and he got an infection”. So rather than teach care aids and other health workers how to properly care for an intact patient you would rather cut off a healthy part of their anatomy as a baby when they have no say over the matter? Yeah, because that makes sense, sure! Why hold our staff to a higher standard of care when we can just cut the genitals of our baby boys so that they don’t need it done when they’re in a retirement home?
“I want him to look like his dad” You know, that makes perfect sense! My husband has a tattoo on his shoulder of a dragon so I think I should take my 4 year old to the tattoo parlor next week. You know, so that they “match”. Seriously though, this is a stupid reason to mutilate your child. You want to perpetuate something of which your mate had zero control over and subject your child to that same violence and loss of full genital function so they can “match” each other. Buy them matching outfits or give them matching haircuts. Leave your child’s penis alone.
“It prevents STIs” So do condoms, and they don’t involve loss of full genital function or potential complications from unnecessary surgery.
“It’s a personal decision” You’re right. The only problem with your logic is that you can’t ask your unborn/newborn son whether he wants to be strapped down to a board and have part of his penis cut for your own preferences. So how about you just wait until he’s 18 and old enough to decide for himself and ask him if he wants part of his genitals cut off and see what he says to that. After all, it’s a personal decision.
“If you don’t cut then it’s more work” Nope. Don’t retract. Don’t let anyone else retract. The foreskin will retract on its own when the child is older and then they can take care of it themselves. That might not even happen until puberty. Outdated misinformation on this subject is why doctors might still tell you to retract the foreskin, and if the doctor is telling you to retract then please educate them on intact care so they don’t tell some other parent this wrong information.
“If you don’t cut then they’ll get an infection” Only if you forcefully retract the foreskin. See above.
“It’s not as attractive” Gross that you think a mutilated penis is more attractive. Even more disgusting is that you care about the look of your child’s penis so much that you would wish to mutilate them just to adhere to your standards of attractiveness. That’s like insisting your daughter get breast implants because you prefer large breasts.
“Well everyone in our family is done” So break the cycle of forced genital cutting at birth and make a change. Once upon a time “everyone” used to sell their daughters into marriage in exchange for land or titles. “Everyone” used to accept that husbands had authority and could beat their wives and rape them because they had the marital right to sex. “Everyone” used to turn a blind eye to child abuse. This IS child abuse. END IT.
“It’s part of our religion” Look, I KNOW this isn’t likely going to mean much to you since it’s coming from an atheist, but I have to point this out anyway: if your religion requires you to cut off part of your genitals then maybe you should question that a little more. Maybe ask yourself if that part of the text should be abandoned in favor of the overwhelming evidence that this practice is harmful. Because I don’t care if it’s in a religious text: if there was a passage that said you could kill and eat people that wouldn’t fly in today’s society. Genital cutting isn’t religion. It’s mutilation.
“But if I don’t cut him and he has to have it done later it will be more traumatic” If you don’t retract and don’t let anyone else retract there is a slim to zero percent chance that he will “have to” be cut. Also this logic is stupid. More people get appendicitis and yet we aren’t taking out everyone’s appendix at birth “just in case”. We don’t cut off breasts just in case they become cancerous. We don’t take out tonsils “just in case” they get infected.
Genital Cutting of Newborn Boys NEEDS TO STOP NOW!
There are many, many people who have realized that genital mutilation is wrong. Many doctors are against it. Midwives are certainly against it. The government has decided to stop paying for it unless it is medically indicated. Parents who are educated on intact care continue to speak to new parents and tell them “NO! Don’t do it!” There are parenting forums that will not even tolerate any pro-genital cutting talk. But then there are the forums that are most definitely on the wrong side of censorship and they delete the wrong comments and shut down the conversation because it’s “controversial”. NO!
Abortion is controversial. Unassisted birth is controversial. But genital cutting should NOT be controversial. Genital cutting is wrong. It is wrong like slavery and marital rape are wrong.
I’m not blaming parents who cut their boys when they didn’t know any better. It was something that the founder of a breakfast cereal really pushed for because he hated sex. Thank god carbolic acid to the clitoris didn’t also catch on!
But NOW we have so much more information than our parents and grandparents had access to. Any doctors still pushing for this bullshit procedure are doing so BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM MONEY.
Genital cutting continues so that the dishonest people who are unfortunately in the medical profession can make “easy” money.
And if bodily autonomy, loss of full genital functioning and sensation, and the fact that it is NOT medically necessary are not enough of a reason for you to reconsider routine infant genital mutilation, consider the fact that babies die from this. Babies have lost their genitals from this. Babies have complications from this. The pain of genital cutting can interfere with breastfeeding. It can lead to painful adhesions and require further operative procedures.
None of these things are worth it just so your son can look like his dad.
Educate yourself and spare your child the future knowledge that the medieval and barbaric practice of routine genital cutting was something you chose to do to him as a baby even though other people told you not to do it. Because it’s been proven to be unnecessary, fewer people are subjecting their infants to this horrific practice. Which side of history will you be on?