I thought to myself one day, “We need to raise the bar on our expectations of men.” I started to sketch, and my thoughts shifted. I’m not sure raising the bar is as important as showing just how low an expectation it is of any parent to spare a child from forced genital cutting and for doctors to practice actual medicine.
Usually the ‘debates’ devolve along common pathways. There is no surprise in them. One can get involved in battles over trivia, statistics, tradition… but these are just adjunct objections which can be debunked. We must bring it back to first principles, even when discussing the statistics and ‘potential’ benefits so widely parroted, without investigation, both in the media and in our communities. A child is not a tool to be used at parental whim or to be altered based on [hopeful] speculation by those who defend the practice of forced genital cutting.
The main cause for concern is that the psychological need to inflict this harm on an innocent child– and then to defend that ‘choice’– is not rational. Many have been duped by the arguments presented by alleged ‘healing arts professionals’, but these are not the people who concern me. They believed, because of what they’d been told, perhaps in spite of their instincts, that they’d done the best thing for their child. They can be reached with correct and compassionately delivered information, despite the pain it may bring to them.
It is the narcissists who loudly spurt “I, ME, MY, MINE” when speaking about their CHILD’s penis who try to shut down conversations. It is they whom we cannot allow to ‘get away with’ broadcasting false information and irrational defenses. It is they who try to manipulate, cast aspersions and censor.
Perhaps we encounter those for whom “To each their own!” is the shut-down tactic. To each their own opinions? Of course they are entitled to their own opinions. If they are based on misandry, ignorance and selfishness, however, we are entitled to weigh their opinions accordingly. When their opinions mean children suffer, they should be accorded exactly the amount of respect they deserve.
‘To each their own, all right.” To each their own genitals. It isn’t asking much.
The issues involving non-therapeutic infant circumcision are clear. There are not ‘gray areas’ which demand special consideration. The assumptions made about the ‘medical benefits’ or even ‘spiritual’ importance…. of forcibly severing part of a child’s normal, healthy anatomy, even were they proven to bear out for a few individuals, do not justify this ‘special’ treatment for this one ‘special’ body part at parental whim to serve THEIR own psychological needs.
Another familiar tactic to try and quell discussion is to trivialize our efforts. On one particularly irritating day, I encountered this tactic twice. It didn’t take me long to make this graphic showing just how ‘trivial’ trying to save infants from adults’ needs for genital cutting is:
Some believe there must be some compromise, as though human rights of male children [and the men whom they become] somehow matter less than other rights….
False distinctions are widely used. We are told that MGC and FGC are vastly different. This cultural blindness relies on both exaggerating the ‘medical’ benefits of MGC and ignoring its harms, while at the same time demonizing the practice of FGC. Furthermore, a tradition of MGC is promoted as ‘spiritual’ while a tradition of FGC is deemed ‘barbaric.’
Here is a side-by side example of the “conflation” which we are warned to avoid in considering MGC in the same light as FGC. Yeah. SO HARD to see how one might confuse genital cutting… with genital cutting. You can read more about these false distinctions here.
Non-therapeutic, non-consensual genital cutting, whether imposed on a male, female, or intersex child, is an alarming and painful reality. That makes it unpleasant to write about or discuss on its own, but the emotional rampages one encounters make it especially difficult. When confronted by [and allow an unscientific term here] exceptional butthurt, I find it useful to remember who might really be reached. On our facebook page we allow for pretty open commentary. One reason for that is that those who voice common misconceptions do us a favor. They can be educated and they can also expose criticism of genital cutting to those who may have never really looked into it.
SOME pro-circ loudmouths believe all their friends must think as they do, that intactivism is a waste of time or stupid, but we know better. We expect that some of their friends will be capable of rational thought… even when discussing penis cutting. Their sons might be spared. Write with them in mind.
There is no amount of evidence, no statistic, no opinion, no religious belief which justifies subjecting a child to the amputation of part of his penis without medically IMPERATIVE reasons. I know my mother was NOT told that one of the risks was death. Had she been informed of that risk (especially after all that she went through in having me at a young age), she would not have permitted it. A ‘happy meal’, baby product or child’s toy which killed over one hundred children a year in the United States would be pulled immediately.
This ‘product’ is medically and ethically fraudulent, invasive, and it disrespects human rights and individual freedoms. It kills, while offering no benefit worth THAT risk. The need to circumcise is a psychological frailty. Children deserve better.