Confessions of a Gay Male Feminist: To Cut or Not to Cut function isEmailAddr(email)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To Cut or Not to Cut

The Associated Press published an article recently reporting that male circumcision rates in the US have dropped. Not only have they dropped, but there has been a drastic decline in the number of circumcisions performed on American newborn boys -- from 90% in the 1960s to around 57% today. Doctors and public health officials attribute this fact to several factors: an increase in the number of immigrants who share differing opinions regarding circumcision; as well as a general attempt by all Americans -- especially women and mothers -- to reclaim the body as one's own over the last fifty years. Consequently, cutting of a male-bodied baby's foreskin is viewed as a violation of that baby's privacy (similar trends have been noted in intersex babies).

I have always been on the fence about circumcision. I, personally, am circumcised and don't believe I have any residual repressed feelings over the loss of my foreskin at birth. However, I have also dated someone who did not get circumcised until he was 20 years old -- a procedure he chose to undertake out of feelings of inadequacy in comparison with other "cut" men. Although he said that the aftermath of the operation was the most painful time in his life, I did and do admire -- perhaps envy -- his ability to chose how he wants to present himself to the world.

My reason for being on the fence about the issue was that I had always been under the impression that male circumcision was a means of preventing disease. I was shocked to learn that its health benefits are minimal, and "since 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics has not endorsed routine circumcision." Recent studies in Africa, however, suggest that circumcised heterosexual men have a lower prevalence of HIV than uncircumcised men. But based on what the AP chose to tell me about the study, I would be suspect of the evidence that attributes such a sharp decline in HIV infection rates to the simple act of cutting off the foreskin.

It seems that despite what the one study in Africa suggests, the primary reason for newborn male circumcision in America is social stigma. Every post-modern, feminist-influenced television series (i.e. Sex & the City et al.) includes some mention of the pros and cons of being with a circumcised man. Likewise, pornography -- especially gay male porn -- makes sure to mention whether or not the stars are "cut" or "uncut" -- and "uncut" seems to have garnered its own special category alongside BDSM and fetishes. Online hook-up ads typically feature the same information, just to avoid any surprises when your partner(s) drops his pants.

What does surprise me, is that while there has been such a vocal movement to reclaim one's body, little is done with regards to a newborn's rights. This surprises me since the anti-choice activists like to remind us that life begins at conception, but they are the first to prescribe an anaesthetic-free procedure to alter that "saved" baby's life upon entering the world. Similar attitudes are often enforced upon intersex children. Perhaps it isn't the baby the anti-choice fighters want, but rather, the eighteen years of legalised control over another human being that comes afterwards.

If I do have children -- which inofitself would be shocking -- I think I would like to let them make up their own minds regarding their body. If the health benefits are inconsequential, why would I want to alter their bodies just for the sake of aesthetic value? They can do that when their older, in between getting a tattoo and their nose pierced.

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At 11:30 PM, Blogger Beanie's Appa said...

I think a large number of the circumcisions today are just done without questioning why "daddy's cut, most american men are cut, we'll just cut baby"

It's interesting to note that the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) law has pretty strong language saying that you can't even do a ceremonial pin prick to an underaged girl's genitals, explicitly stating that there are no exemptions for religion or culture.

Why doesn't the FGM law cover boys, too? Aren't we supposed to not discriminate based on sex in USA? My only guess is that most the lawmakers are circumcised men with circumcised sons who don't want to even think that they might be missing something of value, or that they might enact a law against something they had willfully done to their children.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger FredR said...

There is more than one way to skin a cock. Sometime they cut the frenulum off, sometimes they cut around it. The prepucial frenular delta nerve, aka the masculine “Gee Stirng” and the feminine “G Spot”, trigger sexual arousal and erections when stroked or pulled. Causing sexual dysfunction by severing these nerves is an ancient form of eugenics on infants. Sure this will decrease the HIV rates but people won’t do it if they know what’s going on so they have to twist data around to convince people that the prepuce is the cause of HIV.
HIV enters our blood through micro rips in the male and female prepuce from rough (dry) sex, and anal tissue, too.
The largest organ, our epidurmis has natural anti viral defence Langerhans’ cell that produce langerin proteins that kill HIV and other viruses as they enter. These cells are all over our skin and consentrated in the male and female prepuce.
Schizophrenia is a neuro-chemical brain malfunction mostly associated with sexual TRAUMA before the brain developes language skills. Circumcision induced schizophrenia is often delussional and paranoidal, and sometimes coupled with audio and visual hallucinations due from milk allergies cause from a disruption in first mothers milk nursing caused from trauma. I had to look into this because my dad and two of my brothers, and two of my mother’s sisters sons have developed schizo-dissorders. Two of my other brothers committed suicide from sexual dysfunctions in their twenties.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger FredR said...

I am also a gay male feminist.
Men are born with Masculine pussy lips on their penises and feminine nipples to prove hands down that creation of life through evolution is a feminine quatily.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger FredR said...

OOps, I meant quality

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Sassywho said...

I'm with you, I happen to come from an American Family where circumcisions were not done on most males until this current generation started having kids and as a woman I find it deeply disturbing.

One of the things I do know is that a lot of men who still have their foreskin feel conscious about it because they do not look like all of the other boys... the reason my brother insisted that his son was cut.

and yeah, in as far as being cut offering increased protection from HIV... let's not forget that condoms are way more effective.


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