• Wed, Mar 7 2012

STFU Parents: 4 Reasons Not To Discuss Your Son’s Circumcision On Facebook

Several months ago, I posted a column called “5 Things Parents Should Not Discuss About Their Baby Boy’s Junk.” (I also posted a round-up of examples on STFU, Parents.) I wrote about the usual stuff like baby balls and baby boners, but one subject that didn’t make the cut – heh – was circumcision. One reason for that is that circumcision is a very sensitive subject (pun #2!), and the other reason is that I figured if I was going to bring it up, I may as well dedicate a whole column to it. After all, we’re talking about a surgical procedure in Man’s most private of areas. What could be more deserving of its own column than that?!

Seriously, though, I avoid the topic on my blog (with the exception of this post about an intactivist father), because unlike breastfeeding – another controversial subject that occurs in infancy – the pros and cons of circumcision are often weighed equally. According to KidsHealth, “circumcision is not considered essential to a boy’s health,” and, “The AAP does not find sufficient evidence to medically recommend circumcision or argue against it.” Because of this gray area, I’m reticent to share my own views, so today I’m not imparting any of my personal beliefs or forcing my opinions on anyone. I’m simply here to say that circumcision is a personal matter, a family matter — and for that reason, people should probably stop talking about it on Facebook.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Timing

STFU Parents

Unless you’re inviting people to a religious ceremony, there’s no need to announce exactly when your son is getting circumcised. Feel free to share the news with friends and family – just preferably offline and without a play-by-play.

2. TMI

Everything about Melissa’s update bums me out. From her botched spelling errors to the painful detail about her kid’s re-circumcision, her update proves why Facebook shouldn’t be used as a baby book.

3. Public Opinions and Updates

Roger’s comment sums up my feelings on this whole discussion. The more medical history a person publicly reveals about his or her family members, the more opinions come into play. I think it’s great that Kaitlyn “likes opinions on stuff like this,” but there are a number of inaccurate “facts” in this Facebook thread that prove the conversation should be had offline. Plus, even as a woman I’m offended by the statement, “…he looks funny to me.” I’m guessing Roger might share that sentiment, as well.

Another thing about conversations like this: Why do people always feel the need to share updates as things progress?

Poor Kevin. First Kaitlyn takes their son to get his foreskin removed at the doctor, and then she emasculates her husband on Facebook using an exclamation point and a smiley. I guess we know who wears the pants in that family, so to speak.

4. Religion

I’ll ignore the fact that this child’s name is “Behr” and cut right to the chase: If the two things you shouldn’t talk about over dinner are politics and religion, then it’s safe to say you could apply that rule to Facebook and add circumcision to the list. Once you start talking about foreskin as it relates to Him, you’ve officially loost lost me.

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • Jules

    This article makes reference to a “Roger,” yet strangely he does not appear. . . Maybe he circumcised himself right out of this article.

    • anon

      Roger is the blue commenter on the thread in #3.

  • dooo beee dooobeeedo

    two questions: who is Roger?…if there’s a Roger/Kaitlyn awkward talk, I am totally dying to read it.

    and..not to be an asshole but, I’m curious how others read this…”botched spelling errors”…anyone else think a botched spelling error would be spelling something correctly? Is that just me? I kind of feel like you can have botched spelling or spelling errors but all together….you just have great spelling. Clearly Melissa does not have botched spelling errors…she’s just got a hot mess up there

    • STFU Parents

      Hi there! To answer #1 – The post has been updated. :) But regarding the “botched spelling errors,” you raise a good point. I didn’t want to say, “botched spellings,” as it sounded awkward, so I added “errors” to clarify what I meant. But perhaps it should be changed. Thanks for the note.

    • ODBeckster

      This feels like the George Carlin discussion on “near misses”.

  • Kelly

    I’m missing the Roger thing as well! ;o As well as the “looks funny” business. Are my eyes messing with me?

    • Sarah

      I had the same problem. I had to refresh the page, I think it didn’t load correctly the first time. I thought I was going crazy too.

    • Koa Beck

      All fixed ladies!

  • Deanna

    Something is missing from #3, i don’t see a roger or the discussion, and i’m bummed about that

  • Kinneyl

    Did I miss something with #3?? And I’m only seeing 4 examples, not 5??

  • Heather

    You missed the myriads of facebook discussions where the anti-circers discuss ad nauseum the state of their little one’s willies. Or put t-shirts on them advertising it to the world: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=262901757060246&set=o.202794322670&type=1

    • Stella

      This shirt reminds me of Away We Go:
      “I love my babies! Why would I want to PUSH them away from me?”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6CMxvwRA-o

    • KyukiYoshida

      Oh god, that page that the picture is on is awful. They told me that I was a terrible person for being unable to breast feed, and how i was a failure for having to have a C-section. All i wanted was some alternatives to spanking when it came to discipline! Also I noticed her two year old son sleeps with them. Alot of parents are hopping on the bandwagon to co-sleeping, but idk. i really stress and enforce the importance of everyone having their own space. So my daughter doesn’t sleep in our bed at night, because it’s mum and dads space. Just another thing to add to the list that makes me a failure lol.

  • DaisyKate

    I had exactly one conversation about my sons’ circumcision with someone besides my husband, and that was my mother, and that was only because she asked if I was planning to do it – I wouldn’t have brought it up myself. It’s definitely not a topic for public discussion.

    • cosmopolite

      My mother’s stance: A mother discusses her baby’s circumcision with her husband, and the baby’s doctor. And nobody else. A reason why my mother does not approve of my intactivism. She kept me intact, BTW, long before it was in fashion.

  • sorryihadto

    I can’t help myself, if according to the doctor he has no feeling in his penis then why did he need to be numbed?

    • Dood

      I’m assuming the doctor said to her…
      “He won’t have any feeling because he’ll be numbed.”

      And she took it as

      “He has no sexuality yet, so he has no feeling down there! Babies are pure and don’t feel sexual pleasure of course!!!”

    • Nyaa

      That whole “they don’t their sexuality” yet just really confused me.

      I’m sorry, what, so until they hit puberty their just numb in the waste down? What does sexuality have to do with being able to feel down there. I am so confused.

    • Low

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Natasha

      my thoughts exactly!

  • RS

    Roger is in blue, at the very bottom of Kaitlyn’s discussion thread.

    • dooo beee dooobeeedo

      he wasn’t there at first. She has to edit the post so it would show up.

  • Sandra

    I’m not going to start a pro-con circ discussion, but if you (the Facebook poster) have to choose an unnecessary surgical procedure for your young child, please keep the gross details off Facebook and other social media outlets. Nobody needs or wants to know…
    *waits for the first Facebook update with before and after pics*

  • Melissa

    I have a policy. I don’t discuss my children’s genitalia with anyone but their father and their pediatrician. Circumcised, un-circumcised…it’s none of anyone’s business but ours.

    Lemme tell ya a story though, it’ll make you all laugh and cringe: When my husband and I were in the early months of our dating relationship, we went over to his parents’ house for our birthday dinner (we have the same birthday). When we arrived, our eyes were greeted by a veritable shrine to my husband’s childhood on the breakfast bar of my mother-in-law’s kitchen. Baby books, albums, keepsakes, foot and handprints, the umbilical cord stump, and yes….THE CIRCUMCISION RING.

    Welcome to “How to Embarrass Your Son in Front of His New Girlfriend 101″.

    • Howdy Doody Time

      And yet you didn’t run away! It MUST be true love (no sarcasm). Also, I had no idea there’s a circumcision ring.

    • MommyK

      GROSS! And the umbilical cord stump too? He must have been like, “MOM!!!”

      It’s cute you have the same birthday, btw!

  • kate

    in #3 Kevin’s plea for hsi wife to take the status down reminds me of a few years ago when my cousin was excited for his first boy and posted the ultraouns with the arrow point out the in utero baby penis. His wife responded something to the effect of “im glad you think its ok to post our sons penis on facebook….”

  • Khai

    Jules,

    I commented just to give you a mental high five for your comment.

    I actually lol-ed at “maybe he circumcised himself right out of this article”

    And that is all. Carry on :)

  • Jess

    Roger- unlikely voice of reason.

  • Cey

    Wait, why is Kaitlyn telling her husband no emasculating? Obviously the exclamation-point-and-smiley is weird and twee and the post is pretty shudderworthy, but her saying no hardly makes him less of a man.

    • Kat

      I think it’s less the fact that she said “no” and more the tone surrounding it. Telling anyone you think their discomfort is funny (as evidenced by the smiley face) is rude, let alone your husband. And on a public forum, no less.

    • STFU Parents

      Yep, Kat summed it up!

    • Cey

      Ah okay! That makes more sense – I was plenty uncomfortable just reading that, can’t imagine actually being involved. Thanks for the clarification, Kat and STFUp!

  • doubledutchduh

    Methinks Katelynn is a big fat liar. Notice how first it was her mother who told her they have no feeling, then she changed it to the doctor having said it? She just made up the doctor part to try and give her argument more weight, I’d wager.

    • A

      I was thinking the same. And “mother” makes more sense than “doctor.” A grandmother may be uneducated (or unthinking) enough to not realize that lack of hormones does not mean lack of nerves. A doctor, though, should know better than that.

      And to all these foolish parents, I do not want kids, so I don’t really have an opinion on circumcision, but good god, if you’re going to sexually mutilate your child, at least be informed about it. It’s more okay, to me, to say that you’re circumcising because it’s religious or familial tradition than it is to spread medically inaccurate information like, “it’ll get infected if we don’t”

  • Joseph4GI

    Unless you are willing to hear it from other people, and you WILL, do NOT post about your son’s genitals online.

    There is nothing more infuriating to read that some parent took Jr. to go get “snipped,” but when somebody shows disgust, the parent gets “offended” that somebody else “doesn’t mind their own business” and “judges” them.

    Really?

    Sorry, but this is the internet. Once you publicize your “private and personal life,” it stops being “private and personal.”

    People are waking up to the fact that circumcision is a violation of basic human rights, and fast.

    Unless you want to hear it from other people, do NOT post it on the net.

  • Hugh7

    If I could choose between my mother having part cut off part of my penis or her talking about my penis on Facebook, I’d choose her talking about it on Facebook.

    There is a Facebook page almost entirely devoted to mothers’ anguish about having to take their babies back for RE-circumcisions. https://www.facebook.com/CircumcisionStupidity

    • ODBeckster

      It’s official: there is a Facebook page for everything now.

  • Cyn

    Another reason not to talk about it:

    Because you reveal to the world how ignorant you were to think it was a good thing to mutilate your child’s genitals, and you can bet that people who know better than you apparently do will speak their mind about what you stole from your son.

  • Lynn

    Circumcision is not acceptable. When you mutilate your child’s genitals, be prepared for backlash.

  • RCIAG

    I know this is all about hacking up willies, but I still can’t get past the fact that Kat named her kid after a line of paint sold at Home Depot. Paint that currently graces almost every wall in my home.

    :-p

    • Cleopariah

      “foreskin blush” .. one of their more popular shades.

  • Kaitlyn

    1) Notice my name is Kaitlyn — I am definitely *not* the Kaitlyn from this column, but man do I hate seeing my name up there, making idiotic facebook posts.. and then seeing my name referred to again in post analysis. : / I guess this happens to all of us, eventually…

    2) It should be noted that so far, almost every comment has promised not to be pro- or anti- circumcision, but then gone on to regard the process pretty harshly. To me, this is barely a step down from saying outright that any parent looking into the procedure is doing the wrong thing for his/her son — a.k.a., making an anti-circumcision argument. If you want to state your opinion, by all means, go forth and opine, but please don’t do it under the guise of not choosing a side. That’s just rude.

    3) If everybody would just stop talking about penises, on any forum that isn’t dedicated to penis-related conversation, that would be great. That would be just fantastic. And if we could avoid talking about baby penises altogether? I would only be able to contain my joy because it would have to happen so quietly.

    • Steph

      Well said.

    • Thea Larson

      We can stop talking about baby penises when people stop cutting them up. The best way to keep something out of the public consciousness? Leave it alone. Stop doing it, so people will stop talking about it, and there you have it. I’m unashamedly an intactivist, if that makes you feel better.

  • cosmopolite

    The AAP claims to be unable to find sufficient evidence to argue against circumcision, because it has failed to look for such evidence in a sensible manner. Medical associations in other western nations do advise against routine circumcision, simply because of ample anecdotal evidence of occasional disastrous or tragic outcomes. American medicine has yet to do an honest study of the long term damage of circumcision to sexual pleasure and functionality.

  • Nola

    I’m older than most of you and find it inappropriate to talk about anyone’s private areas. The world has gotten so vulgar and it appalls and amazes me what your generation things is acceptable conversation.

  • Steve

    As an Englishman it warms my heart to see the tides changing over in the states from circ to intact. Their penis their choice.

    Also is nothing sacred anymore? My parents have plenty of nude pics of me as a toddler but they stay in albums, not Facebook.

  • Mew

    It’s sad that natural has to “look funny” to someone. It’s also sick that somebody is stupid enough to think their child doesn’t feel anything in it’s penis just because it is a baby. Sorry to burst your bubble lady, but he very much DOES have nerves and they DO work and he will feel the pain.

    Will be nice when people get a clue and stop chopping off parts of their baby’s bodies for no reason. Circumcision is pointless and barbaric.

    • Eileen

      Yeah. I slept with someone who actually thanked me for not being grossed out by his foreskin. That’s kind of pathetic.

  • MommyK

    Kevin’s response to Kaitlyn (and her reply) is hilarious. Poor Kevin (and son).

  • Eileen

    Would it kill these women to learn how to SPELL “circumcise/circumcision” before making a decision on the procedure?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jen-Clark/100000568225513 Jen Clark

    So much is wrong in kaitlyn’s post, first off, how hard is it to teach your child to clean an intact penis, which is simply, pulling back the foreskin and cleaning under it with mild soap and water, and secondly, if babies don’t have feeling in their penis like she claimed, why would they need numbing medication for a circumcision?

    • Brandon Toner

      Never retract the foreskin. Ever. At least until it retracts naturally. Forced retraction leads to infections.

    • KyukiYoshida

      How else do you clean under there if you can never pull it back?

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      and (forgive me for being blunt) what if you have a very large um…head?

    • amyant

      do you feel the need to wash the inside of your daughter’s vagina? Hopefully not, and neither do you have to retract foreskin that hasn’t separated from the glans yet.

    • KyukiYoshida

      Doctors always told me during my pregnancy that if i had a boy, you absolutely had to retract it and clean under there or else they would get infections and i would be neglecting his basic hygiene. They never said that babies weren’t born with it “pre-detached”. I wasn’t asking to be weird or stupid, i was just seriously very confused, as I was told differently. i mean it honestly doesn’t surprise me that I was misinformed, kansas city is well known for having poor schools and doctors.

    • Thea Larson

      Using soap destroys all of the beneficial things that live under the foreskin. Just rinse it with warm water.