• Wed, Aug 8 2012

Circumcision Debate: How ‘It’s My Husband’s Choice’ Flew Right Out The Window

circumcisionSnooki was on Jimmy Kimmel last month talking about her pregnancy and impending motherhood. The question of circumcision came up. Here’s how that conversation went:

Jimmy Kimmel: Have you thought about circumcision?

Snooki: Oh of course.

Jimmy Kimmel: What are your feelings on that?

Snooki: I definitely want him circumcised. Because then I feel like he won’t get laid, if he doesn’t. 

Jimmy Kimmel: If he’s not? 

Snooki: I’d be like what is that? So, yeah. I want him to have a normal penis.

Snooki, ladies and gentleman.  The voice of our generation.  Well, not my generation — but somebody’s.

I approached the whole circumcision debate the way most of my friends did. Whatever my husband wants. For some reason, the logic behind He has one, he should decide what to do with it made sense to me when I was pregnant. Must have been the hormones making me completely illogical.

I understand there are religious reasons for circumcision. I also understand that there are health issues in some parts of the world. But we didn’t have any religious reasons — and we don’t reside in sub-Saharan Africa. My husband wasn’t concerned about any health implications. The main points he made were, My son should look like me, and I don’t want high school girls making fun of him. These points are clearly ridiculous. Let’s deconstruct them one by one.

My son should look like me. 

Fair enough. What if you were missing a thumb? Would you want him to look like you then? People are different. Their bodies are different. This is something we need to teach our children anyway. I remember the first time I saw a penis. I was about three years old, and a friend of the family was changing her son’s diaper in front of me. I remember thinking, What the hell?  It was then that my mother explained to me that boys and girls have different parts down there. No big whoop.  It didn’t traumatize me or change my life in any way. Also, I want my penis to look just like my dad’s, said no son, ever.

I don’t want high school girls making fun of him.

Okay, so I’m supposed to take a scalpel to my newborn son’s barely anesthetized penis because I am concerned about what some silly teenage girl is going to think almost two decades from now? I think not. More and more American parents are foregoing circumcision, so this probably won’t be an issue by the time my son becomes sexually active, anyway. Frankly, I don’t want him having sex with some ignorant idiot who thinks foreskin makes him un-dateable.

The bottom line is, the It’s my husband’s choice sentiment flew right out the window after my baby was born. The day after he was born, my midwife came into the hospital room to remind us that we would need to make a choice about the circumcision. I looked at my baby and said, Over my dead body is anyone taking a knife to this perfect specimen. And I meant it. That was my choice.

Thanks Snooki, for inadvertently reminding me that I made the right decision.

This post originally appeared on Guerilla Mom and was republished with permission.

(photo: Nguyen Thai/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=789264713 Frances Locke

    I love me some Maria Guido and this pretty much sums up how I feel about the issue, though I do think it’s a matter of personal choice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

    I talked to my husband about how I felt about it, but I didn’t leave the decision to him. I flat out told him I felt strongly about our boy not being circumcised and told him why and he just shrugged and said, “Okay, we won’t do it”. That was it. Some women don’t feel strongly about it and that’s fine to leave it to the dad, but I think moms should know they don’t HAVE to and I think this article lets moms know that. Thank you.

    As far as what high school girls think, I had a boyfriend in high school who wasn’t cut and I really couldn’t tell much of a difference as I rarely saw him limp anyways, lol. I didn’t care and chances are, most high school girls won’t either.

    • Another Steph

      My high school boyfriend wasn’t and I didn’t even know it at the time!

  • MWN

    It is a choice. One that both parents need to feel good about. Thankfully it’s up to each family to decide what’s best for them and their children. We chose to do it and have ZERO regrets.

    • k

      same here :)

    • cat

      bet you weren’t in the room with him. cause if you were, you would have some serious remorse.

    • Dreamer Leo

      So, do you think it’s up to each family to decide if they perform a hoodectomy on their daughter as well? After all, it’s the same tissue.

    • http://twitter.com/josephberman Joseph K Berman

      It absolutely is not. You’re lying and you know it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/slcmcguire Daniel Dean McGuire

      he’s absolutely right. the female foreskin is the clitoral hood.

    • SaveALLthebabies

      Your Son might have some regrets. Shouldn’t it be up to the owner of the penis whether he wants part of it forcibly hacked off?

    • Dave Carroll

      So when are you going for your circumcision?

    • Hugh x

      Until hes an adult and using it, you have no idea whether HE will have any regrets.

      As one man said, but more colourfully, “My family doesn’t [urinate] with my [penis], my family doesn’t [masturbate] with my [penis] and my family doesn’t [have sexual intercourse] with my [penis], so what business did my family have to go cutting part OFF of my [penis]?”

  • tangerinedreamer

    I let my husband decide. We had our son circumcised. I’m sure he will be fine and his penis looks great, but I do regret it. We were both in the room and I nearly vomited. It was truly horrible. I wish I had watched a video of the actual procedure first, because then I would never have let anyone do that to my child.

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      That’s exactly what made me decide not to do it. After that, it was no longer just up to my husband.

  • Rational person

    Personally I think its an assault. Same with any body modification (ear piercing, etc) without express consent of the recipient. My husband isn’t, and I MUCH prefer it that way.

  • 2ofthesame

    My prenancy. My labor. My kid. My choice. You have the right to an opinion and nothing more. I have the right to say you’re an idiot and ignore you. Welcome to America. I didn’t do it because I felt that it was a stupid and arcaic thing. If it causes him trouble before he’s 18, I’ll do it then. When he’s an adult.. And he wants it done, he can decide then. Just like if he was gay… God made my son perfect just the way he is and I will NOT go assuming that there is something wrong with that.

  • otto

    someone needs to give Snooki a knitting needle

    • Mrs. C

      Regardless of how you feel about her, that is a horrible thing to say.

  • Guest

    Frankly, I’ve never seen anyone discuss the following (except long ago in a NY Times article): If you do not give a baby a circumcision, what happens if your adult child needs one? This happened to my husband. Just the anxiety of the surgery itself would be enough to change some mom’s minds. I’m just throwing this out there: Would you rather have your baby suffer a surgery he’ll never remember, or would you rather your adult child suffer a surgery that’s sure to be traumatic?

    • Guest

      Sorry, I meant “If you do not allow your baby to have a circumcision,” as you don’t “give” surgery.

    • Narine

      would you seriously make a choice based on something that has a maybe 1% chance of happening? wow!

    • Hugh7

      Much less than 1%. Where circumcision is not customary (and doctors are intact, and the the foreskin is not defined as “the part that is removed by circumcision” and they are taught more about them than how to cut them off, and the anatomy textbooks actually show them), the lifetime risk of actually needing to be circumcised is one in thousands.

    • http://avatarsankh.blogspot.com/ Xyzzy

      Just because somebody doesn’t remember surgery as an infant doesn’t mean that it’s not equally traumatic, and just because babies scream all the time doesn’t mean it’s not far more painful.

      I’ve had surgery a bunch of times since infancy for birth defects, and the older I’ve become, the *less* painful & scary/traumatic it is. Yes, as an adult, I understand the risks and become anxious in advance, but that’s nothing compared to the uncomprehending terror of being seemingly attacked, held down, and (from the baby’s perspective) tortured by strangers. Also, infant/child acute pain awareness is much sharper than that of adults, so something that might seem like a stinging pain to a grown man will feel more like a deep knife wound to a little one — yet adults are far more likely to be given adequate (or any) pain control.

    • Dreamer Leo

      Would you give your baby a heart surgery just because some day he might need it? Or cut some toes because some day he might need to have them cut? Would you replace your baby’s knees just because some day he might need knee replacement?

      Not all adults, not even a high number of them will need therapeutic circumcision. So how many unneeded circumcisions have to be performed to save one adult from remembering his circumcision?

      Even when there are problems, most of the times there are usually less invasive treatments available. It just happens that there are too many doctors who are scalpel-happy.

    • SaveALLthebabies

      It is less than a .1% chance that an adult man will need a circumcision. I would rather let my Son enjoy his genitals the way they were designed, and have a fulfilling sexual life when the time comes, than decide to remove his foreskin for something that is extremely unlikely. Let’s remove my Daughter’s breast buds so she doesn’t get breast cancer. Sounds like a good idea, right? She won’t remember it, but she would remember a mastectomy and chemo… so that makes it okay. An adult male that MAYBE needs a circumcision (American doctors are grossly misinformed and cut-happy) will be given adequate pain relief and after care, and will not have to have his freshly cut penis sitting in a feces and urine soaked diaper. Ever. He can tell you when he needs more pain pills, or he can grab them himself. An infant can not. An infant can not say “I would rather decide myself as an adult if I would like to be cut”, so we have to advocate for them. Give them a voice. Say, it is HIS choice.

  • RedJohn

    Coming from the UK, this seems like a really weird debate – virtually no-one here gets circumcised at birth, unless for religious reasons. The notion that ‘it’s a decision that has to be made’ sounds so bizarre – it’s just not a question that ever even arises here (and as the father of a son, I would have known if it did).

  • cat

    Once I had sex with someone au natural, it was SO different and SO much better that I would NEVER go back to a cut penis. Seriously. Ever. It was an awakening.

  • Samson

    Why do women do everything in their power to grow a baby, and then look at him when he comes out and think “he’s not perfect, let’s cut something off?” That’s just weird. You don’t trust your God or your body to make a human the way a human is supposed to be made?

    • http://avatarsankh.blogspot.com/ Xyzzy

      Most of the time, it’s the *father* that pushes for circumcision (for the reasons mentioned in the article), not the mother — so why aren’t you asking why men “do everything in their power” to produce a baby, then want to change what it looks like?

      (Not to mention that just as is the case for guys, a lot of women are firmly against circumcision and/or are childless-by-choice/childfree, but that’s another topic altogether.)

  • Trent

    So who made the mom the final decision maker over the child’s body? What if the husband really wants it done? None of you are men–you cannot understand how important this is to many of us.

    • Dreamer Leo

      I am a man. I know that I don’t own my son’s body, so I’m not free to decide to chop parts of his body off like if he was some sort of toy.

      Besides, I was circumcised and I begged the doctor not to do it, I begged for my integrity, and yet I was restrained, sedated and cut. I remember begging. I remember the fear. I remember trying to run. When I think about it, I know that I was victim of an assault by my doctor – I cringe and my heart rate speeds up and I bite my lips. How else would I feel?

    • SaveALLthebabies

      And as a cut man you have no idea what it’s even LIKE to have a foreskin, thus your opinion is invalid. Women have a prepuce aka the clitoral hood that is akin to the foreskin, also called the prepuce. Since women still have their prepuce, and actually know what it’s like to have one, I believe it is more than okay for us to have an opinion on what happens to our Sons’. And you don’t own your Son, OR his penis, it is HIS penis. It’s only important to you because you have to validate your own feelings. “I’m cut and I’m fine, so I’m going to do it to my Son.” No sir. You are not fine, you don’t know what you’re missing. Leave your Sons alone and suck up your pride.

    • The Raven

      Trent, you seem not to understand how relieved I am that I was NOT cut, even though damn near every boy I grew up with was cut. Looking weird in middle and high school is a small price to pay for decades of better marital sex.

    • Dave Carroll

      Thank god the mom overruled you sick bastard. How dare you try to rationalize your own abuse by inflicting it on a child?

  • Dreamer Leo

    Excellent! Your son will thank you.

  • 4theyoung

    Snooki is atypical penis ignorant. She says, I want him to get laid. 65% boys today are not cut therefore her son will be the odd one in 20 years.

  • Daniel

    Please stop calling teenage girls silly, there really is no need for it.

  • Joe Bergstrom

    I’m a guy, I was mutilated at birth and I still feel resentment and bitterness at my parents for disfiguring my body without my consent and for no medically valid reason. But to get back at them, I too had an unnecessary and irreversible procedure done in that neighborhood. . . I had a vasectomy!! :-) No matter how badly the want them, my parents will never get any grandkids! As the Klingon’s say, ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold.’

    • SEA

      I’m living a simular situation to you!!

  • The Raven

    This article is rich in common sense. The new AAP policy contradicts what Maria Guido says. I submit that American medical school profs, all victims of last century’s American Foreskin Holocaust, can’t think straight about the most sexual part of the male body. American doctors cannot even see that not using anesthesia when circumcising an infant is blatantly unethical. Upshot: I’ll stick with Ms. Guido and walk away from the insensitive and arrogant AAP.

  • AreYouKiddingMe

    Sub-Saharan Africa is not the only place HIV/AIDS exists, you ignorant fool. 20% of gay men have HIV/AIDS and infection rates are 12% higher amongst uncircumcised men, so you’d better hope your son isn’t gay because if he is you increased his chances of HIV by 12%. Solid parenting.

    • Diana

      All the studies that have come out to date suggesting a medical benefit to circumcision are questionable at best. The best thing you can do to decrease the chances of your son having HIV is TEACH HIM ABOUT CONDOMS. If he’s not having safe sex, circumcision is the least of his worries.

  • FromRagstoRiches

    Wow, times have definately changed since I was born back in 1966. 10-20% were left intact. I can clearly remember growing up intact and all the fears, worries and encounters I have had. What made it difficult for me were the encounters with shallow, un-educated women like Snooki and jealous cut guys/husbands who have never experienced what the foreskin provides for both partners. Back in 1985, the only supporters were a small percentage (gay and intact married couples). Everything was so pro circumcision to the point where I made an appointment to see a Eurologist at 18. Just at that time I met my wife and today we have 2 beautiful young adult children both left intact and have steady girlfriends. My sons have said over 1/2 of todays children at their High School are left intact and the girls all lean towards human rights and are educated. I’m seeing more possitive support from both men and women in such discussions.
    I guess everything happens for a reason. I can’t help but think how rediculous I was to be pushed beyond the point where I would make such an irreversible mistake and give up something thats natural and made me feel good.

  • bekkamarie

    my husband is leaving me because i will not agree to it. I loved him and gave him everything but right now, all he will think of is this MUST happen, for the same reason you mentioned
    ‘my son must look like me”
    well i am his mother and i have a right to say no and he will leave me and take everything but my son away from me he is tearing my dreams apart and throwing them at my feet. but there is no choice in my eyes as the choice is not mine to take so he can do whatever he wants to me.. but i must stand up for my son.. its my sons right to choose not ours. what are you saying to God.. “thanks God you made everything great.. ecxept one small thing, and now look i have to put mine and your son through agony to fix it.. what kind of creator are you anyway?! thanks for nothing”
    I am sad that this has torn dreams of our family apart.. and now ill be a single mum starting out with nothing and im scared and lonely and heart broken but at the end of the day its my burden to bear (or “bere”?) not my sons.

    • Dave Carroll

      You’re an extremely brave and virtuous woman. More power to you.

    • Hugh x

      From the other side of the world you have put tears in my eyes. You are a heroine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brana.sandra Brana Sandra

    i just want to share my experience and testimony here.. i was married for 6 years to my husband and all of a sudden, another woman came into the picture.. he started hailing me and he was abusive..but i still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost?then he filed for divorce..my whole life was turning apart and i didn’t know what to do..he moved out of the house and abandoned the kids.. so someone told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell caster?so i decided to try it reluctantly..although i didn’t believe in all those things? then when he did the special prayers and spell, after 2days, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn’t believe it.. anyways we are back together now and we are happy..in case anyone needs this man, his email address greatzuba@gmail.com, his spells is for a better life. again his email is greatzuba@gmaiil.com

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  • Dave Carroll

    For the male in question, yes it should be a matter of personal choice. When he’s 18 he can decide to get circumcised if we he wants. That’s why he shouldn’t be involuntarily mutilated as a baby.

  • Hugh x

    38 top paediatricians representing 22 paediatric associations in 17 countries from Iceland to Lithuania have written to the AAP to tell them their policy is culturally biased, that they have failed to prove that “the benefits outweigh the risks” and they have neglected the basic human right of the person at the centre of this to decide for himself how much of his own genitals he will keep, when he is old enough.

  • Hugh x

    I think your 12% figure comes from some old study that failed to correct for demographics – the intact men were more likely to be from a social group that was more at risk of HIV, that’s all. The main risk to gay men is from unprotected receptive anal sex, and being circumcised can obviously do nothing to protect those men.

  • Sonny

    Good news for defenseless babies!
    International doctors’ organizations condemn the AAP’s stance on circumcision

    I am including a reference to the American Academy of Pediatrics own journal which presents the international condemnation of the AAP:

    Cultural Bias in the AAP’s 2012 Technical Report and Policy Statement on Male Circumcision
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/12/peds.2012-2896.full.pdf
    http://knmg.artsennet.nl/Nieuws/Nieuwsarchief/Nieuwsbericht-1/International-physicians-protest-against-American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-policy-on-infant-male-circumcision.htm