The woman we all look to for recommendations about every product in existence has endorsed a skincare line called SkinMedica. She’s called it her “magic fountain of youth.” The product in question,TNS Skin Recovery Complex, allegedly contains cells from human foreskins. I was dying to see “foreskins” listed in the ingredients box – but no luck. The scientific name for discarded foreskin is “Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media.”
In an interview in San Diego City Beat, the company claims it hasn’t harvested human foreskin in over 20 years. Instead, it uses cells from a single foreskin sample to grow the cells needed. Um, okay. How in the heck did they get that sample though? I didn’t circumcise my child, so I don’t really know if I would have been given the option to donate his foreskin to benefit youth-seeking rich ladies everywhere:
San Diego doctors have appreciated the potential of the foreskin as far back as the 19th century. As Dr. Peter Charles Remondino wrote in 1891 in The History of Circumcision, “for skin-transplanting there is nothing superior to the plants offered by the prepuce of a boy.”
Asked where the foreskins come from, spokesperson Tim Ingersoll responded via e-mail: “Life Technologies produces research-use only products using neonatal foreskins discarded from circumcisions with full, informed consent.”
The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project is not happy about this. They protested her appearance in Vancouver on Thursday. Glen Callender, the group’s founder, told the local Vancouver news, “Imagine how Oprah would respond if a skin cream for men went on the market that was made from parts of the genitalia of little girls. That would be an outrage and rightly so.”
Yes, it would be an outrage, and I’m not really sure how I feel about this whole baby-foreskin-beauty-cream. But don’t compare female genital mutilation to male circumcision. Just don’t. Female genital mutilation is performed on older girls as a way of completely eliminating their sex drive,controlling them, and forcing them to live a life in fear of any kind of sexual contact because of the intense vaginal pain it will cause. I think we can all agree that we are not oppressing boys when we circumcise them. Yes, we are probably performing a totally unnecessary procedure – but we aren’t doing it because we think they are whores by nature who cannot be trusted with their libidos.
You can take a stance against the use of human foreskin in a wrinkle cream because you think it’s inherently wrong. But don’t compare it to a tradition that terrorizes girls and ruins their right to be a sexual being forever.