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Childrearing

This Hilarious Video Sums Up Everything That’s Wrong With Pro-Circumcision Arguments In 3 Minutes

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Circumcision is one of those topics that inevitably causes arguments. There are people who are really against it, people who are really for it – and those who claim to be totally objective but usually lean toward being for it, because it’s the norm in this country. I’m against it for my own children. Before I go into the reasons why, here’s a hilarious video from College Humor that pretty much sums it up:

I’m for parents making decisions about their children’s health. I know the biggest argument that those who are anti-circumcision make is that it’s not your body and not your decision. I think this argument loses a lot of people, because as parents, we make decisions for our child’s health and well being all the time. It’s not like infants can make decisions on their own. For this reason, I am totally comfortable with parents choosing whatever they think is best for their child. In my own case, that was deciding not to circumcise. It’s a choice I am very comfortable with.

The “a boy should look like his father” argument simply never made any sense to me, because it’s without logic. Fair enough. What if you were missing a thumb? Would you want him to look like you then? People are different and they have different bodies. This is something we need to teach our kids anyway. When I was about 3 years old, and a friend of the family was changing her son’s diaper in front of me, I remember thinking, What is that?  My mother simply explained to me that boys and girls have different parts down there. 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.

The “uncircumcised penises are ugly” argument is absurd. No they aren’t. Implying that an unmodified part of the body needs to be surgically altered to be aesthetically acceptable is an argument that makes me extremely uncomfortable. I can’t imagine that we would with ease or comfort make a similar statement about a woman’s body. We wouldn’t. Because it’s not okay.

The “I don’t want my child to be made fun of as he starts to date” argument is the one that really drives me nuts. I’m not performing what I consider to be a medically useless procedure on my infant because I’m afraid a teenager in the future may think it looks weird. More and more parents are foregoing the procedure, so an uncircumcised penis is not going to be as much of an anomaly anyway.

Parents do not need to retract the foreskin of the penis to make sure young children are clean. This is a common misconception. An uncircumcised penis needs no special care. You just wash that part just like any other part of your child’s body, and as they get older you teach them how to do it, too. The argument that foreskin makes a penis “dirty” is ridiculous – especially coming from women. Hello? Vaginas have cavernous folds and we don’t make a special issue about young girls cleaning down there.

Any study that claims foreskin contributes to the spread of disease is problematic, mainly because they don’t only involve subjects from first world countries. Dr. Russel Saunders, in an essay he penned for The Daily Beast explains, “Generalizing those data to the United States, which has vastly different HIV prevalence and where sexual mores are significantly different than in places like Kenya, is intellectually problematic at best. The two populations are not similar enough to draw conclusions for both.” The Mayo Clinic study that quotes Brian Morris (who claims circumcision should be made mandatory) is one that many people reference to prove circumcision is necessary. Morris is not a doctor, and his website – that basically fetishizes circumcision – is creepy at best. It’s not like the Mayo Clinic has never made problematic claims before.

The video makes these points better, and with humor. As I said at the start, parents should make whatever choice they feel comfortable with. These reasons were why I made mine.

(photo: College Humor)

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