Esther - posted on 02/23/2010 ( 56 moms have responded )
Let's go another round on the circumcision debate. I know we've done this a million times before on COMs but I thought the following column offered an interesting angle. Full disclosure - I personally chose not to have Lucas circumcized. It's not a common practice in Holland so had he been born there I wouldn't have even given it any thought. Since he was born in the US where it is a much more common thing to do, I did have to give it some thought, but decided that I didn't think the benefits outweighed the negatives (even almost) and I wasn't willing to subject my son to any kind of pain for cosmetic reasons. However, I'm not passionate about it like this writer seems to be. Anyway, here's the column:
The Case For Female Circumcision
People have so many compelling arguments for male circumcision, that I can't help but wonder why girls can't enjoy the same benefits! I'm not talking about sewing up the vagina or removing the clitoris or anything, but a little snip-snip could surely tidy things up!
If removing the foreskin of a boy helps keep his penis cleaner, then taking out the inner labia and clitoral hood could really do the same for girls! Girls have so much more to wash than boys do anyway, and we get way more infections. If less skin on a boy equals less infections, then it must work for girls too! Those little bits of skin don't have much feeling anyway. It would make diaper changes and baths so much easier. So much less space to get all gooey and dirty, now and for the rest of her life.
People see all that extra skin on a boy's penis, and say it looks gross. Well why don't girls get to have their extra skin tidied up?! Surely it would look much better, and I bet her future husband would appreciate how much nicer looking and cleaner it would be too. They could both enjoy oral sex without all the gunk that gets caught in the folds! Girls can get pretty smelly down there too, so why not help out with that?
A lot of parents worry about their sons looking different in the locker rooms, or different from their fathers. What if my daughter's labia is different than her friends or mine? That would be traumatizing to a girl too, I don't want her to be freaked out and made fun of! If we get all women and girls circumcised, then we can all look the same and not worry about it anymore.
AIDS and cancer are so prevalent these days, we really need to protect our kids in every way that we can. Removing extra skin on a boy helps these things, so why not try the same for girls! Why would it work for one and not the other? It would be SO worth it. You can't get cancer on a part of the body you don't have!
My husband was with a woman once who had long inner labia, and he said it was SO gross looking and smelling, and she got infections all the time. I would hate for my daughters to grow up and experience that embarrassment. I would be doing them SUCH a favor by doing it now when they can't feel it, rather than them having all this trouble later in life and having to get trimmed! My girls would really hate me if the knew I could have prevented such a thing, and didn't take the chance. I know my girls would really thank me for making their lives so much easier, and giving them a nice clean look down there too.
There are so many benefits for circumcision, why shouldn't it be the same for girls too? Why are they left out? Boys and girls should be equal. I am the parent, and if I think it would be good for my child, I should have the right to do it! People might judge me, but so what? If I'm doing what is best for my kids, then other people can just screw off!
Why didn't anyone think of this before?! I am a mutha effin GENIUS!!!
You didn't think I was that big of a dunce did you?
Seriously now, NONE of the above reasons would be good enough for a parent to allow a knife to be taken to their daughter's genitals in ANY way. Why are these same excuses allowed to pass as justification of male circumcision? As far as we have supposedly come in this society, why is this sexism and mutilation still tolerated? Why aren't more women going all mama bear on people's asses for this?! Why aren't more men standing up and demanding the rights and protection they and their sons deserve?! The public would be in an absolute uproar if a parent wanted to so much as put a paper cut in their daughter's pants! Why do baby boys have less rights? Why are they considered to be lesser beings? There should be NO gender specification on genital mutilation. Either it is wrong for ALL people, or it is okay for all people (and God help us if you agree with the latter). If a girl grows up and wants to have her genitals cosmetically altered, it can be her choice then, in adulthood, when she can make an informed decision for herself. A parent shouldn't have the right to make that choice for her, something that can't be undone, and the same should be true for boys.
You can say the penis is "dirty". I say if that is true, then the vulva is far more so, but we don't go cutting those up. Shall we remove the anus too? That sure is dirty!
You say the foreskin may become diseased or infected, so it should be removed. Let's apply this "logic" to other parts of the body. Shall we remove all girl's breasts because they MIGHT have a problem? Shall we pull all teeth because they might get cavities? Our skin can get cancer, better do away with that! Oh, and heart disease, take that thing right out! Dang ears and all those infections, just get rid of them. ANY part of the human body can have a problem, but we don't go removing them when they are perfectly fine. IF a problem arises, we treat it then, and we treat it reasonably. Amputation is a last resort when all else has failed. If we removed at birth every part of the body that might have an issue at some point in one's life, we would have no baby left.
You say an intact penis is ugly. I say you're a pervert for looking at your perfect little son that way, and having such a strong reaction that you'd want to hack him up just to please yourself. And once again, if a parent found their girl's genitals so ugly that they wanted to have them cut, they'd be thrown in prison, so it shouldn't be okay for a parent to do to their son.
You say it might prevent STDs. I say that is what condoms and responsible sex are for, and we wouldn't cut girls to reduce their risk. We'd tell them to be smart about choosing partners and protection. Boys are just as capable of those things.
You may have a ton of other reasons for cutting a boy, but none of them would hold water if the child in question were a girl, so that would either make you a raging sexist, or a moron. Perhaps both.
If you've just never THOUGHT about circumcision, I encourage you to. Many people are still uneducated about the realities of male genital mutilation masquerading as a "simple and beneficial medical procedure". I ask you to open your mind to learning and considering that what you may think you know now could be mythical. More and more parents are becoming educated, and circumcision rates have plummeted to 50% nationwide (USA), and they continue to drop! You can find out what they know that you may not. Learn before you decide. You son will THANK you someday.
An excellent resource that will answer any questions you may have:
As for female circumcision vs. male, YES they are comparable. Some forms are extreme, but they were not discussed here. Other forms are equal or even less severe than male circumcision. Regardless of severity, they are ALL wrong, female AND male. No need to even specify a gender. Genital mutilation is genital mutilation.