Thursday, 19 May 2011
A number of months ago, I wrote an article debating the legality of neonatal circumcision. It was a particularly popular post (340 comments, whew!) which sparked numerous debates between users. Both sides brought up great and interesting points about the benefits and detriments of cutting the skin at birth, restoring the foreskin, and the pains of surgically removing it at an older age. Others chimed in about the aesthetics of penises and their personal encounters with a wide variety of dicks. To demonstrate, I hand-picked a couple of gems for your convenience.
"Uncut Peni are disgusting. The end. That will be the first thing that gets done to my son." - Some random user.
"When I have a daughter, you know, I'll make her labias and clitoral hood get removed. It's so much cleaner. Natural vaginas are disgusting." - A sarcastic user.
"To any uncircumcised male adults out there: You would get 1000 times more blow jobs if you had it done. No woman likes to give an uncircumcised male head. We might fake it but sorry guys, we like the cleaner package." - An awful, awful woman.
It was a non-stop parade of wit, stupidity and of course, intactivism.
Upon reading the news that banning circumcision would be on the ballot in San Francisco this November, I couldn't help but grin. If this measure passes, it would be illegal to circumcise any male under the age of 18, and failure to abide by the law would result in up to 1 year in prison, or a fine as high as $1,000. Over 7,700 valid signatures were received from citizens. In order to qualify, an initiative must receive at least 7,160 signatures. One could say it made it on the ballot by the skin of its teeth!
Cherubs were floating about in the nude, their wistful demeanor dissipating in an air of satisfaction. A choir of angelic phalluses filled the heavens with a rich, golden display, as they trumpeted onwards to victory. The omnipotent, all-knowing penile holy spirit had transformed a blessing into a stroke of luck, and a tug at the heartstrings. All seemed right in penis heaven.
Then the music stopped.
Suddenly, the baby Jesus began to cry, reflecting on his 8th day when brit milah ceremoniously claimed his foreskin. The heavens blackened, and a radio began to play "One Step Forward" by The Desert Rose Band. "One step forward and two steps back, nobody gets too far like that." The new sound took to the airwaves, and static began to defile my eardrums.
There would be no religious exemptions. Are you kidding me?
As much of an advocate as I am for the protection of male penises, this is a line I'm not willing to cut. First and foremost, I respect personal religious decisions, as insane as some of them may be. I don't condone childhood Baptism either, but it's a religious tradition followed by many Christians and I won't deny them their religious rights. Secondly, these religious exemptions would create a conflagration of legal battles in regards to First Amendment rights, many times larger than California wildfires. This would invalidate the measure, and all progress would be for naught.
On the other hand, it may be a precaution to ensure that parents don't fake their religious identities to circumvent the circumcision ban. However, I value religious freedoms so the idea that Jewish parents for example, would be punished for daring to follow Halakha doesn't sit well with me.
Intactivists might be fighting for the cause, but they're overstepping some boundaries. They're rightfully fighting a battle against genital mutilation which is very uncommon in most countries outside of the United States. It's unnecessary, unnatural, and males should not be denied the right to remain intact. At the same time, they're denying religious rights which every citizen should be allowed to exercise. It's a sticky situation, all in all.
Many will claim that as legal guardians, parents have the authority to decide what's best for their child, even if it means snipping off Mr. Pee-Pee's garments. How insensitive! But what's a guy to do later on if they're unhappy with the way it looks? There are many males who are actively trying to restore their foreskin, but it will never match being naturally intact. Hair grows back and earlobes close, but you better believe the foreskin isn't coming back for an encore.
Circumcision is on a steep decline in the U.S. which suggests that the message is being heard. Americans are finally starting to join the rest of the world, ditching barbaric rituals in favor of reason and a male's right to autonomy as well as physical integrity. The rate of circumcision has dropped about 23 percent since 2006, where incidence hovered at 56 percent.
A colorful and funny chart.
A less colorful, but more accurate chart.
Politics aside, men should love their bodies as they are. If you're hooded, retract the negativity born out of American pornography and have fun. Be content. If you're a baldy, dry that eye and take comfort in the fact that you're in the majority within the States. Be content.
Here are some points from the original article:
- American-made pornography is littered with hairy, overweight men thrusting their skinless ding-dongs in various directions, so the average American female will consider cut penises to be the standard, accepted, and expected look. In Europe, women are exposed to uncircumcised penises far more often, and find circumcised penises to vary between looking "absolutely hideous" and being a "godless abomination."
- The foreskin allows for a natural lubrication to form, most likely in place to prevent yourself from feeling like a dried up 84-year-old, dousing the 'ol rod in grape seed oil. In contrast, if a male's foreskin just doesn't do it for his masturbation sessions in front of the mirror, it can be removed through a procedure, which would avoid the chances of a sexual partner's gag reflexes violently spazzing out, resulting in projectile vomit from the sight of such ugly, smelly skin.
- Foreskin preservation ranks up there along with curing cancer and rigging the Oscars as one of the most important topics of our time.
In conclusion, I'm elated knowing that significant progress is being made. I hope it becomes a trend and spreads to other parts of the country. God bless you, future foreskin warriors.
Where do you stand on the issue? Is foreskin the future?
Make it illegal, refuse to spread-eagle!
Skin removal is mutilation, demand emancipation!
Give the child a choice, at 8 days old you have no voice!
Genital rights, hear our plight!
Indoctrination, what's the price?
A life-long victim of this vice!
Nuñez Love Doctor.
Certified with a PhD in Circumisms and Skinheads.
Addendum: Further Reading in Regards to Religious Rights
When I was younger and angrier (thank you anarcho punk), I would agree with the restriction of religious rights in a case like this. Even while writing the article, a part of me wanted to say "Fuck it, circumcision is wrong and there really shouldn't be any religious exemptions." I've become a little more tolerant of religion over the past few years due to encounters with people whose very core revolves around their religious beliefs and freedoms. There are people who live to appease their God, and there are many interpretations of religious writings. While I do believe that newborns should be left intact, I also give thought to the lives of the aforementioned people.
Just like the Jehovah's Witness who refuses blood transfusions or has to go knocking door-to-door spreading their word by Biblical law, religious practices can run so deep that the fear of God overtakes the follower (dictates their need to perform circumcision in this case) and an outright restriction on these beliefs would surely damage them emotionally and mentally. This could potentially transfer over to the child in the future.
If I had to make an argument against religion, and I have on numerous occasions, I'd say that the negative psychological effects that children sometimes inherit from being exposed to religious ideas (such as the fear of death or impending doom because of the idea of a literal hell or Armageddon, for example) is far more harmful and abusive than the snipping of the foreskin. But at what point do we restrict people of their religious rights? At what age should a child be religiously independent? We would have to outlaw the spreading of religion in order to fix these problems. Now, who am I to say God doesn't exist? I'm agnostic and while I lean more towards atheism, I don't discount the idea of a God or a legitimate message for humanity to follow.
In regards to a common example given about allowing Muslims to fly planes into buildings (or to add, allowing "suicide bombings"), the Qur'an does not condone these acts of violence, nor do actual followers practice Radical Islam. The Qur'an is simply distorted and used to justify martyrdom and war against non-believers by extremists. As a result, I don't think that point has any validity.