Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Clarification on yesterday's circumcision post

Hello again,

Yesterday I gave my opinion on male circumcision, for religious purposes and more generally; that can be found here.  From the comments I've received (more on Twitter than on the post itself, actually), I conclude that there are one or two things I need to clarify because I have expressed myself clumsily.

First thing; there is a difference (to me at least) between regarding an action as an act of mutilation and considering a person to be "mutilated".  I suppose I should have anticipated that my using the term "mutilate" to describe the act of circumcision would cause some men who have been circumcised to feel I am making a comment on their attractiveness or their suitability as a sexual partner - this was not my intention, however. As far as I am concerned, whether an adult male has been circumcised or not makes no difference whatsoever to my... well, let's say "for my purposes" and leave it to the imagination.  I do not consider a circumcised penis to be in any way ugly or undesirable, and I apologise for my clumsiness in having given that impression to some people.

That said, little as it may matter in adulthood once it's done with and healed, I cannot see the unnecessary removal of an infant's foreskin as anything other than an act of gratuitous mutilation. It's a subtle distinction, but it's an important one; in my opinion it is cruel to subject an infant to unnecessary surgery, but it does not follow that - if you have undergone said surgery (of your own volition or otherwise) - I will then consider you unattractive or somehow complicit in what I regard as an act of wrongdoing.  It was not remotely my intention to imply anything of the sort.

The other thing that's been said repeatedly about yesterday's post - and I definitely could not have predicted this one, because it's utterly bizarre - is that because I am opposed to unnecessary circumcision it follows that I must also be an anti-vaxxer. This truly baffles me, it makes less than no sense.  I am against subjecting children to unnecessary risk and pain; in what way this could possibly make me anything other than strongly pro-vaccination I am at a loss to discern.  Vaccinations are necessary, to protect both the child as an individual and the "herd". Reading of outbreaks of preventable diseases resulting from the selfish decision of a few parents not to vaccinate, thereby risking the health of their own child and that of other people makes me sick with anger. Circumcision - in all but a tiny minority of cases - is NOT necessary, and carries risks for nobody but the child.  If the child grows up suffering absolutely no ill-effects from the procedure (assuming for a moment that we could prove such a thing), that's fantastic and I'm happy for him - but why take the risk on his behalf in the first place?

That's it, really, just wanted to explain myself on a couple of points - hope I make more sense now!

1 comment:

  1. Arguing against Circumcision, especially with North Americans, is almost always a lost cause. The guys who got cut will oppose you opposing the procedure because otherwise they would have to admit that they were wronged / are no longer "a man".

    To that effect no argument FOR circumcision is too ludicrous to pull out. I had these debates too. One interesting one where I was accused of citing a study done in Africa and how I could not do this because, well, Africa. When I pointed out that I hadn't brought it up but someone who was arguing FOR circumcision I was attacked as a spinster.

    Simply put: You can't win this one. There are too many people out there who need to be certain that circumcision has value, otherwise you snip off part of their ego.