Male circumcision: To be or not to be that is the question?


A Bartolomeo Veneto painting from 1506 depicting an infant being circumcised. The practice remains common around the world. Photograph: Godong/Robert Harding/REX/Shutterstock

Foreskin reclaimers: the ‘intactivists’ fighting infant male circumcision

Source: The Guardian

By Gary Nunn

Emboldened by the body-positive movement and a sense of rage, a growing chorus is pushing back against a common custom

The media officer of one of the UK’s top medical schools doesn’t realise she hasn’t muted herself as she puts me on hold.

She sniggers with her colleague as she passes on my request – to speak to an expert on male circumcision – before informing me they don’t have one.

In one Sex and the City episode, Charlotte is so repelled by her lover’s foreskin, she likens it to a “shar-pei”, the analogy cementing Miranda’s resolve to circumcise her kids.

It’s written for entertainment value, but for Adam Zeldis, a 36-year-old software developer from New York, it’s no laughing matter.

Many men circumcised as babies “have an epiphany when the cultural blinders come off”, he tells the Guardian. “I was a vulnerable 16-year-old when I realised how much skin was removed and that my bodily autonomy was violated.”

Georganne Chapin, who runs Intact America, hears about foreskin degradation often. “Men call us saying their wives think it’s ‘disgusting and dirty’ not to circumcise their sons. It’s sad,” she says.

Read more

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Denmark’s Jews Questioning Their Future in the Country Following Proposed Ban on Circumcision

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10 replies

  1. Circumcision is a barbaric practice, whether for males or females. There is no logic for it and should be banned and criminalised for babies/young children as abuse. If it wasn’t a Jewish and Muslim tradition, I am sure that it would have disappeared by now much as foot binding in China, facial scarring in parts of Africa, and others. Fortunately female circumcision is now being tackled, but still a long way to go, but hopefully it will be eradicated soon,

  2. How strange then that the rest of the world can manage without circumcision. And there surely was a reason for the foreskin to be there in the first place. Yes, one could make an argument about the hygiene issues, but hygiene standards have greatly improved, and it’s now up to education at home as well as in school lessons about such things to maintain standards, unfortunately we are still badly lacking. .Male babies are checked at birth to see that there is no problem with the foreskin, and if medical aid is required that’s a different matter. Apart from that, leave alone what nature provided. It’s a primitive tradition, kept alive by religion. My son was circumcised, but he resents what was done to him, and procedures don’t always work out well. If an adult chooses to be circumcised that is a personal decision, we do not have a right to inflict such a practice on babies or young children. Any other similar practice would be considered a crime, female genital mutilation being one.

    • well, my sons never complained. In fact one grand son was not at first circumcised, he then developed a problem and the doctor sort of prescribed the urgent circumcision for him.

  3. Circumcision is the best. Clean and no smell. I work in the hospital and seen enough older and old people having it done because of infection. The best way have it done while your young. Same reason why people get their wisdom teeth removed! All my family members and even my husband is circumcised, not one of them have cried abuse 🙄🤦🏽‍♀️ so all this debate about calling it abuse, well sorry plenty of people do piercings on their children, plenty of people make their children vegan or eat whatever special dietary needs they have, some people raise their children in their religion … stop telling people how to raise their child. If the child is happy and well fed and grows up with a happy life, why do you strangers care what’s in the child’s pants or not. Perhaps ask circumcised men if they regret it or not and most of them will say NOT. FGM is different as there is no medical or physical benefit to it and is only practice in certain African countries by all faiths as a cultural practice by underground dodgy people.

    Ban circumcisions when majority of men that have had them are happy with it and your will just drive them to dodgy underground people. Religious reasons are based on cleanliness/health reasons, why is it wrong for someone to do the same exact thing only when he does for religious reasons!!! If anyone saw the program on TV last night then you would realise it is a complex issue. I believe that only qualified persons should perform circumcisions and a register should be kept so that it will be easy to ascertain whether a boy has been circumcised by a qualified person in the UK or not. I think outlawing circumcision will simply drive the practice underground or people will take their male child abroad, both of which may well be unsanitary and risks of complications or death will increase unnecessarily. I’d rather regulate the practice and get everyone on board who wants circumcision. (Christians/Jews/ Muslims and those out of choice who want it done)

    I’m a circumcised man. It was done while I was a child. A friend of mine got it done much later when he was old. He to date says: “I wish my parents had done it when I was little”. I’m perfectly fine and happy with it. Got all my sons the same. There are many things which are not “reversible” as presented as an argument by a few above. Examples of irreversible things:
    How a child is raised depends a lot upon his parents. Did he have a “choice” in choosing his parents?

    Did he have a “choice” in religion of his parents?

    If everything has to go by the logic of “choice” and “consent”, then shouldn’t every child be raised by the state after birth and then wait for him to be of age to be able to “choose” the “best parents” for him?

    Fine. Biological parents are impossible to change but shouldn’t a child have a say in choosing those individuals who will raise him up?

    I could go on and on in projecting many such scenarios realizing which all the “self-proclaimed child consent advocates” will start getting angry. What about the names? Even if a child may choose another name after getting old, what about the psychological effects one has to face upon change of names? Shouldn’t all kids be assigned a number so that they may choose a name of their choice after they can “consent”?

    Either a “consent” in everything or shut your taps ppl who are more concerned about my dxxx than me. Cheers

    Why is it the norm in all Muslim countries and many countries including US, Canada, Australia, Israel ? Are all circumcised men in these countries victim of abuse ? I am circumcised and I am alive, I live well eat well. I had no choice as I. Was baby at that time but was it harmful for me? NO1 People who are Jews circumcise their baby boys because it is part of a covenant (promise) between God and them and they keep that part of their bargain. No medical reasons except the following: A decreased risk of urinary tract infections.

    A reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men.

    Protection against penile cancer and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners.

    Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).

    Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location).

    Also increased cleanliness…but there’s no medical benefits Jesus wept

    In Islam they circumcise their boys because it is allegedly demanded as a health reason. they copied the Jews and Christianity in many things without understanding why they were done. Evidence is that almost all men are circumcised and population growth is second the highest in the world 😉 The health benefits are not made up. They’re not a cure for cancer, they don’t out-right prevent devastating diseases, but they are scientifically proven benefits for boys. If you don’t want to circumcise your kid, fine – he’s probably not going to die if you don’t. But the kid will also be alright if you do circumcise.

    Female Genital Mutilation isn’t commanded by Islam and is practiced in a few communities which happen to have become Muslim and was probably practiced before they became Muslims over the 1,500 years it’s been around. Circumcision doesn’t reduce sexual pleasure but FGM eliminates it. So is ear piercings, so is making your child go vegan, so is making your child your faith, leave people be and stop governing parents in everything they do for their kids. All my male family members are circumcised and none of them cry abuse. 🤷🏽‍♀️

  4. Circumcision, along with other practices, has to be the personal decision of the adult. Try taking an uncircumcised adult and force circumcision on him without his consent and see the consequences. That’s the reason people have to sign pre-op documents in hospitals. Why inflict that on babies? If there is a medical need that’s a different matter. The same applies to piercing ears on baby girls, a common Catholic practice, but not approved in the Protestant world. Just because something is a tradition doesn’t make it right.

    • According to Renate and others of the same opinion we should wait with all vaccinations until the adult child can give ‘informed consent’.

  5. There is quite a lot of controversy relating to vaccinations. Many of the diseases which are flourishing are due to poverty, and in in certain poor areas, which then spread. . But there will always be some deaths regardless of whether a child is vaccinated, or even as a direct result of vaccination. So vaccination is not necessarily the solution. When I was a child measles was a serious condition, and still is, but we were subjected to other children, so that a mild form of measles was transmitted, and that guaranteed no further measles. But again, sometimes a child might develop a serious form of the disease, which might also have led to death. As I said, it’s a controversial subject. Vaccination may also affect the immune system, so who knows how things will develop in the future.

    Nothing to do with the lead subject, i.e. circumcision, that has to be a matter of opinion for now, but who knows, in the future attitudes may change, and the focus will be purely on hygiene, rather than mutilation. The foreskin is there for a reason, after all, which seems to have been forgotten. Even some Jews no longer believe in circumcision.

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