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Silly Percentages

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I keep seeing people shouting the 32% Circ. statistics from the roof tops and using it in arguments. My opinion is that we should be careful. First, I am not at all convinced of these statistics(would be lovely if it were true but I have lived in 2 areas of the country in the last 2 years and my son is totally a minority).
Secondly, and my biggest peeve with this is that we should not be trying to convince people not to circ because intact is the supposed majority. Does anybody else see the problem? I did not choose to circumcise my son eventhough every other little boy I knew was circ'd. It should go the other way..just because there is this new statistic out there, parents shouldn't base their decision based on what all the other boys look like. That would make it too easy for someone to say, well, in my state, the rate is 80% so I'm going to do it.
We should keep educating people about the function of the normal intact penis and remind them that there are no medical benefits to circing. People should leae their sons intact because circing for cosmetic reasons is wrong and not because they want to fit in with all the other kids that are intact. Anyone else get what I'm trying to say?
post #2 of 33
I agree, I think that using the percentage argument supports the idea that peer pressure, popularity and fitting in are acceptable considerations. They aren't.
post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by opera mom View Post
I keep seeing people shouting the 32% Circ. statistics from the roof tops and using it in arguments. My opinion is that we should be careful. First, I am not at all convinced of these statistics(would be lovely if it were true but I have lived in 2 areas of the country in the last 2 years and my son is totally a minority).
Secondly, and my biggest peeve with this is that we should not be trying to convince people not to circ because intact is the supposed majority. Does anybody else see the problem? I did not choose to circumcise my son eventhough every other little boy I knew was circ'd. It should go the other way..just because there is this new statistic out there, parents shouldn't base their decision based on what all the other boys look like. That would make it too easy for someone to say, well, in my state, the rate is 80% so I'm going to do it.
We should keep educating people about the function of the normal intact penis and remind them that there are no medical benefits to circing. People should leae their sons intact because circing for cosmetic reasons is wrong and not because they want to fit in with all the other kids that are intact. Anyone else get what I'm trying to say?
Yes to everything you said.
post #4 of 33
agree.

speaking of percentages... i wonder what the percentages are by ethnicity. my sister lives in colorado and circ'ed her son (after many attempts by me to get her not to). anyway, she said that she didn't wnat her son to ask years from now why they let him intact, and now no girl wants him, etc. i told her that with the circ rates going down, he may be the minority if he is circ'ed and that the girls in the future will know no different, as most will be intact. she said that she heard that the stats that i quote are "off' b/c they are only that low b/c they take into account all of the mexicans (there are alot of mexicans in colorado). and that among caucasions, intactness is still rare. i told her that all of my friends that left their babies intact were white. i wonder which one of us is right?! maybe a little of both...
post #5 of 33
jee'smom, I'm not sure and I do believe it varies by region.
I'm in Texas and the black & white people I know in real life who left boys intact tend to be into Attachment Parenting and gentle discipline. I found that among my homebirthing friends, still about half circ, regardless of their race.

From my experience in working in an OB department, most women who are Mexican immigrants (especially those here illegally or on work visas) do not circ, although some still do. I've often wondered if the ones who do circ just don't understand what they are consenting to or if they think it will make their son more "Americanized".
I've found that many of the Hispanic women who have been here for more than a few years or maybe their parents were immigrants but they were born in the US, about half of them circ. So to say that rates are low because all Hispanic people leave their boys intact is false. Some indeed do circ.
I'm proof, along with several other white friends, that not all Caucasian's circ.
The few European patients I worked with all left their boys intact but every single Burmese patient I worked with (we have a significant population from Burma where I worked) circed. I thought circ was unheard of in Burma but apparently that changes once they move to Texas.
post #6 of 33
i can't believe half of the homebirthing moms that you know circ!!!!! they care enough about their children's lives to have a gentle birth, and then take them into a doctor to have up to half of their penis cut off?!!!! seriously?!!!!!! i would've thought that most, if not almost all, homebirthing moms leave their kids intact.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by opera mom View Post
We should keep educating people about the function of the normal intact penis and remind them that there are no medical benefits to circing. People should leae their sons intact because circing for cosmetic reasons is wrong and not because they want to fit in with all the other kids that are intact. Anyone else get what I'm trying to say?
You are absolutely correct. Peer pressure is a poor reason for cosmetic surgery.
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jee'smom View Post
i can't believe half of the homebirthing moms that you know circ!!!!! they care enough about their children's lives to have a gentle birth, and then take them into a doctor to have up to half of their penis cut off?!!!! seriously?!!!!!! i would've thought that most, if not almost all, homebirthing moms leave their kids intact.
Keep in mind that is only one homebirth group in TX. It may not represent all homebirths throughout the US. But I've heard it's not uncommon that midwives perform circs for their clients. Many women have home births because it's more about what they want for their bodies and their birth experience, not necessarily for the baby.
post #9 of 33
I agree wholeheartedly. Who is and isn't intact should have NO impact on a parents decision because in the end it should be the child's decision! That said, if percentages help sway someone to let their child decide, then I'll use it. It shouldn't matter but to some people it does and the end outcome, intact babies, is what matters most.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jee'smom View Post
i can't believe half of the homebirthing moms that you know circ!!!!! they care enough about their children's lives to have a gentle birth, and then take them into a doctor to have up to half of their penis cut off?!!!! seriously?!!!!!! i would've thought that most, if not almost all, homebirthing moms leave their kids intact.
I'm familiar with this here too. The parents are not going to a doctor. I cannot name names but I can tell you this. The person I speak of go to the MWs and broker his services, which will prompt the MW's to solicit his service for a fee.

The results are the same. Surgery is surgery no matter how or where its done. The newborn's penis is bloody and his wound is in contact with a soiled diaper. And there is definitely a different vibe from these newborns who seem to be in shock and "not all there". Its really sad.

I do see this changing.

I know a few who just threw his tracts in the garbage. Instead of soliciting the circumcision they'll simply inform their clients the functions and purposes of the prepuce organ. They'll explain how simple it is to care for a complete set of male genitals. Which, once you understand the reason the foreskin is bonded to the glans like a fingernail is to the finger (because the penis is still developing) and that you shouldn't retract lest you damage the synechia (much like the hymen) and that the average age for full retraction is 10.5 yrs...

the thought removing (what was once "unknown") an integral part of the penis that serves to PROTECT the meatus would seem rather insane.

Besides, the MWs I speak of provide plenty of literature on their bookshelves for their clients. These parents are always browsing through the books in her office during prenatal visits.
post #11 of 33
I personally agree, but I can see how using statistics (though I always use the ~50/50 one) is effective with a certain group of people. Sure, we should all be independent thinkers and do what is right no matter if we're the only person on earth doing it. However, a lot of mainstream Americans care entirely too much what everyone else is doing, no matter how ignorant and shallow that might be. If finding out that intact boys make up a sizable portion of society convinces the mainstream parent to leave their son intact, I'm definitely not going to complain.

I believe that different tactics work with different people. For the very sensitive, compassionate mom, seeing a video of circumcision might be the best way to convince her to do it. For the stereotypical mainstream mom, just knowing that circumcision is not medically beneficial and half of her son's peers will be intact might be enough to sway her. Not everyone responds well to the cold, hard, gory facts right off the bat. Some need to be eased into it, or risk clamming up and becoming pro-circumcision out of defense.
post #12 of 33
If believing that "everybody does it" is enough to make a mother hand over her newborn child to have his private parts cut off, then believing that "lots of people don't do it" should be enough to convince many mothers that maybe they ought to just keep their babies safe in their arms where they belong. I think it's an important part of the argument. Let's face it, if people made the decision based on medical facts and ethics, nobody would do it. At this point in time, most people make the decision based on social and cultural pressures.
post #13 of 33
I totally disagree that we shouldn't quote stats.

(1) There is a group of people whose perspective is that when their assumptions line up with the majority they go with the flow. They are mainly thinking this is the medical / cleanliness / cultural way to go. They assume that what most people doing is at least a not horribly stupid path. Plus they care about what people think of them and want to fit in. These people don't go into decision making mode on this issue until there is a disconnect between what they assumed they'd do and what the majority is doing. They need to know that most babies now born in the US are left intact.

(2) There is a group of people who really believe and intact penis is gross. These people are unlikely to be swayed by statistics directly, but indirectly, they will have to pause because while THEY know that an intact penis is gross, the new statistics indicate to them that their son's future sex partners may be completely misinformed by the warped new world order. They might ... gasp ... prefer intact. Well, well, what to do. Perhaps now that they know that the world has gone mad, will they be willing to entertain the idea that with proper care (e.g., not retracting and causing scar tissue, and other things you will inform them on) their intact son can be as non-gross as possible.

(3) There are people who are not really invested in (1) or (2) above but whose partner throws out the locker room argument. They need to be able to tell hubby that his information is now officially out of date.

I have never, personally, felt the need to grind someone into the ground when it is not necessary. [Edited: I'm sure I'm lying. I probably have but in hindsight it was wrong, very wrong.] It's much less insulting to win an argument based on mistake of fact than ethical superiority. There's plenty of time at the end, once the decision to leave the child intact is made, to casually mention your personal opinion on all child sexual modification surgery. Circumcising parents in the US do not (with a few exceptions) believe that male genital mutilation confers virtuosity on their child or is virtuous parenting in the abstract. They are doing it for a reason that they think is practical and compelling and the most effective response is a practical one -- their facts are wrong, not their values.
post #14 of 33
I think it is not a bad thing to quote statistics when you are dealing with people who are saying they will circumcise their son because it is "cultural." (And they mean, American. Not from any group where it would be part of their religious culture.) They are trying to convince themselves that it is a cultural institution; pointing out that the culture as a whole is moving away from it, and more and more every year, puts the lie to that.
Then maybe they can face the truth... it's all about Dad being cut. It's always all about Dad being cut. Even when they say it's about culture, tradition, cleanliness, health, HIV, whatever... it all comes down to, Dad is cut. He wants to believe there are great and compelling reasons why he was... and of course with such great and compelling reasons he could hardly deny those wonderful benefits to his son, right?

Jen
post #15 of 33
I agree that we "should not" quote percentages if we are being consistent in our arguments, but IRL, when I give my anti-circ presentation, the 33% or 55% statistics always make the most impact.
post #16 of 33
I agree. Stats did NOT sway my husband at all. He brought up formula vs. BFing. ("How many moms are still BFing at 6mo? A year? Stats don't always reflect the best choice") If we use stats for that then formula comes out on top...and we know that's not the optimal choice. *shrugs*
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
I agree. Stats did NOT sway my husband at all. He brought up formula vs. BFing. ("How many moms are still BFing at 6mo? A year? Stats don't always reflect the best choice") If we use stats for that then formula comes out on top...and we know that's not the optimal choice. *shrugs*
Ah, but how many people choose how to feed their baby based on what "everyone else is doing"? Most people choose how to feed their baby based on what they think will be best for their baby and what will work best in their own family situation.
On the other hand, when people are choosing to circumcise precisely because "everyone else is doing it - we want him to fit in," well then it needs to be pointed out that NOT everyone else is doing it. If "fitting in" is so important, why are they choosing to go with the minority?
Of course, back when rates were 90% or more, circumcision WAS in the majority. Then you could skip right to other arguments. As in, "true, 90% of boys are being circumcised these days... but that doesn't make it right or ethical."

Jen
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenP View Post
Ah, but how many people choose how to feed their baby based on what "everyone else is doing"? Most people choose how to feed their baby based on what they think will be best for their baby and what will work best in their own family situation.
On the other hand, when people are choosing to circumcise precisely because "everyone else is doing it - we want him to fit in," well then it needs to be pointed out that NOT everyone else is doing it. If "fitting in" is so important, why are they choosing to go with the minority?
Of course, back when rates were 90% or more, circumcision WAS in the majority. Then you could skip right to other arguments. As in, "true, 90% of boys are being circumcised these days... but that doesn't make it right or ethical."

Jen
i have to disagree... i think most people choose how to feed their babies based on what is best for THEM (the parents), NOT what is best for the baby. just my opinion.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jee'smom View Post
i have to disagree... i think most people choose how to feed their babies based on what is best for THEM (the parents), NOT what is best for the baby. just my opinion.
You may be right. I mentioned that people consider both the baby's health and the parents'/family's needs. For many families that balance may well tip way over to the parent's convenience side.

BUT the point is, I have never heard of anybody say "We decided to feed Susie this way because we want her to fit in with her peers. She might get teased in school if the kids find out she was fed the less popular-in-our-area-way."

Jen
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenP View Post
You may be right. I mentioned that people consider both the baby's health and the parents'/family's needs. For many families that balance may well tip way over to the parent's convenience side.

BUT the point is, I have never heard of anybody say "We decided to feed Susie this way because we want her to fit in with her peers. She might get teased in school if the kids find out she was fed the less popular-in-our-area-way."

Jen
I know moms who wanted to EBF, but say they didn't because they thought their kids would be teased in preschool.
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