Originally Posted by phatchristy
I think being sensitive to another culture, and approaching discussion/education taking that into account is reasonable. I think, when I have spoken accross cultural barriers that is what I do. But, the education on it's own is VERY powerful. And, I don't withold information for fear that becoming educated may make someone feel bad. Information and science is just that. You present the information and facts, then logical people will draw logical conclusions from those facts.
Would you feel any different if you were dealing with a mother who was from a culture where it was very normal and even demanded of that their girl be circumcised? I once spoke to a Egyptian woman who was taken (as a child) to egypt to receive a sunna circumcision. It was such a deep part of her culture, every woman had it done, and her mother claimed fear that her family would be shunned and that she wouldn't be married off as the reason why she had it done. Do I think her mother was evil? Of course not. Uneducated, ignorant, misinformed, culturally biased...yes. It's been horrific for this woman, the feelings that the woman experienced growing up, and living here in the US what normal intact genetilia are like...well, it was so similar to the men who have come to this board. They have honestly been devistated beyond words. It is so difficult to love someone experiencing that pain (I know as my DH is circ'd and he knows so much information), and know it was completely preventable. I think about, what if his mom had gone to a different OB. What if, just one person had spoken out and told her "I have an intact penis, and it's great...why not keep his like that?" I think now too, of the women I know who have circumcised who have expressed such regret as well. Some have told me, if someone had just put themselves in an awkward position to educate, to not worry about offending someone, they likely would researched and made a different choice...know what I mean?
I do think the key IS information. Knowledge is power. These parents need to have all the information. To present factual, specific, scientific information...it's rather clear that having a natural human penis is normal and healthy. To share that multiple studies show that to circumcise is to cause permanent sexual losses...that stuff is serious, and should be shared. It can be painful...of course. It's painful to know what I know about circ even, though I am lucky to be an intact woman, I am married to a circumcised man, and my brother was circumcised without consent at the hospital after his birth. My parents, not wanting my brother to "feel bad", decided to never tell him the circumstances about his circumcision nor share the fact that our father was intact. Guess, what happened...what that silence caused...I now have two circumcised nephews. Sadly, my brother is a decade older than I am, and I didn't know what I know now about circ. I wish I could have been that person to share the information.
I am so sorry for your brother, nephews and your parents! And for you, the educated sister.
I honestly do not know what I would do in the case of potential female circumcision. All the introspection in the world won't confirm for me what I would do.
My class (it's the last one in the series) spends 30 minutes discussing circumcision. I describe the procedure, give them the full disclosure statement, relate studies on sensitivity and anecdotes about sensitivity, and give them websites where I tell anyone who is considering it to go to. It's been successful at least once that I definitely know of, but I'm hopeful that there are more. I am not mincing words here, or stating that it's okay if they do, just know what their son is going through. I tell them exactly like it is. In fact, I suppose that I overemphasize those aspects that are most likely to convince them. For example, if a mom is worried about breastfeeding, I am sure to enforce that it can interfere with that. I do my best to tailor the information for those who are attending my classes.
Trust me, I am anything but PC about circumcision. I was clear in my interview (and this was published) that being Christian negates the Jewish mandate of a bris milah. I feel that you think I am being two sided here--perhaps I give them the PROS of circumcision too? There are none and I state that without embarassement or reason for worry.
I think that short of showing them a video, I can't educate them more than I am. I've been thinking of doing a Saturday class (like a 2 hour block with discussion) on it exclusively. We'll see how that pans out.
Just to give you some background on me, I am a full-fledged, card carrying introvert. You know those personality tests? Yep, 100% introvert. For me to do this article, complete with photo bigger than my actual head, and taped interview, as well as let the whole world know the terrible, horrible mistake that I made was very difficult and out of character for me. I am not staying here in my safe space and letting those around me escape the truth about circumcision. I'm not saying this to toot my own horn, but rather to let it be known that I do stand up for foreskins.