Circumcision Question - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-15-2009, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:42 PM
 
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First off, WELCOME! We are happy to have you here.

As for your friend. I was in this same position about 9 months ago. I'm so sorry that your efforts have been ignored. Good for you for keeping trying! It ain't over until he is circed so keep trying!

One question, did she actually watch her other son's circ? If not maybe you could email here some links of circumcisions so she can see what really happens?

As for the like father, like son. I would point out to her that boys really only notice the hair as the difference. The pre-pubescent penis looks NOTHING like a grown man's penis. Even if they did notice, intact boys LOVE their foreskins and can't imagine having it cut off. And when they start to masturbate and actually use their foreskin for one of it's intended purposes, the really can't imagine having it cut off.

Momma to DS (2/08) and #2 due 10/11.
 
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:14 PM
 
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Hello!

(I was explaining the function of the foreskin, it's nerves, how it facilitates sex and makes it more pleasurable for both parties, etc). His reaction, along with some of the reactions from my own husband when I talk about circumcision (and other circ'ed men who've been unfortunate enough to get into an argument with me about it), confirms to me that circumcised men are, indeed, hurt by this and want to protect themselves from knowledge about it in order to protect their ego...


Perhaps I crossed a line, but I once even went so far as to ask her, "Are you sure, morally, that this is a decision for you to make?". Well, she blew up at me (I wasn't belligerent when I asked her - I was hoping to have a discussion about whose penis it was and who would be using it, and who should have say over whether or not the most sensitive part of it is removed. Also, the whole medical ethical issues of "do no harm" and "benefits outweighing the risks" and "informed consent", but I digress...). She told me that I went too far, and it is her decision to make since she is the boy's mother, and some other stuff that I've since forgotten since I was busy trying to change the subject. I get the feeling that she thinks that I think she's a bad mother for this. I do not! I think she's made (and is going to make again) a horrible mistake, but I know she really loves her boys and is a good mother. I also believe that she will never hear any of the arguments against circumcision, because, like the circumcised men, she would have to come to the realization that she hurt her DS - something I don't think she can admit to unwittingly doing.

I am hoping (though I realize it is a far-off hope) that you all know some magical way to help her "see the light" about circumcision. Do any of you know how to get someone to listen about this?
Wow, thats all I can say at first. I dont want you to take this the wrong way, but I dont think you have been handling your circ discussions very well at all. From how you describe you come on waaaaaay too strong. If you walk up to anyone (male or female, cut or intact) and start rattling off on all the ways their genitals are defective (if the info is true or not) people are automatically going to react with anger, and be defensive. Also if you go into a circ discussion with the perspective "o', all circed men act in this way and get defensive." then your not going to have a good discussion with them. I am a circed guy and am aware of the negatives of circ, I was aware that something was altered in my penis long before most of my female peers even heard the word "circ". I think if you have a perspective that all circ guys are one way your never going to have a good discussion.

There is nothing magical about having a good circ talk with parents too be. You need to start out slow, and use different types of arguments as you go, the last of being talking about sensitivity and penis alteration.

If you want someone to listen you, you have to show that you respect their point of view, even if you disagree. If you dont respect their views, why would they stop and listen to yours?

I would start by saying your sorry if you offended them, and then start slowly from there.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thats all I can say at first. I dont want you to take this the wrong way, but I dont think you have been handling your circ discussions very well at all. From how you describe you come on waaaaaay too strong. If you walk up to anyone (male or female, cut or intact) and start rattling off on all the ways their genitals are defective (if the info is true or not) people are automatically going to react with anger, and be defensive. Also if you go into a circ discussion with the perspective "o', all circed men act in this way and get defensive." then your not going to have a good discussion with them. I am a circed guy and am aware of the negatives of circ, I was aware that something was altered in my penis long before most of my female peers even heard the word "circ". I think if you have a perspective that all circ guys are one way your never going to have a good discussion.

There is nothing magical about having a good circ talk with parents too be. You need to start out slow, and use different types of arguments as you go, the last of being talking about sensitivity and penis alteration.

If you want someone to listen you, you have to show that you respect their point of view, even if you disagree. If you dont respect their views, why would they stop and listen to yours?

I would start by saying your sorry if you offended them, and then start slowly from there.
Well, perspective, since I have offended you, I'd like to take the opportunity to apologize for that. I read that again, and I realize it comes off strong, so I would like to do some clarification.

1) I never told anybody that they had a defective penis. Please re-read my post - no where in it will you find me calling a circumcised penis defective. You will also find that my husband is circumcised, and I don't think he is defective. I do, however, think it is sad that he had part of his penis taken from him before he was old enough to understand the issue and consent or decline. I do not feel I have to apologize for this view.

2) I've never "walked up to anyone and start[ed] rattling off on all the ways their genitals are defective". The first time I brought this up with this friend was very casual and in an in-passing type of manner. Yes, this is the time that her fiancée went off the handle on me. Circumcision got brought up (I don't think it was me, but I don't remember - either way I know I wasn't belligerent about it) while we were both sitting around talking (and her fiancée was in the room). I knew at that point that I was having a little girl and even if I wasn't I've known since a rather early age that I could never circumcise any male children if I were to have any. As such I had not been reading up much on the issue, as I had more pressing things to do. I brought up the sensitivity issue in this discussion because it was the only "talking point" I had a clear memory of - I had looked up this issue before because I had a self-conscious, intact boyfriend in high school (and in trying to boost his ego, I shared the information about sensitivity with him). When her fiancée starting telling me that what I was saying was BS and that he didn't want to hear this crap, I shrugged my shoulders and dropped/changed the subject.

3) I don't have a perspective that all circ'ed guys are all one way. I do think, however, that anyone who has any kind of permanent body modification or has experience some kind of traumatic event in his/her lifetime is going to have some strong feelings about it. I do suspect, too, that anyone who was circumcised in childhood (male or female) would be more likely than not to be angry/upset/shocked/whatever when they learn more about the anatomy they lost and that the support for the procedure is weak. Personally, I would be (rightly) upset if I were in that position. In my experience, circumcised men act defensively when one argues against circumcision with them. I hadn't even suspected them to be one way or the other until they were so vehemently defending circumcision and getting quite agitated that none of their support reasons were going un-refuted (or were un-refutable). Yes, I focused too much on this in my post. It is just my opinion, and I could be wrong and perhaps almost all circumcised men are happy to be without their foreskin. I know some are and some aren't, I was just saying that I suspect that at least some are displeased that their bodies were altered without their consent (as I think anyone could be, especially in such a private area) but that a good coping mechanism is to deny it since it cannot be changed. Either way, I don't think any two people are exactly alike, and of course that would go for circumcised men.

4) In person, I am not someone who happily starts a discussion about penises. I find the topic, at best, awkward, and at worst down right embarrassing to be discussing. I am only comfortable talking about anything to do with penises with a select few people (or anonymously online), and as a general rule do not bring up the subject. Then how have I had these discussions? Well, my husband has brought it up in the presence of both his male friends and myself. Though I do not particularly like to talk about the subject face-to-face, if it is brought up I will defend my anti-circumcision stance and try to refute all the cleanliness and std-preventative arguments used. Usually the subject does not catch on, and I do not pursue it. Online is a different story, though. It is not face-to-face, it is not personal (unless you get in a flame war with someone), and one is not on the spot and in a position to feel awkward. Ah, the beauty of the written (typed) word. Why did I say they were unfortunate to get into the discussion with me? Well, to close the topic (since my husbands friends like to argue, and dismissed most of what I said), I have shown them a video of a baby being circumcised. Eeesh, I feel bad for anybody watching that. But it makes it a case closed as far as whether or not the procedure is "just a little snip" or really ethical to do (as most doctors do not use any kind of anesthetic). Please note, I have only done this once when the discussion got really heated (on both sides). Please don't now take this as evidence that I "run around showing people graphic circumcision videos" and as a consequence of course they will be mad/disgusted/whatever.

5) I do not respect the point of view that is okay to cut normal, healthy, functional parts off of a child without some urgent medical necessity (really the only good case I've heard to circumcise a baby is when that baby's urethral opening is misplaced and that tissue is necessary for reconstruction). Think negatively of me for it if you want, but I will not respect that view. However, just because I do not respect something does not mean that I act disrespectful towards those who hold that view. I realize I've come off that way, but the reason I came off so strong was because we are on the internet, which I find to be a good place to vent anonymously and I did just that with this post. I was looking for answers, don't get me wrong, but I allowed my strong views on the subject to come through in it because it frustrates me in real life and I would not express that frustration in a real life situation. I also believed that people here held views similar to my own, so I didn't think I would cause too much upset with the post. I have never called circumcision "mutilation" to my friend (regardless of how I may feel about it), nor have I said it is abusive and should be illegal, or any other things that people readily put up their defenses to. (And yes, I would put up my defenses too if I had a circumcised boy.) Additionally, please note that in my post I stated that I think she is a good mother. I absolutely stand by this. I just think that she is willfully blind to this issue.

6) The time I believed there was potential that I stepped over the line, I stated such in my post. I don't remember if I stated it or not, but I did apologize for offending her and told her that is not what I meant to do. I did mean to have an emotionally detached discussion about circumcision as an ethical/moral issue, and the shaky ground that it is on. When I brought it up, I felt that she might be receptive to this argument. Yeah, in retrospect I shouldn't have personalized it, but I was intending to talk about it in general, but phrased it as relevant to her. Sorry, I'm human and make mistakes.

7) I have brought up the subject of infant circumcision a total of 3 times with my friend. The first was before her first son was born, and the other two were after I found out she was pregnant but before I knew she was having another boy. I feel that if I was being truly belligerent, I would have started ranting about circumcision when she announced that she was having another boy - instead I congratulated her (and haven't brought up the topic in months or since her announcement). I also feel that if I was bringing up circumcision to cause a rift and/or be upsetting, I would have said more about the subject after they circ'ed their first son. I did not, because what would have been the point? What's done is done, and I don't feel it'd be right of me to bring up something that could only be upsetting and no good could come of it.

8) I don't think there is anything magical, but when ears are closed and something is so important to one, it can be difficult to fully see the issue. I was hoping that someone knew of a way to help people see the issue without getting emotional and defensive. Hypocritical? Yeah, and I can admit it. But I don't ignore facts, and I think that is an important distinction.

Anyways, please forgive me for another really long post. I hope I've conveyed that I'm not a whacko. I do get emotional/passionate/angry about this subject, as I do with other subjects about which I feel strongly - again, sorry if this offends. I take a staunch view on certain ethical and political issues, and I realize that this can rub people the wrong way. I apologize if I've upset anyone or was the cause of hurt feelings.

To the other poster (sorry I don't remember your s/n), I don't think she watched her first be circumcised, but I'm not sure. I would show her a video of an infant being circumcised, but I've refrained from doing this because I think it would upset her too much. Also, I don't think that this is the best way to dissuade someone from circumcision, because then they can just feel good about requesting pain meds. I feel like it doesn't take the whole issue into account, though it definitively makes an impression!
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Old 08-16-2009, 03:25 AM
 
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I think that in this situation you have done all you can and unless she brings it up to you I would let it go Unless you are willing to end the relationship with them over this then there is really nothing else you can do.

I know how hard it is and I am very passionate about this issue and will do anything I can to help save a boy from circ. But like everything else in life you have to know when to call it quits.

 
SAHMlady.gifread.giflovin' trekkie.giffan intactivist.gifwinner.jpg to loveeyes.gifenergy.gifDD 10/00 & superhero.gifmoon.gifDS 10/04 ribbonpb.gifIf your ds is intact, keep him safe, visit the Case Against Circ forumnocirc.gifCirc, a personal choice, Your sonsyes.gifbrokenheart.gif11/98brokenheart.gif6/99ribbonbrown.gifanti-tobaccoribbonyellow.gifThyroid cancer survivor. With cat.gif& goldfish.gif & (Boxer)dog2.gif wishing 4 whale.gif&ribbonwhite.gifsigncirc1.gifselectivevax.gifdelayedvax.gif

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Old 08-16-2009, 04:31 PM
 
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You could try and use an article written by doctors/authorities to get her to think through this:

http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...yStatement.pdf

I suggest this one because it is well written, and covers all the most common arguments, as well as focusing on childrens' rights to bodily integrity.

As far as the "she will circumcise her boys because their father is and as he has the penis and she doesn't, he will be the one to explain all penis issues to their boys, and so they should have the same "type" of penis" argument, it really is not unique. It actually is a very common one. And it is a very weak argument anyway and easily refuted if people are willing to use logic:

"because their father is" Two wrongs do not make a right is what my parents drilled into me, but even more importantly, this is a decision on how to choose the best decision for her son, her husband's status is not really relevent.

"he has the penis and she doesn't" Again, this is not really relevent to choosing whether to circumcise or not. The fact that he has a circumcised penis makes this even less relevent. Parents are obligated to choose the best course of action for their child. Parental body status does not make a case for RIC.

"he will be the one to explain all penis issues to their boys, and so they should have the same "type" of penis" argument" Is also irrelevant, for the same reasons and even more importantly, I would want the teacher to be knowledgeable, not look like the student. This would be like choosing your son's teachers by looking at their pictures. Hmmm, that professor doesn't look like me, so I will not take his class....

Best wishes
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:42 PM
 
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Well, perspective, since I have offended you, I'd like to take the opportunity to apologize for that.
Eh? When did you offend me? Because I must have missed it no worries.

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1) I never told anybody that they had a defective penis. Please re-read my post - no where in it will you find me calling a circumcised penis defective.
Sorry, let me clarify. I meant that was probably what he was thinking, and that’s why he got angry. You have to understand that most circed guys have only heard the same message that has been pounded into them by our circ friendly society since birth: circed is best. So to suddenly here statements about reduced nerve ending translates to an offending comment. One of the thoughts going through his head was probably “If that were true, I would have heard it by now, whats this womans problem then.” And that’s why its important to start on a different argument point, because getting into such a “sensitive” area of discussion can put everyone in battle positions. Kwim?

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I do not feel I have to apologize for this view.
I do not think you need to apologize for your views, but if you want to get through to this guy, and maybe save this baby, I think you do need to apologize for the way you made him feel. Otherwise, why would they listen to you?


Quote:
I don't have a perspective that all circ'ed guys are all one way.
Sorry if I took your words the wrong way, but when you said that after talking with a number of circed men, including the afore mentioned guy and your husband, it “confirms to me that circumcised men are, indeed, hurt by this and want to protect themselves from knowledge about it in order to protect their ego”

I took that as being “all” circed men. A statement you seemed to backing up by saying all the circed men you have talked to were like this. But I guess you meant just the circed men you have spoken with?
Either way I think that has more to do with how you talked to them, then what you think is going on in their heads.

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Think negatively of me for it if you want, but I will not respect that view.
I don’t think negatively of you at all for that. I had the choice to control my own body taken away at birth. I cannot respect someone with that view point any more then I can respect a rapist. But I can find ways of respecting the people that may carry that view, and try to gently guide them in a better direction.

You don’t need to prove to me with how you act in real life. I admit your first post came on a little strong, but I already went through some of that above. I am sorry for too quickly judging your character.

This is such a intense issue for many of us here, and the first reaction is to just let it all out and have everyone else also be against infant circ. But I think the best way to have an “open ear” discussion is to try and begin on a more agreeable start point. Because really are dealing with a lot more then the penis when talking about this. For circed men your talking about getting them to reverse the VERY FIRST lesson they learned in life, that circumcision happens, that it is normal, and that it is good. From the moment scalpel hits skin and every day after its pounded in our head "circ is good". Thats a lot to work against. For others its religion. For many mothers it means accepting they have victimized their own child (taken his rights away) and and that the advice from those they care and value was wrong.

So providing advice that will turn into a successful result is not just about giving out facts, but its about considering all the baggage people have connected with this issue.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:23 PM
 
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I think you are doing a great job. Since this person is a close friend, you have the ability to be more frank than with just any old person. A person with closed ears won't accept any amount of reason. Just keep trying and try to send her some videos. I find videos are often a better method than long articles that she might be to lazy to read. Do you need some links to videos? I have some great ones.

By the way, unless her son pops out as an identical twin to here hubby. There will be vast and more noticeable differences than just their penises.

Momma to DS (2/08) and #2 due 10/11.
 
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Old 08-17-2009, 09:10 PM
 
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I am hoping (though I realize it is a far-off hope) that you all know some magical way to help her "see the light" about circumcision. Do any of you know how to get someone to listen about this?
I don't, but please share if you find a way to get through to her! It is the most frustrating thing to deal with, almost like they're brainwashed or something. I'm in the same situation at the moment, but it's not with a pregnant friend, it's with my pregnant sister, and she is going to have a boy too. She asked in the beginning of her pregnancy if I'd be there for the birth, but I honestly don't think I'll be able to go anywhere near that hospital knowing what's going to be done to my nephew. I can't promise what I might say to a doctor or nurse if/when the topic comes up.

But I digress. Seriously, best of luck to you. I long for the day when we as a society will look back on this surgery and say, "WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE WE THINKING?!"

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