Educating and Son's Privacy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 10-03-2010, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a pretty private person and yet, I've found myself telling two friends about my baby's intact penis in the context of sharing that we won't and didn't circumcise.  On one hand, I'm happy I've done this because it makes it normal (and ultimately gives me an opportunity to non-forcibly educate*), but on the other hand, I feel sad for my DS. What if he wouldn't want me to discuss his penis with someone else?

Does anyone else feel bad about this? Should I feel bad? I don't know how to reconcile wanting to reasonably discuss the importance of keeping boys intact whilst still respecting his privacy. Am I missing something?

*I'm using the word educate loosely.

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#2 of 29 Old 10-03-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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I do feel awkward talking about how we circ'd DS1 (12 yo) but left the twins intact. I would like to let people know that it is okay to make a different choice once you do more research. It's not as bad when the boys are little, but I am pretty sure my almost-teen would not be pleased to hear about it.

So, for me, I rarely discuss our previous mistake if I bring it up at all.

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#3 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Nobody else feels this way?

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I do feel awkward talking about how we circ'd DS1 (12 yo) but left the twins intact. I would like to let people know that it is okay to make a different choice once you do more research. It's not as bad when the boys are little, but I am pretty sure my almost-teen would not be pleased to hear about it.

So, for me, I rarely discuss our previous mistake if I bring it up at all.
I understand. And, yes, my DS is still a baby, which was part of my thought process that I didn't verbalize. I wouldn't be talking about his penis at 10, so why is it okay to do so now?
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#4 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Nobody else feels this way?



I understand. And, yes, my DS is still a baby, which was part of my thought process that I didn't verbalize. I wouldn't be talking about his penis at 10, so why is it okay to do so now?
Nope, I don't feel bad about it either. Anatomy has always been a normal topic of discussion around our house and when my boys found out that people actually do something so horrendous, they started talking about it as well. They will sometimes bring it up, and have no qualms speaking of their whole penis, or having their whole penis spoke of, especially when discussed with the alternative.

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#5 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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my husband feels this way. DS is whole, so is dh. I had a coworker ask me about it, and I very proudly proclaimed that it was the best decision we made in parenting.

I mentioned it to DH, and he was mortified that i'd be discussing DS's peepee at work (or any other place.))

I'm not sure how to talk about it without bringing up our decision though.

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#6 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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*if* they were uncomfortable, I would be more choosy in how I talk about theirs specifically, such as stages of retractibility, issues they may have when they are at an age to care, such as smegma pearls... if that was something that happened (it isnt, at least not to the point where they are alarmed enough to tell me) then if they were at an age to care about me discussing it (like late toddler age+) then I would only do so with their permission. Just like I would discuss what age my daughter started certain developments, but not specifics. I would never have an issue saying when she started developing breasts, but I'm not going to discuss her undergarment choices without knowing it's okay with her...

However, that is completely different than discussing what WE do and don't do in our family. I will never ever have an issue saying WE don't do that (circumcise). I think to not be comfortable talking about that is DEFINITELY some sort of hangup like Yulia discussed.

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#7 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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oops dp.

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#8 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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It's not the same thing. Would you talk about either of you kids genitals outside the context of circumcision? The needs for that would be few and far between. But if a conversation came up about FGM, would you feel odd discussing your position on that?

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#9 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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It's not the same thing. Would you talk about either of you kids genitals outside the context of circumcision? The needs for that would be few and far between. But if a conversation came up about FGM, would you feel odd discussing your position on that?
ITA - I have no problems at all telling people that I chose to keep my daughter's genitals intact. It's the norm and should be treated as such. Stating that your ds's genitals are intact is the same as my saying my DD's genitals are intact. Or her hair is brown - maybe more like telling people her weight..you might not tell anyone how much you weigh, but do you think twice about saying how much ds weighs?

Victim of Birth Rape & Coerced ribboncesarean.gifUnnecesareanribboncesarean.gif What makes people think they can cut up someone else's genitals? nocirc.gif
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#10 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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Also, you don't really have to get too involved in any specific penis in discussion. You can just make statements like "we don't circumcise" or if asked the standard "isn't it gross/hard to keep clean/a lotta work" questions, you can answer in generalities "no, you clean an intact penis just like a finger" or "it's less work than worrying about an open wound in a dirty environment like a diaper". You don't really have to say anything about your child's penis...

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#11 of 29 Old 10-04-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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i would not feel weird knowing someone didnt circ their child but i do feel sad when i know they did. I think on it differently. I am proud that i knew it was wrong and caused unneeded pain to babies. i didnt circ my ds. I know that my 3 brothers were circed they all are aprox. 15 years older then me. also i know that my nephews are not circed 12, 14, 18, 23. i dont feel weird about knowing that. i think of it as a blessing that they were left alone and are whole as they were when they were born. i think this way about every child and adult i know that is left intact
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#12 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, you don't really have to get too involved in any specific penis in discussion. You can just make statements like "we don't circumcise" or if asked the standard "isn't it gross/hard to keep clean/a lotta work" questions, you can answer in generalities "no, you clean an intact penis just like a finger" or "it's less work than worrying about an open wound in a dirty environment like a diaper". You don't really have to say anything about your child's penis...
I like the "we don't circ" statement because while it clearly implies that DS is intact, it doesn't make it about him. I will have to try that and oddly, just the slight change in words does make me feel better about it. Thanks!

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i would not feel weird knowing someone didnt circ their child but i do feel sad when i know they did. I think on it differently. I am proud that i knew it was wrong and caused unneeded pain to babies. i didnt circ my ds. I know that my 3 brothers were circed they all are aprox. 15 years older then me. also i know that my nephews are not circed 12, 14, 18, 23. i dont feel weird about knowing that. i think of it as a blessing that they were left alone and are whole as they were when they were born. i think this way about every child and adult i know that is left intact
You may not feel weird knowing, but my issue is with how my DS would feel knowing I chatted about his penis. It is his penis to chat about.
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#13 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 11:57 AM
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I'm really not sure how one can keep their own children out of it. In any and every discussion we have had about it, I'm always asked. I refuse to "plead the fifth" or be coy in any way.
Interesting. When I talk I talk about the facts and interestingly enough anyone rarely ask if we circ our son or not, maybe because it is very obvious to them that we wouldn't or perhaps they personally feel uncomfortable about asking a penile status of a 5yo...I don't know. The only few times I was asked is when people learn that my husband (my son's dad) was born and raised in Israel (I guess in this case people want to have an extra confirmation lol).
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#14 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 12:08 PM
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You may not feel weird knowing, but my issue is with how my DS would feel knowing I chatted about his penis. It is his penis to chat about.
I guess if my son were concern about me talking about his penis (which I rarely do anyway) I'd respect that and I wouldn't. But I would also be seriously worried as to why he feels that talking about having all of this genitals is any different or more inbarassing/shameful than talking about having all of his 10 toes or his two tonsils. I would definitely explain it to him. It's just another body part, no difference what so ever. And I am pretty darn set to raise my kids with the idea that ALL of our body is totally normal and beautiful and no part is more shameful than the other. For example, for my kids (5 and 4yo) seeing me walking naked around the house after the shower is something so normal that they wouldn't even look twice lol
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#15 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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I like the "we don't circ" statement because while it clearly implies that DS is intact, it doesn't make it about him. I will have to try that and oddly, just the slight change in words does make me feel better about it. Thanks!



You may not feel weird knowing, but my issue is with how my DS would feel knowing I chatted about his penis. It is his penis to chat about.
NP I was thinking about how my conversations regarding circumcision go and realized that is how they generally start out. Also, I think it helps convey your objection to the act more than "ds is not circumcised" does, as that just seems like a neutral statement of fact rather than an opinion on the matter. For me, it isn't unless people have specific questions or arguments about it, that I will speak of my boys specifically, and they are (at present anyhow) okay with that. I would not if they objected. The only difference is you are approaching it from a stand point of "until he says its okay" whereas I am from "until he says it is not". I don't see a problem with either, unless his wishes are not honored.

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#16 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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I guess if my son were concern about me talking about his penis (which I rarely do anyway) I'd respect that and I wouldn't. But I would also be seriously worried as to why he feels that talking about having all of this genitals is any different or more inbarassing/shameful than talking about having all of his 10 toes or his two tonsils. I would definitely explain it to him. It's just another body part, no difference what so ever. And I am pretty darn set to raise my kids with the idea that ALL of our body is totally normal and beautiful and no part is more shameful than the other. For example, for my kids (5 and 4yo) seeing me walking naked around the house after the shower is something so normal that they wouldn't even look twice lol
I think it is just about respecting their level of comfort... My kids are comfortable with their bodies and know that "a body is just a body and everyone has one". However, they all desire different levels of privacy. I too have no issue walking around my house naked and my kids don't bat an eye, however the only one that is comfortable doing that himself is DS2 (this is also the kid who used to stand in the picture window with nothing but his yellow rain boots on and wave at people as they walked by ) DD is not uncomfortable or ashamed of her body but I am about the only one that she allows to see her when she is changing or whatever. She is generally comfortable with me talking about it (her development) but only to certain people. I don't think that reflects a hang up or anything, and she certainly hasn't had one instilled in her. I actually think it is healthy for her to know where her boundaries and be willing to assert them. I think as long as we are not raising our kids to be ashamed or to feel like there is something wrong, then we are doing okay...

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#17 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 01:34 PM
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I think it is just about respecting their level of comfort... My kids are comfortable with their bodies and know that "a body is just a body and everyone has one". However, they all desire different levels of privacy. I too have no issue walking around my house naked and my kids don't bat an eye, however the only one that is comfortable doing that himself is DS2 (this is also the kid who used to stand in the picture window with nothing but his yellow rain boots on and wave at people as they walked by ) DD is not uncomfortable or ashamed of her body but I am about the only one that she allows to see her when she is changing or whatever. She is generally comfortable with me talking about it (her development) but only to certain people. I don't think that reflects a hang up or anything, and she certainly hasn't had one instilled in her. I actually think it is healthy for her to know where her boundaries and be willing to assert them. I think as long as we are not raising our kids to be ashamed or to feel like there is something wrong, then we are doing okay...
You are right, thanks for pointing it out!
Even though I do believe that their level of comfort (or discomfort, for that matter) comes/forms from SOMEWHERE. A young child just wouldn't decide out of his/her head that she doesn't want people to see changing, it must come from somewhere. Maybe her teacher at school is giving them a message of this being important or grandma or something, it just doesn't come from nowhere. The kids are not born feeling shy of exposing their bodies. And yes, if they do have the need for privacy, I agree it needs to be respected. But I would try to find out where it comes from and eliminate the cause for the future (as well as talking about it and explaining to my kids that some people may have an issue with it because of the way they were broght up and unfortunately, sometimes they may even feel they have the right to project that on other people or kids, but that it is THEIR issue and my kids should take it (and perhaps even respect it) for what it is: THOSE PEOPLE'S issue.
I'd ask my son if he had a problem of me talking about his toes with other people. While I would still respect his comfort level, I would definitely challenge him to think...
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#18 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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I think the previous old generation ended up getting Intimidated by actual body names and the actual talk of it that it was thought to be THAT's Something You Shouldn't Be Talking About In Public as Keeping it at Home leading many of those people to have Body Shame.

Like people Should Be Able to Talk About Body Parts and it's Function without Going Oh No No We Do Not Talk Like That .

There has been a bracelet for breast cancer survivors that say I love Boobies its now Banned at our schools!

I wrote in response to that banned of this is the Reason Why People Don't Have a Postive Body Image .

Yeah , I would more rather have my boy share about his Factual Status of himself and the Factual Stuff of Circumcision when he Gets to be in the Teen Years .

When my boy gets to be teen/adult I will say I don't believe in Circumcision and our family does not allow it unless there is a True Medical Reason etc!
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#19 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 01:44 PM
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And adding to previously said, it is not surprising that both our kids have no problem having "naked parties" with their neighbor friend outside on a refular basis (when it is warm outside). Our daughter always goes the "extra mile" to the point of sometimes making me and dh uncomfortable (which takes a LOT to do LOL), but we just ignore it and say nothing because guess what...this is OUR problem, this is how we were, unfortunately, brought up and the power of it is huge: one can logically understand that there is nothing wrong with it objectively and yet still feel uncomfortable. Good thing we decided that for our family this nonesense will die with our generation and our kids will never feel bad or uncomfortable about ANY part of their bodies )
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#20 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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NP I was thinking about how my conversations regarding circumcision go and realized that is how they generally start out. Also, I think it helps convey your objection to the act more than "ds is not circumcised" does, as that just seems like a neutral statement of fact rather than an opinion on the matter. For me, it isn't unless people have specific questions or arguments about it, that I will speak of my boys specifically, and they are (at present anyhow) okay with that. I would not if they objected. The only difference is you are approaching it from a stand point of "until he says its okay" whereas I am from "until he says it is not". I don't see a problem with either, unless his wishes are not honored.
See, I'm always asked specifics, but I can see how I possibly contributed to that by my word choice(s). It seems funny that I couldn't think to word things the appropriate way, but well, I couldn't.
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#21 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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I guess if my son were concern about me talking about his penis (which I rarely do anyway) I'd respect that and I wouldn't. But I would also be seriously worried as to why he feels that talking about having all of this genitals is any different or more inbarassing/shameful than talking about having all of his 10 toes or his two tonsils. I would definitely explain it to him. It's just another body part, no difference what so ever. And I am pretty darn set to raise my kids with the idea that ALL of our body is totally normal and beautiful and no part is more shameful than the other. For example, for my kids (5 and 4yo) seeing me walking naked around the house after the shower is something so normal that they wouldn't even look twice lol
Wait til he's 12. They won't even want to look once. :-)

(Note: you may be gorgeous...not saying that in that way. Haha)
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#22 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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Hi, y'all. Just a friendly reminder that the topic of religion as it pertains to circumcision is outside the scope of this form. As the revised forum guidelines state:

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The discussion of or reference to religion is outside of the scope of this forum. Any posts which bring any aspect of religion into the discussion are not appropriate and will be removed. Respectful discussion of a religious nature regarding circumcision, alternatives, etc. may be hosted in the Spirituality forum. The Spirituality forum is a debate-free zone. Members maintain a list of helpful websites in a Web Resources thread for further information about religious issues.
Thanks for understanding! We now return to your previously scheduled conversation.

Have you seen the updated user agreement yet?
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#23 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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FWIW, ds1 is 17. He knows I've told people that he's intact (although I used to say "not circumcised"). It doesn't bother him, and he doesn't really consider that to be "talking about his penis". It's just not the way the conversations go down, and he's aware of that. He more or less sees it as the same as when I say "I'm so glad ds1 got my ex's eyesight" or "ds1 broke his little finger"...I don't really go around "chatting" about his eyes or his fingers, to be honest. It's all in how the conversation comes about, at least in my opinion (and, more to the point, in ds1's opinion).

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#24 of 29 Old 10-05-2010, 11:09 PM
 
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Hmm. No sons yet (well, maybe one, but I'm only 5 weeks, so... no penis yet, either way!). I will say, though, that I feel a bit uncomfortable referring to DH's state. It'd be fairly easy for his clients/friends etc to connect him to me via Google, and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want them knowing about his penis one way or the other. So I tend to keep things general, or at least non-keyworded.

I've had some pretty open discussions about circ with DH's male friends (circ is very uncommon in NZ, and DH's friends are all single, so it's pretty much an academic "here goes Smokering on one of her rants" things!) - but I've never volunteered information about DH's intactness or lack of it. If they peeked after gym at high school, I guess they know - if not, DH is free to tell them!

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#25 of 29 Old 10-06-2010, 01:04 AM
 
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I tend to think of the "privacy" issue the same way that I would about my own or my daughters' privacy if stating my opposition to female genital cutting. I'm sure if anyone thought about it for two seconds they'd think "You and your dds are intact!" and who knows what visuals that would give them? But it's just assumed that all females in the US are walking around with intact genitals (although sadly that is not true). So along the same lines I'm not discussing my son's particular penis, how it looks, etc. when I discuss circumcision and my opposition to it. I will mention that dh is circed and ds is intact and how there's zero issue there, or that there's been absolutely no issues at all with ds' penis, but those are really big generalities. I'm not discussing form, color, size, shape, my sex life with dh....nothing that I would consider truly private.

I really think we have to "de-privatize" circumcision and get it out of the closet. It's not a "family issue" that is no one else's business. We've made it our business what women of completely different cultures do half-way around the world in terms of opposing female genital cutting and we don't see that as "private, parenting, personal" decisions -- why isn't the same true for male genital cutting? Until it's seen as an open topic and something that all people can have an opinion about whether or not a) they have a son or b) they have a penis, because it's a human rights issue, then it will continue under the cover of "privacy."

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#26 of 29 Old 10-06-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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I really think we have to "de-privatize" circumcision and get it out of the closet. It's not a "family issue" that is no one else's business. We've made it our business what women of completely different cultures do half-way around the world in terms of opposing female genital cutting and we don't see that as "private, parenting, personal" decisions -- why isn't the same true for male genital cutting? Until it's seen as an open topic and something that all people can have an opinion about whether or not a) they have a son or b) they have a penis, because it's a human rights issue, then it will continue under the cover of "privacy."
So true.

FWIW, I won't/don't have any qualms about talking in general terms about DH's intact status or any future sons' intact status. I feel educated enough to have a discussion using proper, non-suggestive terms and general likelihoods of problems, etc. If someone asks specifically about DH or future DS, I do/would just acknowledge that he is intact and move on. Neither DH nor I am ashamed of his intact penis or feel weird talking about it. He is almost as passionate an intactivist as I am, with his European heritage, and I guess he views it as a good way to normalize the male anatomy.

That said, if I have a son, and if some day my son requests that I not talk about his intact penis, I will certainly respect him.
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#27 of 29 Old 10-07-2010, 03:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MommytoB View Post
I think the previous old generation ended up getting Intimidated by actual body names and the actual talk of it that it was thought to be THAT's Something You Shouldn't Be Talking About In Public as Keeping it at Home leading many of those people to have Body Shame.

Like people Should Be Able to Talk About Body Parts and it's Function without Going Oh No No We Do Not Talk Like That .
As a generality, I think this is true. I was quizing my aunt once about my grandfather's status and the reasons behind it. She replied that she did not know because "in those days people just did not talk about that kind of thing".
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#28 of 29 Old 10-07-2010, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It hope people are not misconstruing privacy and embarrassment.

I find it interesting that people think privacy of our boys (in this regard) is or should be a non-issue. The reality is, many developed countries have laws against FGC. Many under-developed countries have laws against it and many more are working on laws against it. Now, that isn't to say it isn't done, even in the United States, and it isn't to say there doesn't need to be more done in that area. But, comparing male circumcision in the United States (or other countries where it is prevalent) to FGC (in the United States or developed countries) in terms of parenting discussions is apples to oranges, IMO. I would venture to say a lot more people end up in discussions about male circumcision versus FGC.

In my experience, only living in developed countries, it is assumed I will not have my daughter cut. With sons, that is not always the case, specifically in the United States. I'm not going to debate that because it is what is true for my experience. (I understand it is not necessarily true for other people.)

That said, I definitely try to engage in discussions about circumcision when I can because I do want to normalize it. I do think it should be assumed males are not circumcised. As I previously stated, I will start using language that does not include my son specifically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky
I really think we have to "de-privatize" circumcision and get it out of the closet. It's not a "family issue" that is no one else's business. We've made it our business what women of completely different cultures do half-way around the world in terms of opposing female genital cutting and we don't see that as "private, parenting, personal" decisions -- why isn't the same true for male genital cutting? Until it's seen as an open topic and something that all people can have an opinion about whether or not a) they have a son or b) they have a penis, because it's a human rights issue, then it will continue under the cover of "privacy."
I can "de-privatize" circumcision without specifically discussing my son. That is what this thread was about.
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#29 of 29 Old 10-10-2010, 04:38 AM
 
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I don't really think it's an issue of privacy. Naturally, when you discuss something you do with your body/someone else's body, they're going to picture it. However, I'm not going to shy away from talking about BFing because I'm scared someone's going to picture my boobs

Anyhow, I obviously can only come at this from a female prospective. If I lived in a country where FGC was common and I was intact, I'd be darn proud of my mom for choosing to buck the system and make the right decision for me. I don't really view circumcision vs. intact to really be an invasion of privacy. You're not really describing your son's genitals (i.e. size, color, markings, etc). You're just letting it be known that you didn't alter him. Plus, he's a baby. My mom will repeat some of the things she talked about with her mom friends when we were babies (poop, genitals, puking, all sorts of stuff) and I don't care...I was just a baby

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