There's a feedback section, and this is what I sent.
Dr. Phil, I watched yesterdays show and was very curious about your response to the mother who felt guilty about having her son circ'd. I knew how the mother felt to a certain extent. When my son was born, he wasn’t in the best of health and I allowed the doctors to do all sorts of tests including a spinal tap without thinking, without feeling, without questioning. The doctor wasn’t very adamant about the tap being performed, there wasn’t any really indications that it was necessary. And I knew that spinal tap was going to hurt him, but I allowed it. I felt like a pretty bad mother for allowing my baby to be hurt for no real reason. Now I can somewhat comfort myself because I realize that after the birth (which didn’t go they way I hoped and worked for) I was pretty well numb and in shock. I don’t know what Angie went through to bring her little boy into this world, but I guessed she might have had a similar situation to mine.
I appreciate that your intent was to make her feel better, but I disagree with how that was done. It felt like you were making fun of her for not wanting the procedure ("Do you think when he's 18, he's gonna look down and go 'Wo!'?"). I feel that your explanation that circ is OK because millions of people do it is logically incorrect. Millions of people have affairs, commit murder, and steal - that doesn't make it OK. I feel that you belittled the feelings and first sensations of newborns. I agree that what you read about babies attributing pain to their mother is a bunch of crap; but I do feel that a baby boy's introduction to this world being of such intense pain (that doesn't go away as soon as the procedure is finished) will influence how he feels about his world. That seems to make sense to me, but I'm just a mom, not a doctor.
I think you had an opportunity to tell people that it's OK to break tradition and not circ your son, but you made it sound like it was a perfectly acceptable thing to do. We are the only country that hurts our boys like this, it makes no sense. It doesn’t make us more “civilized,” it's not as if it's been a tradition that defines America for centuries-doctors started the procedure to prevent boys from masturbating. When that wasn't a good enough reason, they tried to come up with medical ones and told us how wonderful it was. Then they did studies on these supposed benefits and found them all to be wrong. We were lied to and the doctors got paid while our sons were being hurt. Now we continue because fathers want their sons to look like them.
Why do we allow a tradition that removes a healthy, functional part of our sons’ bodies? Does the circ’d son feel any more confident, secure, or happy knowing he looks like his father? My husband admitted it didn’t really cross his mind. Why do men have a need to make their son’s genitals look like theirs? Who’s going to know? If the son’s nose is different, is the father going to take him to a plastic surgeon? The nose will show up in family photos, penises usually don’t. Do men greet each other, “Hi, I’m Tom and I was circ’d. Were you?” and if the other person wasn’t, will that prevent them from being friends? Do you think on his wedding night, a son will think, “Well, I’m missing the most sensitive part of my penis, but at least I didn’t have to rinse it with water when I took a shower!” or his new bride will think, “Well… he’s about 25% smaller than he could have been, but at least he looks like my father-in-law!”? My personal feeling is that fathers who insist that their sons’ genital look like them are being selfish. I think it is a security issue for the father. For a circ’d father to allow his son to remain intact, the father is admitting that he is not whole.
To be perfectly honest, I think the procedure should be made illegal when done for cosmetic purposes. It is unethical, and especially wrong for a doctor to perform it. I feel it is a doctor’s job to make people healthier, circ’ing doesn’t fall even remotely close to that category.
Most moms are like Angie and want to protect their babies, I think that makes her a great mom for even considering not just going with the flow. I think you could have told her she was a good person still, that her son wouldn’t blame her, she did the best she could at the time, and still admitted that circ’ing may not be the best way to go. You were brave enough to stand up to spanking (ideally inflicting pain for the purpose of teaching), I wish you could have stood up for not circ’ing (inflicting pain for cosmetic purposes).
Just the thoughts of the mother of a six month old baby boy.
Well, that was it until I realized there's a 2000 char limit. So he's getting a reduced version.
I hope more people respond. =)