have you actually changed anyone's mind? - Mothering Forums
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The Case Against Circumcision > have you actually changed anyone's mind?
Elphaba's Avatar Elphaba 10:42 PM 07-05-2003
I was just wondering if you intactivists have succeeded in changing anyone's stance on circ? If so, who, and what was it that swayed them?
My SIL is TTC next month and believes circ is "healthier" and is adamant about having it done. I sent her links to the Fleiss articles and very politely said that I thought she would be interested in gathering as much information as she could, since she and her husband are so intelligent and highly educated, and then I said that while the prevailing wisdom of our parents' generation was that circing was "healthier" current knowledge does not support this premise.
She has not said anything about it, but she has been very busy and preoccupied lately, so I am not concerned yet. I do hope she will want to talk about it again later, but we're not terribly close and I am guessing she'll turn to her elective c/s, formula feeding, circing friend.
I guess I could buy the Fleiss book and either give it to her or have it out at the next family gathering. That would be subtle, wouldn't it?

somemama's Avatar somemama 11:59 PM 07-05-2003
Yes, I've changed at least two people's minds. My friend circ'd her first son, but didn't circ ds2 after I gave her info.

My cousin and his wife left their son intact, as well, after I gave him the Fleiss article.

But, I also have a coworker who circ'd son after I gave him the same article.

Now, I'm currently working on my sister; she'll know in a couple of weeks whether her baby is a boy or girl. (I've already given her the Fleiss book.)

So, keep working on your SIL, but remember that you can't win them all.

Here's one website I like:

Frankly Speaking's Avatar Frankly Speaking 08:55 AM 07-06-2003
I've saved several all on my own and have beeen a part of saving dozens (or more!) on boards just like this one. It's very heartening when a mother comes on and says that our efforts helped them become more aware of the issue and that is happening more and more often.

In the past month, I have seen 3 polls where almost 60% of respondents said they wouldn't/didn't circumcise their son. Only a year ago, those same polls would have been about 32%-33% who wouldn't/didn't. That is incredible and amazing and is the result of those who post about it on the internet and who talk to friends about it. It has become a peer to peer issue and even the doctors are taking notice.

I have learned that you have to know why they want to circumcise to change minds and address their specific issues. If "look like Dad" isn't important to them, talking about it is wasting precious time and is likely to bore them. I usually say something like "The circumcision trend has dropped almost 40% in the last 10 years. I'm wondering why it's important to you?" this brings out their thinking and allows you to counter any arguments they have supporting it. Once you counter those arguments, then you can get into the issues that they have never thought of like the pain and risk.

It took well over 100 years for the circumcision craze to reach it's zenith and in less than a dozen years the craze has been reversed and in another dozen years, any parent who circumcises their child will be unusual and questioned. It will be the circumcised boys who are teased in the locker room. That's an incredible accomplishment! This accomplishment has been almost exclusively peer to peer interaction and has had precious little support from the medical profession. It's parents talking to parents, spreading the word, just like we are doing here!

I expect to see stronger statements from the medical associations in the next few years. Already, The College of Physicians and Surgeons/Saskatchewan has issued a warning to it's members to carefully consider the ramifications of infant circumcision and the British Medical Association has stated that a parent's request is not enough to justify the operation. The AAP has also put Dr. Ronald Goldman on the Circumcision Taskforce and he is a well known and very active intactivist. The Parliament of Sweden approached the possibility of an outright ban and the possibility has also been discussed in other countries.

Somehow, I sometimes feel like a street preacher saying "Repent! The end is near!" but in this case, the end really is near. The evidence is overwhelming.

alissakae's Avatar alissakae 11:19 PM 07-10-2003
I have seen lots of people change their minds after I have shared correct information about circumcision. I have been a childbirth educator, LLL Leader, IBCLC, and now work with young families in a federally funded program and these activities have given me opportunities to educate parents - and it's wonderful when they understand! But most rewarding to me was the very first person I "converted." When I was pregnant with my first child (she is now 21) I befriended another pregnant mom in our apartment complex. She had a baby boy six weeks before my daughter was born, and he was circ'd. I asked her why she did it and she said something like, "I thought you had to do it, but they just put that plastic thing on and the skin falls off so it doesn't hurt." (Obviously she didn't even get an accurate explanation of the procedure!) We were young, I was 20, she was 18 and we didn't know much but males in my family are intact so I talked to her a bit about that. Anyway, we became close friends and a few years later she moved to Illinois and I stayed in Utah. We wrote quite a bit and both found we were pregnant and due close to the same time again. But with her pregnancy she discovered that epidurals weren't given routinely at the hospital she planned to birth in and was terrified of giving birth "natural." I was planning a homebirth, so our correspondence on all aspects of birth and babies was very frequent during our pregnancies (remember, this was in the olden days before e-mail ) I sent her articles, and we discussed circumcision too. Well, she had a baby boy and did NOT circumcise him
Later she said, "I know you tried to talk to me about circumcision before, but now I GET it."
She went on to have a couple of homebirths herself, btw, and we are still very close although she now lives in Oklahoma.
MelissaEvans's Avatar MelissaEvans 08:25 AM 07-28-2003
I've thought about this question a lot. When I first saw the thread, I didn't want to respond becuase the two people I know who just had boys cut them. But then I realized that I've convinced my MIL that it's not good, and my sister, and my neighbor. None of them are planning on having any kids any time soon (MIL's done with that =)), but when the time comes, their sons will be safe. I felt better when I realized that. Just becuase they're not pregnant doesn't mean they don't matter. =)
owensmom's Avatar owensmom 10:50 PM 07-30-2003
I don't know how my friends were going to go, but I sent them the info and they ended up not circ'ing. (would it be lewd to make this a dancing intact penis, boogie-ing his heart out because he wasn't circ'd????)
alissakae's Avatar alissakae 11:17 PM 07-30-2003
That is so cute Owensmom! My dh just found out a co-worker's wife is pg, so he asked him if he'd like some information about circumcision. The guy said, "yeah, that would be great in case it's a boy."
dnr3301's Avatar dnr3301 06:27 PM 08-05-2003
I have helped at least one boy stay intact, and I know I've influenced many of our friends who don't have children yet. My favorite response to questions about why shouldn't you do it is to say, "is there a part of your body you would rather cut off than learn to keep clean?" I have never heard someone answer that question yes. Plus, I have a great story about my brother: he asked my mom why his penis was different than our dad's and she explained about circumcision. When she was through, my brother turned to our dad and said, "why did your mom let them cut off part of your penis?" My dad, telling the story now, laughs and says, "I had no answer for him!" I love that story.
Elphaba's Avatar Elphaba 07:05 PM 08-05-2003
that is a pretty good way to make people think! amputation, or soap and water? hmmmmmm. :LOL

part of me really wants to have a son before my SIL does so that she can at least SEE an intact penis and realize that there's nothing wrong with it. i am truly hoping she will have a daughter first, KWIM?
LaurenS's Avatar LaurenS 04:33 PM 08-15-2003
I changed someone's mind recently. I calmly told her why I was against it and then told her that she should watch a circ. before she decides to do it to her son-to-be. There are several links on the web, here is one http://www.intact.ca/vidphil.htm
(I should say that I haven't watched it, I can't, but that's okay because I didn't circumcise my son). She watched it and said that she couldn't do it to her son. She was told that the baby doesn't feel pain. A lot of people are told that. But I firmly believe that if after watching a video of one, and someone still decides to go ahead and do this to their son, they should have to be there to watch.

By the way, here is something my husband wrote that might be of interest in changing someone's mind.

Ilaria's Avatar Ilaria 05:59 PM 08-15-2003
I changed ONE person's mind, I actively tried with a few more with no luck.
bloodrayne's Avatar bloodrayne 12:54 PM 08-17-2003
Yes, thankfully, I have changed at least one person's mind.

I have a friend on another message board, and her fiance read through every link I posted and every message I posted and decided after all that that should they ever have a boy, he would definitely NOT be circumsized.
Tears came to my eyes, I was so happy to hear that.
Most of the people on that message board are very very mainstream too, so at least I got them thinking about that - but as far as I know, I only changed the one person's mind.
Still I am thrilled about that.. even saving one little tiny boy from having to go through that gives me happy, goosebumpy chills! I wanted to dance around the room!
AvalonDaughter's Avatar AvalonDaughter 04:57 PM 08-17-2003
Two follow-up questions:

1. "I sent her links to the Fleiss articles and very politely said that I thought she would be interested in gathering as much information as she could, since she and her husband are so intelligent "
What is the Fleiss articles?

2. Has anyone had to change their husband's mind? And were you successful in a loving way??
Elphaba's Avatar Elphaba 05:34 PM 08-17-2003
the very first entry in this forum is a sticky (permanent file) called Fleiss articles. they are 2 articles written by dr. paul fleiss about leaving your son intact.

my husband may have been pro-circ before we got pg, i don't really know. as soon as i read the chapter on circ in Natural Family Living (edited by Peggy O'Mara, available here and at bookstores) i showed it to my husband and he was immediately anti-circ. whether he had favored the idea prior to that, i don't know, as we hadn't discussed it before. now he talks to other men about leaving their sons intact. it goes over like a lead ballon, but he does it anyway.
Xenogenesis's Avatar Xenogenesis 11:46 PM 08-17-2003
The two excellent, fully-referenced articles by Dr. Fleiss are :



Look to the top line of this page. You will see :

MotheringDotCommune Forums > Health > The Case Against Circumcision > have you actually changed anyone's mind?

Click on The Case Against Circumcision > and on the page with the listing of topics is a "sticky" with Fleiss Articles. But I see the links are not working.
Nemmer's Avatar Nemmer 09:42 PM 08-18-2003
A few months ago, I finally helped my hubby understand circumcision and the benefits of leaving children intact. The very next day, it was so fresh on his mind, that while visiting with his parents for Sunday dinner, he brought up the topic and convinced them that circumcision is unnecessary. They had 7 boys, and the one who was left intact was only left because he "didn't have enough foreskin to cut off." MIL is a nurse, so they were just very entrenched in the mindset of "it is just what you do." But they now understand how unnecessary it is and MIL actually made a comment to me that she is sorry she did it to her boys, but she just didn't know better.

And just this last weekend, we were talking at a family campout with some family and hubby brought it up again! FIL was there, so he could chime in with agreeable comments as we explained and discussed, but we pretty much had no disagreement from anyone there either. There were a few questions -- "But I thought it was cleaner...?" which we were able to answer, but in the end I was very happy to hear one SIL turn to her 17 year old daughter and say, "When you have boys, how about you don't do that to them?" and the daughter answered, "Definitely not! That's just mean!" Not all of the family was there, so we have a few more to discuss the issue with, but overall, our results so far have been great!

Oh, and I remembered another! My sister and her hubby were visiting a couple weeks ago, and somehow the discussion came up while she and I were talking. They're waiting a little while before trying to conceive, but she is interested in learning about parenting issues, and seemed somewhat receptive to the idea of leaving boys intact. Seeds were planted, anyway.

I just have a lot of enthusiasm for helping people see circumcision for what it is, having recently (within the past year) converted to this way of thinking myself. :LOL
InfoisPower's Avatar InfoisPower 04:10 PM 08-19-2003
somemama's Avatar somemama 10:45 AM 08-20-2003
Well, I gave out another copy of the Fleiss book yesterday, to a friend at work. (She circ'd her first son, and is now pg with another son.) So, I'm crossing my fingers there.

Off topic, sort of---I REALLY need to get more books/info to hand out---yesterday evening my dh went to get that SAME book to give to a friend of his, and I had already given it to my friend earlier in the day! I am proud of him--he is also committed to the cause!
MelissaEvans's Avatar MelissaEvans 03:57 AM 08-21-2003
Goodness... I think you guys are reading my mind. =) Everything I've been pondering recently has already been posted!

DH agreed to leave our son intact, but wasn't a "crusader" so to speak. I mentioned to him some concern over the possibility of DS asking about why he was intact and other kids are circ'd and DH got angry with me. He told me that he was sorry, he couldn't fix it, and not to talk to him about it ever again. I was pretty floored, and not entirely sure what he was so upset about. Since I was forbidden to talk to him, I wrote him a letter. I told him that if he meant "fix it" as in society's views, then don't worry. We gripe a lot about society and I'm not asking him to start parades or march to congress or anything. If he meant "fix it" as in what was done to him (he's circ'd), I didn't want that either. If being intact makes a man more sensitive, then we'd have a problem. I just asked him to not think I was a nut, understand me, and hopefully agree. When he read the letter, he was in tears and much more amiable about the subject. I still don't mention it often since I know it's a tender subject, but every once in a while I get these "light bulb" moments and now I can share them with him. He's not out telling other people who are expecting not to do it, but he agrees that it shouldn't be done and that I'm not insane so I'm fine with that. =)
Kerlowyn's Avatar Kerlowyn 03:24 PM 08-21-2003
My SIL had a baby in July, I had a baby last October. I was showing her how to use cloth diapers after my baby was born and SIL was still PG.

She asked if my baby peed all over the place when I changed his diaper. I explained that since he was not circ-ed, his pee just dribbled between his legs if his diaper was off. I told her neither of my sons was circ-ed, and gave her my brief explaination why. She and BIL are pretty 'mainstream' as is my MIL.

I told her I would send her a website to read.
We never discussed it again.
However, I was so happy to see her little DS's intact penis when I saw him for the first time at a few days old!

I am very sure that they would have circ-ed him if I had not given her the info. But I think what helped the most was that my 2 boys are intact, and her son will know other boys who are intact. She is even cloth diapering part time!
MelissaEvans's Avatar MelissaEvans 07:42 PM 08-22-2003
I explained that since he was not circ-ed, his pee just dribbled between his legs if his diaper was off.
My li'l intact guy has a pretty good fountain when it gets going. Usually, he ends up spraying himself (which I admittedly find amusing in a childish sort of way), but I'm not lucky enough to have just a "dribbler." =)
DesireeH's Avatar DesireeH 07:51 PM 08-23-2003
One friend that I know of. Her son was due 2 months before mine and she was going to circ. She has a 4 year old stepson who is intact though so she was familiar with it. Her husband, although circ'd, didnt want him circ'd but is a "go with the flow" type of guy and was going to let her decide. :

Anyways, after MUCH discussion about it and why I refused to allow my son to be circ'd, a week after her son was born she excitedly called to tell me her son was perfect the way he was born and he was not circ'd! YAY!
somemama's Avatar somemama 09:46 PM 08-23-2003
You just never know when you plant a seed. I've been talking about circ to my 40 year-old sister, who I never thought would have a child. But she just told me she's going to start trying IVF. So, she might have a baby after all!

She said that I've convinced her to leave a son intact, but her husband remains unconvinced. (So I'd still have to work on him.)

(P.S. My little sister is expecting a girl. I was already starting to work on her just in case.)
DirtyHippie's Avatar DirtyHippie 12:33 AM 08-29-2003
I have changed quite a few peoples minds. I find that presenting all the information why not to circumsise, then follow it up with a video of one being done. I was able to change my husbands mind and he was ADAMENT we have our son done.
alissakae's Avatar alissakae 03:07 AM 08-29-2003
The sad thing is that their are still some parents who, even when confronted with strong evidence including a video, just refuse to see the cruelty and insanity of circumcising a newborn baby. It's amazing how thick some people are. It's such a tragedy for their sons.
somemama's Avatar somemama 01:23 AM 09-02-2003
My SIL (who just found out she's pregnant) said that I've convinced her. Now I just have to work on my brother!

(So now my sis is pregnant, my SIL is pregnant, and my other sis is trying.)
MelissaEvans's Avatar MelissaEvans 10:26 PM 09-02-2003
(So now my sis is pregnant, my SIL is pregnant, and my other sis is trying.)
Talk about horomones running wild at your family reunion! =) Yeah babies! (and safe boys! =)
somemama's Avatar somemama 10:36 PM 09-02-2003
And HOPEFULLY safe boys. : I'll have to continue to work on it. (My sis is having a girl.)

Today I got to see "in person" a baby I saved from circ. (Baby of a coworker.) I knew his mom left him intact, but it was so gratifying to see the little guy and know what he had been spared.
Gemini's Avatar Gemini 03:14 AM 09-05-2003
When I was pregnant with my 3 1/2 year old dd, we didn't know what we were having and a friend asked my hubby at work about circ'ing and he said he hadn't thought of it at all. The friend gave him 3 articles and he read them, was convinced not to on the spot and he came home and had to convince me! :LOL I finally agreed, and we had a girl, so no issue anyway!

My girlfriend was pregnant at the same time as me and they didn't know what they were having either, so I gave her the same articles and she decided not to and she had a boy, and sure enough, he's intact!

So yes, I have convinced one other person. Hopefully I'll convince more!
sea island mama's Avatar sea island mama 03:35 AM 09-05-2003
I just sent some links to 6 friends that are pregnant right now. I have no idea how any of them feel, so we'll see how it turns out.
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