I had a discussion with an old friend today who is 26-weeks pregnant with her first. We don't talk very frequently but she did let me know that she was having a boy. After pleasantries, I brought up circumcision and simply mentioned to her that circ is a. unnecessary and b. very painful, mainly because I believe she has probably not ever encountered an anti-circ opinion in her life. I guess the intactivist in me couldn't let a conversation like that pass by without at least planting the seed of doubt.
Cultural conditioning is a strong current to swim against though!! Her response was that no way would she leave him with an "anteater head" and that an uncircumcised penis could get dirty, infected and desensitized. I know, I know. It is very hard to hear such comments, esp considering that my own son is intact but she never bothered asking if I've had any trouble caring for his penis (no, never). And I'm fairly certain she has never researched this topic whatsoever, judging by the bizarre myths used as a defense of her position. I did follow up lightly with rebuttal but I just find these conversation to be very difficult. First of all, is it unseemly to even mention such things to pregnant friends? How do you respond when faced with such incredible ignorance and inflexible mindsets? I find it depressing overall. I am convinced by now that the only way to eradicate RIC is through legislation and ending medical coverage, because working on the individual level frankly feels futile and impossible.
I can't help myself from bringing it up on occasion but how can I do so and successfully plant that seed without creating a standoff of positions and alienating people? It is very hard to speak moderately when one feels that the topic at hand is literally the sexual assault and mutilation of infants, while the other feels it is a casual "snip-snip" hardly worth discussing except for a laugh.
Its hard. What i have started doing is saying something like
"oh i know! I used to think all that too! Then someone that i sort of knew gave me this link (i like the circumtitions one) and wow am i glad that they did! It was super brave of them to do that since its such a hot topic right now but i am so so glad they did, i am indebted to them.:"
Then i judge their responce and may go on to say "that link started me doing so much research, and the more i learned the more my eyes were opened, its amazing how a person can really do such a 180"
Now i never REALLY felt that circ was good (but i was no where near as anti-circ as i am now), and no one ever really gave me that link in a random encounter, but it comes acorss as very "pay it forward"
SAHM to 5 cats, a crazy toddler and my new baby girl born at home 3/12/12.
Larzanna, I LOVE your response! It is very non-threatening and feels sincere and friendly. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely try that approach. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember a time when I didn't feel the way I do about circ, but in reality it was never even on my radar until three years ago!! So it wouldn't be far from the truth. But the difference is that I was just oblivious to the facts but had an open mind when I came across this information. What I find stressful is that some people just seem resistant and deaf to any worldviews that are at odds with their own, regardless of the facts.
At any rate, I guess it's probably more effective to show empathy for their opinions and keep the lines of communication open, as you've demonstrated, rather than to heatedly debate individual myths/circumstitions as I've done in the past.
I love Larzanna's "Oh, I know, I used to think that too!"
Honestly, the way I do it is I blog about it.
I've had a personal/family blog (that often turns into a place for me to voice my opinions too) and most of my family and friends read it so I know they've been "told."
I don't talk about it at get-togethers and stuff because we all know how I feel about it.
I don't socialize outside of my group of friends and don't have a lot of opportunity to educate and speak to other mom's.
My biggest struggle (on my blog) is to not get snarky, nasty and disrespectful and talk about circ'ing the way I REALLY feel about it.
I start with, have you researched circumcision? Then I follow with there is a lot of information out there and a lot of reasons not to have it done. I kept my 3 sons intact and if you want more information about it I'd love to share some things with you. I also promote intactness online on message boards. I have swayed several people to leave their sons intact and have gotten thank you notes and phone calls and even gifts from parents thanking me for being stubborn enough to share anti-circ info with them over and over and over again until it got through. Sometimes I get told to shut up and mind my own business and sometimes they listen to all the info and choose to circ anyway and it breaks my heart and sometimes I think it's all for nothing but then I will get an email or a phone call telling me hey, thanks, because of you my son is whole and I am so happy you changed my mind, and every single one is meaningful and important.