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I need to be more effective in my approach and actions, and I'm hoping I can take some good advice from some wiser and more experienced intactivists here.

Hitherto, the majority of my approach to intactivism is presenting facts--often in circ/genital integrity debates--about circumcision and arguing in favor of ending MGM. Often, the arguments lead nowhere and I need to learn how to be more effective not only WRT persuasive words but also with different avenues to promote genital integrity.

Any ideas? How do you promote genital integrity?
 

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I talk to the younger crowd. A lot of my friends are 16-25 and don't have kids so I just make intact seem normal and circ seem weird. I've actually found out several of my circed friends are really unhappy with it. I've also found a few that are intact - one was even tossing around the idea of getting circed JUST because he thought girls prefered it but didn't want to lose anything. When I explained the differences and explained why the myth of "women prefer it" exists he felt a lot better.

Oh and I wrote an essay for a scholarship contest
 

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First of all, try to keep it one-on-one. At least for the first several times you try. It's harder to keep your cool with a group of people, I think. At least if they're all pro-circ or semi-pro-circ.

Second, there are a couple of categories of people that will (in general) be much harder to convince:

1)Circumcised guys
2)Parents who have circumcised one or more kids already

I think circumcised guys are especially hard to convince if you're not a guy yourself (I'm assuming you're not). And since it's hard to find out if a guy is circumcised or not, that probably means it would be best for you to shy away from trying to convince guys. At least at first.

So, basically, avoid those people for now. Stick to younger women who haven't had kids yet. Once you get better at it, and feel more confident, then you can try to take on the harder cases.

As for actually convincing people... well, I think it depends on the person. It's better to approach some people with a more logical approach, and other's with a more emotional approach. It depends on who they are.

In either case, it's important not to make them feel like they're being attacked. Try not to make them feel defensive. Try to keep it on a, "I'm just informing you," level if possible.

It's also good to have a plan of attack for any myth or justification that they might bring up. The more you try to convince people, the better you'll get at that. It's a natural reaction: you'll do the, "Oh, crap, I should have responded with this!" thing that everyone does. And, fortunately, most people have the same set of myths and justifications, so you'll actually get to use whatever you thought of for other people.

Also: keep reading! Keep researching. Keep up with the current studies and statistics. And not just on male genital mutilation, but also on female genital mutilation (trust me, it can be very useful).
Even after being at this for about five years, I'm still learning new things.

So, to summarize:

1) At least at first, stick to women who haven't had kids yet. And try to stay one-on-one (again, at first).
2) Try your best not to make them feel like they're on the defensive, unless it's really necessary.
3) Just keep trying. Over time you will naturally get better at convincing people, because you will naturally be building a bigger and bigger tool-box, so to speak.
4) Keep researching!

Oh, and most importantly: figure out what works best for you. I think what I just told you is a good starting point, but don't stick to these if they aren't working. Be willing to adapt. Figure out how you convince people most effectively.

Good luck!
 

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I agree, especially since you are still getting your barrings. In my case though, I usually end up being completely the opposite. I actually try to make people get defensive and I try to make them feel bad. It just makes me soooo angry!
Let me be a bit more specific here though. If I am having a polite conversation with someone and the topic comes up, and they are pretty receptive, I dont act like this. I stay cordial and just work through it. Same has gone with most of my friends-like one was very open to it and said that she had no idea it wasnt recommended anymore and she wished someone had told her (esp since I know 3 of the 4 boys that her son plays with are intact-not sure about the 4th....I think he is circ'd, but me and his mom dont get along so...). Another one was just plain shocked when I told her the rates around here (NW WA) and then went into why they originally started circing and how there isnt any medical benefit. I dont know if she will leave another boy intact but it really got her mind working.
However, I get into discussions with some people who just refuse to listen-esp online. And oh boy, do I tear into them.Does it help? Dunno, but it makes me feel better!! lol
 

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1. Carry a few different brochures around in my bag.

2. Wear my Intactivist T-shirts proudly at least twice a week in a busy public place.

3. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I do human rights advocacy in my spare time...which always leads to more questions.


- Kira
 

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I have an anti-circumcision button I have in my coat pocket and stick it on and mill around when I'm in public.

My MySpace is a great source ("/jeremysumpter"). I also went to my city's main library. You know how you have those computers that are dedicated for the catalogue. They also have these little scraps of blank paper and tiny (golf) pencils beside them. I'll write: "www.intact.ca valuable source of information" ...and leave it behind on the top of the stack, like I was writing myself a note and "forgot" it when I left.


I also will write, in pencil, in a public library book the "circumstitions.com" or "intact.ca" websites when in parenting books when I see misinformation (these are URLs that don't state their anti-circ, so people those already judgemental people won't know what to expect when they log on). After all, it IS my tax dollars paying for them.
 

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Quote:
I think circumcised guys are especially hard to convince if you're not a guy yourself
I'm going to have to disagree there. I've actually swayed more circumcised guys than women. Yes, a lot think "Well I have one so I know what I'm talking about" but my response to that (when they get like that) is "Yeah? Well I've [VIOLATES UA]ed more than one so I'm pretty sure I'm a good authority on what feels better". Usually I get "I thought girls liked _______" and then I explain it (very gently).

I got one really hostile response once (he freaked out about how weird and abnormal and unhealthy it was) and there was an intact guy in the conversation who was like "Hah dude you have no f-ing clue what you're talking about. It's no cleaner/healthier/etc and it's not abnormal, it's NORMAL. I didn't have part of me **** HACKED OFF at birth. SURGERY is abnormal."
 
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