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offending others (long winded)

1428 Views 21 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  northernmommy
A few people have been brave enough (curious enough?....) to ask us if we had circumsized James. One being a friend who is pregnant with a boy (and her hubby wants to circ
) The other being my mom, who I had NO idea was anti-circ (YAY) as I had really never thought to ask her before I had my son.

So, have people asked you about circumcision and then become offended when they discover that you are against it? I know that they are really digging their own grave by asking about it in the first place, but I am wondering if it has happened to any of you.

My husband is circed and I'm worried about his mom's reaction. She hasn't had a look at our son's penis yet *lol*, but I'm not sure if she will say anything or how she will react if she gets a look (diaper change or what-have-you).

BTW, I gave my friend some links on circumcision (wreckingboy, if you've seen it, and a video of the procedure which I have been too frightened to watch)...I hope that I have managed to change her mind without overstepping my boundaries.

How do you deal with it being such a sensitive issue? Have you lost friends over your views?
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Yes I have gotten into fights with people over my views on this barbaric pratcie. With friends who are expecting I have just told them some of the bennifits I have also let them change my boys diapers with me right there besides them walking them through how much eaiser it is to change an intact boy vs a cut one.KWIM? I have also let them know that the only time I have been pee'd on was when walking one of the boys to the tub naked and then it happened not at every diaper change. That was the winning argument with one mom who decided to leave her son intact she found that little bit of info out. I try not to be to harsh because they could have more children later on and could also have a change of heart so I want to make sure to leave all doors open just incase they have questions that I can answer.


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I haven't lost any friends but I sure as heck WISH I could lose my BIL/SIL who cut their 35 week, 5 pound preemie for no good reason AFTER we educated them about circ.

With most other people, I take a very friendly approach and try to educate them from the perspective that "most people don't know this, but...." and talk about the functions of the foreskin, the fact that circ isn't needed for medical or hygenic reasons, etc. I find that if I approach it from the viewpoint of "I didn't use to know this but now I do, and you will be interested too" the conversation doesn't get hostile.

I would be willing to lose friendships over it, if necessary. I think advocating for a baby boy's right to an intact body is more important than hurt feelings, KWIM?
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I haven't run into this yet, as I'm still pregnant with #2 who's sex we don't know. But when the time comes if someone asks me if my boy is circ'd I plan on telling them "of course not, I don't believe in ginital mutilation" Yea, it will probably offend [a lot of] people but it's something I feel passionate about. My #2 response will be "we didn't circ dd why would we circ ds?"

I'm sure to get a pitty party out of my MIL out of any comment I make, but those happen on a daily basis with her so
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I don't keep friends that aren't open minded enough to at least listen and consider what I say. I give them the same courtesy, on topics that they are passionate about.

With family, it gets a bit trickier. I haven't crossed that bridge yet. It's possible that I'll have to deal with questions about it this weekend, when I visit my aunt and her three little circ'd sons. She hasn't yet witnessed one of my son's diaper changes, so it hasn't come up. Luckily, I have the Canadian Pediatric's Society on my side, as they don't recommend routine circumcisions (and they're no longer paid for by Canada's of the things our healthplan does not cover is cosmetic surgery).

Oddly enough, the only person I've butted head with about it is my MIL...who kept her own son intact. She INSISTED that we get our son circumsised, because she regrets not doing it to DH. All it took was a talk from DH, thanking her for keeping him intact, to shut her up.
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My mum asked if we had discussed circumcision. (Background: she suffers with mental illness and takes everything personally, so any time spent with her is focussed on not offending her
) I said "what's there to talk about?" to which she got a little offended... She said "well there'll always be people on both sides of the argument" To which I replied "well we had a very short discussion about it, because we're both in complete agreeance" and that was it. That was the first time anyone had ever asked me about the issue, and I think (taking into account who it was that did the asking) I handled it as strongly as I could have.
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Yup. My MIL seemed slightly horrified when we didn't circ. When she asked why I told we didn't believe in elective cosmetic surgery for newborns. Of course, she got all offended and said ' Well when I had kids you weren't even asked , the parents had no choice. ' blah blah blah.

of course, I've offended her by discreetly nursing my MY living room.
I just turned 40 (
) and most my friends are past their child-having years, so it's not a subject that comes up real often. But when it does I don't shrink from using language like "barbaric"..."cosmetic mutilation"..."you would never consider doing it to a daughter"..."based on social conformity, mythology and fear of the male's sexuality." I don't really care if it offends anyone anymore; I find cutting up babies' genitals offensive!

But I've yet to have anyone get offended or defensive about it, even though many have had boys they circ'd. It's considered so "normal" around here and most of them have no idea why they did it. I think the strong language makes them think about something they otherwise wouldn't. I might get some weak response like, "Isn't it cleaner?," but no real arguments or defense. You can tell it makes the wheels start turning for many of them when they actually hear another POV.

I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago. A lady I work with invited me to join her for dinner at her daughter and her daugther's b/f's (they're 24 and 21)new home. She brought up that I was anti-circ and I was elated to find out her daughter was as well. The b/f was of a certain religious persuasion on half his family, though not practicing himself. He never had one objection to our conversation, so I'm pretty sure any children they might have will stay intact. There might be some hope for the future around here.
See less See more this a sensitive issue or human rights issue? How many of you would be polite and smily if you found out that your neighbour/relative had his/hers daughter circumcised?

I understand that I am coming from totally different POV since where I am from, all circumcisions are concidered evil. But being married to an American, naturally we have lots of relatives and friends in USA. I've never hidden my opinions, always made it very clear that cutting genitals of helpless baby/child is so horrible that I have no words for it either in finnish or english. Not yet lost any relatives or friends because of it but might in the future.
If that's the case then be it.
My MIL and her family threw a complete hissy fit when the subject of circumcision came up recently and we informed her that no, we're not doing it. We felt their reaction was way out of proportion--I mean, dude, it's not their issue to decide, they're not the ones caring for our baby, and it's not their body. Plus, considering how strongly "anti" we are, the way we explained it was very neutral and diplomatic, trying not to make them feel attacked. So after hearing them go on and on and on about it, telling us how they were "brokenhearted" (what the??) and how we were "closed-minded" and bla bla bla, I put my foot down. I said the subject was closed and I wasn't interested in discussing it ever again. That resulted in an even bigger hissy fit. Some people...!!!!
I might get some weak response like, "Isn't it cleaner?,"
That's what I get everytime this conversation is brought up. When I explain no it's not and why they kind of just go "oh. {dot dot dot} i see"

I've turned many to at least thinking about not doing it and several 100% against.
I have yet to have someone bring the topic up to me (i have brought it up to other people, and had fights about it)... but my answer for the day that anyone else changes DS and asks... is.... Why do you care what his penis looks like anyway?
I'm always a little taken aback that people will ASK. It just seems like such a bizarre question, you know? We're so obsessed with penises and boobs in this country.

Anyway, my aunt (I love her to death, but she is a not the brightest bulb in the box) asked in front of my dad and grandmother when my ds was about 2 months old. I said "Oh GOD no" and my dear 85 year old grandmother quickly said "they don't do that anymore."

My mother also asked, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I told her no.
Other than that, it's rarely come up. My MIL asked my dh, and I think she questioned him a bit, but truthfully I couldn't possibly care less.
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I try not to come across too strongly if someone is just asking me a question out of curiousity. Although I get passionate if we get into a debate about it, or if they bring up 'benefits' to having a son circumcised. But if someone just asks me what we did, I try to be matter of fact about it.

However - I offend people all of the time. It was a really big deal in both my immediate family and community that I chose to leave my son intact. Just hearing that he didn't have a bris infuriates people. Which part of me understands (ignorance and a refusal to question something they've been brainwashed into) and part of me is confounded by. Even if it's something they feel strongly about, they have the chance to mutilate their own kids. Why the interest in mine? (completely rhetorical, they can't stand missing an opportunity to educate me, they're defensive, it's threatening that someone may start to think about a ritual instead of doing it without any thought at all). I'm not asking to be understood, forgiven, or anything. But I'm not going to lie and pretend he's circumcised. Don't ask if you're going to get all bent out of shape about my answer.

Do I care if hearing my choice offends people? No. Some of my friends who bottle fed, let their kids cry at night, etc., are defensive and offended when I said I was nursing because breastmilk is best. It's the same thing. Some of my friends agree with me, and some do what they do, and we don't argue about it. And I'm closer to the ones who have the same beliefs, but I'm also close to the ones who can accept that I make different choices from them.

I'm not going to stop telling people what we chose to do (when they ask) because it may offend people.

Take care,
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My opinion is: if other people are brazen enough to ask you such a personal question, they should be prepared for the answer, and accept that they might not like what they hear.

No one ever asked me about whether or not I circ'ed my sons (I didn't). Maybe they just decided to mind their own business!
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northernmommy: if you haven't told your mil yet, i would right away. what if the baby's with your dh, mil changes diaper, retracts to clean it... i was upfront with everyone right from the beginning (as soon as we found out it was a boy), so if anyone came into contact with my son, they would know he was kept intact and how to care for it. good luck!
We had a homebirth and after a few weeks my mom asked if we would be circing Noah. I said no and she asked would that be a problem since our first son was circ'd and he would look different. I said no and she left it at that. MIL asked if we would be circing, we said no and she said ok. I am sure they disagree with our decision but I am glad they are keeping their mouths shut.
: I love your grandmother.

I had a girl, so no one ever asks my opinion, but I'm not shy about giving it anyway
I have a friend from college who's due with a little boy in August. We're not really close anymore, but we get together a couple times a year for dinner, adn email pretty regularly. I've talked to her about circ, and quite honestly, have no idea what she's planning to do. If she circs her son, I doubt I'll be able to be friendly towards her anymore.

Yeah, I'd be willing to lose a friendship to advocate for a little boy who can't advocate for himself.

My mother asked me while I was pregnant if we would circ a boy and I said Nope. The conversation went downhill from there. What changed her mind was when she was with me at a prenatal appt and my midwife asked me about it and I told her no. She HUGGED me and said "Thank God! Another one I don't have to talk out of it!" We went on to have a half hour conversation, in front of my mother, about the evils of circumcision. On the way home, my mother said, "You'll just have to teach me how to take care of it."

Really, thank God I had a girl.
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I have lived in the US for 13 years (got my degree here, have citizenship, etc.) but still have my European accent so people seem to cut me some slack -crazy foreigners you know...

I'd rather have them ask me important stuff like this rather than one more "When are you due"/ "Do you know what you are having?"
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I agree KBinSATX. I would much rather people ask me if I'm going to breastfeed, circumcise, etc. than is it a boy or a girl? (Of course, not that I necessarily ask people personal questions!) I wish more people would ask me my views because I would gladly share them! I'm sure I'd offend a few people, but not purposely. I found out when I became a vegetarian YEARS ago that a simple statement such as, "No thanks, I'm a vegetarian" would seriously offend people. So, something as volatile as my opposition to circumcision would definitely offend people. But, that's their problem. Maybe some people would just learn a different point of view. Actually, I was venting to a girl at our church (a bit younger than me - not married or a mom yet) about some of the conversations here on this board (reasons people have circ'd, mostly the cosmetic argument). She said, "I heard it was cleaner." Bingo - education time. It worked - she listened. Maybe when she becomes a mom she'll think twice about circing - one can only hope!
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