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Thread: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

  1. #21

    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    It would be more akin to cutting off the tip of your toe nails and they don't grow back.
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  2. #22

    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Iskar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    While I recognize the difficult interactions of religion, tradition, and cultures, I must say that I am a staunch supporter of the idea that mutilating the genitalia of someone who is incapable of giving consent is an act of genital mutilation without consent.
    Is the consent the punctum saliens here, though? We are usually fine with parents taking decisions about medical (and other) procedures on behalf of their underage children, and not all of them based on a direct medical indication of imminent danger to be averted (consider orthodontic measures, e.g.). Putting aside that the general gut feeling treats genitalia as a more delicate subject (which I doubt holds up against a non-emotional assessment), I think it boils down to the question whether the long-term gains in general health justify such a preemptive operation (which, to begin with, pretty easily rules out the more extreme practices like clitoridectomy).
    I must admit that I was not on my best behavior while posting that. I was sneering at the notion that cutting out healthy, living tissue out of a newborn for no medical reason whatsoever could be anything but mutilation.

    The very question of the medical necessity of circumcision is a cultural one as well. I come from a country where it is not recommended, and according to a report of our Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, it is done for medical reasons for only 500-1,000 individuals annually in a population of less than six million. The report also claims that the general medical opinion in developed nations is slowly turning against routine circumcision.

    Quote Originally Posted by PointOfViewGun View Post
    Why should parents be allowed to make decision about their kids with regards to many different subject but not about circumcision?
    That is a very good question. Parents are allowed great liberties in how they bring up their children in most societies, and some of those practices can be said to be harmful. The alternative, having political powers micromanaging parenting, is hardly attractive.

    However, at least I have no problem understanding intuitively how cutting something out of a person for cultural or religious reasons is a much easier case to consider. I read that some cultures used to ritually scar children in their faces. Should that be allowed? Or tattooing an infant? Some effects of parenting can be reversed at least partially, if the child later decides to follow a different path than what he was brought up into. Such as leave a religion. But anything having to do with ritual surgery is a different thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    Hard to describe circumcision as mutilation when it doesn't negatively impact either the function or the appearance of the penis.
    Circumcision is very likely deeply ingrained in the culture of someone who says that. If no one in the world was ever circumcised without a pressing medical reason until now and a new cult that wanted to do so emerged today, that would be a very hard case to make. The appearance part is highly subjective; the function part not so much. But no one who has been circumcised as an infant knows how they would feel if they had not been, and no one who has not been circumcised as an infant knows how they would feel if they had been.
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  3. #23

    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    That is a very good question. Parents are allowed great liberties in how they bring up their children in most societies, and some of those practices can be said to be harmful. The alternative, having political powers micromanaging parenting, is hardly attractive.

    However, at least I have no problem understanding intuitively how cutting something out of a person for cultural or religious reasons is a much easier case to consider. I read that some cultures used to ritually scar children in their faces. Should that be allowed? Or tattooing an infant? Some effects of parenting can be reversed at least partially, if the child later decides to follow a different path than what he was brought up into. Such as leave a religion. But anything having to do with ritual surgery is a different thing.
    It's much more fundamental than what you think that it doesn't even cross most people's minds. It has little to do with cultural practices, in fact. When all things considered circumcision is quite low level.

    Parents basically decide every aspect of a kid's life; which school the kid can go to (religious school? more science oriented? regular?), what kind of instrument he can play with (or none at all), will the kid have a computer at all, or have access to many different tools, etc. Any single one of these have a much larger impact on a kid's life compared to a circumcision and pretty much all of them are irreversible. Yes, even the kid's access to musical instruments would have a higher impact. Yet, nobody really makes an issue out of those.
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  4. #24

    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by PointOfViewGun View Post
    It's much more fundamental than what you think
    I cut the quote short but I read your entire message carefully and I am replying to the whole. I have actually thought about that and I have done so for a very, very long time. That is why I brought up the consequences of parenting in general and added the part about "partially" reversing the consequences. That may have been a understatement in the light of the examples that you brought up.

    I have had a friend kill himself at young age because of the complications of having been brought up in a totally unforgiving, fundamentalist fringe Christian family, but I have never heard of anyone even contemplating suicide because of having been circumcised. You are absolutely right that parents do much worse things to their children.

    The sad thing is that we cannot really set strict standards for everyday parenting and enforce them unless we are ready to establish an intrusive totalitarian state of no compare. What we can do, however, is make provisions for interfering with parenting if some easily demonstrable and clear-cut signs of abuse come up. In western societies, those usually include beating a child, sexually assaulting a child, and many forms of criminal negligence. And possibly in the near future, cutting off parts of their anatomy for non-medical reasons.

    To me personally, this is a difficult issue. On the one hand, I am well aware that for instance Jewish communities as a rule bring up completely healthy and productive individuals even though they practice circumcision, and that many others ruin the lives of their children without having circumcision. On the other hand, I would like at least my society to function on the principle that parents do not get to choose what parts of a child's anatomy is cut off to satisfy religious sentiments. It is truly a difficult question.
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  5. #25
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    The argument has been loaded up from the start by the choice of terminology. Mutilation carries with it a whiff of the torture chamber and degradation, so it flavours the discussion by its inclusion.

    I think its also an oblique way of criticising Judaism (and/or Islam)/. As a troll it works well as generally white westerners like me sit get cross at the idea of clitoridectomy, and there is a parallel between "female circumcision" and male circumcision.

    Another trollish passing shot is the idea of consent. Arguments about "baby's rights" eg abortion, immunisation etc can also pivot on the idea of rights, and possible differences between the foetus/baby/infant's rights and parents choices (as well as poster's positions) can be mined effectively.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    Hard to describe circumcision as mutilation when it doesn't negatively impact either the function or the appearance of the penis.
    Mutilation comes from a Latin root meaning to sever. Circumcision is severing a piece of skin, so the description is pretty much exactly right there.

    The negative connotations of the term mutilation "1.the act or process of disabling or maiming a person by wounding a limb or organ" (OED for those without access to a dictionary) depend on you definition of the function of the penis.

    You and I don't find it disabling but someone from a culture where a sense of bodily integrity is considered sacred (a Hindu for example), or where "not looking Jewish" is important, might. Yes the circumcised can reproduce (indeed you could say we're better at it) and micturate unimpeded, but if you see the function of the human body is to glorify the divine through its wholeness then circumcision is definitely mutilation in the fullest sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    ...
    To me personally, this is a difficult issue. On the one hand, I am well aware that for instance Jewish communities as a rule bring up completely healthy and productive individuals even though they practice circumcision, and that many others ruin the lives of their children without having circumcision. On the other hand, I would like at least my society to function on the principle that parents do not get to choose what parts of a child's anatomy is cut off to satisfy religious sentiments. It is truly a difficult question.
    Coming from a legal family and marrying into a health family my attitude is to favour harm minimisation over ideological purity. People will do what they do, try to keep infections to a minimum.
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  6. #26

    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by enoch View Post
    Cutting off the foreskin impacts the appearance of the penis.
    Only positively. Surveys indicate that the overwhelming majority of people find circumcised penises more aesthetically pleasing. You'll have a tough time arguing that circumcision constitutes a step down in terms of aesthetic appearance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    Circumcision is very likely deeply ingrained in the culture of someone who says that.
    There's no shortage of studies showing that even in cultures where circumcision is a minority practice, circumcised penises are still preferred. This page contains a number of such studies:

    Circumcision and Socio-Sexual Aspects

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Mutilation comes from a Latin root meaning to sever. Circumcision is severing a piece of skin, so the description is pretty much exactly right there.

    The negative connotations of the term mutilation "1.the act or process of disabling or maiming a person by wounding a limb or organ" (OED for those without access to a dictionary) depend on you definition of the function of the penis.

    You and I don't find it disabling but someone from a culture where a sense of bodily integrity is considered sacred (a Hindu for example), or where "not looking Jewish" is important, might. Yes the circumcised can reproduce (indeed you could say we're better at it) and micturate unimpeded, but if you see the function of the human body is to glorify the divine through its wholeness then circumcision is definitely mutilation in the fullest sense.
    Isn't that definition so broad as to be meaningless? If the function of a body organ is subjective, then any and every form of body modification can be said to be mutilation, whether it's a haircut or a suntan.
    Last edited by Prodromos; April 18, 2021 at 05:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    Only positively. Surveys indicate that the overwhelming majority of people find circumcised penises more aesthetically pleasing. You'll have a tough time arguing that circumcision constitutes a step down in terms of aesthetic appearance.
    Although in the subjective and intersubjective it is true that even in places where most men are circumcised, people (especially women) report circumcised penises to be prettier, that does not change the objective fact that removing the foreskin alters the appearance (hence more pleasing.)
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    Isn't that definition so broad as to be meaningless? If the function of a body organ is subjective, then any and every form of body modification can be said to be mutilation, whether it's a haircut or a suntan.
    No your counter examples don't meet the definition: in a suntan nothing is cut, and a haircut does not affect an organ (at least we hope not, my cousin had a nasty cut at a barbershop in Athens as a boy but that's another story-its was on his ear btw).

    Rhetorically one might call a haircut a mutilation but it'd be hard to take the person doing so seriously.

    To me mutilation just passes muster as terminology for circumcision, but only by association (with FGM) and really its about framing a case against a specific cultural practice.

    My position remains if it mutilation then its socially acceptable mutilation but time will tell.
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  9. #29

    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    No your counter examples don't meet the definition: in a suntan nothing is cut, and a haircut does not affect an organ (at least we hope not, my cousin had a nasty cut at a barbershop in Athens as a boy but that's another story-its was on his ear btw).

    Rhetorically one might call a haircut a mutilation but it'd be hard to take the person doing so seriously.

    To me mutilation just passes muster as terminology for circumcision, but only by association (with FGM) and really its about framing a case against a specific cultural practice.

    My position remains if it mutilation then its socially acceptable mutilation but time will tell.
    The definition you cited doesn't say anything about cutting, though, it says that mutilation is "the act or process of disabling or maiming a person by wounding a limb or organ." If the function of an organ is totally subjective, then this definition is so broad as to be meaningless. Someone could easily claim that the function of the skin is to look as white as possible and that any intentional darkening of that organ wounds it and thus qualifies as mutilation.

    I think we all know what the function of the penis is, and it's not to glorify the divine through being attached to the foreskin. It's pretty clear that circumcision has zero negative impacts on either the function or the appearance of the penis. If people want to send parents to jail for circumcising their children, the onus is on them to demonstrate the harms of circumcision.
    Last edited by Prodromos; April 19, 2021 at 12:49 PM.
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  10. #30
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    I think the really important question that no one is asking here is what are they doing with all these extra foreskins? I, for one, think we should be saving all these foreskins for skin grafting or towards the necromantic creation of flesh golems in line with our dark lord Baal's desires.

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  11. #31
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    The definition you cited doesn't say anything about cutting, though, it says that mutilation is "the act or process of disabling or maiming a person by wounding a limb or organ." If the function of an organ is totally subjective, then this definition is so broad as to be meaningless. Someone could easily claim that the function of the skin is to look as white as possible and that any intentional darkening of that organ wounds it and thus qualifies as mutilation.
    Just to clarify, I am in almost complete agreement with you, just splitting every last hair for the sake of our argument's effectiveness.

    The use of mutilation to describe a haircut or a tan would be poetic rather than literal. Its allowable of course, poets have to eat too, but not persuasive. Its more cogent to use mutilation (derived from a word meaning cutting and meaning to maim-itself meaning a defect or wound) to describe circumcision but frankly its only a matter of degree, and its a microstep away from describing ear piercing as mutilation (yes the holes heal but they leave those little dimples ITS PERMANENT YOUNG LADY I HOPE YOU REALISE THAT).

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    I think we all know what the function of the penis is, and it's not to glorify the divine through being attached to the foreskin.
    Of course we know that, there are others who disagree. I am uncomfortable with faith based perspectives imposing legal penalties on other faith based perspectives, so its why I'm treading carefully here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    It's pretty clear that circumcision has zero negative impacts on either the function or the appearance of the penis.
    I agree. Others may disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    If people want to send parents to jail for circumcising their children, the onus is on them to demonstrate the harms of circumcision.
    Yeah this is pretty much the necessary and sufficient terminus to the debate.

    I'm harping on about the "mutilation" aspect because its the point that powers the debate and it gives me the absolute irrits. This argument bubbles up from some quarters and often gets a kick along from some anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim people looking to use reasonable arguments to start trouble. It gets hitched onto FGM and few cans get tied on and its a **** show.

    FWIW FGM seems to be decreasing (anecdotal evidence only). We've gone from hounding poor African refugees (in practice the people doing the cutting were old grannies) to more of a harm minimisation approach-the rich sent their girls to other countries for surgery so its happening anyway. I think we're leaving minor labioplasty alone because rich women in Hollywood are getting that done too, the thing is to stop botched infibulations and massive cuttings which lead to lifelong medical problems and education here is, I think, having an effect. As weird and frankly triggering as FGM is, I'm moving toward letting communities alone, if they get wealthy and accepted here they will acculturated to Australian norms including less skinscaping.

    Male Circumcision isn't linked to massive health problems. The whole "looks better/looks worse" argument is entirely nonsensical to me, this is a matter of several communities engaging in a venerable practice with almost no health consequences. The government can stay out of it. As you say sending people to gaol for a "join the club" snip its insane, and it will be evaded by either wholescale pro forma dishonesty "yet another inflamed foreskin? Better excise it just to be safe (wink)" or regular flights to another country where its allowed.

    There are hundreds of common actions a parent inflicts on a child more harmful than circumcision, I mean off the bat people who smoke around their kids. This is nothingburger with a side of olestra laden gluten free fries and it takes a bit of rhetorical jiggery pokery to even make it look like an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    I think the really important question that no one is asking here is what are they doing with all these extra foreskins? I, for one, think we should be saving all these foreskins for skin grafting or towards the necromantic creation of flesh golems in line with our dark lord Baal's desires.
    My best Jewish joke ever turns on this point. I went to a gig in St Kilda, home of many of Melbourne's Jewish community and close to the Masada Hospital (no the patients don't keep barricading themselves inside). At the gig the band covered a H&C song, and someone said "pity Mark Seymour (the notoriously arrogant singer) isn't here to perform it". My brain clicked into gear and I quipped "well the Masada Hospital is a few hundred metres that way. They must circumcise hundreds of boys a year, and with that many foreskins we can make our own Mark Seymour!". Anyway the bass player laughed at least.
    Last edited by Cyclops; April 19, 2021 at 05:09 PM.
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  12. #32
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    There's no shortage of studies showing that even in cultures where circumcision is a minority practice, circumcised penises are still preferred. This page contains a number of such studies:

    Circumcision and Socio-Sexual Aspects


    "• Women with circumcised lovers were more likely to reach a simultaneous climax - 29% vs. 17% of the study population grouped across the orgasmic spectrum of boxes for ticking labeled "together", "man first", "man after" and "never come"; some ticked more than one box. (Could the superior response involve psychological factors? ... Could it be that more circumcised men have a better technique? ... Or could other factors be involved?)
    • Women who failed to reach an orgasm were 3 times more likely to have an uncircumcised lover. (These data could, however, possibly reflect behaviors of uncircumcised males that might belong to lower socio-economic classes and/or ethnic groups whose attitudes concerning sex and women may differ from the better-educated groups in whom circumcision is more common.)"


    Any time you have fill you statement that many parenthetical comments means that... A you failed to craft a survey that any meaningful statistical analysis can be done on. B whomever did this summary kinda knows that because they speculating on all the data that is missing. C so not really impressive.


    But to the OP seeing as it all and all about more not much of any impact (if really any) on the individual - removing a bit of skin that is effectively vestigial now that more or less all humans dress in clothes I don't see it as mutilation.

    Only positively. Surveys indicate that the overwhelming majority of people find circumcised penises more aesthetically pleasing. You'll have a tough time arguing that circumcision constitutes a step down in terms of aesthetic appearance.
    I would be profoundly interested to know the methodology of such a survey. How it was done and how the questions were asked. Personally as man who grew up when US highs schools and junior High schools still made you shower after gym and swimming... flaccid err members are all kinds of not impressive but maybe that's just the effect of being in a shower with 30 or 40 guys and cold water. I do believe there was rather funny Seinfeld episode on the topic and it involved 'shrinkage'


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  13. #33

    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Sex and Male Circumcision: Women’s Preferences Across Different Cultures and Countries: A Systematic Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523040/

    Results

    Database searches identified 29 publications with original data for inclusion, including 22 for aim (i) and 4 of these and 7 others pertaining to aim (ii). In the overwhelming majority of studies, women expressed a preference for the circumcised penis. The main reasons given for this preference were better appearance, better hygiene, reduced risk of infection, and enhanced sexual activity, including vaginal intercourse, manual stimulation, and fellatio. In studies that assessed mothers’ preference for MC of sons, health, disease prevention, and hygiene were cited as major reasons for this preference. Cultural differences in preference were evident among some of the studies examined. Nevertheless, a preference for a circumcised penis was seen in most populations regardless of the frequency of MC in the study setting.
    You can read an analysis of each study at the link.
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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    I would be profoundly interested to know the methodology of such a survey. How it was done and how the questions were asked. Personally as man who grew up when US highs schools and junior High schools still made you shower after gym and swimming... flaccid err members are all kinds of not impressive but maybe that's just the effect of being in a shower with 30 or 40 guys and cold water. I do believe there was rather funny Seinfeld episode on the topic and it involved 'shrinkage'
    Well clearly the study doesn't done between junior high boys with flaccid dicks in a shower...

    It seems pretty obvious that any such study would be referring to an erect penis, though.

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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Never mind that there's some obvious observation bias.

    There are exactly two common reasons to circumcise:

    1) Religion (Islam, Judaism), and...
    2) In the US because Kelloggs started a stupid movement about it. The goal was to stop them from fiddling themselves, and it was to be done without anaesthetics "as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind”. Luckily his other idea of pouring acid on clitorides didn't catch on.

    The first reason is perfectly fine, from the freedom of religion standpoint alone, and quite frankly it makes this thread kinda pointless. The number of males who'd point their fingers (no pun intended) at their parents and cry out that they'd been mutilated without consent is likely ridiculously small.
    Nevermind that especially before modern medicine came around, it wasn't half bad as prophylaxis against certain complications.
    In modern days for those who don't have religious reasons for the operation I'd argue the risk assessment no longer tips (no pun intended) in its favour. Complications from circumcision are probably rare (I can't be bothered to check for statistics on this), but where modern healthcare is available, I can't see how any of its previous benefits would still apply.

    Anyway. Those having a cultural background with circumcision would obviously be biased towards circumcised penises for Freudian cultural reasons alone.

    Never mind the extreme number of sexual encounters one needs to have before being able to do such an assessment, lulz.

    Seriously though I can't even see how a survey could be done so that it'd be even close to where it could be taken seriously.
    But given that there really is no point to such a survey it's completely irrelevant no matter what. Grown males can still get their circumcision if they really want it. I don't think that many are interested.



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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    Never mind that there's some obvious observation bias.

    There are exactly two common reasons to circumcise:

    1) Religion (Islam, Judaism), and...
    2) In the US because Kelloggs started a stupid movement about it. The goal was to stop them from fiddling themselves, and it was to be done without anaesthetics "as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind”. Luckily his other idea of pouring acid on clitorides didn't catch on.

    The first reason is perfectly fine, from the freedom of religion standpoint alone, and quite frankly it makes this thread kinda pointless. The number of males who'd point their fingers (no pun intended) at their parents and cry out that they'd been mutilated without consent is likely ridiculously small.
    Nevermind that especially before modern medicine came around, it wasn't half bad as prophylaxis against certain complications.
    In modern days for those who don't have religious reasons for the operation I'd argue the risk assessment no longer tips (no pun intended) in its favour. Complications from circumcision are probably rare (I can't be bothered to check for statistics on this), but where modern healthcare is available, I can't see how any of its previous benefits would still apply.

    Anyway. Those having a cultural background with circumcision would obviously be biased towards circumcised penises for Freudian cultural reasons alone.

    Never mind the extreme number of sexual encounters one needs to have before being able to do such an assessment, lulz.

    Seriously though I can't even see how a survey could be done so that it'd be even close to where it could be taken seriously.
    But given that there really is no point to such a survey it's completely irrelevant no matter what. Grown males can still get their circumcision if they really want it. I don't think that many are interested.

    Have you considered that circumcised must be prettier or why else do it? That’s science.
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Quote Originally Posted by enoch View Post
    Have you considered that circumcised must be prettier or why else do it? That’s science.
    Tattoo your babies while you're at it



    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Cookie’s attempt brings up a good point. Piercing babies/toddlers ears is very common in the US and no one blinks.
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    Regarding the studies on preferences, it might be worth considering that the need to avoid cognitive dissonance causes a certain bias in human cognition in favour of anything that has been "paid" for in any kind. As such the subconscious effect of cutting off a piece of skin (however ineffectual it may objectively be in times of sufficient hygiene) may induce people to develop a preference for this as a postfactum justification of the "expense".

    So, until we set up a large scale double blind study with considerable test and control groups of sexual partners per female scientist ...obtaining the data, I doubt the question can be satisfactorily answered (though probably satisfyingly in each anecdotal case).
    Last edited by Iskar; April 27, 2021 at 04:00 PM.
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  20. #40
    enoch's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Infant Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation without Consent

    They did these studies. And in countries with solid science like France where circumcision is not common. Women preferred sex with cut men. However that isn’t actually an argument for prettier so I talked myself into arguing a different fact.
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