Before I go any further though, I want to say that, firstly, there's noting inherently wrong with body modification if that's what you choose to do. My problem here is choosing it for someone else who isn't old enough to make that choice for themselves. Secondly, if you do make that choice, as a parent, I do think it's a bad choice; however... no parent is perfect and no one bad choice makes you a Bad Parent. All the Bad Parents I know made lots and lots of bad choices before they earned that coveted title. (ProTip: Taking your child with you to the abortion clinic to be sure they don't become a big sister earns you big points.)
Part 1: Modern Day Pro-Circumcision Arguments
So during these discussions about circumcision, the same pro-circumcision arguments always come up, yet they amaze me every time. I mean it's not like I'm talking to morons here (usually)--it's smart, rational people who are making these easily-refutable arguments with straight faces. Just yesterday I brought this up with one of my best friends, and, in spite of being one of the most open-minded people I know, she got all squeamish and declared she'd totally get her son circumcised because a natural penis is "icky." It's enough to make me go cross-eyed.
Argument 1: It's cleaner.
The problem with this argument is that, here in America, we have this crazy thing called Indoor Plumbing. It's amazing and it allows you to wash your freaking wiener. It's not that complicated, people. Lady bits have all of these crazy folds and caverns, yet we're not shaving of the "useless" parts in order to shorten our shower time! In fact, we Americans kind of freak the heck out at countries who do practice female circumcision, regardless of their reasons or methods.
Argument 2: It looks nicer.
It looks nicer because that's what you're used to seeing here in America. Until recently, circumcision was extremely common, peaking in the 1950s and only really notably declining since the 1990s. If you were in a country where circumcision was not commonly practiced (as in, basically any other country anywhere), you probably would not feel this way. This is called cultural bias, and is no reason to bring scissors near your Little Man's little man.
Argument 3: I want my son to have a peenie like mine and/or do not want him to be made fun of. (Penn Jillette has a hilarious video rant about it here if you don't mind his potty mouth.)
Firstly, I just don't feel that teaching your children conformity just for the sake of conformity is a good lesson for them. This argument basically amounts to "everybody's doing it," which parents spend a lot of time teaching their teenagers is not a reason to do anything. And, in fact, not everybody is doing it. As I previously stated, the practice of circumcision has been in decline for several decades. Currently only just over 50% of males get their thingies snipped. It's not cool anymore. Sorry. Maybe we could teach our boys to smoke earlier; that'll help 'em fit in.
Arguement 4: He's a baby; it's not like he's going to remember that it hurts and he won't miss it.
I... Really?! This is seriously supposed to justify removing a significant portion of a child's penis??
Part 2: Modern Day Anti-Circumcision Arguments
Now that we know that a penis is dishwasher safe and that conformity makes you a tool, there are very valid reasons as to let a young lad keep his foreskin.
To be brief, the penis head is very sensitive, and is naturaly a moist organ, much like the clitoris. Once the foreskin is removed, it becomes dry and sensitivity is decreased by a sometimes estimated 75%. As one unsuspecting and uncircumcised member said during the aforementioned discussion, "If I pull my foreskin back and try to do pretty much anything not related to sex, it's impossible. It's far too sensitive. The mere fact that circumcized guys are able to wear clothes is proof positive that it causes a serious loss of sensation."
This isn't to say that sex is necessarily four times better for men who are uncircumcised, but it does bring me to my next point.
Part 3: How Did Circumcision Become so Popular Among American Gentiles Anyway?
According to my research (found at the end of this post), circumcision began to be widely promoted during the Victorian era as a means to discourage masturbation. Isn't that fun? Throughout the years it has also been proven to cure wet dreams, bed wetting, urinary and rectal incontinence, tuberculosis, epilepsy, nervousness, abdominal neuralgia, "eye problems," blindness, deafness, dumbness/muteness, as well as prevent spinal paralysis or cuvature, clubfoot, black men from raping white women, urinary tract infections, penile and prostate cancer, tongue cancer, all STDs, cervical cancer, bladder and rectal cancer, and "immunity to nearly all physical and mental illness." This is science, people.
Or not. So basically all we're left with now is "it's pretty because it looks like Daddy's" and "I don't have to wash as thouroughly." It seems like people cling to these two reasons as though their very grip on reality depends on it.
Anyway, it feels good to have taken full inventory of my own thoughts on the matter. I just like to make informed decisions is all, and with all I know about the topic I know that my son(s) when I have him/them will have all natural ding-dongs.
Part 4: More Information
Where did I get this information? Many places, but I'll list my favorite and most readable ones here.
- Mutilation Nation - This is the first article I read on the topic, and found it to be very well-written and interesting. Warning: The points are illustrated, and the topic is penises. Penises in the name of education, of course.
- The Medicalization of Circumcision - This slideshow shows a timeline as well as a scale that shows the popularity of circumcision in the US, UK, and the world as they coincide with different "scientific" studies on the topic. There's one small drawing, but other than that it's weenie-free for the senstaive viewer.
- Circumcision and HIV - The latest trend in circumcision propoganda is that it'll prevent the spread of HIV. I'm pretty sure a condom and/or monogomy will work better, but whatev.
- Intact America - An organization dedicated to trying to figure out what these poor little weenies did to deserve being treated this way.