I am a mother of four children. One girl and three boys. As a mother I chose NOT to have my sons circumcised for many reasons. Firstly there’s no scientific evidence that genuinely supports it, but I won’t be discussing the science here. This article discusses the social reasons for circumcision and why I wasn’t swayed by them.
It Looks Nicer: It does? My nose might look nicer if I cut the tip off it too ….. but surgery has risks! And besides the risks, altering someone’s genitals to make them look nicer, someone who I am related to and will never have any semblance of intimacy with, is just kind of creepy! Furthermore how penises look is largely dependent on where you live. Sure in the US there’s a lot of circumcised penises getting about but … most of them reside in PANTS, and in the rest of the world there’s a lot of WHOLE penises getting about. They are also in pants.
It’s Cleaner: Everything that can be washed can be made clean. Except my dog, but I think that’s an unfortunate genetic disposition. Plus if I’m honest with you, I don’t wash him very often. He doesn’t like being washed, and I find that after washing him I end up smelling like he did before his bath. Cleanliness is important, don’t get me wrong, but seriously, all you have to do is clean a baby penis. Just like you would wipe ice-cream off a baby face rather than having his chin surgically removed. Genitals are very self-sufficient organs, google the science of it. I told you I wasn’t going there with science.
So He Looks Like His Father: This is the silliest reason I’ve ever heard. Adult men aren’t known for comparing penises with one another. In fact most of them would probably get a little bit panicky at the prospect. And rightly so! That shows that they have healthy boundaries. You’re going to have to tell your sons about sex at some point. If they raise questions about why their penises are different just tell them the truth. It’s worth pointing out that there are VAST anatomical differences between the appearance of a child’s penis and an adult’s penis anyway. It’s years before “it will look like Daddy’s” and by then the boundaries will have kicked in.
So He Doesn’t Get Teased: Admittedly I know very little about locker room antics. Exceptionally little in fact! But I do know that I wouldn’t get my daughter a breast enlargement so that she didn’t get teased. It’s surgery and surgery carries risks. Circumcision is surgery. Plus she might grow to be an adult and decide she likes her body the way it is! If my son was teased at school because of his penis I would march myself into the principal’s office SO FAST ….. I’d be a force for reckoning I assure you.
It’s Just A Choice: Why yes. Yes it is! But not all choices are equal. I mean technically speaking I could choose to sell crack, right? Would anyone support my right to choose to sell crack? Probably someone would but they’re also probably not the people you’d consult about things relating to your children. I hope. I don’t believe that I have the right to make choices about the appearance of another human, especially one who is solely dependent on me for their entire existence.
So the social reasons for operating on a newborn son really don’t hold much water. There isn’t a single medical body in the entire world that recommends circumcision. There’s no reputable science to support the practice – but you have to google that for yourself. Here’s a few things to look for. HIV prevention (nothing beats a condom!) Fewer infections (pfft. Just pfft. They have antibiotics where I live …. but we’ve never needed them for this reason). Cancer prevention. (seriously!? As. If.) There are plenty more and they all fall flat in the face of scrutiny.
Remember this if you remember nothing else. Over 100 American baby boys die each year when they are circumcised. There are no second chances with that. I know this from personal experience. At the beginning of this I stated that I am the mother of four children, but the truth is that I’m mother to five. I lost one to listeria poisoning during late pregnancy. Death is as final as it gets. If you wouldn’t want your kids playing Russian roulette, don’t consent to surgery for them unless they absolutely need it, like life and death need it. Just. Don’t. Risk. That.
You can choose not to put your newborn through that risk, and he himself can choose to be circumcised later on as an adult. But realistically speaking, there’s a severe shortage of blokes who voluntarily lop bits off their penis … and perhaps in that we find the greatest argument against circumcision. If grown men break out in a sweat at the suggestion of sharp things near their genitals while they are awake, perhaps we have to stop doing it to new babies.
As a result of the debunked science and the complete failure of the “social reasons” to support this rather outdated practice I am the mother of intact sons. I imagine that one day I’ll be a grandmother to intact grandsons too. The number of circumcisions are falling because of conscientious parenting. Will YOU be the first generation in your family to stop it or the last who did it?
FOR FURTHER READING