Hello there! There's a very nice article called Foreskin Is A Feminist Issue and it talks about why foreskin is a feminist issue (obviously) and debunks all of the myths about foreskins as well as talks about why circumcision happened in the first place and why it's a bad idea. i think it's by Marie Fox and Michael Thompson. :)
Hey, thanks for the ask! I think that looking at male circumcision from a feminist point of view is intriguing because feminism seeks to critically examine harmful aspects of social practices—and circumcision certainly has its share. Feminism also doesn’t take much pause over concerns for “religious freedom”, or “parental choice”, or “social norms”, or even the secondary health benefits that are all brought up in defense of circumcision. There’s also a lot of attention given to issues of bodily autonomy, sex positivity, body acceptance, and equal treatment among the sexes. The major sticking point, however—and this is something that the essay you reference addressees—is that feminism primarily focuses on female-centric concerns, and circumcision is a male issue. At the same time, there are legitimate gynocentric concerns that can be brought up in regards to male circumcision.
I actually hadn’t heard of this paper, and was only able to find an abstract online, but I’ve read other similar writings, including last year’s blog post Why Circumcision is a Feminist Issue, the essay How Male Circumcision Harms Women, and the very interesting and in-depth inquiry Male Genital Mutilation (Circumcision) A Feminist Study of a Muted Gender Issue. Here are a few feminism-based idea that I’ve learned from reading on the topic:
- In a Patriarchal context, children are subordinated to adult males and to adult females as a separate class.
- Circumcision interferes with maternal instinct by subjecting children to a traumatic ordeal that mothers can’t protect them from. This true for infant circumcisions and for adolescent coming of age rituals, both of which involve a stressful separation.
- In a symbolic sense circumcision removes the feminine part of the male organ (in an analogous manner to the way in which female circumcision is perceived to remove the masculine parts of the female genitals). This represents a polarization of binary gender roles which most feminists find harmful.
- Circumcision contributes to body shaming for both sexes. Among males it leads to tension and insecurity for individuals with both types of penises. For heterosexual females it creates negative sentiment as directed towards males (usually against non-circumcised penises), and potentially also against their own genitals.
- Circumcision subjects males to violence at a young age, potentially presenting them with harmful ideas about the acceptability of violence.
- On a concrete level, male circumcision has the potential to harm female sexuality in a heterosexual context by creating an altered and diminished experience for both partners. Issues like ease of foreplay, coital lubrication and comfort, and overall mutual satisfaction have been put to question.
- Western acceptance of male circumcision makes it more difficult to argue against female genital mutilation by diminishing the credibility of Western activists and authorities. There are anecdotes where practitioners and victims of female circumcision defensively point towards Western, and particularly American acceptance of male circumcision.
Ultimately, I strongly agree that male circumcision has relevance to feminist interests. I don’t think you can create far-reaching social progress while major issues faced by any specific group are neglected. I think this is why some feminists readily accept criticisms of circumcision after being made aware of them. At the same, other feminists seem to find opposition to circumcision to be in conflict with their primary agenda—perhaps for political reasons.