Because Sometimes More is More
embryonic-journey replied to your post: It never ceases to amaze me when people who follow…
Because MRAs are misoginistic pricks who want to further oppress women whilst further empowering men.
This type of response literally confuses an actual issue, and the way someone else argues about it (or about a related issue). It’s like saying that male circumcision isn’t a real issue because there are anti-Semitic or anti-Islamic people who use the issue offensively. I don’t know if it’s more of an ad hominem or a tu quoque, but it’s a pretty glaring logical fallacy.
sageoflogic replied to your post: It never ceases to amaze me when people who follow…
Because there are ACTUAL mens rights issues like circumcision and then there are the issues that Mens Rights Activists bring up all the while being misogynistic pricks.
I can’t quite tell if this response is pretty much the same thing. In my view there’s a moral responsibility to attempt to recognize important issues regardless of the rhetoretic and tactics used by their proponents — whether that rhetoeric is divisive, poorly constructed, distorted, etc. I’m not saying this is easy or that you’re obligated to engage in any specific level of activism whatsoever, but if you are already aware of serious men’s issues like circumcision there’s no excuse not to grant them their proper space.
It never ceases to amaze me when people who follow this blog make posts making fun of the concept of men’s rights.
(This question is in regards to claims that circumcision offers partial protection against HIV acquisition).
Let me preface by saying that my knowledge on this issue isn’t in depth. I’m far from being an expert on immunology or experimental science, and as such I don’t feel confident in taking a strong position on the scientific aspects of this issue. What I know is that there appears to be a prevailing view in the international public health community that circumcision can lower HIV acquisition rates among men who have sex with women. I think it’s important to be fair-minded in addressing this potential benefit, while also looking at it in the proper context.
From a biological point of view, this protection theorized to occur because the mucosal membrane of the inner foreskin is particularly vulnerable to HIV infection, and circumcision removes a large portion of that tissue, while causing the remaining portion to become keratinized and therefore less receptive to the HIV pathogen. (The rub, of course, is that this alteration has a significant effect on penile sensation and functioning as well). On a more technical level, the foreskin contains a large number of Langerhans Cells, which have a specific purpose of “sampling” potential pathogens by carrying them inside the body from the surface of the mucosal membrane — as a proactive part of the immune system. In the case of HIV, the virus defeats these cells, causing this mechanism to backfire.
There is some debate surrounding the recent studies that have established HIV prevention as a major part of the circumcision debate. For one, this research was conducted on African populations, which apparently differ significantly from other populations in terms of the epidemiology of the disease. Infection rates among those populations are much, much higher, and primary means of transmission is through heterosexual genital contact. By contrast, in Western populations HIV is predominately transmitted sexually from male to male, and through blood contamination. There are also legitimate concerns over how circumcision status will affect condom use, given that circumcised individuals might overestimate the limited extent of the protection offered by circumcision.
When it comes to circumcision and HIV in Africa, I think the people there should be able to make this decision as autonomously as possible, so I try to stay out of their business. I also recognize that the stakes are much different for them, given an infection rates that tops 20% in some regions. If circumcision can help alleviate this crisis to a significant extent, then I could see myself accepting even the circumcision of children as a justifiable measure. By the way, current circumcision campaigns in Africa tend to focus on adult males, which is ethically less problematic (though not completely so).
The non-therapeutic circumcision of children in Western countries is where I take a stand against the HIV argument. Because elective adult circumcision is widely available in these countries, the imperative to surgically alter infants for the benefit of STI immunity is minimal. As I mentioned earlier, HIV rates in in the United states are 20-30 times lower than in the populations this research was conducted on. They are also higher than the rates in most of the countries you would expect them to be similar — Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, etc., despite the fact that circumcision rates in the United States are already much higher. The other argument is the progress being made in treating AIDS, which is extremely likely to be more fully realized by the time today’s generation of newborns reaches sexual maturity.
It’s interesting how you might be looking at a pornographic image and see a rather prominent circumcision in close proximity to a rather prominent breast augmentation scar.
I had a dream that researchers were circumcising small insects (mosquitos maybe) under a microscope in order to find evidence that doing it to humans is harmful. The insects were squirming while this was happening, and then were being observed having sex to see if there were any changes.
Not necessarily the best kind of dream to wake up from.
Imagine if somebody informed you that you that there was a part of your body that was removed from you unbeknownst. Like another set of labia, or a second foreskin — the thought of actually having that part back might be a squick to a lot of people. When you’ve had your body for a sufficiently long period of time, that missing piece might begin to seem extraneous, even foreign. This is why I infer that a lot of the people who were circumcised early in life tend to view the foreskin for it’s potential negatives rather than positives.
I feel like the justification given for child circumcision is always a potpourri of reasons because no single reason comes close to justifying it by itself. But when you group things like “hygiene” and possible prevention of some rare and far-off disease it begins to sound more convincing.
Brit Shalom is indeed an alternative naming ceremony replacing Brit Milah (ritual circumcision), BUT there is no pin prick or blood letting of any kind.
I appreciate Dr. Reiss reaching out to me, given that I indeed had the impression that Brit Shalom involves a ceremonial pin prick. (I recognize Dr. Reiss from numerous intactivist efforts, including his work to promulgate this alternative to the Jewish ritual of infant circumcision). I’m not quite sure where I got the idea that Brit Shalom involved some form of minimal blood letting, and I’d be curious to know if such a variation of it is also practiced. Thanks again for the clarification.
Someone (Intact America) can create a facebook app which allows anyone to take a public pledge not to circumcise any future children that they’ll be responsible for.
You install the app, and all of your friends see a notification that you just “took the Intact Pledge” along with as a link to a list of basic reasons against non-therapeutic circumcision.
I see some viral potential in this, and it would give people a chance to take a symbolic but meaningful stand on the issue without spending a substantial amount of time and resources on other avenues of activism. Thoughts?
When I was 16 my foreskin was too tight to retract when I was erect. I went to my GP who sent me to a surgeon who booked me in for a circumcision. I was given no other options and was not made aware that there were other options such as stretching or partial circumcision. There is definitely a loss of sensitivity to the glans after circumcision. I never had any other problems as I learned to pull the foreskin back during a shower to clean the glans clean. There is practically no reason for circumcision except for dated customs and religious ideals that are not relevant in this century.
If you are, or are about to become, a parent of a boy, please do’t mutilate his body in the mistaken belief that you are doing him a favour.