Because Sometimes More is More
dialogue from the upcoming film American Secret
Because circumcision has traditionally been so prevalent among men and in popular culture, the desire to fit in may pressure individuals to undergo the procedure, he said. Not only do drawings and models depicting circumcised males promote the procedure, but the use of terminology such as “uncircumcised” suggests that not being circumcised is undesirable. Adjectives such as “intact” or “natural” would be more appropriate and conscious of the sensitivity of the issue, O’Barr said.
He noted that there are multiple techniques for the procedure, each involving different instruments. The differing methods result in different aesthetic looks, which may account for the wide scope of male opinions on the subject.
William M. O’Barr is a professor of cultural anthropology, sociology and English at Duke University. He is completing a book titled An Anthropologist Looks at Circumcision in American Life.
This is pretty interesting. A major new book about circumcision is coming out soon, and it will be interesting to see which way it leans. (Via restoringtally)
Consider the following; you’ve spent the last 5 years doing the best job you can raising a child. You have his best interests at heart, and you love your child dearly. When he was born, you circumcised him because your doctor told you that it was medically advantageous and would benefit your child.
Now some guy on the Internet tells you that circumcision is abusive and amounts to barbaric genital mutilation. What kind of emotional reaction are you going to have? There is a lot of shame involved here. It takes a strong, emotionally stable person to be able to digest what has happened here. Every parent wants to think of themselves as a “good parent”, so the notion that you mutilated your child’s genitalia is going to be a lot to swallow.
German pediatric surgeon Maximilian Stehr
Eli Ungar-Sargon from his debate with Rabbi Boteach
On Monday I devoted about 2 hours of my day listening to Eli Ungar-Sargon’s latest podcast, which features a discussion on infant circumcision with his friend and guest Jeffrey Helmreich, a philosophy PHD candidate. Eli Ungar-Sargon is the creator of acclaimed documentary “Cut: Slicing Through The Myths of CIrcumcision”, and frequent public critic of infant circumcision, both within the context of medicine and the Jewish tradition. The pair framed the discussion as a critique of this prominent paper on the ethics of child circumcision. Here are some points I took away from the podcast:
Perhaps one area that I would have liked to have received more attention in the discussion is the question of autonomy and individual experience. Sexuality is something that is often private and individualized, and circumcision has been shown to affect people in different ways: some consider themselves to be largely unaffected, while others experience it as traumatic, for example. While there are several possible explanations for this — perhaps more notably a person’s beliefs about circumcisio, as well as the variability of surgical technique and outcome — it seems applicable to ask, whether there is inherent harm in taking away control when it comes to something as intimate and highly individualized as the genitals?