They Mutilate Boys Don't They?

As reported in The Huffington Post, Female Genital Mutilation/Circumcision may be on the decline after a long hard fight, helped in part by a global awareness campaign which will continue until, hopefully, the vile practice is no longer undertaken anywhere.

While this is great news, all I can think about is how, in our supposedly more civilized culture, parents not only allow, but demandtheir young boys to be cut into. Now, there are many reasons why I'm a failed Jew. For a start, I love crab and lobster, and I think there's nothing better than an organic streaky smoked bacon sandwich with HP fruity sauce on plain white bread... but aside from the comedy value of those things, my main objection is the practice of the mutilation of young boys on a globally accepted level.

Last week I was invited to watch a man cut off part of an 8-day-old baby's penis, and then have a party.

I've heard a few things about why this practice is carried out:

1. It's more hygienic.

Really? You see, when I was a kid, I was shown by my father what personal hygiene was all about. I was told about my foreskin, and how to clean my genitals with a thing called 'soap' while having a thing called 'a bath.' But then again, why bother to educate your child when you can just have a stranger hack bits off?

2. It looks better.

Now I normally hear this said by women, who spend their days being bombarded by images of beauty and then bitching about the fact that they don't have a body like Nicole Richie after having two kids. The thing is, all cocks look different, circumcised or not. Just because you don't like the look of an uncircumcised penis doesn't mean you have the right to contribute to the continued mutilation of your children.

3. God made me do it.

The religious defense is the most meaningless. These books were written hundreds to thousands of years ago to control the masses, inflicting horrifying pain and suffering over the generations. However, leaving that aside, I was taught that we are all made in God's image. In that case, trust me. She's cool with your boy's foreskin.

4. It doesn't hurt.

Oddly, the men I know who are cut can't remember if it hurt or not -- it's the mothers I've spoken to have informed me that it doesn't. Considering they've never had a cock to have bits lopped off of, I find this rather staggering to understand. How could they know? Are they psychic?

As someone who's had extensive genital operations over the years, I can tell you that the recovery hurts -- but not only that, as an adult I'm rendered total unconscious, mostly to control the agonizing pain of the procedure. So I can safely say that getting your genitals cut into does hurt.

Have you ever heard a child scream when having an injection? Have your heard a similar noise when your boy child was handed over for the chop? That's also a classic pain response.

5. It's not the same as FGM/C.

No it's not. They are two separate body parts on two different sexes, and FGM/C will often go considerably further. There's also the history of the use of FGM/C for the subjugation of women's rights. However, there are some fundamental similarities involved. It's adults, in a bloody ritual, forcibly damaging and/or removing the most sensitive part of a child's sexual anatomy with a knife. Yet people are okay with that happening to a male child, for some reason.

6. It's men doing it to men. The world is founded on patriarchy, so why should women be bothered?

I'm not a feminist. I don't agree with the vernacular used by feminism, or the intellectual notions that it seems wrapped up in. In my view, if you're fighting for equality for marginalized women without being considerate of those parts of male life where they also may be marginalized, then you're not seeking equality, just your own way. To me, those people that genuinely seek equality do so from a humanistic stance, and consider all people to be created equally.

Now, granted -- there are occasions when medical intervention is required and a circumcision is wholly necessary. A bris isn't a medical procedure. It's a cultish religious ritual and an excuse to throw a party. If you think about it, it's more than a little ghoulish. On a basic level, it's a room full of adults laughing and drinking in celebration at mutilating an infant. How can that be right?

Co-authored with Ben Cooke
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