Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Truth About Circumcision No One Wants To Talk About

Circumcision is still legal and seen as an acceptable practice here in the western-world. Clitoridectomy is not. Parents are still asked if they want their son circumcised when he is born. When a baby girl is born the parents are never asked if they want to have their newborn's clitoral hood or part of her clitoris removed. Circumcisions are often painfully performed on infants or young boys while strapped down in plastic trays so they cannot move. This happens in hospitals in developed nations and is touted as a routine medical procedure. Female Genital Mutilation, however, is banned worldwide.There is no tolerance for the mutilation of a female's genitals, but, absent horror stories of circumcisions gone wrong, we tend to accept the mutilation of a male infant's genitals without batting an eye.

Circumcision isn't considered to be mutilation by most, but a clitoridectomy is, even though both mutilations are performed on the same organ. A clitoris and a penis are the same biological organs - analogues if you want to get technical. Cutting off the foreskin removes at least a third of the penile skin.

According to Dr. Paul M. Fleiss, a leading expert in the function of the foreskin, a "male circumcision denudes, desensitizes, and disables the penis. The foreskin possesses a rich concentration of blood vessels and nerve endings. Yet circumcision severs 80 percent or more of it. Thus, circumcision cuts off more than 3 feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries, 240 feet of nerves, and more than 20,000 nerve endings. The foreskin's muscles, glands, and mucous membrane are mutilated. This is not to mention that circumcision makes the penis as much as 25 percent or more shorter. The skin that is left in an unnatural state tugs the penis into the abdomen." When you remove the foreskin you are removing an important and highly specialized part of a male's anatomy - you are indeed mutilating him.
  • At birth, a boy’s foreskin is fused to his glans via a membrane called the balano-preputial lamina (BPL). Much like the membrane that fuses the fingernail to the finger, it acts as a living ‘glue’.
  • The same is true of the prepuce and glans of the clitoris: The female foreskin is also called the ‘clitoral hood’.
  • Over the years, little ‘pearls’ of the membrane die off, thus gradually separating the foreskin and glans, creating the preputial space. (This is also true of the clitoris.)
Circumcising an infant or young child means you must tear the foreskin and glans apart, since the foreskin doesn’t fully retract until around puberty, when the boy is most ready to use it.

But removing the foreskin keeps infections out. Not true. In 2012, the AAP’s recommendation for cleaning babies’ foreskins is to "retract them which results in tearing the foreskin and glans apart. The AAP recommends that parents wash the bleeding wound with soap and water. The soap, being a chemical irritant, causes inflammation and can lead to infections and other serious problems. A male should never use soap beneath his foreskin for the same reason that a female should not wash her own internal bits with it - It changes the pH of those areas and causes irritation and inflammation, which can lead to imbalances of microflora and thus infection." So most infections are not caused by the foreskin, but rather bad medical advice and a complete misunderstanding of basic anatomy in regards to the foreskin and penis. If it were true that a foreskin caused horrible infections then you would see massive infections and deaths in many male mammalian species with foreskins. The argument that foreskins pose a health risk, and that removing them prevents infection or disease is ludicrous.

And before anyone tries to bring up the issue of infibulation, the rare practice of removing the clitoris and labia and then sewing the sides of the vulva together leaving only a small opening, in order to 'control' a woman's sexuality as being worse than a male being circumcised, I would like to point out that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a broad term including several acts of mutilating a woman's genitals. That does not mean that all FGM includes infibulation. The same applies to Male Genital Mutilation (MGM). In some rare cases, MGM includes the practice of castration in order to 'control' a mans sexuality and as a form of punishment. This does not mean that all MGM includes castration. Any involuntary modification to one's own genitals is considered mutilation, and can include the following:

For the rest of this article I will be referring to circumcision as Male Genital Mutialtion (MGM), because that is a more accurate description of what it is. Not only is it the mutilation of a defenseless male child's penis without his consent, it is an outright abusive and barbaric practice, irrespective of the culture that practices it, or the reasons why, whether religious or secular. Circumcision is the proper term for the necessary medical procedure of removing the foreskin for serious medical reasons, just as clitoridectomy is the proper term for that type of necessary medical procedure performed on women. Since women and feminists are able to claim that involuntary or unnecessary clitoridectomies are equal to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), men should be afforded that same right - to equate involuntary or unnecessary circumcisions to MGM.

FGM is said to have no medical benefits, but what is never discussed is the fact that women do indeed have clitoridectomies done for medical reasons. Gynecological cancer is one of the most common cancers for which a clitoridectomy may be required. Almost all cervical cancers and some cancers of the vagina and vulva are caused by a virus known as HPV, or Human Papillomavirus. Because some of these types of cancer are often only detected once the cancer has spread and symptoms begin to appear, the cancer has a higher likelihood of spreading to areas like the clitoris and labia where removal of the clitoris or labia is necessary in order to halt the cancer's progression. 

So there is indeed a medical benefit - a necessity if you will - to having a clitoridectomy for these women, but most advocates against FGM will tell you that there are no medical benefits to any form of FGM, while simultaneously claiming that MGM does have medical benefits - when you call it a circumcision.

The absurdity of all this is that a woman in the western-world does not undergo a clitoridectomy at birth as a 'preventative' measure for a life threatening disease, but we are more than ready to say that circumcising a man at birth is indeed a 'preventative' measure for possible minor infections. Why not leave the foreskin intact, and if a medical complication arises in the future, then the man can have it surgically removed if all other medical treatments have failed? Why is it we afford women this right but not men? Why is circumcision couched in 'preventative' medical terms, but a clitoridectomy is not? There is indeed a double standard here that should be of concern to all.

Probably the most damning of all the evidence we have, on how no one takes MGM seriously, is that circumcision is actively promoted by the United Nations under the guise of it having a 'health benefit'. That claim, by the UN, is based solely on 3 non-scientific 'observational studies'. Every year massive amounts of money and resources are poured into programs that advocate and normalize the mutilation of males by the UN - "$1.5 billion by 2015". FGM is never promoted as having any health benefits and is actively condemned by the UN - 2012 the U.N. banned FGM worldwide , and the practice was already outlawed in a number of states and countries.

The UN has actively condemned FGM worldwide while promoting and encouraging MGM in places like Sub-Saharan Africa where people are much less educated and do not question 'professionals' who tell them that being circumcised can prevent AIDS. The people living in those poor and uneducated communities, where mass circumcision campaigns are being carried out, don't know that there is no scientific data to support the UN's claim that circumcision can or does prevent AIDS. If this type of mass circumcision campaign were attempted in a developed and educated nation, people would be up in arms crying foul at the pseudo-science being used to try and legitimize the mass mutilation of men's penises. But because it is not in our backyard, and because it concerns poor men in Africa, no one seems to question the 'data' or the UN's efforts to normalize male genital mutilation.

And let's be clear, the UN's campaign is not only targeting grown men in places like Sub-Saharan Africa - "While the immediate priority is reaching adult men who are currently most at risk of HIV exposure during heterosexual intercourse, and initiating services for adolescents, steps will begin towards integrating the routine offer of medical MC into infant health programmes." To say that infants are next on the agenda is to say that the prevention of sexually transmitted infections is not the goal of their efforts, since infants do not engage in sexual intercourse. In fact, to begin the normalization process with adults is to ensure that the eventual victims will be the children of those abused and misled adults.

The reason that the UN can get away with this massive circumcision campaign so easily in Sub-Saharan Africa is because MGM is seen as a cultural rite of passage into manhood for many tribal groups. Just as FGM is a cultural practice steeped in religion, belief and ritual, so is MGM. The difference is that the UN has banned FGM worldwide while it actively promotes MGM. How are we to stop the unsafe and unsanitary ritual practice of MGM if the UN is promoting it as a good thing to do for one's health? If the UN says MGM can prevent AIDS, then does it really matter how it is done? It can be done in the dirt or in a medical setting, but as long as it is done then it's all good, right? Most of those African tribes that carry out ritual MGM will not go to a hospital to have it done because the whole ritual is sacred, and you cannot become a 'man' properly in the hospital or clinic. And because the UN advocates for MGM, there is now a double incentive for boys to be mutilated regardless of where or how it happens. 

Recently Nigeria has banned FGM, but even with the ban, FGM will still be performed until cultural beliefs and norms are challenged and changed - activists say that the "laws alone won’t put abolish the practice, and that a systemic cultural shift is required to make sure women and girls are no longer subjected to the harmful procedure." This is indeed true, yet there is no attempt to abolish the practice of MGM, nor is there any attempt at creating any cultural shift away from MGM - in fact the direct opposite is true, where the cultural shift is now being led by the UN to embrace MGM - despite medical evidence that it is an unsafe practice, even under controlled, clinical conditions in well developed nations.

While the UN has said that it is a "voluntary medical male circumcision" campaign, many people living in Sub-Sharan Africa are forcing men to have it done by coercion, mobbing them, beating them, and in some cases, circumcising them in the streets.

MGM is not always done in sanitary or clean areas either, as many would like to believe. Many boys are being mutilated in the same deplorable conditions that girls are in regards to Female Genital Mutilation, and both carry the same risks of massive infection or death. In many cases the penis can become cut off by accident.

According to the WHO, "the health risks of FGM are numerous, and include heavy bleeding, developing sepsis, urinary tract infections, cysts and becoming infertile." However, what is not mentioned is that the same risks are present for boys who are mutilated in unsanitary areas with unsterilized instruments. "Traditional male circumcision has an increased risk for complications that include sepsis, genital mutilation, gangrenous penis, excessive bleeding, dehydration, renal failure and death... Genital sepsis was the most common complication of traditional male circumcision." There are also risks for children being mutilated in sanitary first-world medical centers. Some little boys have been seriously mutilated by 'professional' medical personnel, and on average 100+ infant boys die every year in the USA due to circumcision. No little girls will ever have to experience these risks because female genital mutilation is illegal in the USA.

Of course these facts are never discussed by those who campaign against FGM. The excuse that circumcision is not as 'bad' or 'harmful' as Female Genital Mutilation' is used quite regularly, even though we can clearly see that this is not the case. However, if one is going to use that line of reasoning for ignoring, minimizing, or condoning the mutilation of boys, while vocally condemning FGM - that one has to be worse than the other for it to be more deserving of attention or discussion - then feminists and women need to stop talking about all of their first-world problems. They can't talk about sexism, rape, abuse, or anything else happening in the first-world anymore because all those things are much worse in under developed nations. In fact rape in prison is much more violent and traumatic than a woman being raped, so any feminist or woman complaining about rape, especially on campus, needs to shut-up because it really isn't an issue compared to violent prison rape, which also has a higher statistical rate of occurrence than rape outside of prison.

The truth is that, if you are born male you have no right to bodily integrity, regardless of where you are born. You are not afforded the same consideration or compassion that women are in developed nations. There is no worldwide ban on the mutilation of men or boys, and the world is told to embrace the mutilation of boys as a good, safe, sanitary thing. The moment a boy is born he has less legal protections afforded to him - legal protections that even dead people are afforded in terms of bodily autonomy.

When feminists talk about equality and how men have more rights than women they tend to forget or ignore the fact that, from the moment a baby boy is born, he is already at a complete disadvantage legally. There is literally no one in the world looking out for his best interests on a global level. He is at the mercy of what ever backwards belief his parents or community may hold, and no one wants to publicly acknowledge these facts. A tiny innocent infant boy is considered to be less of a human being than a dead person, and the mutilation of his genitals is considered to be a positive thing by the United Nations - the people who are supposed to fight for the human rights of all. If that doesn't make you stop and reflect on how poorly we treat men, right from the moment they are born, I don't know what will.