N: So, are you going to have her circumcised?
Me (with utter shock): Uhm. No. Pretty sure that's heavily frowned upon in this part of the world. I think the UN may be trying to have it banned, even.
N: Ah, frig. Girl. Right.
In fairness, my sister had had her second son a scant year-or-so earlier and it was a question she was surprisingly used to hearing. I say surprisingly, because I would think the decision whether to snip your little one's pecker would be a pretty private matter, but as I have learned over the years, when it comes to conceiving, carrying, birthing and raising babies, nothing is sacred.
As much as I bitch about the perils of raising little girls, this is one area that makes me glad I never had boys, although nowadays I'm sure I'm a lot more clear on my stance as far as to snip or not to snip. Unnecessary surgery? Oh hell no. I didn't even want to pierce my girls ears until they were old enough to ASK me.
That being said though, there's some interesting debate happening around a proposed law to ban male circumcision in San Franciso. Personally, I think treating such a topic as a matter of a municipal by-law is silly at best, since anyone could drive out of town to have the procedure done. Plus the proposed sentence of a year in prison seems, oh, I don't know, a little over-the-top.
No, this is one of those cases where "Education, Not Legislation" would be the most viable approach. As far as I can tell, the most common reasons for circumcision are:
- For religious reasons
- For hygenic reasons
- Because it's better to do it when they are younger so they don't feel it as much (lolwhut??)
- Fear of the child looking different than other kids or their respective male role models
Hygenic reasons: Teach your kids to wash their junk properly. Pretty simple, no? From what I understand, research on the health benefits of circumcision are pretty sketchy and the benefits don't seem to outweigh the risks of just leaving well enough alone. Yes, a kid may have a problem down the line that requires foreskin removal, but the thing is.. if you have a problem because you're intact, you can fix it. It's a lot harder and likely more costly to fix issues from a botched circumcision. And it's super-cheap to teach your kid to wash their junk.
Better to do it when they are Younger: I call bullshit here. I will not be convinced that an un-anesthetized procedure hurts a baby less than a older child or an adult. The difference is a baby can't verbalize their discomfort in the same way.
But I don't want little Billy to Look "Different": Calling bullshit again here. This is where North American tendencies to be over-the-top Puritanical when it comes to our bodies and how they work really does a number on us. So little Billy's little billy doesn't look like Daddy's? Try this:
“Well, Billy, once upon a time, when Daddy was a baby, people had no problem with slicing off the end of your penis for no apparent reason, and even encouraged it. But we think they were wrong, so we didn’t, because we like you and don’t think cutting babies is cool.”That's not so hard is it?
*snicker* Yes, I have then mentality of a 12 year old. Don't you judge me.
This line of reasoning always reminds me of this joke:
One day a little girl was watching her mom make a roast beef. She cut off the ends, wrapped it in string, seasoned it and set it in the roasting pan.
The little girl asked her mom why she cut off the ends of the roast. Mom replied, after some thought, that it was the way that her mother had done it.
That night grandma came to dinner and the little girl and her mom went to her and asked why she had cut the end off of the roast before cooking. After some thought grandma replied, that was the way her mother had done it.
Now great grandmother was quite old and in a nursing home. But the little girl went with her mom and grandma to see her and again asked the question.
Great Grandma looked at them a bit annoyed and said, "So it would fit in my pan, of course."