Circumcising Your Son Is Nobody's Business But YOURS

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circumcisionThese days dropping the word "circumcision" on the Internet is like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. People. Go. NUTS.

The thing I don't understand? Why? Why are people so concerned about what other people have done with their son's foreskin?

I'll admit I do not have a son. I did not circumcise. Although I can't say whether I would have. The ironic thing is, although we did not know the gender of our baby-to-be, I never really thought about whether or not we'd snip his little manhood.

The point is, I don't have a dog in the fight.

And so I feel like I can say this: standing on the outside, looking in? I think you're all nuts.

Not nuts for circumcising, per se. Not nuts for NOT circumcising, either.

Nuts for letting this become such a controversial issue.

Writer Mark Joseph Stern over at Slate posited this week that the problem is that a "fringe group of intactivists" has managed to overthrow sane discussion of a personal procedure, drowning out the facts. Said Stern:

There are plenty of other loud fringe groups that flood the Internet with false information, but none of them has been as successful as the intactivists at drowning out reasoned discourse. In the case of circumcision, the marketplace of ideas has been manipulated—and thanks to intactivists, the worst ideas have won out.

His dissection of the facts vs. rumors is interesting (and worth a read), but I think he misses one salient point: why do parents care about what the other side has done?

And they do care.

Circumcision posts here on The Stir tend to draw comments in the hundreds, most of them heated.

I've seen moms who chose to circumcise referred to with the sort of words that make you ask, "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" Over HER son's penis.

HER son.

Not their son's.

And not her penis for that matter. Her SON'S.

Folks, why does it matter whether your neighbor's son's penis is intact or snipped? Does it change anything about YOUR son's penis? Will it change how they interact in kindergarten or on the football team? Will it give him an edge over your kid to grab student council president or that VFW scholarship?

In case I have to spell it out for you, the answer is no.

There are certainly some parental issues that become community property because one parent's action (or inaction) has a clear effect on other parent's children. Case in point: vaccinations. One sick kid makes another kid sick. As long as kids are catching deadly diseases that could be prevented, consider it open season on vaccines.

But we simply cannot apply that same rubric to circumcision. Aside from two toddler boys comparing penises on the playground (because, yes, it happens), what could one mom's decision possibly have to do with another mom's decision? Or dad's decision, for that matter?

From outside the batting cages, I've got to say it to all of y'all: get over it. Make your decision about circumcision, and tell the rest of the world it's none of their darn business what you decided. Then keep your trap shut about what they decided.

Have you waded into the circumcision fight? WHY?

 

Image via David/Flickr

baby health, circumcision

116 Comments

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nonmember avatar Ashley

"And not her penis for that matter. Her SON'S" - Um.. exactly.

curly... curlycues

Basically something you care about (vaccinations) is ok to fight/care about, but something you didnt care about, (circumcising) isn't a big deal? While no one should TELL another parent how to parent, brining up reasons why they feel like they feel is perfectly ok! If someone feels passionatly about a topic , they are not evil. While all discourse should be polite and non-attacking it should be across the board. NOT just for ones own pet topics.

nonmember avatar Audrey

My reply is a simple one. There are plenty of videos showing circumcision on the internet. Watch a couple, and then decide weather you believe that subjecting a newborn baby to forced reconstructive surgery at 2 days old is humane. Watching out for the good of innocent babies and children is everyone's responsibility. There is a reason that most of the world is intact. There really is not a medically need for it! It is barbaric and wrong, unless there is a medical need. That is why so many people care to share their opinion. Turn a blind eye if you want, but it is because of uneducated people that circumcision has become a cultural norm in America and that needs to change.

Craft... CraftyJenna

People need to mind their own buisness, or at least realize that attacking other people, calling names and screaming as loud as you can about rights and mutilation are not the ways to win people over to your side of the fight, they tend to make people think you are crazy, like the people who protest adoption. I don't really see the need for routine circumcision personally, but I don't really care what other people do with their kids, because I don't see circumcision as abuse either. 

Jessica Carlton Huber

EXACTLY!  Why do people care so much about whether another person has decided to circumcise their child or not.  I personally have three boys, who I have not circumcised because of personal choice.  I didn't feel it was a necessary pain to inflict on my children.  However, I don't really care whether other people choose the opposite.  Most of the people I know, including my best friend, have chosen to circumcise.  Good for them.  Not my kid, not my business!  Curlycues, I get what you're saying that people can voice their opinions.  I talked to my friend about circumcision after she had her son because she ASKED my opinion, but I don't think it's necessary to interject your views on everyone you come across.  Especially if you don't know them and/or they didn't ask your opinion.

nonmember avatar blue

I think it's creepy that any parent feels the need to go to the internet and talk about their kid's genitals.

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

curlycues, vaccination affects more than just one person, therefore it is a bigger deal. 

nonmember avatar Melissa

AMMMMEEEENNNN!!!!! My favorite is "obviously you didn't do your research" (comes from both sides) shut-the-hell-up and stop talking about your son's damn penis!

Katha... Katharine205

Agreed.  That also goes for breastfeeding, sahm vs working mom, etc.  MYOB.

nonmember avatar sa

yes i did snip my son, his father isn't and he cusses his mom everyday for not having it done he hates it ... so we decided to have it done to save him from the clean issue and embarrassment later in life. but i think everyone should do what they feel is right for them.. and yes I get bashed also because i didn't breastfeed either ... but the way i see it every mother has their choice and deserves to make their own decision about everything so if anyone else doesn't like it they can lump it the way I see it .

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