Circumcising Your Son Is Nobody's Business But YOURS

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

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