Circumcision: A Man's Decision?


hot dog
Flickr photo by oskay
I don't have a son so I've never had to make the circumcision decision. I know which way I'd go, but that's neither here nor there.

And in Madatom blogger Jacob Harper's opinion, it's irrelevant what any mom thinks because moms should not be the ones making the decision of whether or not to circumcise their kid.

Circumcision is a hot topic -- so much so that my toddler mom friends are still talking about it years later. Some regret their decisions (both those who did and didn't circumcise their sons); others are convinced they made the right choice. Usually the dads stay out of the convo (though I'm sure they partook in the decision).

Harper is one guy who isn't the least bit shy about sharing his opinion. In his blog post "Living the Dream: Uncircumcised in America," he writes about being in the "freaky hooded minority," but says that he's proud not resentful.

Sure he had to deal with being different from the other boys while growing up and, yes, he wondered why his penis looked like a "pink doggy dick." But now Harper is on a mission -- he wants American moms to stop "carving up baby weiners cause it's trendy."

He writes: "It’s almost never men making the decision about their own cocks; those tips were snipped way before the men could have a say. Men in America are circumcised because their mothers wanted their cock to look a certain way. Think about that: a country of dicks sculpted on orders from Mommy. But unlike the bad haircuts Moms give, dicks don’t eventually grow out."


So, in an "ideal" world  ...

Mom: "Honey, it's me, mama. Sweetie, do you want to be circumcised?"

Baby boy: "Gurgle. Gurgle. Ga. Goo." [poops in diaper, makes sucking sound, burps]

Mom: "Okay, punkin, that's exactly what we'll do. Now, about those vaccines ..."

I do think Harper's post is hilarious and I enjoyed reading about circumcision from his perspective, but what he fails to appreciate is that making decisions that affect their kids' lives is what moms do every day -- on things that go well beyond haircuts. Sometimes it's just not practical to wait 18 years and let your kid make a life-changing decision on his own.

Do you think some big decisions are outside a mom's purview? Or do you think it's a mom's right to make certain decisions for her kids -- even those the kid herself might not ultimately agree with?



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sandy... sandy_hihi

"what he fails to appreciate is that making decisions that affect their kids' lives is what moms do every day." ------------------------------------------------- But why circumcision is a decision parents have to make in the first place ? When parents make a decision for their children it's because they HAVE to make this decision especially when it comes to surgery (for example heart surgery if there's a serious medical reason). But this isn't the case for circumcision. Your child is only going to be a child for a brief period. He will soon be a man and your decision will have a permanent life altering effect on him. Why is it so important for a mother to have a circumcised child ? How much of the time do you intend to look at his penis ? Why not let him make the choice ? Don't you think HIS personal opinion is the one that should be taken into account ? It's his body after all.

sandy... sandy_hihi

"Sometimes it's just not practical to wait 18 years and let your kid make a life-changing decision on his own."--------------------------------------------------------------------- And more precisely, why is it not practical to wait 18 years as regards circumcision ? Some adult women are getting labiaplasty for the same reason you cut boys at birth (looks better, hygiene etc...) but it is their personal choice. It would be unethical to perform such a procedure at birth on girls despite they wouldn't remember the pain etc... It should be the same with circumcision. I make choices that have to be made NOW for DS's well-being, but I don't decide for him about other issues that can wait (career choice, who to marry, etc), or will cause major change to his body that can't be undone, UNLESS it's a serious concern.

nonmember avatar NurseLisa

Morally, the choice is for the owner of the penis to make. The rest of us, parents, caregivers, medical professionals, have to practice bodily integrity, just like we do for girls. We should all remember that non-medical alteration of the genitalia of minor girls, including just making a cut without even removing any tissue, is illegal in this country. Why shouldn't we have the same laws for our little boys?

nonmember avatar Jack

Of course the owner and user of the penis is the only one that should make a decision about having partS of HIS penis cut off that include main male pleasure zones. This is nerves, blood vessels, protective covering and pleasure zones. The dynamics of the penis is changed for good. This is not a joke and cut men and their wives often have no clue about what this is all about. If you have felt this pleasure, you would not be eager to take this capacity for pleasure away from your child.
The foreskin is not just skin and does not just protect the glans (head). Circumcision is now known to ablate the most sensitive parts of the male genitals-- ith about 20000 fine touch and stretch nerve endings amputated. The only touch organ possessing as rich erogenous innervation as the foreskin is the clitoris. Circumcision deprives man of 2/3ds of the main erogenous zone constituted of the foreskin and the glans.

jms124 jms124

This was just another parenting decision we (my husband and I) made for our son. Just like the decision about piercing our daughters ears...or getting tubes put in...or eating pb&j for breakfast...or when to take them to the doctor.

My kid, my decision. You start paying me child support and I'll start taking your beliefs into consideration.

nonmember avatar Frank OHara

Suzanne, you have clearly tipped your hat.

It is relevant what the mother thinks. Mothers are just as much a parent as the father and just as responsible for making decisions.

"The freaky hooded minority" is no longer the case. Since he was born, the circumcision rate of newborns has fallen to about 50%. There is simply no minority or majority any longer. This change has occured since the late 1990's when the infant circumcision rate was near 90%. This is an amazing change in such a short time and indicates the newborn circumcision rate will continue to fall for at least the next decade just from inertia. Circumcising an infant is certainly not the "Trendy" thing to do. More likely, it will be like suiting up your son in a leisure suit, very untrendy! Already, this is causing some very uncomfortable situations for those parents who made the decision to circumcise. Boys who were circumcised in the late 1990's and early 2000's are seeing that many of their classmates have more parts than they do and ask their parents why that is. Many are not happy that they were deprived of something.

It is immeniently practical to leave this decision to the man. The worlds medical societies do not recommend this proceedure for any health benefit so that's out. The culture has made a dramatic change so circumcising for cultural reasons are out. That only leaves the religious justifications for Jews and Muslims (not Christians).


ethan... ethans_momma06

I absolutly do not support getting a circumsicion done for COSMETIC reasons, which is what he appears to be harping on about. However as a parent I do feel that it is my parental duty to do what I feel is medically best for my child. Vaccinations are a great example where a PARENT has to make a medical choice that will effect their child for the rest of their life. If my DS was in the hospital and medical research told me that the best option was to amputate his leg- that is a decision that I would have to make because he wouldn't be capable of it. But people freak out when you say 'Penis' because it is a 'private part'. If I am required to inject human fetal lung tissue in my child in the name of 'prevention' why am I somehow not qualified to make a choice to remove a small strip of skin?

nonmember avatar Jack

Ethansmomma, because it is NOT just skin. Cutting off erogenous tissue from your child is quite outrageous. There is a need for Americans to catch up with the rest of the advanced world, that DOES NOT do this to baby boys. Get ready America, boys are finding out that they have been harmed. Some are really upset, because some percentage of cut men that have very bad sexual dysfucntion issues. Most cut men will get ED at a much younger age than natural men (circumcised men consume most of the VIAGRA). The many many problems are only now being discussed, because of the internet. All will get the news that they have lost a capacity for pleasure because of what their parents did.

Cafe... Cafe Suzanne

Frank O'Hara -- You've misread; I've not tipped my hat at all. We are in complete agreement that what moms think is relevant. That's the point of my post -- moms have the right to make decisions for their children. My post does not address whether circumcision is "right" or "wrong." It was the blogger who wrote the original piece who said that moms should not be part of the decision. It was also he, not me, who described himself as one of the "freaky hooded minority." I believe that's called self-deprecating humor -- he's clearly happy with the decision his mom made. Because really, isn't the choice not to circumcise, a decision as well?

RanaA... RanaAurora

There are plenty of men out here in internet world who will talk about how much their circumcision was positive as well. Just like vaccination, I think this is an issue that has no right answer and is up to every parent to GET INFORMED (real info, not psycho-babble agenda-pushing bullshit either) and weigh the pros and cons for yourself.

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