Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I am beginning to regret allowing my son to be circumcised. I was woefully ignorant about it all, and I did have mixed feelings, so I washed my hands of it and let Mike make the decision. He was highly in favor of it.

I wasn't there, so I don't know how horribly painful it was for baby, but I am now really uncomfortable that I allowed my son's body to be irretrievably altered without his permission. It's his body. I think he should have made the decision when he was older.

I know it's really not comparable, but I can't help but think of how violently opposed I am to female genital mutilation. And I wonder if circumcising boys is in a very small way somewhat akin to that.

I've told Mike that if we have another boy, I don't want this one circumcised. Mike wasn't thrilled to hear it, and he made me promise to read articles on both sides of the issue before making up my mind completely. Which I agreed to do. But I think I really am heading towards a no-circumcision stance, and I don't think any pro-circumcision articles will change that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious, why is Mike so in favor of circumcision?

1/07/2007 5:34 PM  
Blogger AmyB said...

I had the unfortunate experience of watching one of my brothers get circumcized at the doctor's office. There was some reason it wasn't done in the hospital. I don't know how old I was nor do I remember which brother it was (out of five), but the horror of it is burned into my memory.

From the studies I've read, as long as you teach your son proper hygiene there is no problem with being uncircumsized. I know if I have any sons they will not be circumsized (thank goodness DH agrees with this position).

1/08/2007 5:01 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I think Mike had two main reasons.
1. fewer infections
2. tradition

The first reason is probably what made me not oppose it. The second reason I couldn't care less about.

That must have been awful to see your little brother get 'cised. I didn't want anything to do with E's circumcision, so Mike is the one who pinned the baby down while it happened. You're lucky that your husband and you are on the same page on this issue

1/08/2007 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of my pre-walking-down-the-aisle marriage promises was, should we ever have boy, he would not be circumcised.

The timing of this post was ironic as hubby's anti-circumcision stance was recently emotionally reaffirmed. You see, I was having a conversation with his mom about some complications he had at birth and she casually mentioned that because of said complications, he was not circumcized until he was two years old.

Assuming that this was common knowledge, I just as casually told him while he was driving us home that I was surprised that, as someone so opposed to circumcision, he had never mentioned to me that he wasn't circumcized until he was two.

*Ahem* He didn't know. After a little yelling stress relief (as in AHHHHHHHHH!!! so loudly the Himalayan monks could hear him), and a bit of pounding on the steering wheel, we were able to talk rationally about the issue again.

Slightly funny to me, but personal to him (although he gave me permission to share it here, of course.) He really feels that parents should not be able to make an irreversible decision about their child's body. He's fully agreeable to grown men choosing it, but feels that it is a serious decision to be made only by the individual.

I haven't studied the issue yet (no brothers and kids are a distant sparkle in my eye) but my initial concern it's a rather barbaric procedure and that it is unfair to subject even a baby to any kind of surgery without anesthesia, which can be dangerous for infants anyway. Though I didn't push for more details from hubby's mother, I *sincerely* hope they use anesthesia on two year olds!!!

(Note: Sorry this response was so long)

1/08/2007 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can definitely understand your discomfort with the practice. Especially tough for me is the idea of not using anesthesia on infants for whatever misguided reasons doctors might have.

However, there's always the "loose" circumcision option, done by a careful, caring doctor using some kind of pain blocking technique.

1/12/2007 8:36 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Wow, 2 years old? How awful! At least when they are newborns they are asleep 80% of the time so they don't have to deal with the pain so much.

John White,
Yes, the idea of circumcising without pain killers is just awful. For our baby, he did get some shots of pain killers in his penis. Of course, I'm sure the shots were awfully painful. Mike says that he really started crying when he got those shots.

1/12/2007 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help! My son is 22 months old, and not circumcized. The doctors are telling me that he now has to be, because he has adhesions. I DO NOT want him to be put under general anesthesia at such a young age, but they refuse to perform the procedure without it. what do I do?

3/26/2007 5:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home