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Source: (consider it) Thread: Is circumcision abuse?
Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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For all sorts of reasons, I have been contemplating this for a while, because I think that taking an 8 day old baby and chopping it's foreskin off seems to be abusive. If you were to remove any other skin, it would be considered abuse. If you were to take a sharp knife to a baby in any other situation, it would be considered abuse.

Partly, this is inspired by reading Scars across Humanity, where (among other things) Elaine discusses FGM (also known as female circumcision). Now that is, without question, abuse, and I know there is no parallel in terms of the level of abuse, but it is still supported as a cultural matter.

So is (male) circumcision, done without consent, actually abuse? And why do we accept it if it is?

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Arethosemyfeet
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Because opposing (male) circumcision has a bad habit of being a disguise for anti-Semitism and/or Islamophobia and, in the grand scheme of things, it does little or no long term harm. In other words it ain't worth the fight. FGM has serious long term health and quality of life implications and therefore is worth the fight.

[ 05. February 2017, 13:05: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]

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lilBuddha
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sigh

I really wish you could have begun this without mentioning FGM, because they are not comparable. In context of FGM, circumcision isn't abuse, as it is closer to infant ear piercing than it is FGM. The overwhelmingly vast majority of men who get circumcised have healthy sex lives. Or the same potential as uncut.
This doesn't mean it is necessarily good or right.
And there is discussion material in that, but muddying the water with a ridiculous comparison will not facilitate this.

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If it's not here soon, I might be done
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Adeodatus
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I believe circumcision, done non-consensually, is abuse, but as lilbuddha says, it's really not comparable to FGM. I'd put it closer to giving a baby a body piercing or tattoo. There are alleged health benefits for which (the last time I looked) the evidence base was pretty poor. On the other hand, there is the alleged loss of sensitivity during sexual activity. Either way, you're cutting skin off a kid, and I think you have to have a pretty good reason to even consider that. Is "God told us to" a good reason? - it wouldn't be for me.

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Schroedinger's cat

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I mentioned FGM to try to avoid the debate drifting that way, actually. And because the "it's cultural" argument is used in both cases.

I probably would put it in a similar category to ear piercing. Which is also frowned upon for infants, despite the cultural expectations - there is an argument that this is abuse when done on infants.

I can understand reluctance because of the anti-semitic perception of this. But I am always worried when abuse is justified to avoid offending people. That seems wrong.

When it isn't cultural, that has to be done at 8 days old, why is it still done to babies? If it has health benefits, aren't these as good if done at an age when the child can consent?

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Dafyd
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It seems to me that circumcision is not invasive enough to overrule the religious liberty considerations.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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I don't think any comparison to FGM nor ear piercing is correct. The FGM destroys sexual and other functions and the ear lobes aren't functional or sexual.

Circumcision is a form of body modification and mutilation. It isn't fixable once done. The person who has it done to them knows no different. The arguement that those circumcised have happy sex lives doesn't speak to the reasonableness of it. They have no idea of any comparitive function.

We wouldn't tattoo a baby, which isn't well compared either, but speaks to the permanent modification aspect. Though tattoos may be more erasable. There are no foreskin transplants.

It is at the level I think, without a good reason, it shouldn't be done. The reason may be medical or religious, but not taken lightly at all.

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:

I can understand reluctance because of the anti-semitic perception of this. But I am always worried when abuse is justified to avoid offending people. That seems wrong.

It's not offence I'm concerned about, so much as giving aid and comfort to bigots. It's amazing how often concern about circumcision, just like concern about Halal or Kosher slaughter, is a thin veneer over some seriously vile stuff.
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Adeodatus
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An additional argument against circumcision is that, like any surgical procedure, it is not risk-free. Estimates vary, but it would seem there are more than 100 infant deaths from circumcision in the USA each year. It's likely that most of these are carried out by inexperienced people, but nevertheless, a death is a death. There are also non-fatal complications, often requiring hospital treatment, and these are not uncommon.

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Hiro's Leap

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I'm conflicted on circumcision. The religious freedom argument seems very strong (especially considering Jewish history in Europe), but its seriousness shouldn't be downplayed despite the speed of the operation.

The worst effects definitely arise when it's done under poor medical conditions. There are two excellent articles on this by Ally Fogg: one is about circumcision in UK, and the other is about rituals for boys in South Africa. I highly recommend both - Ally Fogg is one of the few mainstream journalists regularly covering men's issues.

Points covered in the South Africa article include:
  • In just the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces, at least 419 boys died 2008-2014, and more than 456,000 were hospitalised.
  • Deaths commonly occur through dehydration, blood loss, shock-induced heart failure or septicaemia.
  • There are ~2 total penile amputations for every death.
  • Countless numbers of participants are left with permanent scarring or deformity. Urologists describe seeing patients whose penises have become so infected and gangrenous they literally drop off.
  • We have no idea of the true scale of the problem. Many initiation schools are illegal, so the full toll is hidden. In other countries tragedies simply go uncounted.
This site documents a tiny proportion of the problem in Africa. Go to the 'Photos' tab - very NSFW but IMO worth seeing, especially for anyone who thinks it's not a big deal.
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Stercus Tauri
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How can the intentional mutilation of another person's body, without that person's consent (apart from the obvious exception of emergency surgery) ever be anything other than abusive?

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Thay haif said. Quhat say thay, Lat thame say (George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal)

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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The practice was ubiquitous, not for religious reasons, in North America until at least the 1970s, thought to prevent the "sexual self abuse" of masturbation. It was covered under medicare in most places in Canada. It is not presently. The health and cleanliness reasons have been debunked.
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Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:

I can understand reluctance because of the anti-semitic perception of this. But I am always worried when abuse is justified to avoid offending people. That seems wrong.

It's not offence I'm concerned about, so much as giving aid and comfort to bigots. It's amazing how often concern about circumcision, just like concern about Halal or Kosher slaughter, is a thin veneer over some seriously vile stuff.
I do get this. I would never want to offer any support to these people, which is why I wanted a sensible discussion on this.

I suppose if you wanted to introduce it today, for your own little cult, then most people would argue that you were being abusive and not let you. So why do we let it carry on?

The cultural thing is important, but then we used to do all sorts of things in our society that we no longer do (beat children at school for example). We realised that they were not appropriate, so we stopped.

As I suggested above, if boys at an age where they can consent to it were to be circumcised, that would make the cultural identity stronger, surely? Because it would be a choice? Of course, there is always a chance of abuse, but surely less.

I get the desire and need to mark someone as a member of the tribe at a point when infant mortality was 50%, but it is sexist, only caring about the boys, and in societies with substantially lower infant mortality, surely it is wrong?

And I am not pushing for an answer either way. I am just interested in the arguments, in the answers.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:

When it isn't cultural, that has to be done at 8 days old, why is it still done to babies? If it has health benefits, aren't these as good if done at an age when the child can consent?

Babies heal faster. So there's an argument that if you're going to do it anyway, it's better to do it to a baby than a teen or young adult, because the baby will heal faster.

I don't buy the benefits. But also, I have no cultural history of it.

It has never, AFAIK, been routine practice to circumcise in the UK - growing up, we knew what circumcision was: it was something that Jews did to their baby boys. The idea that a gentile might choose it was not present.

So when we moved to the US, had a baby boy, and the doctor asked if we were having him circumcised, he got some funny looks. I probably said something like "no, and we're not going to chop any other bits off him either".

The argument I find odd is the apparently large number of US men who want their sons to be circumcised so that they look like Dad. I'm completely bemused as to why having father-and-son matching penes is a thing. I don't cut my son's hair to look like mine...

So if anyone can explain that to me, I'd be grateful.

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toadstrike
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I don't have any doubt about it. It is abuse to cut any bits off anyone that won't grow back for other than sound medical reasons. Obviously FGM is several orders of magnitude worse but it is still wrong.

FWIW I'm circumcised myself. It doesn't bother me 99% of the time and doesn't interfere with sex, but if a fairy godmother was passing and let me give her a wish list it would come about 6th I suppose at a rough guess. Having a say in what had happened all those years ago would have been nice.

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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
The argument I find odd is the apparently large number of US men who want their sons to be circumcised so that they look like Dad.

Mine [born 1977] was done partly because it was recommended a the time and partly because my dad [1949] was also cut, and I was told it would be easier for him to give advice on cleanliness of the pubic region as it was what he was used to. And apparently it makes cleaning easier.

So not "looking like dad" really, but given I followed his, er, example, I've thought I'd share it.

I don't remember it, obviously, and do not see it as abuse to me personally. I know no different, so I can't say what it's like to have a complete foreskin, and seeing an uncut one the first time was a revelation. Unless there are health benefits, which seem to have been debunked above, though I'm sure I've read articles that spruiked them [even recall one on lessing AIDS!], I'm curious, religion excluded, why it would be continued.

[ 05. February 2017, 18:47: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
I'm sure I've read articles that spruiked them [even recall one on lessing AIDS!], I'm curious, religion excluded, why it would be continued.

I recall articles that suggested circumcision reduced the transmission of AIDS (by about 50%, so nowhere close to condoms, but not zero). The one that had stuck in my head was by the appropriately-named Dr de Cock.

[ 05. February 2017, 18:56: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Hiro's Leap

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Dr de Cock.

The most disturbing Spiderman villain EVER.
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lilBuddha
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Hiro's Leap:

I'd rather seen something from the medical profession than from the opinions page and any medical procedure not done my a trained person risks complications.

quote:
Originally posted by Stercus Tauri:
How can the intentional mutilation of another person's body, without that person's consent (apart from the obvious exception of emergency surgery) ever be anything other than abusive?

It is a cultural procedure that has few real problems when done properly. Abuse is too strong a word.


quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

The argument I find odd is the apparently large number of US men who want their sons to be circumcised so that they look like Dad. I'm completely bemused as to why having father-and-son matching penes is a thing. I don't cut my son's hair to look like mine...

So if anyone can explain that to me, I'd be grateful.

tl;dr - Inertia.

OK, I can only guess and say the "look like" thing is bogus. ISTM, it is more just a thing that is done. It was begun as a health thing, most people won't question it as American males who've had it done have experienced no problems.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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dyfrig
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John Maynard Keynes and his brothers were circumcised in the late Victorian period. It was supposed to stop perceived sexual deviancy.

And if you've read any buographies of JMK, you'll know exactly how that went.

I wander if it's how it caught in America - a late 19th moral issue that becomes a hing people just do.

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Pangolin Guerre
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This is an old discussion - I recall a thread on this from about six or seven years ago.

I'm conflicted about this. I'm circumcised only because it was the general practice when I was born, but were I to have a son, I probably wouldn't unless my partner were Jewish.

I don't feel as though I've been abused or victimised, but a circumcised friend of mine is very angry about this. He explored a "restoration" procedure that involved stretching the remaining skin using an adhesive tape. Now, that seems like abuse. (Self-abuse, if you'll pardon the pun.)

As to the statistic that circumcision reduces the probability of contracting HIV by 50%, I rather doubt it. If it's the research that I remember, it's now dated, and was limited to east Africa and (I think), a limited data base.

As a tangent (and indicative of how mutable the thinking can be on these health issues), it was thought that the foreskin, by protecting the glans, kept the skin tenderer and therefore more susceptible to abrasion during sex, allowing entrance for the HIV. Wrong. It is now thought that the pathway is the mucosal cells of the foreskin. That said, just wear a damn condom.

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Hiro's Leap

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quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
I wander if it's how it caught in America - a late 19th moral issue that becomes a hing people just do.

I think so - a morality and hygiene craze, kicked off by "anesthesia and antisepsis rapidly expanding surgical practice"

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (of the breakfast cereal fame) was heavily involved. I hadn't realised until just now how sadistic he was:
quote:
He recommended circumcision of boys caught masturbating, writing: "A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering anaesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment."
I imagine it would be "salutary". He also recommended a dab of acid on a girl's clitoris for the same purposes, but that wasn't as popular.
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:

I don't feel as though I've been abused or victimised, but a circumcised friend of mine is very angry about this.

As I understand it, this outrage is generally connected to the "Men's Rights" movement.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:

I don't feel as though I've been abused or victimised, but a circumcised friend of mine is very angry about this.

As I understand it, this outrage is generally connected to the "Men's Rights" movement.
Guilty by association?

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Curiosity killed ...

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Bothering to look for research, there was a recent (2015) American report saying that the benefits of infant male circumcision outweighs the risk. There are several responses discussing the advice:
response 1
response 2
which suggested that that a number of factors weren't taken into account.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:

I don't feel as though I've been abused or victimised, but a circumcised friend of mine is very angry about this.

As I understand it, this outrage is generally connected to the "Men's Rights" movement.
Guilty by association?
Men are very attached to their attachment, if you will. If there were a real problem with circumcision, one would think it would have not arisen in America and be a larger issue than it is.
So, in general, what triggers the outrage?

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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orfeo

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Honestly, in the list of outrages, it's a heck of a long way down the list.

Some of the arguments here have me scratching my head, because they're pointing out bad things that are not at all unique to male circumcision and could equally be used as an argument against other things that people are completely fine with. Things we do because of their benefits.

Talking about the downsides without any discussion of upsides - be they medical or otherwise - is not a balanced decision. Unless you think there aren't any possible upsides.

Go back some decades and circumcision was regularly done with a medical justification. I would hesitate to agree that this has all been "debunked", as there remains evidence that circumcision makes a difference to sexually transmitted diseases.

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orfeo

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Frankly, I suspect most of the fuss about circumcision comes from men with unsatisfactory sex lives that want to have something to blame for their troubles other than their own lack of skills/competence/emotional engagement.

There's a chance some of them are actually right, but it's a bit like the current obsession with avoiding gluten. I asked a friend with coeliac disease and she rolled her eyes at all the people who've decided that gluten is making them ill. In most cases it's a crap diet that is making them ill. Or, you know, they won't accept that the reason they feel "bloated" is because they ate a shitload of food.

[ 05. February 2017, 20:50: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I asked a friend with coeliac disease and she rolled her eyes at all the people who've decided that gluten is making them ill.

tangent/
The jury is still out on whether there exists a thing called gluten sensitivity. However, even should it be real, ISTM the number of real sufferers is likely much lower than the perceived.
That said, the explosion of gluten-free food is a boon to those with coeliac disease.
/tangent

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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orfeo

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Agree with your tangent entirely.

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Pangolin Guerre
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As the Patriots win.... (Baaaaah)

I forgot to mention an article that appeared in a long defunct Canadian men's magazine (analogous to Men's Health, I suppose) called Toro. In the article (by David Eddie? Apologies to him, if it wasn't him), the author was circumcised at the age of 18 for medical reasons after having been sexually active for two or three years, and so was in a position to do the before/after comparison. His verdict was that there was no meaningful difference in sexual functionality or pleasure.

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Gee D
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I was circumcised as a new-born, as was virtually everyone else in those days. That had been the standard practice here for virtually as long as in the US. Indeed, it was not until an English boy joined our class in sixth form (about 12 yrs old) that we knew any different.

No silly reasons such as looking like your father (quite frankly, we never really checked each other as far as I can recall) but on the basis of cleanliness. I don't feel mutilated or abused by having had the snip. It's impossible to say if it made any difference to my sex life, but don't really see how it could have.

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Galilit
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WE had both boys circumcised (in Israel) by a mohel [ritual circumciser] but without the religious ceremony). The reason we chose the mohel and not "a doctor" was that we thought it was safer to get it done by someone who did 3 a week rather than 3 a year.
The decision was taken after very little discussion on the basis that they would then look like "everyone else".

My daughter (in another country) did not have her (technically Jewish) son circumcised at all on the same basis.

The one about "looking like Dad" sounds like it has some validity but really how often are they naked together after shared infant bath-times ?

Anthroplogically - if you have so many and varied cultures that DO it and with great ceremony and so many cultures that DON'T do it at all and make no big thing of it (as it were!)...what is the Right Thing?

Also wouldn't common sense suggest that men would not do something bad to their Esteemed Organ ANYWAY?

[ 06. February 2017, 07:44: Message edited by: Galilit ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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This is interesting to me for two reasons.

One is that my ancestry is Jewish on both sides; my parents came to Britain from Germany at the very end of 1938. I was not circumcised; I don't know if that was because my parents thought the idea barbaric, or because they were "secular Jews" (and actually brought me up CofE); or because they knew the danger of identifying marks. I do remember querying this as my school had a lot of boys from (practicing) Jewish families who were circumcised.

The other reason was our missionary service in Africa, in a culture where male circumcision was a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. The Church opposed it, more from its animistic connotations than for humanitarian reasons; however this ran into the problem of Christian men not being regarded as adults by the wider society. So the recommendation was, "If you feel you have to have it done, get it done in hospital". Whether anyone followed that advice, I don't know.

Personally I feel that, if performed on children, circumcision is abuse.

[ 06. February 2017, 09:10: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:

Personally I feel that, if performed on children, circumcision is abuse.

But why?
Here is how I see the situation:
In the abuse corner you have uncut men and a few cut saying "don't touch the precious" with some Men's Rights* (see? they abuse us too!) thrown in.
In the not abuse corner are millions of cut men who don't think there is an issue and/or don't know they are supposed to be outraged; all who happily go fucking anything that will let them.

Abuse, in this case, is in the mind of the beholder.

*I am not saying that men cannot be abused, some are. I am not denigrating them or diminishing their plight. Just that the Men's Rights movements are rubbish.

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No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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Brenda Clough
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Since the infant is, clearly, unable to give an informed consent, circumcision must come into the category of all the other things parents do to infants -- vaccinations, piercing their ears (common in Asia), putting them into comical tee shirts and posting the photos onto Facebook. We may disagree with any or all of these, but the fact is that the parents have the say.

My husband is circumcised, as was standard for nearly all boys born in the 1950s. Our son is not. Before he was born we had to decide, and when my husband heard the description of how it is done he turned slightly green and declined. So far as I can tell the operation or lack of it has had no effect on either of them for good or ill.

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lilBuddha
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Vaccination does not belong in your grouping. It is demonstrably for their benefit and the benefit of the society one chooses to live in.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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quetzalcoatl
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It depends on how you define abuse. It is probably an assault, isn't it? This is one reason for signing consent forms in hospital, as the surgeon cannot then be accused of assault.

But some forms of assault are usually ignored, e.g. ear-piercing, presumably, because it's not grievous. If there were a group of people who amputated babies' thumbs, I would think that this would be considered grievous.

So circumcision is shading over to a less grievous assault, and then there are all the cultural contexts, religion and so on. As to possible ill-effects, I have no idea, although there are reports of some, including fatalities.

I certainly would not have a child of mine circumcised.

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Brenda Clough
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Vaccination does not belong in your grouping. It is demonstrably for their benefit and the benefit of the society one chooses to live in.

But it is not difficult to find people who disagree. They may be idiots, but they do disagree. In fact a case could be made that it is -more- damaging (to the baby and to society at large) to omit vaccinations than to circumsize. And yet, mostly, we don't legally compel people to have their babies jabbed.

[ 06. February 2017, 16:23: Message edited by: Brenda Clough ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Vaccination does not belong in your grouping. It is demonstrably for their benefit and the benefit of the society one chooses to live in.

But it is not difficult to find people who disagree. They may be idiots, but they do disagree. In fact a case could be made that it is -more- damaging (to the baby and to society at large) to omit vaccinations than to circumsize. And yet, mostly, we don't legally compel people to have their babies jabbed.
No matter the topic, you will find someone who disagrees. The mere presence of dissent does not legitimise it.
Back to the topic; I do not care if if men have their tally whacked or if the mighty tower retains its parapet. I do think it inaccurate to label circumcision as abuse.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Baptist Trainfan
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I disagree. My view is that, without a valid medical reason, it is assault on a child who cannot consent or dissent.
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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I disagree. My view is that, without a valid medical reason, it is assault on a child who cannot consent or dissent.

I don't think many people would disagree that it's assault, although I'm confused as to why it's not battery.

Ditto lack of consent, obviously, but assault is permitted in some contexts with children, for example, ear-piercing, vaccination, surgery, obviously for different reasons.

Parental consent seems to be very important.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I disagree. My view is that, without a valid medical reason, it is assault on a child who cannot consent or dissent.

So what? You give no reason as to why this is an "assault".
You. You, will do many things to your child that are without their consent. Many will have a potential effect on your child much greater than a circumcision.
Not arguing the right or wrong of it, just the level of rhetoric applied.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I disagree. My view is that, without a valid medical reason, it is assault on a child who cannot consent or dissent.

I don't think many people would disagree that it's assault, although I'm confused as to why it's not battery.

Ditto lack of consent, obviously, but assault is permitted in some contexts with children, for example, ear-piercing, vaccination, surgery, obviously for different reasons.

Parental consent seems to be very important.

But I think medical necessity is also important. Under which vaccination and surgery (depending on surgery) could be justified, but not ear-piercing or dong whacking.

quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
You give no reason as to why this is an "assault".

You're chopping off part of a person's body. How is that NOT assault? In any other circumstance, chopping off part of someone's body absent medical necessity and/or consent would be assault. What makes this so different?

[ 06. February 2017, 17:54: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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lilBuddha
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It is neither assault nor battery. You give short shrift to actual abuse by the misuse of the term.
Men.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Baptist Trainfan
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All right ... in British law it is probably "Assault causing Actual Bodily Harm". But I'm no lawyer. And, in my book, the fact that it is "common" or "cultural" is no defence - so was caning in schools, yet we don't do it today.

[ 06. February 2017, 18:00: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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lilBuddha
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mt,
Assault is an attempt to do harm. Battery is if I hit you with intent to harm. It is all about intent.
One may feel circumcision is wrong. One may feel it is harmful. But it isn't intended to be harmful. Therefore use of either assault or battery is inaccurate.
Abuse is a little trickier, as intent isn't part of the definition.
Results generally are, and the result of a properly done circumcision are transparent to the individual. Generally.

[ 06. February 2017, 18:02: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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Me neither (a lawyer), but I think surgery is technically assault, which is one reason that you sign a consent form.

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lilBuddha
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Also not a lawyer, but the consent is to ensure that you understand the risks and that they have proof of consent.
Surgery is not assault, cutting someone open without their consent is.* The form proves you are doing one and not the other and that the patient understood what could go wrong.

*ETA: And then not in all circumstances as any trip to the A&E will demonstrate.

[ 06. February 2017, 18:06: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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"It is technically an assault to operate on a patient without her consent ... In England, anyone over 16 years of age can give legally valid consent for surgical or medical treatment."

"Principles of Gynaecological Surgery", ed. S. Stanton, p. 4.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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