In Response to All Fooked Up

Back in December of 2010, Lynn, who writes and publishes a blog called All Fooked Up shared a (what she calls "funny") story with us about a conversation she had with her mother-in-law right after she got married, but before having children. It was about circumcision. It carried the title "In which i shock my mother-in-law".

Lynn says the conversation started about another family member who gave birth to a boy:

MIL: “They (the parent’s) have decided not to circumcise BOY”
Me: “They need to circumcise him”

MIL: “No Lynn, they’ve done a lot of research and they’ve decided not to”

Me: “He definitely needs to be circumcised!”

This goes on for a while until Lynn finally reveals her very important reason for having a baby boy circumcised:

MIL: “I’m not sure that you’re aware of all the new research Lynn”

Me: “The hell with the research. He needs to be circumcised”

MIL: (Starting to get visibly upset…agitated even) “Why? Why do you keep saying that Lynn?”
Me: “It’s just really important”


Me: “Why MIL? I’ll tell you why!”

Me: “are you sure you want to know?”

Me: “Because...” (wait for it … wait for it!) “… if he doesn’t get circumcised there’s no way that kid is EVER going to get a BLOWJOB!!!”

Let those last words sink in before you go on.

Then, at the very end of this blog post, she writes:

I’ve never had a run in with a guy with a hoodie and I really can’t say whether the kid ever got a blowjob but I was just doing my part, watching out for the welfare of a minor. Do you agree? Or disagree? I really don’t care…I was just asking.

Lynn, care or not, you invited comments.

This all goes back to men being judged and not accepted in this society. Their penises will never be good enough. They are taught to be ashamed of what they have, even before birth. The same attitude that I struggle with every single day, knowing how much damage it does. These messages go in deep.

I'm not a man, but I am a mother. I am a mother of two boys. I have a vested interest in how these attitudes affect men because my boys will one day be men. I have also observed how these attitudes affect relationships, mine included.

We need to get back to basics. Go all the way back to the beginning. Are boys born with "extra" skin because there's no purpose for it? Why are we so arrogant, as a society, that we believe that we need to alter someone else's genitals to fit into our idea of "perfect", despite all the risks that come with surgery, despite that this is not our body to make these decisions, despite causing major emotional and physical trauma to the point of a majority of men in our society regularly display symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for what was done to them *before conscious memory*?

I say before conscious memory, because they love to remind you that babies won't remember this little "snip". I don't agree. I have been taught that the body, every cell in the body, in fact, holds memory of every trauma that happens. Counseling and therapy teaches this concept. Very important and effective therapeutic techniques have been developed around this whole idea.

If you are physically assaulted before you reach the age of 2, does that mean it won't affect you? If you are drugged and lose consciousness and raped, does that not count?

I propose that the pain and trauma of infant/child circumcision is not only unnecessary, but damaging.

And it enforces the belief that men are not perfect, that their penises are not beautiful, that there's nothing they can do about it, that they will never be good enough.

Also, joking about cutting off pieces of a person's genitals minimizes the trauma the cut individual experiences, sending another message that that person's feelings are unimportant.

Interestingly, Lynn's original post got some attention again recently and attracted some pro-intact comments. Many of the comments were thoughtful and educated. I got the distinct impression, though, that many people did not like the suggestion that circumcision is unnecessary. Lynn followed up with a post dated June 15, 2011 which she titled "In which i respond to the bullshit" (her -lack of- capitalization), implying that having to be forced to have this conversation, or the subject matter, is "bullshit", and therefore is unimportant.

This reflects perfectly the way women are taught to behave in this North American society: shame your men, pick them apart, then when someone speaks up, silence them quickly. Ignore the issue, ignore the shame, ignore the damage that is done to our men, and then tell them not to express any emotion about it! (Example: "Big boys don't cry.")

Lynn also mentions at the very end of the second post that her family is Jewish and her son's circumcision was part of a religious ceremony. I really hate bringing religion into this, so I'll just mention the fact that there are plenty of links here on the blog for anyone to start their own research into the religious aspect. I am certainly not the proper person to present reasons and examples for not doing this for religion. I will, however, say that all children should be allowed the same religious freedom adults enjoy in this country, and be allowed to grow up and make up their own minds about what God they will or will not believe in, and not have to endure permanent marks on their bodies that are a symbol of their parents' beliefs. There are many cases of children growing up to follow a completely different spiritual path than the one in which they were raised:

More than a third of the population practices a religion other than what they were raised in.
(quote: "More than one-quarter of American adults, 28%, have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion, or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.")

And yes, Lynn, I have a sense of humor. That's not the point in objecting to your blog post (or "funny story" as you call it) as you suggested with other reader comments. I just don't find anything funny at all about nonconsensual, unnecessary cosmetic surgery on a person too young to understand what is being forced upon them.

And like you are so fond of saying yourself, if you don't like what I have to say, move on. Or, to quote you exactly: "This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, I suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you... find one and get a life!" I am a person that is extremely hard to offend and if you can't handle this blog's truth about child circumcision, then I suggest to you that you should not be so self-righteous and flippant about cutting up their genitals and assuming what their sexual preferences will be when they grow up.

Disclaimer: I did not write this to try to change Lynn's mind. Her son is grown now and I probably wouldn't have changed her mind anyway. I wrote this in an attempt to dispel some myths and present the fact that this surgery is unnecessary. I am not trying to start an internet war. I want readers to understand why I believe Lynn's story is not "funny", but in fact damaging. You know what is funny? This:

What do a Rubik's Cube and a penis have in common?

The more you play with them, the harder they get.

On that note, I wish you all a fantastic day.

More research:

Psychological Impact of Circumcision

British Journal of Medical Society report

Medical Studies on Circumcision

Brain Waves (MRI) During and After Circumcision

Trauma held in body tissues

Trauma, memory, and cybernetic structure of the mind

Cellular Memory and IET

Jews Against Circumcision

Beyond the Bris

Here's the original entry:


Amber said...

Monica, I whole-heartedly agree.
Everyone deserves to feel worthy and accepted for who they are. Some people aren't really comprehending that we are talking about literally ripping away, crushing, and slicing off a part of someone else's body. It's NOT okay to take a piece of someone else'es body without their permission, parent or not. It's NOT okay to shame the males of America into thinking that their genitals aren't good enough the way they were born. It's NOT okay.

Intactivists aren't motivated by hatred for parents who think differently, we aren't motivated by judgment or hate or criticism. We are motivated because we believe in standing up for the rights of every baby, of both genders and from parents of every religion. Everyone deserves a whole body. Everyone deserves to feel accepted and confident in who they are. <3<3<3

Joseph said...

Read the stupid "bullshit" response recently. All I've gotta say to that is, hah hah. Yeah. "I don't care. Which is why I had to post a rant to justify myself." Hee-yeah. Can't you just smell the apathy? ;-)

avocadogirl said...

Excellent post! I'm still trying to figure out how parents can be so displeased with the baby they just spent nine months protecting and then once they see it's a boy, they see the child's body as deformed... Then they take him home in bloody bandages. Wish that blogger would've been thinking about that instead of the boy's future blow jobs.

Anonymous said...

Having had experience of both intact and circumcised oral sex I would like to point out that from a woman's perspective it is much more fun when you have all those nerves to play with. When the whole area is supersensative it doesn't take that long and doesn't have to involve you getting a sore throat just for him to enjoy. I think the knowledge that all you ahve to do is roll back the skin in your mouth or with your hand should you want to give him even more pleasure makes the 'extra skin impression' that seems to scare some women, could help. The idea that as a parent you are inflicting surgery on your child because of your sexual preference is quite frankly akin to child abuse. I am saying that all who circumcise are abusers - I am saying that to do it with the only reason being how you prefer to have sex to be extreamly questionable. I am aware that many parents have circumcised believing they were doing the right thing - for them I am so sorry because they were abused by the medical profession - who do this for money and not for future health. For the men who have been circumcised - I am so sorry - on reading my comment you may well feel that you got the raw end of the deal - yes you did - so make sure you don't do it to your boy if/when the time comes.

concerned cynic said...

The conversation Lynn had with her MIL does not do Lynn credit. That she saw fit to blog that conversation does her even less credit.

We should all -- cut men, intact men, women -- clean ourselves before engaging in oral sex. No bathroom, no oral. If you agree, Lynn's snarky comment comes off as smugly provincial. It also bears out my claim that in much of the USA, intact men are a despised and misunderstood sexual minority. That is changing, in good part because of women's blogs such as this one.

kurt_t said...

I hardly know where to begin.

Does Lynn think men in Europe and South America don't get blow jobs? How did she come up with such a misguided idea?

I can't even imagine what it would be like to find out that your parents had mutilated your penis for such a ridiculous reason.

Anonymous said...

Not only does circumcision remove the choice of the baby, it really removes the choice from the adult male that baby turns into. That's the important part. If people want to think it's the parent's choice, why don't the parents have that choice even when the male becomes an adult? Essentially it becomes a matter of "Let's decide this for our adult male before he gains rights to decide for himself."

I'm not sure which is worse: Trying to circumcise an adult male against his will or a baby who can't fight back.

Anonymous said...

She at least admits she has never even seen a natural penis. Having experienced both, as a woman I can say the natural penis is much better for sex. As for blowjobs they both are nice, IF you know what you are doing that is. I doubt the poster has a clue.