Some history of circumcision in the United States

Did you know that circumcision first became widespread in the U.S. as a cure against "self-pollution" a.k.a. masturbation, thought that the time to cause brain damage? And that one of its biggest proponents was Dr. J.H. Kellogg, of cereal fame? (I am never going to look at my cornflakes the same way, again!) He had a fascination for pushing genital mutilation on others:

"In younger children, with whom moral considerations will have no particular weight, other devices may be used. Bandaging the parts has been practised with success. Tying the hands is also successful in some cases; but this will not always succeed, for they will often contrive to continue the habit in other ways, as by working the limbs, or lying upon the abdomen. Covering the organs with a cage has been practised with entire success. A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed without administering an anaesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed. …

...In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement, and preventing the recurrence of the practice in those whose will power has become so weakened that the patient is unable to exercise entire self-control."

from this link:

In the 1950's and onward, circumcision was encouraged for other reasons, notably that of "hygiene". Some proponents held that it was a great way to reduce std's (something unproven as of today). Soap and water, people! We do not cut off baby girl clitorises or labia for better "hygiene"...or actually, not any more. The fact is, circumcision was routinely practised against minor boys AND girls in the US., until the 1997 passing of the FGM Bill! I actually know some women who have been circumcised! Until March 30, 1997, female circumcision was a free-for-all. When will our baby boys get the same protection?

To mark the enactment of the FGM Bill, and to pressure for the protection of baby boys, last week was Genital Integrity Awareness Week. There were demonstrations held all over the U.S. and Canada, notably, on Capitol Hill.

There are NO and cannot be ANY HEALTH BENEFITS to cutting off healthy functioning tissue! STOP propagating myths and allowing child abuse!

Thank you.

Franny Max


roger desmoulins said...

I have never read elsewhere that Kellogg had Jewish ancestry. I do agree he was a puritanical nut case. He was not the only one of his era. Peter Remondino was little better.

The best scholarly source on the history of routine circ in the USA is David Gollaher's book, published in 2000.

Kellogg and some other late 19th century Americans advocated clitoridectomy, but I know of no evidence that it ever really caught on, especially after 1930 or so. Patrician Robinett has gone public with her 1950s clitoridectomy, and a Utah woman has made a YT video revealing her 1960s surgery. But I still believe that clitoridectomy was rare (<0.1%) in the USA in the 50 years before it was made illegal in 1997. What is at risk nowadays are the labia minora, which some adult women have trimmed for purely cosmetic reasons.

There is no research on the long term complications of routine infant circumcision for the sexual pleasure and functionality of both genders. For this reason alone, it is completely unethical to circumcise routinely.