Recently, Lea wrote an amazing post on female genital mutilation. For years, I read about the issue among tribes in Africa and felt shocked. But at the same time, in the back of my mind, I wondered: if it’s unacceptable to us for tribes elsewhere to cut off perfectly good body parts from women as a cultural rite of passage, then why is it acceptable to us, in America, to do the same thing to men?
Unfortunately, we’re all taught to believe that male circumcision is OK — it’s completely ingrained as culturally normal and acceptable. In fact, even suggesting that male circumcision should be questioned causes people to question whether you are anti-Semitic. In a sociology class, I asked if anyone saw that male and female circumcision were basically the same thing and my professor asked me if I really just wanted to repress Judaism. Um, what?
When you really think about the details, male circumcision just as horrific and terrible as female genital mutilation… and as we’ve said about African tribes, it doesn’t have be a part of a culture or religion. It’s nothing I want to subject my future son to. It’s a socially accepted double standard to have your son circumcised, but to be repulsed by female circumcision in other cultures. Really, when you think about it, bias aside, is there any difference?
I suppose my main issue is that, if I want other cultures to stop a practice that bothers me as a woman, then shouldn’t I ask my own culture to stop a practice that I think is just as harmful to men’s sexuality?
My comment in response to the comments on this linked blog post (I couldn’t sign in to comment. Glitch or something)
FYI: there are several types of female circumcision from removal of all external genitalia, to the removal of only the inner labia and clitoral hood, or to just a pin prick in the clitoris.There are also various types of male circumcision. From splitting the penis length wise , to cutting off the entire foreskin or to just a small cut in the foreskin.In many places girls are circumcised in hospitals or dr offices just like boys are… And in many places boys are circumcised in homes, huts and unhygienic places just as girls are.Neither is right. Both are mutilation. Many women and men are happy with their circumcised genitalia but that doesn’t mean we should be allowed to cut children.
Pic of penile subincision: this is mutilation just like female Infibulation.
Splitting the urethra only to the base of the glans is called meatotomy.
Some people split the top of the penis as well, to achieve genital bisection.
Splitting the glans, but not the shaft, is known as headsplitting.
Splitting of the top of the penis only is known as superincision.
Female genital mutilation link
A photo gallery… No actual circumcision shown
I have not looked at these particular links yet but I know they are pro-female circ. I have only placed these here to show that cultures who minimally circumcise girls use the same reasoning as American insistence on cutting boys.
I’ve found a few good blog posts by mothers from that region talking about their daughter’s circs. It’s eerily similar to boy circ posts, except that the actual procedure seems to be far less severe (at least as it’s done by these particular cultures). Here’s some samples.
a photo comparison of male and female circumcision of the shock it bestows on its victims.
although male penile sub incision and female genital mutilation are NOT practiced in the USA…. I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that men can be genitally mutilated as well. I just want to bring awareness that just as some forms of circumcision only remove the female clitoral hood or the male foreskin, although not as damaging or horrific as the total removal of the labia and/or clitoris or male penile sub incision both are still a human rights violation when performed on infants, children and other unconsenting minors and unconsenting individuals. People who choose to be circumcised (from a pin prick to amputation) should be well informed of all possible complications.