Monday, June 4, 2012

Circumcision and Anger Towards the parents

"I've never heard of ANYBODY hating their parents for getting them circumcised. In fact, I know a guy who isn't circumcised and he hates it."

One of my recent arguments is that a boy may grow up to hate being circumcised and not forgive his parents for having done that to him. After all, it's irreversible (foreskin restoration is possible but it's not a "real" foreskin in the sense that the internal structures that were cut, were cut for good).

Being part of the foreskin-restoration forum I've seen many men with unfinished issues of anger towards their parents; some have confronted them and asked them, sometimes they couldn't because a parent had already passed away, and some just wrote a nasty email to their parents. There is a section dedicated to grief, link: http://foreskin-restoration.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=61

As to why would someone hate their parents, there is anger because the decision was made for them and it's irreversible. It was a part of their body and it was taken away from them.

I took 2 lines from different users from a thread titled "don't be too hard on your parents": "I still love my parents but I will never forgive them for what they let happen to me." and "the Doctors told me there would be no pain ... And since I was circumcised I went ahead and did it. I wish I knew better and I am sure my parents would think the same... I will ask for forgivness of my two boys"

I know that many people think that since they didn't knew any different, they are okay with what their parents chose. But that's not always the case, and if you make a choice for your baby and years later your baby hates you for that, there's really nothing to defend you.

It's even more complex when circumcision is done on an older child, as they are aware of their bodies and they will perceive the procedure as an act of violence. I know this from my own experience. I felt very identified when I read this:

"Preston states that circumcision creates, “undesirable psychological, sexual, and medico-legal difficulties.” Further research has shown that circumcision, “performed around the phallic stage (around 3 to 6 years of age) is perceived by the child as an act of aggression and castration,” (Cansever, 1965)." Removing Pleasure: Male Genital Mutilation By Keith D. Mitchell © 2011 - Source http://www.drmomma.org/2011/07/removing-pleasure-how-male-genital.html

When analyzing the practice of circumcision, it's important to understand how it started. These quotes are most enlightening:


"There can be no doubt of [masturbation's] injurous effect, and of the proneness to practice it on the part of children with defective brains. Circumcision should always be practiced. It may be necessary to make the genitals so sore by blistering fluids that pain results from attempts to rub the parts." Angel Money. Treatment of Disease In Children.Philidelphia: P. Blakiston, 1887. p.421. Source http://www.circumcisionquotes.com/page2.html#1860


"In all cases of masturbation circumcision is undoubtedly the physician's closest friend and ally... To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found to readily resume his practice, not begrudging the time and extra energy required to produce the orgasm. It is true, however, that the longer it takes to have an orgasm, the less frequently it will be attempted, consequently the greater the benefit gained... The younger the patient operated upon the more pronounced the benefit, though occasionally we find patients who were circumcised before puberty that require a resection of the skin, as it has grown loose and pliant after that epoch." - E.J.Spratling, Masturbation in the Adult, Medical Record, vol. 24. (1895): pp. 442-443. Source http://www.circumcisionquotes.com/page2.html#1860



Circumcision in the U.S. became widespread partially because of the Army - under the belief that soldiers who could not be trusted to keep their foreskin clean would contract venereal diseases overseas:

"The U.S. military had a tremendous effect on the circumcision rates in this country. During World War I and World War II, the army kept very detailed statistics on venereal disease. Venereal disease was considered a grave problem because it kept men in the hospitals rather than on the battlefront." - Frederick Hodges, Historian. Source http://www.circumcisionquotes.com/index3.html

According to the same website: "At first, only Black soldiers were singled out for circumcision, because they were believed to be unable to keep themselves clean. Eventually, this carried over to all soldiers, who were sometimes threatened with courtmarshal, if they refused to undergo the knife."

Intactivists maintain that circumcision is a cure searching for a disease. From masturbation (which was believed to cause tuberculosis, epilepsy and many other evils) to prostate and penile cancer, to STDs... Every time that an argument is discredited, a new one is created. Professional associations of physicians neither recommend routine circumcision, nor recommend prohibiting it. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision and http://children.webmd.com/tc/circumcision-topic-overview

In general, there is no medical reason to do routine circumcision of neonates. Quite often the reason is because everybody does it (which is not true, not outside the U.S., and even in the U.S. the rate is declining, currently at around 33%) or because "baby should look like his dad" - which is usually a rationalization of "if this was done to me, it must be good, so I will do it to my sons, otherwise I would be admitting that something harmful was done to me by those who were supposed to protect me."

In the end, your grandfather's decision affected your dad, and your dad's decision affected you, and now you have the ability to have a positive effect on your children by making a good decision. Nobody wants to hurt his own children, but people don't always make informed decisions. Parent-child relationships are full of emotions and many times unresolved issues. Even as adults, we are afraid of questioning our parents' authority and decisions. But can we make things better than what was done to us?

Discussions of circumcision tend to end up with an emotional fight were people really seem to shut themselves out. Perhaps nobody wants to hear that they may be hurting their children. Is it worth waiting 20 years to hear it from the voice of your son?


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