Sunday, October 20, 2013

My response to James McDonald

James McDonald writes in Haaretz that "In a society where most men are circumcised, e.g., the U.S., it's hard to imagine the European attitude that circumcised men are trauma victims."

"There is an obvious reason why circumcision is a hot topic in Europe and not other Western societies like North America or Israel " -- Except that it is, indeed, a hot topic in the United States. Thousands of men harmed by this "well-known norm" are routinely dismissed by the medical establishment, and yet the growing voices opposing circumcision (read about intactivism in the United States) are having an effect, and circumcision rates are steadily decreasing.

"It is not uncommon to dismiss an unknown and alien practice as dangerous or cruel" -- it also happens that is is not uncommon to dismiss the victims, when one is willfully blind to the nature of the abusive practice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that "the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks." -- The AAP also asserts that "the real incidence of complications is unknown", so how did they do the math?

"I can emphatically state that I have never felt trauma, shame or low self-esteem" -- You haven't, many others have. When a procedure is repeated upon millions, a small percentage of damage is multiplied by millions, causing thousands of deeply harmed.

"it is impossible to arrive at a non-objective conclusion" -- not really. Ethically, it's not permissible to cut off part of another person's penis without permission. Just as this is true for adults, it should be true for children. As a circumcised male, I am entitled to say I'm offended that someone cut off part of my penis after I tried, with my feeble six years, to refuse treatment by all means, including trying to run away naked from the doctor.

"what the effect on circumcised men is of the constant reiteration that they have been "mutilated;"" -- if a society does not want males to hear that they have been mutilated, it should not allow others to mutilate them. Simple as that.

A similar argument to the one you are raising was raised by the AAP in 2010 when they tried to argue for the "ritual genital cutting of female minors", that women who had their genitals altered did not feel mutilated and so to call it female genital mutilation was inflammatory. If this sounds wrong to you, that's exactly how your argument comes across.


  1. Many thanks for this great rebuttal; I read the article on the web and was really disgusted. It was just so lightweight and dismissive - as if he was discussing whether it's OK to drive petrol cars over electric ones.

    As the article says at the end:

    "James McDonald is a displaced Brooklynite studying for an MLitt in Scottish History at the University of Glasgow"

    So I would guess his is a victim of MGM himself; but in denial. I live in the UK, and I find it particularly offensive when someone comes from abroad and tells us that we should be OK with mutilating the genitals of little British boys - or any boys for that matter.

  2. I get dismissed as a crank all the time online for speaking the truth about circumcision. It is the exact same principle as FGM and more or less as damaging. I cannot feel sex/masturbation because I and my parents were duped into me getting a circumcision when I was 14 due to a 'tight foreskin'. I now know there isn't one valid and justifiable medical reason for circumcision. My whole life has been ruined, and now, at the age of 34, I have decided to kill myself. I have ordered chloroform off of ebay, and I will be doing it in the next couple of weeks. I cannot wait until this perpetual suffering is over.

    The truth is, Western society is now gynocentric and misandric, and the circumcision double standard is one piece of evidence among many.

    1. Please don't do it. You can help make a change in the world. Please talk to me. You are not alone. There are many who feel harmed, every case is unique, but I would like to help you get in touch with people who could help. Can you talk? Do you want to correspond over email, chat, fb? Please let me know and I will give you a way to contact me.

    2. You're not alone on this man. Seek help, talk to someone, talk to us. There's always a solution. Everything in this life has a solution, except death. Think about it.

    3. Killing yourself won't help anyone others at risk from circumcision.

      Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (the Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Crisis workers at the Lifeline are available 24/7 and the call is free and confidential.

    4. Please consider that the solution you are considering is permanent (that may be what attracts you to it, but it's not the only solution). You won't get a chance to reverse it, nor even to reconsider it. Many things may happen in the next few years: Are you aware of the Foregen project? If it doesn't pan out, another one may, or may not. Even if you must continue living with the pain you feel, it can be easier if you get involved in group activities with a lot of supportive people who will understand you fully. If you want to do that, please let me know: We need your voice.

    5. Killing yourself is exactly what the cutters would want you to do. They don't want victims educating others about the damage this procedure does. When you kill yourself, you will easily be dismissed as mentally unstable. We need you to stay and fight so this horro will finally end.

    6. Mr Newman, you don't need chloroform. You need friends. I don't live in North America, but I am willing to dialogue with you via Facebook's private messaging facility. In FB, I am Roger DesMoulins.

      Many men unhappy with circumcision and the resulting dull sex life report that after a few months of foreskin restoration, sex is much better. In about 2 years, you should have 90-100% coverage of the glans. Foreskin restoration fairly quickly undoes the deadening of the glans resulting from constant contact with underwear. A restored foreskin is not 100% like the original, but it is a lot better than nothing.

  3. You're not alone on this man. Seek help, talk to someone, talk to us. There's always a solution. Everything in this life has a solution, except death. Think about it.