A child bleeds from the genitals during an unnecessary surgery with adults in attendance, none batting an eye.
This is genital mutilation; however, we in the western world are immersed in a form of doublethink, considering our vehement disapproval of female genital mutilation (FGM). Is there such a difference between FGM and male circumcision that one is ok and the other abhorrent? The justifications given for either tend to be interchangeable.
Male circumcision is awful in the best of circumstances, performed by professionals in sterile environments, with clean tools. It’s not always like this — in tribes, it’s often a rite of passage which unifies the community, and males are cast out if they “fail”, from seeking medical attention due to defects (for example). The operation can be done in questionable environments, with questionable credentials (even in the United States), and the results can be catastrophic.
Advocates of male genital mutilation often use poor rationale: he should look like his dad, girls will like him more, it’s what god wants — these are among many assertions that one might hear that don’t hold water.
However, there’s an argument that appeals to objective thinkers – that genital mutilation provides health benefits. Arguments that are science-based provide strong rhetoric, even when contrary to scientific consensus. Yet the facts remain — both forms of circumcision (male and female) are mutilation, and alleged evidence to the contrary is inadequate.
Arguments which appeal to logic are particularly insidious as they are not disregarded easily — thinkers may be tempted to take any evidence that reassures them, as many will be circumcised, prefer circumcised genitals, or both. I would love to believe that my penis has been enhanced by genital mutilation, but the truth isn’t always so convenient.
Click here for part 2, where we will examine evidence in favor of circumcision.