Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The New Penile Code?

                                                                                                  Julie Kemp Pick 

Last weekend, the Chicago Tribune wrote an editorial about San Francisco's movement to ban circumcision by proposing the MGM bill (male genital mutilation).  "Its supporters, who call themselves 'intactivists', say removing an infant's foreskin is painful and unnecessary and can have lasting physical and emotional effects. It interrupts maternal bonding, stamps violence into a baby boy's psyche and leaves him traumatized for life."

The Tribune cites Mayo Clinic for including  these benefits to circumcision: slightly lower risk of urinary tract infections, penile cancer and sexually transmitted disease. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics joined with the American Medical Association, and Mayo Clinic in saying, "parents should be given accurate and unbiased information and make the decision themselves."  This is exactly how it should be, with no legislative interference.

 Is it just me, or is it no coincidence that this editorial is adjacent to a series of cartoons about Anthony Weiner? Is he just acting out, because his parents had him circumcised?  Will this unleash a whole series of unscrupulous acts based on a predisposition to the emotional state of  fellow pickle croppers?
All because concerned parents tried to make their sons lives better by nipping it in the bud for religious and/or hygienic reasons.

Even one of Russel Crowe's 228,000 followers on Twitter stirred up some controversy on the subject when she said, "My son is due soon. Do you think I should get him circumstanced?"  Crowe sharply replied, "Here's a life rule, if you can't spell it, don't do it." 



  1. Lots of opinions on this one. Ask my hubby what he thinks. He wasn't done at birth so when he was around ten and had a painful infection he had to have it done then. I think he would have preferred to have it done in infancy.

  2. Iwas just talking about this with a girlfriend who watched one being done this weekend~ I think there should be choice because I agree that it is painful and can cause trauma~I as well think it does not take brain surgery to think to use some form of numbing cream anesthetic ointment anything to numb that little penis~All these years and no one has thought that those screaming baby boys might be crying because it hurts to have a knife stuck in their penis? I think free and informed choice~

  3. @mybabyjohn - This had to be horrible for your husband to go through as a 10 year-old. Just thinking about it at that age, had to be as traumatic as the surgery.

    @lou - When properly performed the procedure shouldn't cause any long term pain in infancy. I agree that parents should have a "free and informed choice." Julie

  4. Interesting. Only in California. So, will this just lead to a flood of boys being born in all of the surrounding suburbs or will it be illegal to live in SF if you are circumstanced (sorry, I just thought that word was really funny).

  5. Most interesting, I thought nowadays it was only done if it was medically required. seems I was wrong.


  6. All Jewish boys are circumcised when they are 7 days old (as long as they're healthy). All Jewish boys that I know are perfectly stable, well bonded with their mothers and have a normal healthy opposition to violence. It's more traumatic for the mother by far. My baby had a lick of wine and gurgled happily after his circumcision. He's 40 now with a son of his own and is the kindest, gentlest guy you'd ever wish to meet... and that's a totally unbiased opinion.

  7. Penile code! Har! Canadian men are all circumcised by I've heard (not that I'd have any experience with this, of course) that not all British men are.

  8. When I was pregnant with both of my children, I was prepared to make an intelligent, informed decision. And I did when I had my son.
    I think everyone should have the right to make that decision.
    Next thing we know...all men who make horrible decisions or commit terrible crimes will be blaming it on the trauma they experienced when they were circumcised. I did hear that Anthony Weiner had been thinking of taking a leave to undergo some sort of treatment - maybe his bad decisions stem from being circumcised as an infant (sorry couldn't resist).

  9. @Rhonda - The article that I read talked about inspecting diapers. Could you imagine having that job? "Circumstanced" was supposed to be a joke, but it sent Russell Crowe into a tirade, but I just included the funny part.

    @Yvonne - They're still performed for religious reasons or at the parents' request. I'm not sure if doctors are weighing in on it as much anymore.

    @Rosalind - That's why the fact that San Francisco is even considering putting a ban on circumcision is so ridiculous. I'm so glad your son and grandson turned out so well. My boys never complained before, but if they do read this or hear about it in the news, they might have something else to blame us for! Thanks Rosalind!

    @Talli - Could you check please? I deal with nothing but the facts here!

    @Laura - There is always some new excuse to behave badly. The "trauma" argument is so ludicrous, because who can remember anything from infancy. I agree that this isn't over and more stories of delayed traumatic stress will start to come out. Thanks Laura!

  10. The crazy things that are on the news anymore! I think it's all a plot to distract us from more dark and devious things that are going on. There are conspiracies afoot!

    Tossing It Out

  11. I don't think legislators have any business putting their noses into ... (ahem) ... what should be a personal and/or medical decision. I do like your comments about this story appearing next to a story about Weiner. Funny observation.

  12. Great title Julie and insightful content. Nice work. Did like your Weiner comment, very ballsy! LampChop

  13. @Lee - According to the intactivists, we are inches away from doom!

    @Susan - I would suggest wearing a nose mitten if you go sniffing around those parts. I agree, this is not a legislative issue. I can't help thinking that the placement was deliberate. Thanks Susan!

    @LambChop - Thank you! Maybe you're wearing off on me!

  14. I'm in full agreement with you, Julie, and several others who commented. I'm angered by the venom related to this issue.

    For one, the ritual ceremony is called a "bris" (pronounced as it's spelled). Mr. Crowe, certainly even stupid people can pronounce "bris"! Let's not leave out the fact that this is a ritual based on religious practice that, for good reason, has become secularized throughout the world. Those waging war on the issue are keeping that piece at bay. Subtle anti-Semitism is as scary as more blatant forms.

    Excuse me for venting. I'm proudly Jewish. I have been to a bris. The baby cried for one second and was smiling shortly thereafter. He is doing just fine now.

    Thanks for this post.I'm happy to be a new follower and promise my comments won't usually be so long. :)


  15. Thanks for visiting me and your comment was just right! The joke was "circumstance" not circumcise that set Russell Crowe off. I agree with you and Rosalind that a bris is usually more painful for the parents. I look forward to reading your blog! Julie

  16. Good to know the reason for all those violent tendencies in boys. Maybe if I hadn't given the go ahead for my sons to be circumcised, they wouldn't fight so much. lol.

  17. Angela, our boys are affected in different ways. While your boys are busy play fighting, mine are busy forgetting to clean up their rooms. We have no one to blame but their fathers, as they made us do it! Julie

  18. When my son was born, his dad & I discussed, and in the end, opted to have him look like his daddy (who was uncircumcised.) Having cared for baby boys snipped and unsnipped, I can testify that infection and complications can occur even in the circumcised. However, IMO, this decision should be up to the parents, based on their own culture, information, and preferences.

    When my son was about 3 months old, we were at a picnic and I was changing my son's diaper. A total stranger took it upon herself to berate me up and down for "ruining" my son's life by opting out of circumcision. I told her that his father and I had carefully considered the arguments, and had made our own decision, and invited her to mind her own business.

  19. Beverly - I can't believe someone was lecturing you about that! I agree that it should be a personal decision between a family. I'm glad that you told her to mind her own business! Thanks for sharing this. Julie