I’ve written about this briefly before, but today I want to dive in a little deeper. I know this post will cause some debate. That’s okay. Talking about things can never be bad. Just please, let’s try to keep it civil.
Ever since I started Single Dad Laughing more than two and a half years ago, I have been approached by all sorts of zealots and extremists for various causes. Some of them passionately encouraged me to write in support of their views, others have threatened to destroy my name and blog if I don’t jump onto their bandwagon.
The strangest of all of those, to me, are the ones that I really have nothing to do with. Like when a group of extreme breastfeeding mothers threatened to sweep the internet and ruin me to all parent groups everywhere.
When I got those messages (some of which were very recent), I laughed. I could just hear it, “boycott Single Dad Laughing because he’s a horrible human being! He refuses to write about the need to breastfeed!” And then I laughed again as I wondered if they even knew that Noah is adopted. That boy hasn’t had a breast in his mouth yet, and hopefully he won’t for another decade. Or three.
And then there’s the anti-circumcision group. They’ve made similar threats.
In fact, these two groups (who I have my suspicions are often one and the same) have approached me multiple times, sometimes nicely, sometimes horribly, and have by far been the most vocal of all the extremists. They’ve had their eye on my platform, and feel like I owe it to them to use it on their behalf.
See, I had my son circumcised. Circumcision was what I grew up with. I never thought twice about it. It’s just what you did.
And the truth is, I’d like to write about my experience circumcising Noah. It wasn’t pleasant and it made me take pause and rethink the practice in general. Without getting into too much detail, they didn’t have him completely numbed, and his screams from that day still haunt me.
But I can’t write about that. Not honestly. Because, you see, the topic is such a hot one that the anti-circumcision people might take my story and run with it and put me on their list as a notable person in “their camp.”
But I’m not in their camp. And I’m not pro-circumcision, either. I simply have a story and perspective that I wish I could share but I’ll never share because I don’t want to deal with the aftermath. I honestly haven’t done enough research to make an honest decision about it, nor do I want to until the time comes (if it ever comes) that I have to look at that choice again.
And if that day does come, I don’t even know where to look, if I’m being honest (and please don’t send me content to research, I’ll just toss it). Searching the internet for the truth about circumcision is like searching the internet for the truth about religion. There’s a lot of passionate people on both sides who are flinging a lot of half truths and a lot of mud in each other’s directions. The extremism of it all is enough to sour any new parent, I would think.
And so I will tell you all that I simply don’t give a crap about it. One way or the other.
I don’t care how much data you show that circumcision is the worst thing on earth. I’ve seen enough to know that the majority of the people who are vocal about it are mothers. They’re not the men who had their foreskins whopped off as children. Sure, there are some, and yes some of them are also vocal about it, and some of them it has affected, and some of them wish they still had every bit of their penis in place, but the vast, vast majority of circumcised men don’t give a crap, just like me. I’m thankful my parents had mine taken off.
I also don’t give a crap how much data you show me that circumcision is just fine, almost always undamaging, and how people later in life suffer emotionally and physically if they’re not cut. I just don’t care enough to be extreme myself about something so many people have been so extreme to each other about.
My entire experience with circumcision lies in two points of data for me.
1) My son’s circumcision did not go well and was traumatic.
2) A friend of mine was not circumcised as a child, and he hated that about himself so much that he had it done when he was older, which was really traumatic for him and caused lots of complications.
See why I don’t care? I can’t base anything off of two conflicting points of data, and everything else out there that I’ve seen is so extreme that I don’t want to touch any of it.
And breastfeeding isn’t any better. It seems that there is this group of moms who spend their entire waking moment swapping their kids onto their breasts with one hand and perusing the internet trying to make every mom who doesn’t breastfeed (or doesn’t breastfeed until their child weans themselves) feel like the world’s biggest failures with the other.
Breast is best! Breast is best! Breast is best!
A handful of people are chanting it so loudly that they’ve somehow made themselves appear as the majority. And I don’t care for that. Ever.
Dan, I think you're great. I get your point. But I come from the UK, and we think you guys are really weird for even having a debate about circumcision, seriously - if you're born with it, and it's healthy, leave it alone. It's really a bit creepy how so many US people cut off a bit of their newborn's penis, then don't want anyone to talk about it! In the UK boys have willies. Full stop, no debate, and unless a baby's having his nappy changed, no one touches or comments on his penis. I'm not an extremist, just a mum, who wouldn't let anyone take a knife to any part of my boy's body.
I don't get the point to this post. And why do your words seem so judgmental about the people you call extreme and don't care about? I'd care more, but since you don't... I guess I'll be on my way.
I've researched both breastfeeding and circumcision extensively... and I still don't care! Great post:)
I think it's unbelievably sad that Dan asked that we not debate the action of circumcision or breastfeeding but rather the extremes that people go to to try and convert others to their way of thinking, and yet that is exactly what all the top comments are. There are 1700 comments on this page, and the first ones are people calling each other out, and saying that they need their head examined because of their opinions ... why are you bothering to read a blog as personal as this one if you are going to destroy other people because of their views? I think we can all agree this topic is a very passionate one but really??? I normally don't bother to comment on Dan's controversial topics like this, because I have a really hard time hearing people tear apart my views, but I personally had to say something. I wish you could turn off the comments Dan, because this is ridiculous.
Hey all you extremists....go take your haterade juice to some FB group and have fun with each other. This isn't the time or place for it. FYI...when all you do is swear and call people "r*&^%$(", who is less intelligent?
Oh how I love ya! I have been on the receiving end of craptastic people telling me my kid is sick because I was selfish and had a breast reduction and couldn't breastfeed her. Breast is best...except when they are causing extreme pain and issues...then having less breast is best! And can I just add...who the hell are we to judge anyone?
I think what Dan is trying to say is that it's FINE if you believe either way. It's okay. You don't have any control over other people's beliefs and choices, so why bother trying to sway them? Why waste time and energy trying to get them to change their beliefs, instead of simply trying to get along and live in harmony? THAT'S his message. He's not saying people who do or don't believe in circumcision or breastfeeding are extremists: he's saying that people who repeatedly condemn others for not believing as they do are the extremists.
I smell misogyny. As much as you talk about not wanting to start a war, you certainly send off quite a few rockets yourself. Just as you want people to stop taking sides, you need to do so too. Take responsibility for your choices, and remember that denial, shame and blame are all part of the same game.
I should have read some of the comments before I posted. I think it's sad that some people just do not understand the gist of your message. The debate is sad - what happened to buttering toast? You were very kind when you ask us to relate to the message, not the hot button topics discussed therein. Why can't we all be courteous enough to follow your simple request? After all, we are JUST GUESTS on your page and I for one have been taught to be polite when I was a guest and follow the rules of their home. Thank you for inviting us and you are a gracious host.
I love your "Why can't we all just get along?" way of thinking. You help to make this world a more tolerant loving place. I think it would be awesome to know you personally - AND I accept you no matter which way you butter your toast ;)
I am not an extremist, but I do not believe in the genital mutilation of boys. Our doc wanted to do it to our son without any painkillers and he was already in the NICU with other, much more serious issues and didn't want to put him through that.
I later saw a baby boy that had just been circumcised and was appalled at how his little penis looked. No way would I do that to my kid, but if you want to, go ahead.
If we were supposed to butt out in all cases of raising children, then I'd like to draw your attention to the following:
Why are parents arrested and thrown in jail for allowing their children to get tattoos they want?
Why do we have CPS, because, after all, if a parent decides that beating their kids until they're black and blue is the way their kids should be disciplined, it's not your right to tell them what to do with their kids.
Why, in the case of circumcision, is it still accepted as normal to do to boys and illegal and wrong to perform the same or less traumatic procedure to girls?
I understand there is a militant minority out there, but as for promoting breastfeeding and being anti-circ, there are some very good reasons for both. It seems that any opinion that is contrary to your own or outside of the neutral zone will get labled as 'extremist'. What you post is really screaming is "I can't cope with the facts I've been shown so I'm going to go on the attack". Seriously. Not. Cool.
@alissa morroue What Brad and Robert are failing to see...is that you were on their side more than most! But they do need to go away. This isn't the time or place...and when you attack people you lose all credibility in getting your point across dudes! I agree with you! GO AWAY Brad and Robert and the others.
You wouldn't say the same if the topic were FGM.
Tell me, when exactly should we speak up about the evil practice of surgical raping baby boys? After another 100,000 have been mutilated? After another several boys die in the US, and dozens to hundreds elsewhere in the world die from it, yearly?
After another male commits suicide due in part to sexual probems caused by a botched circumcsion(they're all botched by definition.)
@CandaceBedardWhere do you people keep getting the idea that Dan said he didn't want a debate? in his first paragraph, he flat out says, "I know this post will cause some debate. That’s okay. Talking about things can never be bad." You seem to have completely missed his point (not that it was a great point anyway - being ambivalent about things is not a goal anyone should have).
The extremists are the ones who take the extremist position that girls have rights boys don't. How do you justify that aside from mindless sexist bigotry?
If you think we're less intelligent, you should be able to easily address my necessarily, due to my inferior intellect, stupid question.
Breast is best, unless it's not possible. In your case it was difficult, so a gray area.
Circumcision isn't a gray area.
@SingleMomSickKid "And can I just add...who the hell are we to judge anyone? "
Well, I, for one, am the victim of circumcision and I'm absolutely pissed about it. Is that a good enough explanation? I have every right to judge because Dan's ambivalence on the subject directly impacted me and millions of other baby boys. Wake up and stop thinking that removing half a child's genitals is a "parental choice" like giving juice at bedtime. It's not.
@Lauren but, you see...when it comes to a human rights issue like circumcision, where parts of a baby are being amputated for no benefit, permanently altering the form and function of that child, it IS important to try to change somebody's mind. In fact, I've personally saved quite a few babies from being unnecessarily harmed by genital mutilation.
Would you say the same of somebody begging parents to reconsider cutting their daughter's genitals?
You mean MISANDRY. Misandry is a much bigger problem in the US than misogyny. Men have no rights. If you have not the right to your own body, you have NO rights, for all human rights start with the right to your own body.
@Kristi C - The problem with Dan's stance on circumcision is that he's calling people who are trying to save children from an unnecessary procedure that damages them for the rest of their lives "extremists". His own son had complications, and yet he admits he knows nothing of the subject and doesn't WANT to know. He even says if anyone offers him information, he'll toss it. That's the most arrogant form of ignorance I've ever seen. It's a horrible stance for anyone, let alone someone who thinks they're a great father.
Yes, we're all just guests here, but if I went to his house, I wouldn't chop up my son's penis just to fit in, I'd call him out on his ignorance, which is what everyone here is doing.
@Kristi C Let's agree in something: you are gracious, and I'm sure you are a sweet person who see good thing in others. Dan? He is an ass, who just thinks in himself. I used to liked him a lot, I even invited him to come visit me in Brazil. :) But some of us need more time to see he uses a big mask, just trying to sell his blog. I don't condenm him (not a lot at least hehe), but I do expect more respect for my intelligence. And you definitely don't send the message "Why cant we all just get along" by offending people as he does. I don't think he was doing that, Kristi... Best for you, Karen.
Same goes for FGM then. When will you march on DC to repeal the sexist ban on FGM?
@UnivLaurel it is NOT a less traumatic procedure that is typically done on girls. They don't remove a bit of skin - they remove a lot more and often cause nerve damage. Please, read up on the procedures used. It is truly horrifying.
Also, if you follow Dan, you will know that he does differentiate between parenting and beating.
@SingleMomSickKid Thank you for seeing my point.
@RobertHoward @SingleMomSickKid Seriously? It's time to let go of the extra skin on your penis and move on with life without being a victim of what your parents did! My goodness, how you let something ruin your life several decades ago. If your life was really ruined because half of your genitals were cut off, there are things you can do to fix it. And I would bet money that you would have bitched and been a victim had your parents not circumcised you and you got an infection or a girl (or boy) gawked at the extra skin. Life isn't perfect. Our parents weren't perfect...but you know what??? YOU CAN CHANGE THAT!!!!!! But stop being a victim, and move on with life. I would hate to see how you treat your parents because of their decision, whether based on religion, tradition or regards for your health, they did what they felt was best. FYI...Dan was not ambivalent to circumcision. I think he very frankly stated how hearing his son scream has scarred him and would make him think twice about it. He is just saying that the extremist need to chill the heck out and they do.
@RobertHoward @Kristi C Thank you for your response. I would just like to clarify that I TOO have opinions that can be expressed about these subjects. I am a mother with children of both sexes, therefore I can speak with some intelligence on both hot button subjects. I have chosen not to do so because I do not feel that was the point of the conversation. You are entitled to your opinions or beliefs on both subjects. But, as I stated, they are just YOUR OPINIONS. I do not believe it was necessary at any point to "call him out on his ignorance." You are still here as a guest and have no reason to be rude. Again, I would like to thank you for your point - and I wish you much happiness :)
@KarenArguedas @Kristi C - Thank you for your kind words, I do my best to try to be gracious. Although I respect your point of view (and and your right to express it), I do not share it. I happen to really like him and will continue to keep reading ;). May I ask, with all due respect, why are you still here if you feel the way you do? Just curious. Thanks again and I wish the best for you also :)
The most commonly performed version of female circumcision IS undeniably less traumatic than the male version. One mother documented her daughter's circumcision (done in a medical setting). Read her blog post and then tell me you think the male version is less traumatic.
Yes, I agree that there are much more severe types of circumcision (which include a clitorectomy, the equivalent of the excision of the frenulem in boys) and even more horrible, the suturing shut of the labia, but these are not a representation of the majority. These cases were used to promote the fight against female genital cutting, but my argument is that boys should be extended the same rights as girls, and be protected from ritual genital cutting.
BS. You don't have a clue what you're talking about. Male circumcision is sexual abuse of an infant, just as it would be if you were to cut a baby girl's genitals.
The foreskin isn't JUST a bit of skin. It's extremely sensitive. It protects the glans.
You're just blinded by cultural bias. You think male circumcision is fine because it's practiced here and female circumcision is wrong because you're not indoctrinated into that culture. That is literally the depth of your argument. It's nonsense.
Guess what. Male circumcision IS worse than some forms of female genital cutting. Certainly not worse than type III FGM, which by the way is the most rare form of FGM. Type III has no comparison in MGM, however, sometimes boys do lose their penis, and or die.
Cutting the genitals of a child is abuse, regardless of their gender. Don't be a sexist hypocrite.
@Kelly RosePerhaps you're the one who needs to read up on it more. This is one of the most common procedures done on girls. It's outlawed in the U.S. http://aandes.blogspot.com/2010/04/circumcision.html
Alissa, this is a woman who trivialized the literal surgical rape of male infants. She is an established sexist. She said we should "get over the loss of extra skin." She also said that any women who is a victim of FGM has a legitimate reason to complain. If that's not sexist NOTHING is.
And what exactly is the appropriate time or place? Shall we wait while children continue to be sexuall assaulted and crippled for life by "doctors?"
@SingleMomSickKid"Seriously? It's time to let go of the extra skin on your penis and move
on with life without being a victim of what your parents did! "
You did just say "extra skin on your penis" to someone who had his genitals, penetrated, flayed apart and "excised" all for about $300.
The penetration of the genitals meets the FBI criteria for rape. So you are telling a rape victim to get over it and move on with his life. The flaying damages function, and the excision guarantees impaired sexual function and awareness for life.
Are you as equally unfeeling and callous to females you know who have been raped, ones who have NOT had they genitals flayed?
Some American women say they want men to be more communicative and more expressive, and to express their feelings. When these men are angry about being sexually violated, it is too much for you?
The truth is, the anger from this goes very very deep. It IS stored in the preverbal part of the brain. Logic and words don't get "in" there, despite our every wish that they would.
And there are correlates between circumcision and rape of women. And American serial killers (of women) frequently have a circumcision issue.
Do your research and find this crap out. It's disturbing, but understandable. Circumcision, is after all, where sex and violence meet.
@SingleMomSickKid @NajiWench @RobertHoward http://aandes.blogspot.com/2010/04/circumcision.html
The most common form of female genital cutting. ^^
I can only assume based on your previous posts that you think people should be allowed to do anything to their children and they should just suck it up and move on. Yeah, that's really doing something to change the world. How many boys have you saved from mutilation using that "suck it up" attitude?
@SingleMomSickKid@RobertHoward"Seriously? It's time to let go of the extra skin on your penis and move on with life without being a victim of what your parents did!"
How can I let go when it affects me every single day? And I AM doing something about it. I'm restoring what I can and I've kept my son intact and work to keep others' sons intact. And since you want to know how I view my parents, I've asked them why they did it, and I got the answer I expected - it's just what was done in 1970. There were no claims of health benefits, no religious reason. The doctors just said, "You're having him circumcised, right?" and my mom stupidly said, "I guess..."
I suppose I was almost lucky because most of the time, they just did it anyway without asking around that time.
It's not extra skin you sexist retard.
How do you know men's forskin is "extra" while a woman's labia is not extra? Hypocrisy, that's how.
Grow a fucking brain.
@SingleMomSickKid>>Female circumcision/mutilation is very different than male circumcision.<<
Not so much. It depends entirely on the type of female genital cutting you are talking about. The vast majority is LESS severe than make genital cutting, removing less than a grain of rice sized portion of tissue or even just a pinprick to draw a droplet of blood. We hear about the infibulation and clitoridectomy because those are horrific to imagine and visualize that ALL women who have been cut experience these, but most of the time, it's much much more minor. And, in the USA, so much as drawing a droplet of blood from a female infant's genitals is illegal. For males, it's perfectly fine to amputate 1/3 of their penile tissue in the name of some pretense of hygiene or as some ritual sacrifice to a deity.
>>Having seen the aftermath of it first hand, having years long relationships with females that have gone through it, most do not play the victim card!!! <<
And most men do not either, unless you directly bring it up and they are aware of what they have been deprived, such as discussions like this. In fact, most men think that what was done to them was so awesome, they want to continue the cycle of violence onto their children rather than face the fact that perhaps they underwent something damaging. Which, sad to say, happens in female genital cutting countries as well, since most of the people who perform it are the mothers doing it to their daughters.
>>Some genuinely educate and advocate, with a personal passion and not with vengeance.<<
The same with men who have been genitally mutilated.
>>Yet,they have every single right to wallow in their genuine misery.<<
But men don't?
>>you will harass them and tell them they damaged their kid because they didn't believe in your lies<<
You obviously don't know me at all.
>>The grass is always greener on the other side.<<
In this case, an adult male can always choose to have his grass removed, whereas a cut male is living on solid granite with no choice in the matter.
>>so blinded by their own crap they can't see life clearly. <<
Like the ones who think it's perfectly ok to strap down a baby (no matter the age), stick needles in his genitals, fondle him to sexual arousal, then amputate healthy, enervated, vascular tissue leaving that wound covered in a sheen of vaseline and gauze in a diaper that is routinely covered in urine and feces? Removing over 20,000 nerve endings, including ALL of the fine touch nerve receptors in the penis, and removing the mucosal membranes and the gliding action that facilitates natural sex as well as providing protection from external irritation and introduction of debris and germs? That sounds pretty extreme, to me.
>>Then there are those that want to whine and blame others and not do a damn thing to change their life.<<
No, what they want to do is protect others from enduring what they went through.
How dare you tell them to suck it up and move on, allowing the same thing to happen to more and more and more men. Perhaps, if we quit treating our children like property and acknowledge that they are living, breathing human beings with their own rights, we'll have less victims growing up?
I agree with you on one point, we should leave Dan alone, because everyone has their battle to fight and this just isn't his. I understand that. But, for others to come back and say that circumcised men don't have a right to feel victimized is absolutely horrific to me and it belittles the trauma that they have endured.
@NajiWench @SingleMomSickKid @RobertHoward Well...you are comparing apples to oranges and you know you are. Female circumcision/mutilation is very different than male circumcision. It just is, so let's all acknowledge that. The damage to the female body is much more brutal physically and emotionally since it is often done when the girls are older. Having seen the aftermath of it first hand, having years long relationships with females that have gone through it, most do not play the victim card!!! In fact, they would be infuriated if we only knew them as a victim. Many have gone on to have successful marriages and sex lives and kids. Some genuinely educate and advocate, with a personal passion and not with vengeance. It was hard, but it's possible. Yet,they have every single right to wallow in their genuine misery. I have been to Africa, and seen it first hand. It is often done for very different reasons, under very different circumstances and is much more detrimental than a parents decision to circumcise their newborn boy. And no...I'm not a feminist. I'm a realist.
I hope when you are "educating parents so the next generation doesn't grow up damaged because their parents believed the lies that it's no big deal..." that you are educating based on facts. And what gets me the most, and I am assuming based on some of your other posts, is that you are so judgmental, that should an educated parent circumcise their boy, you will harass them and tell them they damaged their kid because they didn't believe in your lies. FYI....if I had a son and not a daughter, my husband I and were probably not going to circumcise him without knowing facts. I have male friends who have been circumcised and those that have not. The grass is always greener on the other side.
But this all a bit off topic of the post...of crazy ass extremists who are so blinded by their own crap they can't see life clearly. And yet the extremists he mentioned, often claim to be for what is best and world peace and crap, and yet are some of the more judgmental, arrogant, angry, blinded people ever.
We, as human beings, have become more and more victimized, and it's not good. There are genuine victims. Then there are those that want to whine and blame others and not do a damn thing to change their life. That is where I was going. You have no freaking clue what I have been through in life and what my current life is like. And you know what, I have every single right to justifiably cry "I'm a victim. It was done to me. It's not fair etc.. but I am not going to do anything to better myself or empower myself more" but I don't. I have grown up and accepted life sucks, it isn't fair but I'll be damned if I let it destroy my life anymore. I have that power to change my life. I also have the influence to not let my 5 year old daughter, who has a shitty health life, be a victim. And you know what is sad? Is that a lot of people are surprised she isn't a victim and wallowing in her misery. I am very thankful that I was taught "suck it up and move on." I has served me well. I am a happy, productive citizen on earth that can move past the atrocities of life and be the better person. And what is funny re-reading this, I am not a positive, life is great person normally. But sometimes it comes out.
@SingleMomSickKid @RobertHoward SingleMom, would you respond the same way to a woman who claims her sex life is impacted because her clitoral hood and labia minora were removed at birth? Tell her to get over it, that "things can be done" to fix it (what things, exactly, can restore over 20,000 nerve endings that are amputated, as well as the scar tissue and nerve damage to the penis?)
We are changing it, by educating parents so the next generation doesn't grow up damaged because their parents believed the lies that it's no big deal, that it's "extra skin", or that they should just get over it.
@@Brad @Kelly Rose I'm sorry? I'm being a sexist hypocrite? Way to go: attacking people who are on the same side as you: trying to eradicate MGM from the American mentality :-/
@Brad @Kelly Rose @UnivLaurel @@Brad @Kelly Rose I answered that question in my first reply. The legality of MGM needs to recognize that boys should also be extended the right to bodily integrity, just as girls have. The 14th amendment of the constitution says that no law shall be made which does not give equal rights to all people regardless of sex, age, race, religion, etc. Therefore, boys should also be extended the right to bodily integrity as outlined in the FGM law.
But the laws will not work should the people not regonize the fact that MGM is just as horrible as FGM. Throwing well-meaning parents in jail will not solve the problem. The cultural mentality first needs to make the change before the laws can change.
@Kelly Rose She isn't in jail because she lives in a country where female circumcision is considered normal and defended as religiously honourable.
Now, apply that logic to the argument for male circumcision. The intrinsic problem is actually convincing parents that they do not have the right to modify their children's genitals without the pressing medical need to do so (and in the absence of less invasive alternate therapies.
We can't go around locking up well meaning parents for something that they have been taught and (in some cases) told by physicians that it's their choice, when in fact, it should not be marketed as a 'choice' at all. It's not a choice like whether to send your kids to school or homeschool them and it's not a choice like eating vegetarian vs. omnivoric diets. In this particular case, laws are not going to change the practice. The cultural acceptance of male genital cutting has to be seen as immoral and then it will stop happening as often as it does. There will always be a few people advocating or choosing for genital cutting: so long as their choices are for themselves, I take no issue with it any more than any other body modification.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds to me now like you're convinced that there are very real corrolations between the nonsensical ritual or routine male genital cutting and female genital cutting. If you still have doubts, please present them.