‘Circumcision Is Barbaric And Stupid’

Photo: dbking (CC)

Photo: dbking (CC)

Well that’s Russell Crowe’s opinion, anyway. IOL Scitech reports from the battlefront over circumcision in the United States:

In the United States, a vocal movement of “intactivists,” or people who oppose male circumcision, is engaged in a fierce debate with doctors over the practice of clipping baby boys’ foreskins.

Actor Russell Crowe may be the most famous of them. Earlier this year he declared on Twitter: “Circumcision is barbaric and stupid,” before swiftly tweeting sorry to anyone who thought he was “mocking the rituals and traditions of others.”

Over the weekend, California’s governor blocked a bid by opponents of circumcision to have voters decide if local governments could make it a crime for doctors to perform the procedure unless medically necessary.

But the movement has vowed to keep fighting against a medical practice that is done to about 57 percent of American boys – down from more than 80 percent in the 1980s according to US health authorities – yet remains rare in most of Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Defence of circumcision typically tends to come from Jews and Muslims who say it is part of their belief set, though opponents say religious circumcision actually makes up less than one percent of all operations.

Increasingly, support for the practice has come from US doctors who warn of the potential risks of not doing it, including more likely cases of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV…

[continues at IOL Scitech]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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57 Comments on "‘Circumcision Is Barbaric And Stupid’"

  1. Anonymous | Oct 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm |

    “Neural Reorganization” d/t circumcision.

    The most interesting theory of intactivism I’ve come across.

  2. “Neural Reorganization” d/t circumcision.

    The most interesting theory of intactivism I’ve come across.

  3. I really can’t understand why it’s not left upto the person to choose themselve; why does it need to be done to a baby? Specially if the argument for circumcision is that having foreskin can lead to “more likely cases of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV”. Also, shouldn’t doctors and parents be telling their children to indulge in safe sex once they are old enough to understand; instead of mutilating them when can’t understand (or fight back)?

  4. I really can’t understand why it’s not left upto the person to choose themselve; why does it need to be done to a baby? Specially if the argument for circumcision is that having foreskin can lead to “more likely cases of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV”. Also, shouldn’t doctors and parents be telling their children to indulge in safe sex once they are old enough to understand; instead of mutilating them when can’t understand (or fight back)?

    • Circumcision when older is a much more dangerous procedure.

      • bobbiethejean | Oct 5, 2011 at 10:01 am |

         And that justifies making a permanent alteration to someone’s body which removes over 30,000 neurons and the entire fine-touch sensory input the comes along with them, mind you, without permission? Why don’t we make other arbitrary alterations to people’s bodies without their permission, eh? Because it’s WRONG. 

        • I didn’t say it justified it. If you still think it’s wrong, you still think it’s wrong. It’s just that it’s a procedure that would have to be done earlier on in life if at all. You are wrong about permanent though. Circumcision can  be quite easily reversed, though it takes a couple of months.

        • A Christian | Oct 7, 2011 at 8:23 am |

          I think perhaps we should also take a stand against those who have their child’s ears pierced.  I must say that I am circumcised and have plenty of feeling and have never had any negative effects from it.  This argument is a relatively recent one and sparked by those who also tend to attack religion in general.  There hasn’t been a necessary outcry due to some intrinsic problem that has been noticed.  We live in a world full of big enough problems that this should be low on the list of things we need to come together on.

      • Do you have any links to information regarding the dangers of infant circumcision verses adult circumcision?

      • Actually, it’s safer and less painful (you don’t have to separate the foreskin from the glans, which is the most painful part, and general anesthetic can be used).  There are only two countries in the world where more than 50% of baby boys are circumcised – the USA and Israel.

        Most people never need to be circumcised anyway though.  The rate or medically required circumcision is about 1% in the UK and dropping.

      • That is simply not true. On the contrary, any mistake on a baby’s penis is magnified when he grows up.

    • A Christian | Oct 6, 2011 at 9:40 am |

      Doktor Wilhelm, please share with us your opinion of abortion.

      • Since I am the proud owner of foreskin and lacking a womb; I’m not sure that my opinion of abortion actually matters in relation to this subject.

        But, although I believe that it is a womans choice; I also believe that it should be a last resort only in very desperate times; as life and the ability to experience it is a wonderful gift.

  5. Circumcision when older is a much more dangerous procedure.

  6. Anonymous | Oct 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    Circumcision has its roots in the harsh desert societies of the sahara, where it was one of may methods by which sexuality was suppressed within those societies, the descendents of which are the abrahamic monotheists. That doctors are the now biggest proponents of circumcision shows just how far people can confabulate and ‘bullshit’ to rationalize their sadism (and in many cases, their ‘stockholm syndrome’). This mirrors the aforementioned saharan societies, where the old women were the most vocal proponents of ‘female circumcision’ and infibulation; having had it done to them, they tell the young girls that bugs will get into their vaginas unless they scrape them out and seal them shut. 

  7. JoiquimCouteau | Oct 5, 2011 at 9:19 am |

    Circumcision has its roots in the harsh desert societies of the sahara, where it was one of may methods by which sexuality was suppressed within those societies, the descendents of which are the abrahamic monotheists. That doctors are the now biggest proponents of circumcision shows just how far people can confabulate and ‘bullshit’ to rationalize their sadism (and in many cases, their ‘stockholm syndrome’). This mirrors the aforementioned saharan societies, where the old women were the most vocal proponents of ‘female circumcision’ and infibulation; having had it done to them, they tell the young girls that bugs will get into their vaginas unless they scrape them out and seal them shut. 

    • Completely agreed.. Can’t believe we introduce our children to this world by such a barbaric practice

    • You are aware none of the Abraham religions you mentioned come from the sahara (west africa beyond Egypt) right? Semitic people are from the other side of the Red sea and were doing circumcision long before Judaism was created. Neither were Judaism and Islam particularly big on sexuality suppression (Just look in the Bible and see how much sex there is going on) until recently. Christianity is primarily responsible for most sexual repression, but early christian sects were very sexual in nature.

    • I hadn’t heard about the bugs before (Can you give a reference?), but I wouldn’t be surprised. The reasons for cutting girls are just as wildly varied and irrational as for cutting boys.

  8. Completely agreed.. Can’t believe we introduce our children to this world by such a barbaric practice

  9. Anonymous | Oct 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    But circumcision pleases the Sky God!

  10. Anonymous | Oct 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    But circumcision pleases the Sky God!

  11. Redacted | Oct 5, 2011 at 9:51 am |

    But circumcision pleases the Sky God!

  12.  And that justifies making a permanent alteration to someone’s body which removes over 30,000 neurons and the entire fine-touch sensory input the comes along with them, mind you, without permission? Why don’t we make other arbitrary alterations to people’s bodies without their permission, eh? Because it’s WRONG. 

  13. Cruelty is an end in itself.

  14. You can blame a big part of the start of its popularity here in the US on John Harvey Kellogg (yeah, the corn flake guy), who believed it was a cure for masturbation.

  15. You can blame a big part of the start of its popularity here in the US on John Harvey Kellogg (yeah, the corn flake guy), who believed it was a cure for masturbation.

  16. You can blame a big part of the start of its popularity here in the US on John Harvey Kellogg (yeah, the corn flake guy), who believed it was a cure for masturbation.

  17. You can blame a big part of the start of its popularity here in the US on John Harvey Kellogg (yeah, the corn flake guy), who believed it was a cure for masturbation.

    • It (circumcision for boys, carbolic acid for girls) wasn’t, but the kids  made damned sure they weren’t caught again…

  18. Do you have any links to information regarding the dangers of infant circumcision verses adult circumcision?

  19. Anonymous | Oct 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm |

    Who cares?  It’s just foreskin.  I’m glad my pecker doesn’t look like an anteater.

  20. StillAtMyMoms | Oct 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm |

    Who cares?  It’s just foreskin.  I’m glad my pecker doesn’t look like an anteater.

  21. I think it’s barbaric, but your comment made me laugh. 

  22. Anonymous | Oct 6, 2011 at 12:06 am |

    You are aware none of the Abraham religions you mentioned come from the sahara (west africa beyond Egypt) right? Semitic people are from the other side of the Red sea and were doing circumcision long before Judaism was created. Neither were Judaism and Islam particularly big on sexuality suppression (Just look in the Bible and see how much sex there is going on) until recently. Christianity is primarily responsible for most sexual repression, but early christian sects were very sexual in nature.

  23. I didn’t say it justified it. If you still think it’s wrong, you still think it’s wrong. It’s just that it’s a procedure that would have to be done earlier on in life if at all. You are wrong about permanent though. Circumcision can  be quite easily reversed, though it takes a couple of months.

  24. Anonymous | Oct 6, 2011 at 11:32 am |

    Actually, it’s safer and less painful (you don’t have to separate the foreskin from the glans, which is the most painful part, and general anesthetic can be used).  There are only two countries in the world where more than 50% of baby boys are circumcised – the USA and Israel.

    Most people never need to be circumcised anyway though.  The rate or medically required circumcision is about 1% in the UK and dropping.

  25. A Christian | Oct 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    Doktor Wilhelm, please share with us your opinion of abortion.

  26. Since I am the proud owner of foreskin and lacking a womb; I’m not sure that my opinion of abortion actually matters in relation to this subject.

    But, although I believe that it is a womans choice; I also believe that it should be a last resort only in very desperate times; as life and the ability to experience it is a wonderful gift.

  27. If i remember right, you can make it look like its reversed, but there’s nothing to do about getting the nerve endings and functionality back.

  28. That is simply not true. On the contrary, any mistake on a baby’s penis is magnified when he grows up.

  29. And the fastest I’ve heard of took 18 months. Much longer is typical.

  30. The next time I’m naked and next to an anteater and someone is in danger of confusing us (whether for good or ill) is when I’ll worry about that.

  31. I hadn’t heard about the bugs before (Can you give a reference?), but I wouldn’t be surprised. The reasons for cutting girls are just as wildly varied and irrational as for cutting boys.

  32. An anatomy lecturer, Ken McGrath, explains it very well here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD2yW7AaZFw

  33. It (circumcision for boys, carbolic acid for girls) wasn’t, but the kids  made damned sure they weren’t caught again…

  34. Wanooski | Oct 7, 2011 at 5:04 am |

    As Lindsey Funke put it: “It’s a Doberman, let it have its ears.”
    Also as one who is still intact and is unaware of what the alternative is like I really can’t comment on it.

  35. Anarchy Pony | Oct 7, 2011 at 1:04 am |

    As Lindsey Funke put it: “It’s a Doberman, let it have its ears.”
    Also as one who is still intact and is unaware of what the alternative is like I really can’t comment on it.

  36. A Christian | Oct 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm |

    I think perhaps we should also take a stand against those who have their child’s ears pierced.  I must say that I am circumcised and have plenty of feeling and have never had any negative effects from it.  This argument is a relatively recent one and sparked by those who also tend to attack religion in general.  There hasn’t been a necessary outcry due to some intrinsic problem that has been noticed.  We live in a world full of big enough problems that this should be low on the list of things we need to come together on.

  37. Throben Hood | Oct 8, 2011 at 12:04 am |

    When I got circumcised, I didn’t walk for a year.

  38. Throben Hood | Oct 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm |

    When I got circumcised, I didn’t walk for a year.

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