One Unremembered Trauma: Emphasize Trauma, Not Unremembered

Here’s a report from Jezebel on the Johns Hopkins study. It’s maddening.

Personally, I don’t give a care what kind of a penis any grown man currently has, because I am not in the business of telling people what to do with their genitals, or judging whether anyone’s genitals are “right” or “wrong.” That said, if I had a boy-baby, I think I would probably circumcise him (not, like, with my bare hands, but you know), because I can’t imagine one unremembered trauma could be more painful than a lifetime of a nasty, unfair, pervasive stigma. But that’s just me.

Did you catch that? She’s not in the business of telling people what to do with their genitals, except she would probably have her son’s normal genitals permanently altered. That is definitely tell someone exactly what he can’t do with his genitals.

That also reads like judging “right” and “wrong” to me. What someone else might say to her son could direct her to parent with a scalpel. Thinking with assumptions like this – that a parent can’t educate their children that the problem rests with the person who would stigmatize – creates the self-perpetuating cycle that parents “have” to cut to make their sons normal common to protect them from possible ridicule. This is especially ridiculous if we’re honest, because children will find ways to taunt, and about anything. If it’s not genitals, it’s hair color or fashion or ears or pimples or freckles or weight or whatever. We don’t expect parents to surgically alter other aspects of their children to avoid this temporary, not-guaranteed harassment. Normal genitals should be no different. Non-therapeutic genital cutting is an abdication of parental responsibility.


Post Script: The predictable chaos ensued in the comments, apparently. I didn’t read them because I don’t read comments sections. But it’s obvious since the first comment addresses it. The Jezebel writer, Lindy West, replied:

Hey, screaming people. First of all, male circumcision and female genital mutilation are not equivalent. …

Ms. West is wrong.

(Advocates for genital integrity should not be screaming, literally or figuratively, in comments sections. I wish that didn’t need to be repeated.)

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