Circumcision

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Circumcision

Postby TheJamesPope » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:38 am

BillHaines:
Changing topic to 'Circumcision' since even the OP at least partially disclaims "MRA" relevance.
Noting "Men's Rights Activism" involving denigration of women or feminists is NOT welcome.
Asking that further posts keep to discussion of the subject with civility, please.


Dear Reader(s),

:D Alright, this isn't exactly an "MRA Challenge". This was an idea, a challenge of sorts, that was presented to me by my friend AgentOfDoubt who I don't believe identifies as a Men's Rights Activists, but who does identify, at least partly, as an intactivist. If you are not familiar, intactivism is a perspective that seeks to end the practice and acceptance of circumcision. Now though this "challenge" isn't being presented by, and wasn't thought of by, someone who hails from the MRA movement, it was very much presented with the idea in mind, that the Atheism+, due to its current large core, (or at least perceived large core) of "hardline" feminists, is not a movement that is able to take upon, with any urgency, an issue that in our nation, focuses solely, or mostly, on men's rights.
I disagreed.
Now here is the reasoning presented to me by AgentOfDoubt with which I do agree.
Intactivism should be a core issue for atheism+, because when you think of atrocities that religion has done unto humanity, the circumcision is by far one of the most grotesque and invasive practices, as well as being one of the most wide spread even within advanced civilized societies.

Now backlash that has been predicted by some of my friends, and even thought of by myself, is that.. well, without being crude, this is certainly a male centered issue, and being such, it is something that will turn off the current large core, (or at least perceived large core) of "hardline" feminists. Now I obviously disagree, or I wouldn't have taken my friend's challenge here to the forums, but in case there are any that are wavering on this issue, let me present another perspective;
Taking on an issue that is so male centered, while being something that is also extremely relevant to atheism, I think, would lend a lot of credibility to Atheism+ and help combat those who claim this is an ideological and closed minded movement.

I look forward to any questions, comments, and or criticisms.

Thank you for your time,
James Pope

P.S.
I have also made another thread, dealing more broadly with some of the criticisms I've received for supporting Atheism+.
If anyone is interested, you may view it by just clicking here.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby voidhawk » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:48 am

I agree with ending childhood circumcision.

Also, this isn't a 'mens rights' issue but a child welfare issue. If you want to lop bits of your penis off as an adult, go ahead.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby TheJamesPope » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:53 am

I agree, I'm just presenting it, how it was presented to me :)

... though I really don't think anyone of any age should go lopping bits off of their penis, but.. I guess to each their own.. it's a free country, right?
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby quietmarc » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:55 am

I'll be honest, I'm squeamish about the subject. I'm a circumcized male, and for the bulk of my life I felt that it was pretty much a non-issue: I've never felt harmed or deprived because of my "cut" status. I felt that people who were up in arms about it needed to calm down and maybe focus on more important issues. At best, I believed it was an unnecessary practice and would have liked to see it stop, but could never understand what all the vitriol was about. I had a knee jerk response of dismissiveness and/or hostility towards anyone who called it mutilation.

After some recent discussions, online and in real life, I've come to realize that I was wrong. I believe that circumcision is a serious issue, that it does cause needless suffering, carries unacceptable risk for the infants, and should be stopped now. I still have my squeamishness on the subject, but I'm working on it. When the topic comes up, I make sure to think about my hostile reactions and to remind myself about the facts, and also that just because I don't feel negatively affected doesn't invalidate the feelings of others who do.

I'm not likely to march on my local government building over this issue, but I would support anyone who chose to do so, and I'm gradually working on examining my own beliefs and prejudices so that I can eventually come to treat this subject as seriously as it deserves (which is to say, very seriously). I would have no issue with circumcision being one of the things Atheism+ tackles, and I think it would be a good thing to do so.

The online discussion I participated in was on a feminist blog, fyi, where I was in the distinct minority, so I don't think there's much traction to the idea that feminists are insensitive to the issue. And I really hope that maybe some people who until now have been chilly to A+ (and social justice in general) might take away something from the fact that it was by recognizing parallels between my dismissiveness and lack of empathy towards circumcision and the same sort of dismissiveness in those who were anti-feminism that caused me to question my position.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Catherine » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:56 am

Most feminists agree that circumcision of children is a barbaric practice. However what riles a lot is the false equivalence people try to make between circumcision and female genital mutilation. They are far from the same thing.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Tinjoe » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:23 pm

There are certain medical reasons for having the procedure done but otherwise it shouldn't be done. In most Western nations the practice was never in favour or has fallen largely out of favour. I know in the US it's different and I think that has to do with puritanical views regarding masturbation in the early 20th century.

I don't think you'll find any disagreement on the issue of circumcision here.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby SubMor » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:04 pm

There are two different approaches to take here:

1) human rights
2) religion

Since this is an atheist group devoted to furthering the cause of human rights, I doubt you'll find many people who approve of using religion as an excuse for chopping off bits of your child. The only secular argument for male circumcision I'm aware of is the "parental rights" one, but that's a pretty despicable reason; it's akin to arguing that parents have the right to "choose the sex" of their intersexed child. Shallow reasoning at best—it violates the fundamental human right to personal autonomy.

As an aside, your language is quite imprecise. "Circumcision" is something that is done to babies of any sex. Thinking of it only in terms of male children is the byproduct of western privilege. ;)

Note [ Show ]
Although obviously the consequences of lopping a bit of skin off the end of a baby's penis and forcing it to undergo major reconstructive surgery are so very much not the same. The reasoning process behind the justification is the same, but I'm not trying to sell a false equivalence here.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:26 pm

I'm sorry, but this strikes me as actively manipulative. I do oppose circumcision, but hell if I'm going to do it to debunk some shitty notion of feminists as man-haters.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby tiny » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:32 pm

voidhawk wrote:Also, this isn't a 'mens rights' issue but a child welfare issue. If you want to lop bits of your penis off as an adult, go ahead.
I agree. It would be a 'Adults With Penis' rights issue if adults with penis - as opposed to 'Children With Penis' - had their foreskin removed without their consent.

EDIT: Notice how I made it seem like children weren't people by opposing 'People With Penis' and 'Children With Penis'? -.-
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Onamission5 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:34 pm

I think of it like this: the attitude that society at large has toward children and their emotional and bodily agency is much like the attitude that society has toward women. Difference being, socially conforming cis boys generally get the opportunity to grow out being treated with patriarchial notions and gain personal agency by the time they reach a certain age (talk about a dangling carrot), while girls really don't. So I see issues of bodily agency such as circumcision as feminist issues because the way society views infants and children in general is quite similar to the way society views women specifically.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Avery Thompson » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:35 pm

TheJamesPope wrote:
When you think of atrocities that religion has done unto humanity, the circumcision is by far one of the most grotesque and invasive practices, as well as being one of the most wide spread even within advanced civilized societies.



This might be going a little too far. While I agree that circumcision is bad, I don't think it's this bad. My perception is (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that it's generally harmless to the child, and only rarely results in complications. I feel that the main criticism is that it's an unnecessary medical procedure, and, when done in infancy, is done without the patient's consent. However, I also think that circumcision is probably a non-issue for most people, and I imagine that most circumcised men don't spend very much time pining over their lost foreskin. ;)
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Veggos » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:25 pm

Cipher wrote:I'm sorry, but this strikes me as actively manipulative. I do oppose circumcision, but hell if I'm going to do it to debunk some shitty notion of feminists as man-haters.

Then why are you even writting in this thread? Also, if you're going to call anyone manipulative you better go find proof next time. I'd like to see these unnecesarily aggressive attitudes that some of you people have towards other people you don't fucken know go away.



To answer the question... I think that i saw a thread about circumsition somewhere in here so: Yeah, people of A+ do care about circumsition. I care about it too, they should only be allowed to do that when the person is old enough to make an informed decision about it by himself. I think though that the example that Agentofdoubt chosen was a really bad one. If we're going to be 100% honest here the fair topics (topics that aren't "feminists are nazi's" :P) that are in the MRA agenda didn't get mentioned very much (they were mentioned some but not very much, like a drop in a swiming pool) over at ftb and they're unlikely to be mentioned very much over here either. A+ is focused on female issues, that's how it has been from it's birthplace ftb. I hope that i'm wrong about this, but i doubt that i am.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:26 pm

Then why are you even writting in this thread? Also, if you're going to call anyone manipulative you better go find proof next time.

Your refusal to read for comprehension is not my problem.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby oni » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:28 pm

Cipher wrote:I'm sorry, but this strikes me as actively manipulative. I do oppose circumcision, but hell if I'm going to do it to debunk some shitty notion of feminists as man-haters.

I understand your suspicions, but James and I are mutual friends with someone who is highly critical of A+. Our position was that upon our own search of the forums, that A+ is a much more open community than the opposition would have you believe. And our mutual friend wanted to see if this was true, so he asked us to see how the community here felt about a core MRA issue.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby unbelieveably_happy » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:32 pm

Avery Thompson wrote:However, I also think that circumcision is probably a non-issue for most people, and I imagine that most circumcised men don't spend very much time pining over their lost foreskin. ;)


I think you might be surprised then. For a start it's difficult to pine for something you effectively never knew you had, and was not even aware of having lost until years after you obtained the body consciousness to even know what a foreskin is and why you don't have one.

Giles Fraser wrote a piece defending circumcision in the UK's Guardian after the recent German court decision opposing the procedure after a baby there suffered complications. A reasonably contentious article there will hit 400-500 comments - the circumcision article got to 2300 comments before they closed it off, with 90% of the posters vehemently opposing the practice.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/jul/17/german-circumcision-affront-jewish-muslim-identity

I'm circumcised, and I don't spend more time thinking about it than is necessary. That's because my energy is limited and why should I focus it on something I can't change. That said, if my 'now' self could be in the hospital on the day was born, I would not hesitate to use force to prevent that happening. I feel very strongly about it.

I agree with Cipher - this wasn't the best way (euphemism) to frame such an important issue. A+ does not need to prove anything to anyone.

I also strongly agree with Catherine - comparisons with FGM are crude and unhelpful. If you want more nuanced argument, look at the 'Seattle compromise'.

http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/vie ... ontext=dlj

The body politics developed almost entirely by feminists over the last thirty year should make it crystal clear that any non-consensual body tissue removal that isn't required to avert an imminent health problem would be staunchly opposed - and nowhere more so that here at A+. Happy to risk being corrected on that, but I think I'm on safe ground.

Attitudes to male circumcision are changing - if there's a male-centred issue that any group of atheists should be able to hit out of the park in the next ten years it's this one.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:36 pm

And our mutual friend wanted to see if this was true, so he asked us to see how the community here felt about a core MRA issue.

And that could have been done pretty easily without invoking the gross MRA memes involved and implying that we had something to prove.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Onamission5 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:36 pm

oni wrote:
Cipher wrote:I'm sorry, but this strikes me as actively manipulative. I do oppose circumcision, but hell if I'm going to do it to debunk some shitty notion of feminists as man-haters.

I understand your suspicions, but James and I are mutual friends with someone who is highly critical of A+. Our position was that upon our own search of the forums, that A+ is a much more open community than the opposition would have you believe. And our mutual friend wanted to see if this was true, so he asked us to see how the community here felt about a core MRA issue.



So, you're baiting us on behalf of the MRA's, whose abhorrent actions toward a large percentage of the membership are what caused us (royal us) to form this forum in the first place? That is how your statement reads, and honestly, as someone who has herself been a minor target of MRA "advocates," and came here to get away from the baiting, vitriol, and misinformation, it chafes.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Tinjoe » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:40 pm

I think the problem is that by speculating about "hardline" feminists dismissing the issue there is some sort of definition of "hardline feminist" that we're not privy to other than the implication that they must not care about men. It's been made clear that circumcision is not a practice we support and it's a little insulting to frame the topic as some sort of bet among friends to see whether our answers will validate or invalidate some vague term like "hardline feminist"

If you have concerns or issues you feel strongly about and want to get the opinions of members of this forum, just create a topic and present your issue/case.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby quietmarc » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:45 pm

Veggos wrote:If we're going to be 100% honest here the fair topics (topics that aren't "feminists are nazi's" :P) that are in the MRA agenda didn't get mentioned very much (they were mentioned some but not very much, like a drop in a swiming pool) over at ftb and they're unlikely to be mentioned very much over here either.


The blog post that helped inform my change of mind over circumcision was on FTB, and I had to scroll through several other posts on the subject after doing a search, so I hope this helps dispell the impression that FTB only covers one kind of subject. I wonder how these memes that are so easy to disprove get spread so quickly in a so-called skeptical community?

Veggos wrote:A+ is focused on female issues, that's how it has been from it's birthplace ftb. I hope that i'm wrong about this, but i doubt that i am.


A+ is focused on social justice issues, of which women issues are a part, but not the entirety. Further, sexism affects women AND men, so to call feminism a "female issue" isn't terribly accurate.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:46 pm

I hope that i'm wrong about this, but i doubt that i am.

Why do you hope that?
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby unbelieveably_happy » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:50 pm

Veggos wrote:Then why are you even writting in this thread? Also, if you're going to call anyone manipulative you better go find proof next time. I'd like to see these unnecesarily aggressive attitudes that some of you people have towards other people you don't fucken know go away.


Seriously dude, whatever the good intentions of raising the circumcision issue may be, the framing of this thread is offensive. You wouldn't walk into someone's house and ask them if they prefer to be 'patted down, or submit to the convenience of the full body scanner you happen to have in the van outside'. I'm posting in it because I care about circumcision, and while trying to ignore the spectacular display of privilege.

oni wrote:Our position was that upon our own search of the forums, that A+ is a much more open community than the opposition would have you believe. And our mutual friend wanted to see if this was true, so he asked us to see how the community here felt about a core MRA issue.


'what the opposition would have you believe' = woopty-fucking-doo.

I'm new here, and want to be able to discuss issues that affect both men and women. But not this way.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby oni » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:52 pm

Onamission5 wrote:
oni wrote:
Cipher wrote:I'm sorry, but this strikes me as actively manipulative. I do oppose circumcision, but hell if I'm going to do it to debunk some shitty notion of feminists as man-haters.

I understand your suspicions, but James and I are mutual friends with someone who is highly critical of A+. Our position was that upon our own search of the forums, that A+ is a much more open community than the opposition would have you believe. And our mutual friend wanted to see if this was true, so he asked us to see how the community here felt about a core MRA issue.



So, you're baiting us on behalf of the MRA's, whose abhorrent actions toward a large percentage of the membership are what caused us (royal us) to form this forum in the first place? That is how your statement reads, and honestly, as someone who has herself been a minor target of MRA "advocates," and came here to get away from the baiting, vitriol, and misinformation, it chafes.


Sorry, it came across that way, but we were both wanting our mutual friend's to see that A+ wasn't demonic. We both feel A+ is a lot more of a reasonable place and we wanted them to come here and speak to everyone, or at least post their questions. We see it is a community where more people can come in and have a civil discussion.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Catherine » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:58 pm

I am sure that you can see that this however comes across as a bit suspicious as both yourself and James have made very few posts here (yourself only in this thread how do we know you aren't a sock puppet) and James posts such a potentially inflammatory post, and another which is a similar demanding we explain ourselves...
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby oni » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:02 pm

Catherine wrote:I am sure that you can see that this however comes across as a bit suspicious as both yourself and James have made very few posts here (yourself only in this thread how do we know you aren't a sock puppet) and James posts such a potentially inflammatory post, and another which is a similar demanding we explain ourselves...

Oh no, I totally get you. It could have been reworded better since I didn't introduce myself. I am just not the most diplomatic guy at times.
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Re: MRA Challenge

Postby Veggos » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:06 pm

quietmarc wrote:The blog post that helped inform my change of mind over circumcision was on FTB, and I had to scroll through several other posts on the subject after doing a search, so I hope this helps dispell the impression that FTB only covers one kind of subject. I wonder how these memes that are so easy to disprove get spread so quickly in a so-called skeptical community?


Quoting myself...

Veggos wrote:they were mentioned some but not very much, like a drop in a swiming pool


...and yes circumsition was mentioned, but generally speaking (quoting myself again)...

Veggos wrote:the fair topics (topics that aren't "feminists are nazi's" :P) that are in the MRA agenda didn't get mentioned very much



(...)


unbelieveably_happy wrote:Seriously dude, whatever the good intentions of raising the circumcision issue may be, the framing of this thread is offensive.

I don't agree, noone ever said that "feminists are man-haters" (like cipher -who you defended- said) what was said was (quoting the op)...

TheJamesPope wrote:the Atheism+, due to its current large core, (or at least perceived large core) of "hardline" feminists, is not a movement that is able to take upon, with any urgency, an issue that in our nation, focuses solely, or mostly, on men's rights.
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