Intactivism: Week in Review June 11, 2011
This has been a sad week for intactivists. Van Lewis died on Monday from cancer. He fought for the rights of children to the very end. The week before his passing, I received an e-mail message from Van about the upcoming vote on the Male Genital Mutilation ballot measure in San Francisco.
Van was arrested in 1970 while protesting against male infant circumcision. He and his brother were in front of a hospital with signs advocating genital integrity and against infant circumcision. The police were not happy. Since that time, he has not wavered in his fight for genital integrity for all children.
Van Lewis will be missed. Rest in peace, my fellow intactivist.
In other news, the second Foreskin Man comic book continues to be attacked for its antisemitism imagery. It is unfortunate that the promoter of the comic has not come out and apologized for any offense given. That is what Russell Crowe did after his anti-circumcision rant late this week. I think the reaction to Russell Crowe's tweets was driven by the Foreskin Man controversy.
The following list includes blogs, articles, and websites of interest to Intactivists that were published in the past week. This is a running tally of the ones I found interesting.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Rolling Doughnut: Opposition to Circumcision and Anti-Semitism
The second issue of Foreskin Man has been attacked for containing antisemitic imagery. In the comic, an Aryan-looking hero fights Monster Mohel, who is trying to circumcise an infant boy. It is distressing that some still publish such imagery. One would think that we have become more enlightened than to attack a group that has suffered great persecution, but we have not. As an intactivist, I do not condone the comic. I do not believe we should demonize those who circumcise. I would prefer to educate and enlighten using positive messages. Many other intactivists share my sentiments.
no circumcision: peaceful parenting: Ballooning in the Intact Child
When a male is born, his foreskin is fused to his glans. The foreskin does not separate from the glans for several years. Sometimes, as the foreskin naturally separates, the foreskin balloons when the boy urinates. This is perfectly natural and can be safely ignored.
Joseph4GI: Swazi Men Not As Dumb As American Circumcision Advocates Had Hoped
The male circumcision campaign being waged in Africa is not having as much success as the proponents hoped. Instead of 1 out of 8 Swazi men being circumcised, one clinic is seeing less than 15 men per day, fewer than before the circumcision campaign began. Maybe many adult men realize that the foreskin is important for sexual pleasure and have little desire to lose or reduce their sexual pleasure by being circumcised.
Monday, June 06, 2011
The Washington Post: Free exercise rights end where another’s body begins
"What is circumcision? It’s an essentially irreversible surgical procedure carried out on newborns incapable of giving informed consent." "If personal faith is not a good enough reason to deny one’s child a vaccine or medical care in case of illness, it’s not a good enough reason to permanently modify a child’s genitals."
Male Circumcision and HIV: Intactivist pioneer Van Lewis passed away today
David Wilton recalls the last time he saw Van Lewis. He remembers Van's southern grace. Van Lewis devoted his life advocating for children to be free from genital cutting (circumcision to use a benign word).
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Florida Today: Activist Van Lewis dies at age 68
Renowned intactivist Van Lewis succumbed to pancreatic cancer Monday. Van leaves behind a legacy of fighting for genital integrity and against male infant circumcision. Van was instrumental in the Stop Infant Circumcision demonstrations and marches held every year in Washington, DC.
Santa Monica Daily Press: Backer of circumcision ban pulling out
The New York Times: Santa Monica Circumcision Foe Abandons Her Efforts
In response to the rising backlash against a proposed initiative that would have made male infant circumcision a criminal act, the main proponent of the measure announced her intention to withdraw the measure Monday. The Foreskin Man comic, which generated cries of antisemitism, may have been the undoing of the proposed ballot measure to ban infant circumcision. It is unfortunate that a comic book was enough to undo such a worthy cause as to prevent genital cutting of males, a protection that is already granted to females.
GSCH: Global Survey of Circumcision Harm
A survey of circumcised men was just announced. It seems legit. "The survey is a grassroots, all-volunteer effort to provide an online self-report and documentation opportunity for any male who considers himself harmed by childhood genital cutting imposed on him without his fully informed consent." Maybe we can dispell the myth that no one says that they do not like their circumcision with enough circumcised men reporting how circumcision harmed them and why they do not like their circumcision.
Intaction: Colorado becomes 18th State to eliminate Medicaid funding for infant circumcision
Colorado Medicaid Provider Bulletin states "Elimination of Reimbursement for Circumcision Effective for dates of service on or after July 1, 2011, the Department will no longer reimburse claims for circumcision." Colorado now joins other enlightened states in the US by no longer having the government pay for elective surgery for infant boys. The government should not be paying for any elective surgery, particularly one like male infant circumcision that has the potential of causing lifelong harm by cutting off part of the male's sex organ.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
KQED Radio (NPR): SF Circumcision Ban
An NPR station broadcasted a forum with three guests: Abby Michelson Porth, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, part of a coalition opposing the measure; Laurence Baskin, chief of pediatric urology at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital; and Lloyd Schofield, proponent of the ballot measure in San Francisco seeking to ban male infant circumcision. Although there were two against the intactivist, Lloyd held his own and provided some good responses to the issues raised by the others. Listen to the podcast of the forum discussion.
Babies, Boobs, & Blasphemy: A Foreskin is a Built-In Bimbo Repellent
A mother of an intact son addresses a common reason given for male infant circumcision: some women say they do not like an "aardvark schlong." This mother has no qualms about saying that is a dumb reason.
International Coalition for Genital Integrity: Circumcision Harm Survey Launched
An international online Survey of Circumcision Harm was launched recently through a grassroots collaboration of Canadian and U.S. volunteers. The survey allows men around the world to document the adverse effects of childhood genital cutting (male infant circumcision) on their health and well-being.
The Washington Post: Circumcision and change
"It may be time for Jews to look more closely at circumcision in the context of their own modern view of sexuality, gender and reproduction." A serious look at the changing times and how, perhaps, religions must reconsider old rituals in view of new information.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Beyond the Bris: Evolving Jewish Practices
A Jewish author, Lisa Braver Moss, writes about how Jews have historically changed their practices, rituals, and beliefs as new information becomes available. "More and more parents — including Jewish couples — are deciding to leave their baby boys intact. That’s because the harmfulness of circumcision is now coming to light."
Beyond the Bris: Circumcision and Change
A blogger on The Washington Post online states in part: “It may be time for Jews to look more closely at circumcision in the context of their own modern view of sexuality, gender and reproduction. Just as we now have Bat Mitzvahs as well as Bar Mitzvahs could not the entire ritual of circumcision be transformed to honor both boys and girls, to eliminate pain and move from the pelvic zone into a more spiritual and holistic understanding of our sexuality?”
NPR All Things Considered: San Franciscans To Vote On Banning Circumcision
A mother and father talk about how they left their newborn son intact, that is, with his whole body untouched, just as he was born. They call male infant circumcision mutilation. A rabbi is quoted as saying that the proposed circumcision ban limits choice. He is wrong. The circumcision ban gives the choice to the person most affected by male infant circumcision: the male whose penis is subject to being partially amputed.
Circumcision.org: Why Not Say Uncircumcised?
A man who is not circumcised is intact. The term "uncircumcised" suggests that to be circumcised is the norm, the standard. The same is true for "uncut." The two words play into the circumcision culture to normalize a circumcised penis. It is better to say a man is intact or natural. That reflects the true state of his body.
L'Hote: the only necessary argument against routine infant circumcision
Individuals have the right to control their own bodies in a free society. "In a free society, individuals are free to make their own choices. And they should particularly be free to make their own choices about their bodies. Any adult man is fully free to go get a circumcision if he wants one. (The fact that none do, outside of the coercion involved in religious conversion in order to get married, should tell you something.) Men who were circumcised as infants are denied that right. One position in this debate increases human autonomy and human liberty, and one restricts it." I love Freddie. He has distilled the argument against infant circumcision to its basic core.
Top Secret Writers: San Francisco Seeks to Battle American Hypocrisy Regarding Baby Boy Circumcision
Another good article about the hypocrisy of the US circumcision culture by condemning female genital cutting and endorsing male genital cutting. There is no reason to justify cutting the sex organs of any child, boy or girl. Dr. George Denniston says, “The medical debate is over. There is no reason to justify it.” He compares the removal of foreskin to prevent infection to cutting off part of the ear to avoid ear infections.
Should I circumcise?: "I'm circumcised and I don't have a problem with it. What's the big deal?"
A circumcised father of an intact boy tells of his friends who see nothing wrong with them being circumcised. He has a list of things that circumcised men can do to identify why being circumcised is not as good as being intact. Being circumcised is a big deal. A lot of erogenous tissue is removed. Fortunately, foreskin restoration can make things better.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Just Jared: Russell Crowe: 'Circumcision is Barbaric and Stupid'
Zap2It: Russell Crowe's anti-circumcision Twitter rant: 'Stop cutting your babies'
Huffington Post: Russell Crowe Bashes Circumcision, Praises Jews' 'Funny Little Hats' UPDATE: Apologizes, Calls Out Journalists
fitperez: Russell Crowe Lashes Out Against Circumcision On Twitter
Intactivists: Russell Crowe, Outspoken Intactivist!
Momformation blog: Russell Crowe on “barbaric” circumcision
Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross: Russell Crowe: Circumcision is Barbaric
Russell Crowe speaks out against male infant circumcision on Twitter and all the 'net is abuzz. He clarifies that he is against routine male infant circumcision and did not intend to offend any group. He confirms that he believes male infant circumcision is barbaric. "Circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect."
Russell Crowe later apologized for any offense his comments may have caused. He did not retract his stance against infant circumcision. He only expressed regret for offending the religious sensibilities of others.
Dr Momma Peaceful Parenting: Russell Crowe on Circumcision
The Peaceful Parenting post reports on Russell Crowe speaking out against male infant circumcision and his subsequent apology for not intending to offend others. He did not intend to mock anyone's religious rituals or ceremonies. He only meant to tell the world that he does not believe that infant circumcision is a civilized practice. He considers it an affront to the child and his bodily autonomy.
Joseph4GI: The "Anti-Semite" Card No Longer Washes
Many accuse the Foreskin Man comics for being antisemitic. This post compares the Foreskin Man villains to other comic book villains to illustrate the common graphic exagerations used in graphic novels. The author wonders if the comic would have been less objectionable if the subject matter were not about stopping male infant circumcision. He wonders if the people objecting to the comic are upset over the imagery or the comic's advocacy against circumcision. As with many things in life, things are not always separated by a clearly defined line.
Life's A Salad Bar: The Big Breastfeeding Cover Up: Circumcision Censorship
The breastfeeding community discusses the many things that aid and hinder breastfeeding, except for infant circumcision. So, why is there no talk about circumcision's effect on breastfeeding? La Leche League is one of the world's most recognized support groups for breastfeeding and they have removed mention of circumcision from their literature. Is circumcision too deeply ingrained in our culture?
Saturday, June 11, 2011
The Guggie Daily: Love Your Babies Pre-born and Born: Don't Abort and Don't Cut!
A mother of an intact son posts about the contradiction between pro-life thinking and male infant circumcision. Before a baby is born, the fetus is to have full rights of life. Abortion is painful for the fetus. Abortion should not be done based on possible future outcomes. But, after the baby is born, all bets are off. Baby boys do not have any right to their whole body, let's cut off part of their sex organ. Pain? What pain? Babies cannot feel pain. Let's cut off part of the most sensitive organ a male has with only a local anesthesia, if any at all. Also, we do not need to use any post-operative pain relief. The baby will not remember it. Hypocritical? You bet. If a baby is worth saving from abortion, a baby is worth saving from unnecessary, painful circumcision.
no circumcision: Human Foreskins are Big Business for Cosmetics
Human foreskin removed from infants during circumcision are big business for cosmetic companies. Human foreskin fibroblasts are used to grow and cultivate new cells that are then used for a variety of purposes. From the fibroblasts new skin for burn victims can be grown, skin to cover diabetic ulcers, and controversially it is also used to make cosmetic creams and collagens.
Examiner: Circumcision Harm Survey Launched
An announcement of an on-line survey for circumcised men. The survey seeks to document the harms suffered by men from their circumcision. Men need to tell the world about their circumcision. I have a botched circumcision. My frenulum remnant is scarred and it has always irritated me. For many men, the frenulum remnant is a very pleasurable part of the penis. Not for me.