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What exactly is the advantage of circumcision and why is their such insistence?

(663 Posts)
FrigginRexManningDay Tue 06-Aug-13 09:35:52

I was watching 'What to expect when you're expecting' last night and one of the male characters was insisting on circumcision for his unborn son,which turned out to be a girl.

One of the reasons he agreed with was making the penis less sensitive. I don't understand the reasons behind it. AFAIK its not healthier or cleaner. I understand it being done for medical reasons of course,but it just seems unnecessary to be so routine in America.

Amazonia Fri 25-Apr-14 09:03:52

Curiously ion the UK, circumcision is now a matter of social class. While the "ordinary" folks rarely circumcise, circumcision is prevalent in the upper class as well as the Royal family.

Sallyingforth Tue 13-Aug-13 11:23:47

I left this thread because it was going on circles, but TRF's note this morning is important and I wanted to comment.

It's so difficult to talk about any subject that touches on a religion because either it gets used by someone to insult peoples' beliefs or someone of that belief accuses it of being such an insult as an easy way of discounting/reporting it. I have great sympathy with MNHQ when they have to arbitrate such topics!
Personally I have great respect for many aspects of Judaism, and I get very upset, not to say angry, if I'm accused of being anti-semitic when I disagree with just one aspect of it.

Strangely enough though, if an atheist pops up and makes the most scathing remarks about ALL religious belief, that seems to be acceptable. I have never worked out why that is sad

With particular reference to circumcision, I would hope that peoples' objections to the practice are not subverted to an attack on one of the religions that use it. It's done to children because their parents' religions require it, and it's done to many non-religious people particularly in the US because greedy surgeons dictate it. It's the act of MGM that is in question.

Namechangingnorma Tue 13-Aug-13 11:13:44

Perhaps Curlew MN was making their own judgement without any reporting, paranoid much

Namechangingnorma Tue 13-Aug-13 11:12:37

Neither have I reported anyone! Perfectly capable of stating my views openly

SamG76 Tue 13-Aug-13 11:00:55

I've never reported anyone. I do think, though, that saying, at the start of the thread, that all people who have their kids circumcised for non-medical reasons are bad parents is sailing close to the wind. So that's millions of bad parents just in this country.

Similarly, some of the grabbing shown on the telly didn't look very good, but it might have been set up, and much of it probably isn't much different from what goes on in nightclubs around the country on a Friday night.

You can say that you don't approve of certain parts of Gypsy culture but if you said "All Gypsy Travellers are bad people", or "all teenage Gypsy boys are sexual predators" it would be racist. And the Gypsy Travellers probably consider it weird that others sleep around, or live with their BF without being married.

curlew Tue 13-Aug-13 10:57:47

Just as someone appears to have reported something on this thread for anti semitism. Or something. Outrageous.

TheRealFellatio Tue 13-Aug-13 10:27:40

The trouble is with threads like these, any custom or practice that one finds reprehensible can only be criticized if it is not directly linked to a specific religion or ethnic minority. You can froth over the act all you like, but the second someone says 'I do this because it's an intrinsic part of my culture, my upbringing, my faith and my identity' you are deemed to have lost the argument and will forever be labelled a racist and a bigot. It's incredibly frustrating.

I once said that I was appalled and disgusted by certain aspects of Irish Traveller and Gypsy culture (specifically the 'grabbing' i.e. the sexually motivated groping and physical overpowering of teenaged girls) and the organised fist fights between men, women and children, witnessed by children from as young as two, who are encouraged to embrace this as a viable way or solving disputes in the community.

I don't think anyone could deny that the premeditated sexual assault of young women, and deliberately exposing young children to organised physical violence is ever a good idea or something to condone.

But dare to say out loud that you think less of a specific race or culture for doing it, and suddenly it must not be said.

Someone reported me and I was deleted, presumably for sentiments deemed to be racist.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Aug-13 09:19:04


Olivia, if you are watching this thread, please could you clarify your warning?

It's not really a warning - more a case of we know that emotions run high when matters of faith and religion are involved and well, peace and love really.

As we say at the top of this topic, whilst AIBU does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil.


curlew Tue 13-Aug-13 09:01:37

Would whoever reported this thread have the courage to explain themselves?

TheRealFellatio Tue 13-Aug-13 08:02:12

Yes I understand that, thank you.

So are you saying circumcision is only safe some of the time? Because I think you'll find that worldwide there are quite a few poor babies who are 49th in that queue of 50.

SamG76 Tue 13-Aug-13 07:49:05

TRF - It's quite safe when it's done by someone who knows what they're doing and with sterile instruments (as with britot in the UK and elsewhere). It's clearly less likely to be ok when done unofficially, underground, or by someone using the same knife in some initiation ceremony for 50 kids at a time.

curlew Tue 13-Aug-13 07:20:50

Olivia, if you are watching this thread, please could you clarify your warning?

TheRealFellatio Tue 13-Aug-13 06:55:21

I think loads of things people do to children are wrong, but as they're not being forced on me I don't insist that they're banned.

Oh, the irony. So it's ok for you and your religious/cultural community to force circumcision onto your sons, but only when someone tries to force something onto you does it become a potential concern.

The effect of the ban you seem to be suggesting would be to cause immense difficulties to the Jewish and Muslim communities, damage communal relations and cause all sorts of problems for the NHS having to repair the damage done by people having it done abroad.

Really? I thought you all seemed to be quite vociferously in agreement that it was perfectly safe, relatively painless, and with very few damaging side effects. confused

Or should we amend that to 'Circumcision in the UK in 2013 is perfectly safe etc.' because clearly you seem to be implying that it is a potential problem everywhere else.'

So it's ok to cut your sons so long as you do it in a nice cosy first world country. OK. got it now. confused

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 22:47:56

Olivia- please could you clarify?

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Aug-13 22:42:18

Understandably this is a topic which is provoking debate but we want to remind you of our guidelines

TheRealFellatio Mon 12-Aug-13 21:23:15

" so being happy with your body means you are brainwashed?"

No, sorry I think you've got confused. Being NOT happy with your (or your son's) body with the way God clearly chose it to be is the issue here, isn't it?

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 20:37:31

Scientific evidence shows that the benefits of infant circumcision outweigh the risks.

No. Scientific evidence shows that if you are going to circumcise the safest time to do it is in infancy. And anyway, I don't think anyone is arguing that the procedure is particularly risky are they?

How does it feel to always be right?

I have no idea. I also have no idea how to respond to this. I believe that permanently surgically changing the body for no good medical reason of a person unable give consent is just wrong. Ethically, morally, every way. And so would everyone else if religion wasn't involved. What do you want me to say? "I believe this to be morally and ethically wrong- but only sometimes?"

Primafacie Mon 12-Aug-13 18:31:25

I wrote a long post but it went poof. Gah.

Anyway: their reasons, not there.

Any rational person must know at an intellectual level that we make thousands of decisions for our children, before they are able to consent. We do that on a risk-benefit assessment basis, even though this doesn't necessarily rise to a conscious level. Should I let my baby cry to sleep, or go and pick her up? Should I give my child a dummy or not? Should I drive the baby to the supermarket, or walk there? Should I send my kid to a nursery or a childminder? Which if these is safest? Which will procure the most long-term and/or short-term benefits? We do this, literally, ALL the time. Many of these decisions will have an impact on our children's physical appearance: what we feed them will impact their weight. A dummy may impact their teeth. Letting them climb, cook, ride a scooter may improve their physical skills, but they may also hurt themselves in the process. The BCG vaccine will leave a scar. We assess risks and benefits, and make the decision that we think is right. That different parents make different parenting choices is a consequence of the fact that they face, and perceive, risk and benefit differently, and that they are influenced by their community, upbringing, personality, etc. What seems a good parenting choice for a person will be deemed a risk not worth taking by another.

Scientific evidence shows that the benefits of infant circumcision outweigh the risks. Therefore making that choice is not immoral, unreasonable or misguided. It may not be what YOU would do, but you are not walking into everyone's shoes.

But of course this won't matter to you Curlew, as your mode of argument can be reduced to the following: if someone disagrees with you, they are misinformed and brainwashed. If someone finds you offensive, it's because you "hit a little close to home". How does it feel to always be right?

SigmundFraude Mon 12-Aug-13 17:40:09

Recommended reading on circumcision myth busting. Particularly the myth that the foreskin is a 'flap of skin', well so is the eyelid......

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 17:16:48

I honestly don't see why my belly button piercing example is any different. I suspect the reason you find it so offensive is that it hits a little close to home. Any rational person must know at an intlellectual level that performing needless surgery on a person unable to consent is wrong. It is only when clouded by "faith" that is can possibly be when the argument is reduced to the absurd, as in my analogy, there is really no place to go but personal attacks.

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 17:11:04

I am not opposed to your culture. I am opposed to permanently changing the body of a person unable to consent by needless surgery.

Namechangingnorma Mon 12-Aug-13 17:07:48

I was not being provocative, just interested as you seen very militant in your views, I would imagine it would be difficult to have relationship's with people when you areso against their culture. I am very laid back generally and am from a reform Jewish background which is very
liberal. What I said was anti-Semitic craziness was your example of belly button piercing. I am totally open to constructive debate but very unlikely to change my view. I go on how I feel and your posts make me feel that you are very very anti my culture and seem very angry. Much much more so than other posters who absolutely share your views but haven't made me feel attacked and sneered at in the same way

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 16:28:44

What things that you think wrong involve permanently changing, by surgery, the body of a person not able to consent?

SamG76 Mon 12-Aug-13 16:07:28

Curlew - it's not thinking it's wrong that's a problem. I think loads of things people do to children are wrong, but as they're not being forced on me I don't insist that they're banned. The effect of the ban you seem to be suggesting would be to cause immense difficulties to the Jewish and Muslim communities, damage communal relations and cause all sorts of problems for the NHS having to repair the damage done by people having it done abroad.

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 15:58:03

Honestly that really isn't any of your business, is it? If I remember correctly, you're the person who considers saying that it's wrong to perform medically unnecessary surgery on people unable to consent "anti Semitic craziness" I don't personally know anyone in real life as blinkered as that.

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