TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2010
Are You Fully Informed?

To make a fully informed decision. That is what should happen among parents who still have the legal choice to decide whether or not to circumcise their newborn baby. However, studies have shown that all too often parents are simply posed with this question and nothing more:

Would you like to circumcise your son?

Now, there are many inherent problems with this question as it is stated. One is that it would be much more appropriate to ask, "Would you like to keep your son intact?" as this is the natural, normal way human beings (and all mammals), be they male or female, enter the world. To alter or modify a baby's body at birth is not the 'norm' and the question should not be stated as though it is. There is simply nothing typical or natural about cutting off 1/3 to 3/4 (depending on the size of the prepuce organ) of a tiny baby's sensitive genitals immediately upon entrance into the world.

However, these same studies demonstrate that most of the medical personnel posing this question to parents know no more about the prepuce (the organ amputated in U.S. style circumcision) or the surgery of circumcision than the mothers and fathers who are making the decision.

Rarely is a fully informed choice made. And in the case of a newborn baby, this choice is never a fully informed consented choice.

In fact, I have yet to see a parent who is fully informed on the purposes of the prepuce and circumcision elect to cut their baby. It just doesn't happen. The more you know, the worse it is. Period.

I have, however, witnessed those who say they 'researched' the subject by going to Google and hitting up Brian Morris' sponsored sites, by reading MSN news media, Edgar Schoen quotes, or Yahoo reports... by opening headlines from The New York Times or Washington Post.

Sorry, folks, pop media or skewed info from the circumfetish cutting kings doesn't count as 'research' to being fully informed - especially not on this subject. Not when it directly deals with the health, development, bonding and well-being of YOUR BABY. Your child. Who will grow up to be an adult, with a body that was designed perfectly for him - or one that was modified without his consent.

In an effort to stamp out a fraction of the ignorance that resounds throughout pop culture on any given day in North America, there are a number of articles and informative pieces presented here at peaceful parenting. I spent the better portion of my graduate years studying this subject. But you don't have to take 8 years of your life, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, to complete your own quick course on the subject.

If you'd really like to be fully informed in this matter -- one that certainly becomes more urgent, more severe, more horrifying, the more you know -- please don't stop at this site. Dig deeper. Learn more. Open books. Pour over medical journals. Dive into discussions with scholars who are in-the-know; doctors who do study the prepuce and circumcision; historians who know the literature inside and out.

By simply reading the articles and links provided on this site alone, you will be more informed than 70% of the rest of the U.S. population on the prepuce organ and circumcision. Yet, I encourage you, if you feel so inclined, to keep going. Check it out for yourself. Don't just take my word for it. And if, while you are out there researching and writing and questioning and building your own mental library of data on this subject, you feel so inclined to come back and write for us here at peaceful parenting - we'd love to have your fresh voice of insight and experience in the matter.

The following is a listing of books, websites, and articles to start with. There are thousands of empirical, peer-reviewed, research journal articles out there on the subject -- those that have been written for the past 100 years on the prepuce and circumcision -- and unfortunately we cannot reasonably list them all here. But these sources will get you off to a great start at being FULLY INFORMED.

Books

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision

Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America

Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma

Circumcision: The Rest of the Story

Doctors Re-examine Circumcision

Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy

Circumcision: Painful Dilemma

A Surgical Temptation: The Demonization of the Foreskin and the Rise of Circumcision in Britain

Circumcision: A History of the World's Most Controversial Surgery

Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective

Covenant of Blood: Circumcision and Gender in Rabbinic Judaism

Circumcision Exposed: Rethinking a Medical and Cultural Tradition

Children's Genitals Under the Knife

Sex as Nature Intended It



A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis

The Joy of Uncircumcising *also found as downloadable book here

Crystallized Pathology: The Clitoris, the Penis and Women's Sexual Health *currently limited and ordered by request peacefulparents@gmail.com

Circumcision *Mothering reprint of articles