Women and circumcision: Leave me out of it

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Here’s the thing about the circumcision debate: Like everything else between men and their foreskins, women want nothing to do with it.

A while back, I was at a blues club when a tall, slim, blond fellow asked me for a dance. I’d seen him out on the floor and he seemed like a smooth mover (blues dancers, unlike your average oonst-oonsters, tend to trade partners), so I said yes.

Turns out, I was right. He was a good lead: firm but gentle, playful yet clear. The only problem was, about a minute into the song, he started urgently not-quite-whispering about circumcision. Like, did I know it was mutilation? Had I ever slept with a natural guy? Wasn’t it better?

When I told him I wasn’t accustomed to discussing my sex life on the dance floor, he assumed I didn’t and I hadn’t so I couldn’t possibly say – and, in a show of great evangelical fervor, handed me a card directing me to a website of one, Ms. Kristen O’Hara, who’d authored a book called “Sex as Nature Intended It.”

I dismissed him for the sheer absurdity of his timing as much as anything else. But that was before his cause was set to appear on November’s ballot, thanks to the efforts of Lloyd Schofield and the intactivists (band name, anyone?) who’ve collected more than 7,000 signatures from preservation-friendly petitioners.

As an indisputably happy transplant to the land where cheeseburgers come toy-less and cats have their claws, I was perplexed to find myself perplexed by the proposal.

Was it a latent shred of Judaism somehow stirred up? A knee-jerk reaction to state intervention into this most private of matters? The inevitable result of growing up in a society that gets giggly over the merest suggestion of sexuality – Weiner’s wiener being only the latest example?

Or was it because we’re just so culturally inured to the custom that we treat those who oppose it as freaks? (Anyone else remember Alan Tudyk’s caricature of a gay German drug addict lamenting his lost foreskin in 28 Days?)

I wasn’t – and still am not – prepared to say. It’s complex issue, muddled by the phenomenon in which inhibition and hilarity combine to derail honest conversation. Add religion, equal protection, and a loaded term like “nanny state,” and it’s no surprise the matter has billowed into overwrought emotion on all sides.

But let’s forget – for a moment – vicious Monster Mohels who thirst over infant blood, fathers protecting their sons’ locker-room status, and doctors citing STI-prevention studies that were neither conducted in, nor aimed at, populations in this country. Let’s focus on one group that definitely doesn’t belong in the debate: women.

If my erstwhile blues partner was seriously trying to recruit supporters to his way of thinking, he should have known that an unsuspecting woman on the dance floor would not an ideal target make.

Nonetheless, I admit that a mix of consternation and bemused curiosity got the better of me. I ran reconnaissance on the website – a dreadful 90’s flashback minus only the midi – and was horrified to find that, as an unsuspecting women, I was precisely this Mr. Blues’ target. Indeed, I was the crucial component of his argument.

“The surgically altered circumcised penis makes it difficult – in some cases impossible – for most American women to achieve orgasm from intercourse,” the website proclaimed boldly.

Amid jerky, continuous-loop videos that looked like low-def pornos, and first-person testimonials that sounded like amateur online erotica, nary a word could be found about the person behind (or not, as the case may be) the prepuce. The entire site purported to tell me what I, as a woman, would want from my lover. And all signs pointed to extra skin.

Among O’Hara’s various assertions are that cut members miss out on the retracted foreskin bunching up to seal in vaginal moisture; that decreased sensitivity forces circumcised men have rough “adrenalized” sex; that circumcised men must take longer strokes which deny women ideal clitoral contact; and that the coronal “hook” of a circumcised penis rides along the rippled skin of the vagina, creating uncomfortable friction (the accompanying illustrations put me in mind of the Ruffles have R-R-R-Ridges commercials. Of course, Trojans have r-r-r-ridges, too – on the “Her Pleasure” condoms designed for the very purpose of creating friction.)

The website claims that the head of an uncircumcised penis is “soft, like velvet,” but that circumcised sex is like “being poked with a hard broomstick.” All of this to the following conclusion: men who are bad lovers, who pound like jackhammers, who leave their partners sore, simply can’t help it.

I’m sorry. I’m not denying that there may be physical differences, but my book, the unpracticed and unskilled just don’t get off that easy – pun totally intended.

Now, as it turns out – Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, I sincerely apologize – I’ve had it both ways. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that I speak for a large number of women when I say that I don’t find there to be categorical difference between men who are intact, and those who aren’t.

I’m sure O’Hara and her passionate band of male followers would tell me I’m either vastly lucky, vastly unlucky, or too tuned-out to tell the difference. But I have another analysis: sex is a highly variable, highly personal act.

Take the following unattributed account from O’Hara’s book: a woman describes sex – her first time – with a cut boy on the beach who “literally jumped [her] bones,” pummeled her, and left her feeling “almost dead.” A year later, she had her first natural sex with a boy she’d spent an idyllic summer skinny-dipping and milking cows alongside. Unlike the beach bum, he began the event by kissing her.

Well, no shit she felt differently.

If O’Hara were really a maven of sexuality – or if she paid any attention to the decades of medical literature that precede her – she’d know that sex has as much to do with a person’s head as his or her loins. And if she really had a drum to beat for female satisfaction, she’d be saying anything but “I’m sorry folks, it’s all out of your control. You’re at the mercy of what a masked doctor did 20 or 30 or 40 years ago.”

Women who are in bed with men – indeed, people who are in bed with people –should be encouraged to discuss their needs, say what they want, and help their partners become the best lovers possible. To suggest that a certain kind of sex is the inevitable result of circumcision is not only disempowering, but downright demeaning – for all parties involved.
While O’Hara’s website is clearly over the top, speculation as to women’s preferences pepper online information sharing forums, anti-circumcision websites, and even the literature listed in the resource section of MGMbill.org, which sponsored the San Francisco ballot measure.

To be certain, intact penises have some nifty tricks up their sleeves – thank you, I’m here all night – that circumcised penises just can’t pull off. Or course, if you’re wearing a condom, a lot of them won’t matter. And the – erm – polls can be twisted either way: many say women prefer circumcised penises. Since we’ve put the size debate (for the most part) to rest, it seems fair to reiterate that what you’ve got is less important than how you use it.

I am not trying to say that men shouldn’t get a say in their own anatomy. Even if you call circumcision a personal choice, no matter how you slice it – ok, ok, enough – it’s never really been down to the person who actually matters.

This is about a man’s relationship to his own body, which is why “what women want” shouldn’t play a role.

After all, we’re universally appalled when men’s preferences drive women to seek labiaplasty. (An analogy carefully chosen: it seems greatly unfair to draw a comparison to the vastly more invasive, vastly more dangerous practice of female genital cutting – which, unlike circumcision, has nearly always served to make sex difficult to completely impossible for women .)
There’s a more sinister side to the tendency to make male circumcision into a female issue. It overrides the question of bodily autonomy, and implies that men can only experience their body by acting out their sexual identity through women.

The issue becomes a man’s ability to please women – the equally problematic flip side, of course, being that if a man does a fine job of pleasing his partner, no harm has been done.

Framing the debate in this way cements women’s role as a passive fixture in the relationship, while also diffusing the man’s power (and responsibility) by focusing attention on an external, uncontrollable element.

Making that uncontrollable element controllable sounds great. The problem is, your infant son didn’t choose to be circumcised, but he also didn’t choose not to be. While a neonatal circumcision is irreversible, it’s not like waiting “until he can decide” is wholly without consequences, either.

“I’m glad I’m circumcised,” a friend told me recently, “and I’m sure glad I don’t remember it.”

It’s impossible to say how my friend would have felt about his circumcision had he grown up in a different cultural atmosphere, and mores may well be changing to the point where he would be just as happy whole.

According to the MGM bill’s own website, 90% of male babies already leave Bay Area hospitals intact. It would be foolish to pass a ban based on the assumption that masses of infants are senselessly whisked away to be docked while their mothers, drugged-up and dopey, lay unawares.

And, regardless of your views on the matter, it is likewise foolish to assume that damage between men and women can be introduced or repaired by a foreskin.

Take, for example, Mr. Blues. Now I didn’t ask, but both his fervor on the subject and statistics – as intactivists are fond of pointing out – would indicate that he was altered. side from his attempt bordering-on-low-grade-sexual-harassment to brainwash me, he seemed like a nice guy. And, despite all, we had chemistry. At least on the dance floor.
He was sensitive, attentive, spontaneous – and though I’d never want to be in bed with him, I daresay someone would. Because in the end, all those things matter – at least to women – a lot more than a few inches of skin, nerve-rich though they be.

 

 

Comments

So your "consistency" on the issue of abortion ("my body - my choice") while attempting to apply that same consistency to circumcision is what is incomprehensible. What is the legal reasoning behind Griswold v. Connecticut - the ruling which led to the protection of personal privacy rights? Please explain how a ban on circumcision would be covered by either Griswold or Roe - because right now it's totally incomprehensible to me.

You should first familiarize yourself with the reasoning behind both decisions. Namely - that there exists a personal zone of privacy around one's personal decisions into which the state is not allowed to penetrate. What you're advocating - the state interfering in the choice a parent makes for their infant (particularly as parents are considered as proxies for infants and children until they're of legal age) - is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the court was arguing in both cases. Indeed, convincing a court of the basis of your argument would set the foundation for the undermining of both decisions.

"At what point does the child get a choice over his own body in your world? When he's old enough to scream? When he's old enough to say that it hurts in proper English?" Strangely enough these arguments are made by opponents of abortion, in particular those who argue against late-term abortions. Isn't that ironic?

There are valid arguments against circumcision. Your tortured reasoning - tying support for the ban to the ban against female circumcision and then the right to privacy protecting a woman's right to abortion - is completely illogical and incomprehensible. Your argument for infant rights, a plethora of rights including the "right to chose", which extend to an infant when its head emerges from the birth canal, is one many opponents of personal privacy rights would be quite happy to extend back to a fetus at the point of viability or conception.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 10:27 am

The question here is whether the power of the parent over the child can be checked by the power of the state to protect the child from an irreversible decision made by the parent. The state often steps in to prevent parents from blocking health care for their children based on religious reasons, for instance, because the harm of illness is deemed greater than the danger of the state usurping parental control.

There exists a common zone of privacy, agency and autonomy around which a woman gets to choose her fertility options and a man gets to choose his foreskin status without having that choice abrogated by parental power early in life.

Once the child is born, we all agree that it is a person and as such enjoys legal protections and rights.

Whether the courts see it this way is not my area of expertise.

The greater threat to reproductive choice right now is not comparisons of circumcision to abortion, rather the failure of the feminist movement to educate upcoming generations of young women about the importance of those gains, gains that had to be fought for and that were not jealously guarded and are slipping away incrementally.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 10:59 am

Furthermore, when they are circumcised, baby boys do indeed scream.

To see and hear this barbaric procedure in action, as it is being performed by a doctor, watch the video (beginning at its 9 minute mark) on the front page at:

http://www.nocirc.org/

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

It's heartless. Maybe we can ban those next.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

Give - me - a - break...

(Here's the web site again to view a video of the profound suffering circumcision causes:

http://www.nocirc.org/

Forward the video to the 9 minute mark.)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

Legislation has already been introduced in the US House and the Assembly to pre-empt any circumcision ban.

Game. Over.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

And that legislation will be immediately challenged in court, in which the iron clad sensible argument that male circumcision and female circumcision are fundamentally the same (regardless of your specious rants to the contrary) will be established. It makes no legal sense whatsoever for the former to be legal when the latter is not (especially in light of the fact that parents cannot even pierce or tattoo minors for cultural or religious reasons, either.)

Such legislation will be rightly recognized as nothing but political grandstanding to religious lobbies, and will be rapidly struck down.

By all means pass that bill! It will in fact hasten the end of male circumcision.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

We'll take our chances.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 4:29 pm
Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

Your web site returns a 'Server Not Found' message?!

Here you had me all excited that I was going to at last get my 15 minutes of fame, and the web site isn't even real...?!

I mean, cancer! That would've been big stuff!

Ah well.. A boy can dream can't he...?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 2:31 pm
LOL

The page is in progress as we speak. I'm going to point to it every time I make a point - you know, to back it up with authoritative info.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

Much better. Thank you.

By all means roll out as much scaffolding, and rope, to rhetorically hang yourself with, as you possibly can.

Your sudden fetish level fixation with one simple grassroots organizer with whom you disagree is amazing.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

I believe babies have the right to be free of unnecessary surgical procedures.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

"You make it more and more clear that you're really not that intelligent and quite incapable of understanding nuance. "

Coming from you Secretia, that is very funny.

You are not nuanced at all.

Posted by Guest Yeoman Roman on Dec. 05, 2011 @ 5:44 am

"kids don't get choices. it's not a democratic process. There's no bargaining and ... the parents make the rules." I'm glad I'm not your child. My parents understood that I was going to grow up and have a life of my own, and progressively, as I could handle it, gave me more and more autonomy - guiding, not ruling.

Cutting part of someone's genitals off is fundamentally different from happy meals, and which school to go to, (and haircutting, nail clipping, bedtime, etc. etc. ad nauseam). First because it's irrevocable and its effects are very evident, lifelong.

Then because it is completely unnecessary. The great majority of the men in the world, never need it, never get it, never even consider it.

Australia and New Zealand carried out a huge experiment, almost to order for the USA. The circumcision rate rose through the first half of the 20th century in parallel with the USA, and by 1950 both countries were circumcising about 95% of their boys. Then the rate fell away in those countries till now it's below 5% in New Zealand and several Australian states, nowhere above 20%. Now it's hard to find a doctor in New Zealand willing to do it and there has been no outbreak of any of the diseases it was supposed to be good for. In fact the HIV rate in New Zealand is one of the lowest in the world.

Posted by Hugh7 on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 12:55 am

" In fact the HIV rate in New Zealand is one of the lowest in the world. " That's because you can't get HIV from a sheep.

Posted by chelsea on Jun. 22, 2011 @ 11:34 am

Thank you, Emily, for your well-written, informative, and entertaining article.

Before I comment on your article, just let me say that circumcised men who are coming to the realization that the circumcised penis abnormalizes the sex act, is indeed a tragedy. But if they research "foreskin restoration" on the internet, they will find out that many men have come to this realization, too, and that foreskin restoration is possible.

It is a tragedy that male circumcision has adverse effects on the sexual pleasure of the female partner. But unless we face up to this now, the tragedy of male genital mutilation (circumcision) will continue. Sexuality is a topic that is often not brought into the circumcision debate. But it should be.

Emily, you are a younger woman, who has probably not had sufficient experience with uncircumcised men (since they are rare in the United States) to make a valid judgment on the differences between natural (uncircumcised) sex and circumcised sex.

The foreskin plays a multi-faceted role in the intercourse experience of both the man and his female partner (it undoubtedly plays a role in gay sex, too, but since I am a heterosexual woman, I will only address it from the heterosexual perspective). The several ways the foreskin impacts sex is documented in my book and at my website. The book is FREE to read at www.Sex As Nature Intended It dot com

The foreskin plays a multi-faceted role in the intercourse experience of both the man and his female partner (it undoubtedly plays a role in gay sex, too, but since I am a heterosexual woman, I will only address it from the heterosexual perspective). The several ways that the foreskin impacts sex are documented in my book, and at my website. The book is FREE to read at the weblink below.

http://xrl.us/SexAsNatureIntendedIt

I contend that with enough sexual experience, it becomes apparent that the natural intercourse experience is a far better experience for the woman on the receiving end of the penis. The natural penis feels more softly-smooth and sensuous, and the natural intercourse experience is more tender and gentler because the intact man tends to thrust with gentler strokes. This tendency for gentler strokes is due to the role the foreskin and frenulum play during intercourse. (The frenulum is usually removed along with the foreskin during circumcision.)

Also, the intact man tends to use shorter strokes (while deep within the vagina) bringing his pubic mound in more frequent (and gentler) contact with the woman's clitoris. The clitoris is the woman's primary pleasure zone. And this is why the woman has greater success in achieving orgasm from intercourse when the man has an uncircumcised penis. Indeed, my national survey of women who had the comparative experience of sex with both types of men, found that women were nearly 5 times more likely to achieve "vaginal" orgasm when the man had a natural (uncircumcised) penis.

In contrast, a large majority of the surveyed women were in general agreement that the circumcised man tends to thrust rougher and tougher, sometimes to the point of "bang-away" thrusting, adversely affecting her pleasure.

And because the circumcised penis is lacking the foreskin (and usually the highly erogenous frenulum), the circumcised penis is lacking sensitivity in the upper penis. So the circumcised man tends to thrust with longer strokes to excite the middle and lower penis shaft against the constriction of the vaginal opening. These longer strokes pull his pubic mound away from the woman's clitoris for an elongated time, and this impedes the woman's ability to achieve vaginal orgasm.

In effect, the circumcised penis tends to thrust with an abnormal thrusting rhythm--the man's strokes are too long and his pubic mound makes less frequent contact with the woman's clitoris.

However, the natural penis tends to thrust with a rhythm in harmony with nature's intent. This natural thrusting rhythm is the normal rhythm nature intended--not only for the man's pleasure, but also for the pleasure of the woman on the receiving end of the penis.

During intercourse, a man will thrust his penis in a way that feels most pleasing to him. But, in actuality, it is the penis that's in charge--not the man. The penis knows what's most pleasurable, and thrusts accordingly. This is all explained in Chapter 8A of my book.

There are various other ways that the foreskin and frenulum affect the intercourse experience of both partners. I believe my book, Sex As Nature Intended It, presents a compelling case demonstrating that male circumcision is genital mutilation. And that infant circumcision harms adult sexuality.

Emily, I recommend that you look over Chapter 8A, wherein I address the question "Is It the Man or the Penis?" that pleasures the woman during intercourse. And that you also read "My Personal Story" in Chapter 11.

Posted by Kristen O'Hara on Jun. 17, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

That could easily be the slogan for the "pro" side of this campaign.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 17, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

"Women want nothing to do with it"? Oh we wish! You should see the mothering boards! If the women don't have _strong_ opinions on what they prefer, they "leave it to the father because he's the one with a (circumcised) penis".

Like those mothers, you, Emily, presumably have intact genitalia. Could you do without any of it? Would you willingly give any of it up? What would you say if parents routinely decided to cut off part of girl's bits (nothing like the horrors of Africa, just something like this, USA, 1960s, NSFW: http://www.circumstitions.com/methods.html#rathman - note the shield to protect the clitoris) and you learnt as a teenager that that had been done to you? So why shouldn't men feel the same way?

"sex has as much to do with a person’s head as his or her loins" Oh really? So cutting the whole thing off would have only a 50% detriment since the head (on the shoulders) would be unaffected?

As to your dancing man, I think he was intact and checking your reaction. You failed, so his proselytising was Plan B.

"The only reason a boy of 13 would be circumcised is if there were a medical condition requiring it." Not at all. A new stepfather with a different religion is another reason. There are several anecdotes of boys left in charge of grandmothers who caught them masturbating....

Posted by Hugh7 on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 12:39 am

Circumcision is a backward, bronze age practice that is as horrific if practiced in California as it is in Kenya. Shame on America. More and more I just want to move somewhere else.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

That someone would incorporate baby torture into their religion fills me with revulsion.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

4-1 against according to Survey USA's new poll out today. Women are opposed to the measure by more than 2-1. Jewish voters are opposed 18-1.

Daunting odds and highly unlikely to change much before the election, especially considering how poorly the "Yes" campaign has been run up to this point.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 8:20 am

This is just creepy.

"Genesis 17 records the inauguration of Abram into the Lord’s covenant that was initiated thirteen years ago, as was stated in Genesis 15. Abram is now ninety-nine when God declares Abram’s new name: “Abraham, a father of many nations.” Abram then received the instructions for the inauguration rite into God’s covenant because the time was approaching for him to have a son by his wife, Sarai. The initiation rite was that in order to be part of this “great nation”, whether by bloodline or inducted, every male must be circumcised otherwise it was a breach of contract. Then God declared Sarai’s new name: “Sarah” and blessed her. Immediately after Abram’s encounter with his God, he had his entire household of men, including himself and Ishmael, circumcised. (Genesis 17:1-27)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

That's a sure-fired way of getting people to vote AGAINST you. Mocking religious beliefs (with which voters may disagree, but they don't like seeing mocked) and issuing anti-Semitic comic books really seems to be turning off voters in massive numbers.

The most any initiative can hope to gain is 80% - you can always find 20% of voters to be against something. Considering 76% of San Franciscans are against this steaming pile of shit indicates just how crappy a job your side has done so far.

Congrats! This campaign is guaranteed to set back the intactivist movement by decades. Bang up job there guys!!!

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

And yes, the campaign is doing an exceptionally lousy job. And the tone of the media coverage doesn't help. When even the SFBG still refers to it as a "ban" and its writers write snarky "analyses" such as this, you know it's lost from day one.

I never thought it would actually win. You're asking people to question something that they had accepted as totally normal for millenia. This is something that most people, like myself, have never even given a minute's thought before the campaign. You can't change that thinking in a single election campaign. When you hear a new idea like this for the first time, the natural inclination is always to say no. Look at how long it's taking for people to accept same sex marriage. Hell, think about how long it took for people to recognize slavery is wrong!

But conversations like the one we're having are a great start. And while there's been some sniping, I like the fact that the conversation has been mainly around issues so far. Some people are pretty rigid, and they'll never change their minds no matter what. Basically, they're conservatives. Whatever party/sect/clique they officially belong to, they're basically conservatives in the most general sense of the word. But others will eventually come around if you can get them to think outside their boxes.

It reminds me a little of the debate surrounding sex work legalization a couple years back. I was at that DCCC meeting. Nobody expected it to get the support of the DCCC. A woman sitting next to me said at the beginning, "I'm really torn about this. As a feminist I really hate prostitution." But after hearing both sides of the debate, including some really heartfelt testimony from sex workers themselves, several members of the DCCC were convinced to change their votes. The woman sitting next to me used the same phraseology at the end, but now said, "As a feminist, I have to support these women." I remember thinking that if all of San Francisco could hear that debate, it would win. And so it is with this. If all of San Francisco could read the two debates we're having here on these two threads, I think it would do a whole lot better.

But of course real campaigns don't work that way. In reality, people don't think very much about these things, and most of the information they will get will be from a media intent on ridiculing one side of the debate. So it's going to lose at this point.

But wait a generation. This is already becoming a human rights issue in Europe and Australia and New Zealand. We're the only western country where it's still done on anything approaching a routine basis. So I would encourage the "intactivists" to stick with it even if they get clobbered this time. America's always behind the curve, but we'll get there.

Just next time, run a less idiotic campaign!

Posted by Greg on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

According to the poll it doesn't matter how one feels about circumcision. Whether you're against it or for it by 8-1 San Francisco voters don't see this as an issue in which the government should be involved.

So there's a bigger issue here which is somewhat heartening for those of us who feel SF has gone way too far with the "bans." By 8-1 people are finally saying they've had enough of the nanny state mentality which has overtaken the city recently.

Ironically the intactivists may have dealt a lethal blow to future efforts to inject government into people's choices. The tipping point may have been reached in people's tolerance of others imposing THEIR choices on stranger's lives.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

The idea that I have to be mutilated as a baby to obtain kinship with a figure from the distant past and avoid breech of contract with an ancient tribal deity goes against basic principles of modern contract law and anyone who says otherwise is absolutely out of their mind.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

The mocking religious beliefs argument is not going over well with the voters. Keep it up.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

It is peculiar and disturbing that physicians today, who would recognize behavior like this from a 99 year old man to be symptoms of age related dementia, would still follow the likely schizophrenic instruction to sexually mutilate male babies.

"Not long afterward, during the heat of the day, Abraham had been sitting at the entrance of his tent by the terebinths of Mamre. He looked up and saw three men in the presence of God. Then he ran and bowed to the ground to welcome them. Abraham then offered to wash their feet and fetch them a morsel of bread of which they assented."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

Lucretia you pretend your argument is government intrusion to conceal your real argument, that god considers a ban on circumcision to be a breech of contract, just as the Confederacy relied on the same 'states rights' argument to conceal their equally indefensible absurd beliefs.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

My side is winning. Bitterness will get you nowhere.

But I do like your comparison of circumcision to the Confederacy's argument in favor of state's rights. You should use that argument, along with the one mocking religious beliefs, as the centerpiece of your "Yes" campaign.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

I think you are right Lucretia that the circumcision ban will be defeated but I disagree that the issue is government intrusion. The real issue is so absurd and indefensible you just don't want to go there.

I'm in awe of that poll you quoted, that the Jewish community in sf is against it by 18 to 1.

I don't understand how the destruction of male sexual sensation become so intertwined with questions of modern Jewish identity but apparently it has really struck a nerve.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

Jews can be quite sensitive to that you know.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

If I can get over having my frenulum ripped off you'd think the Jews could get over an anti-semitic comic book.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

You or any of your fellow intactivists.

I do appreciate you admitting the comic book was anti-semitic though.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

From what I read here that comic was so ridiculously Nazi it was probably a false flag operation to discredit the entire ballot initiative. Won't be the first time...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavon_Affair

"The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation,[1] a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned targets. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, "unspecified malcontents" or "local nationalists" with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in Egypt's Suez Canal zone.[2] The operation caused no casualties, except for the members of the cell who committed suicide after being captured.

The operation became known as the Lavon Affair after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon, who was forced to resign because of the incident, or euphemistically as the Unfortunate Affair or The Bad Business (Hebrew: העסק ביש‎, HaEsek Bish or העסק הביש, HaEsek HaBish). After being denied for 51 years, the surviving agents were in 2005 officially honored with a certificate of appreciation by the Israeli President Moshe Katzav.[3]"

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

Even though Matthew Hess said HE created it?

HAHAHAHAHA!!! We've really entered fruit loops land up in here.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

Ha ha ha well that's just unfortunate then because we agree there's no way Foreskin Man is going to persuade the sizable Jewish population in the Bay Area to ban one of Judaism's most sacred rituals regardless the real medical arguments against it.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

Bris is not one of the most sacred Jewish rituals, the lighting of the Shabbos candles every Friday night, fasting or Yom Kippur and the blowing of the Shofar are the most sacred rituals.

And there is no commandment in the Bible for full resection. The covenant is between the parents and their god, not between the boy and god because the boy is not capable of entering into such an awesome covenant.

One reason why Jewish practice is fading away is because people find no connection between a bronze age desert religion and contemporary society. Perhaps climate change will offer renewal in the same way that overly intense use of the formerly verdant middle east desertified the region?

But as things stand with assimilation in the global north and increased fanaticism in the middle east, that which lasted five millenia is on the cusp of extinction now. And the intactivists are not responsible for that.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Jun. 21, 2011 @ 8:46 am

We've survived war and genocide and pogroms all these millenia and to think we're being done in because of "irrelevance" and circumcision. Who knew the real enemy was never anti-semitism but instead contemporary society...

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 21, 2011 @ 11:09 am

Now I understand why you're so unreasonable and inconsistent. It is religion after all, no matter how much you try to deny it.

I've learned to never argue religion with people, because all logic just goes out the window. You see this issue through the lens of anti-semitism, and no facts are ever going to convince you otherwise.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 21, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

"I've learned to never argue religion with people, because all logic just goes out the window. You see this issue through the lens of anti-semitism, and no facts are ever going to convince you otherwise. "

True.

She was hiding that.

Posted by Guest Yeoman Roman on Dec. 05, 2011 @ 5:56 am

Jews managed to survive in diaspora for, oh, millenia, as well as pogroms and the holocaust. But once the homeland was stolen from the Palestinians, the religion went into a tailspin.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 23, 2011 @ 10:21 am

Male circumcision makes about as much sense as making female babies get their belly buttons pierced.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2011 @ 10:38 am

Just saw the internals of the poll, and there's one thing that's really fishy. One of the questions asks if you were to have a baby boy today, would you get him circumcised? People said yes by a 53-36 margin.

And yet... the Chronicle reported in an earlier story that fully 90% of baby boys now go out of the hospital intact.

Is there an explanation for why the poll is so wildly out of touch with the known reality?

And if the poll is completely out of touch with reality on this question, what does it say about the other questions?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

The Chronicle was wrong. And people often change their minds during a pregnancy and after. It happens.

The issue for people, as I have said previously, is the interference of government in this issue. They don't like it and that doesn't change no matter how they feel about circumcision. People are strongly opposed to governmental interference in this issue.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

It definitely may be true that the Chronicle's reality is wrong. But how do you know? Do you have data that contradicts it? If so, it would be interesting to see.

I recall from the Wiki article that in the US, circumcision is only done to a minority of boys now. It would make sense that San Francisco is on the cutting edge of a trend toward less circumcision. So I tend to believe the Chronicle's figure unless you have other data to contradict it. But I'm certainly open to hearing it.

Changing their minds after pregnancy? From 90-10 to 36-53? Now that's not credible. Not that big of a jump.

Either the Chron is wrong, or the poll is.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

That is incorrect. It's less than a majority now (I believe) but certainly not anywhere near 90%.

The poll is accurate. Daily Kos and many other reputable media orgs use SurveyUSA.

It's not healthy for supporters of a "yes" vote to engage in self-delusion as a means of counteracting the reality with which they disagree. The poll really reflects the worst possible scenario the "yes" side could imagine - everyone, even those who disagree with circumcision, are going to vote no because they don't want the government involved in this decision and likely because of the disgusting campaign the supporters have been running - including the anti-semitic comic book.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

Do you have any data? It appears that you don't, so like with many of your views and assertions, you get backed into a corner and then you dig in and lash out at anyone who questions you.

I actually found data that seems to support the Chron's citation:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_13/sr13_160.pdf
Look under Table 44, Page 52. While circumcision is slowly declining all over the US, it's declining most precipitously in the western region, from 62% in 1980, to just 31% in 2003. But that's for the whole region. I would expect a much lower rate in San Francisco today, than in the overall western region in 2003, for the following reasons:
1. High numbers of Chinese, Latino, and African American populations, all of which practice circumcision to a much lesser degree than US whites.
2. More progressive attitudes in san Francisco than in CA or the western region as a whole, leading people to question traditional practices.
3. Time elapsed since the data in that report was gathered -If the rate of decline continued over the past decade at the same rate as the previous 23 years, the percentage should be somewhere in the low 20s in the western region as a whole in 2011.

Given the above, I'm even more convinced that 90% intact is about right for San Francisco in 2011.

But again, I'm open-minded. Just like I was open-minded to listening to both sides about the larger issue, I'm open minded to hear the evidence for your argument in this matter. I just want to hear evidence, not just a statement of your supreme faith. The latter is worth as much as used toilet paper. As usual, I think you have no evidence. But your mind is closed, so I'm sure you'll continue to ignore any contrary evidence and dig in.

Oh, and just as an aside... DK doesn't use SUSA. DK uses PPP.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

maybe instead of saying women should be left out of it, you should have said it isn't part of a sexual contest debate, which is generally juvenile, as you mostly pointed out. as human beings and as mothers, women do have an integral part in the debate, and your headline misleads and your article doesn't really address this.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2011 @ 10:13 am

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