Hey gang, let’s have a cozy chat about circumcision!

(Because sometimes it’s hard to find a tasteful illustration. Image source.)


Speaking of babies…

Now that one of my favorite people has become a doula, I’ve suddenly been exposed to many more articles about babies and their welfare. Also, I’ve learned the word “doula.”

This explains how I ended up reading zippy articles like Functions of the Foreskin and Intact or Circumcised: a Significant Difference in the Adult Penis. What about Jewish infants? Check out these Judaism and Circumcision Resources.

Alright, so Ms. Doula isn’t completely responsible; I read a whole book about circumcision back when I was a young Mormon girl who’d never SEEN a foreskin. (Which is not to say that I’d never…let’s save that story until you’re a little older, eh?) As it turns out, my library keeps its “fashion in history” very close to its “anthropological novelties” section. The circumcision book seemed good too, right up until the author started subjecting patients to hypnosis to revisit their memories of being circumcised… is is possible for books to jump the shark?

While we’re publicly discussing private parts, how many of us don’t know we’ve had cosmetic genital surgery? Beware the phall-o-meter!

Were I a dude, I’d wish to be an uncircumcised dude— but my top priority would be attempting to grow king-size mutton-chop sideburns. Obviously. While I DO want people to weigh their options before circumcising their babies, I DO NOT want to shame any man who is already circumcised. Men worry enough about their packages, and surely we ladies are tired of hearing about which bodies are “best” and how bodies “ought to” look.

Anyway! Think twice/thrice/carefully before doing anything permanent to a baby.



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9 comments to Hey gang, let’s have a cozy chat about circumcision!

  • Mia

    Agreed with the last sentence–including ear-piercing. I’ve never had a particular opinion on circumcision one way or the other, but when I think about it the other way around (“Oh, go ahead, doctor, our daughter would be embarrassed of her labia minora when she’s older and it’s more sanitary to remove them anyway!”) it does seem…troubling.


    Rebekah Reply:

    My hidebound, reactionary side can’t believe it’s legal to stab holes in baby’s ears just to make room for jewelry. Strange culture, eh?


  • mum

    In one of the articles it’s suggested rather than asking “Do you want the baby circumsized?” the doctor should ask “Do you want to keep your son intact?”
    When my son was born Dear Dr. Johnson phrased the question this way: “You Don’t want him to have a circumcision do you?” Which met the hospital’s requirement that he ask, yet at the same time unobtrusively discouraged parents from actually doing it.

    Interesting articles….I’ve figured out now that everything I don’t like about sex is related to the wholesale circumsizing of a generation of baby boys back in the “modern” ’50′s. Dang.


  • It is a personal choice, and a cultural choice, and a tough choice. I received a lot of flack after we chose to have our son circumcised, and the reasons were too deeply to explain here. Parents, doctors, and nurses should totally keep an open mind, and think at length about it – either way you (ahem) slice it.


    Rebekah Reply:

    Thank you for chiming in, Chrissy! Parenting is fraught with tough, personal choices. To paraphrase the father from Sleepless in Seattle, we all have a lot to tell Oprah. Heh!


  • Hey, that’s me! (and you’re one of my favorite people too :) Glad I could teach you some new terminology. I’ll be waiting for your blog post on the benefits and controversy of Placentophagy, haha.

    As for circumcision, it seems that with so many things surrounding birth, babies, and parenting, there are many different ways of doing things and people are very attached to their ways. That is one of the cool things about being a doula – one of the main job requirements is maintaining a position of non-judgment and objectivity, and remembering that your goal is to support a woman and family in having the kind of birth they want, not the kind that you want. It helps to keep this perspective in mind with all things related… it might not be my choice, but every family is different and that’s what keeps life interesting.


  • Katie

    I’m quite a bit anti-circumcision given that we know (don’t we know, now?) that it is purely cosmetic. Also, I plain prefer penises with foreskins. They are so much more fun for me to play with. I love the way a foreskin slides over a hard cock!


  • Thanks Rebekah for writing about this important topic. I left the decision in my husbands capable hands and he decided against circumcision in a purely instinctive way. He is circumsized but also the kind of guy who swerves and shouts: “run little man run!” when a squirrel darts in front of his car.
    I honestly didn’t give it much thought until I read the portion on circumcision in the book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom:
    It is food for thought for someone facing the decision in the future. I highly recommend it!


  • Winter

    When Logan was born, I reiterated numerous times that they will NOT be cutting my child; when I went in, as they put in my IV, as they hooked up the baby moniter, as they checked my cervix, as they put my feet into pushing position, 2 seconds after my second push, when he was born, as they cleaned him, when they handed him to me, when I nursed him for the first time…and still 3 hours after his birth, they asked…’when do you want us to take him for his “circ”?’…I did a double take…”a what?..oh. that…um. you’re not going to” was my reply. then a few hours later, they came to get him to give him his first shot…I don’t remember what it was, and to do a heel prick to check his blood to make sure he wasn’t anemic, I think. and they said, “we’ll just do his circumcision at the same time”…to which I replied: “Oh. No, you will not”. which made them do a double take….seriously? lol. I loved that hospital, they were great, but really, why is it so hard to get it through your head that you will not be cutting my baby…? I grew up with 3 brothers, so uncircumcised is normal for me…I’m glad that my children’s father isn’t…cuz I was never gonna do that to my baby, and at least they won’t have questions about why Daddy is different! yay!


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