Circumcise Your Child

Circumcision. It's a vexed question.

I never needed to worry about this whole thing when it came to my children as I had two girls and circumcising girls is butchery at its worst – and I think all but very backwards people (like people whose mother is also their aunt) would agree.

But if I had had a boy, would I have put him under the knife as soon as I could muster?

No, I wouldn’t. I myself haven't been circumcised and I can’t really see a point with messing with the will of Mother Nature if there isn't a good reason to do so. I would have made the decision based on tradition and as my parents didn’t do it to me and as I’ve lived to be a healthy and only slightly mentally skewed individual, it seems having a foreskin works ok. Why mess with that?

But here the argument starts. If you don’t wash yourself regularly – some people will cry – you’ll end up getting infections, so it is more hygienic to circumcise. Well I have news for that whole unwashed section of society. If you can’t even be bothered teaching your kids basic hygiene, they’ve got bigger problems than that (and so do you).

I’ve even seen it argued that you are less likely to contract HIV if you are circumcised.

Unqualified research is thrown around to support this. The TV program 60 Minutes is quoted as a reliable source. People claiming to be doctors jump in on either side of the debate and get quoted, misquoted and summarily dismissed. After all, an argument isn’t about being right or even winning; it is about being heard the loudest. The only reason to listen to the other side of the argument is to find out when they are done saying their piece so you can state your position again. And again.

It is hardly ever a question of someone being convinced by a particular research or authority. It is a question of people looking around on the internet for any information that proves their point. But if circumcision is your plan to save your children from HIV, I’d like to put you into the category of awfully backwards people in the beginning of this rant.

Another interesting argument is that the infant feels less pain when it is done than they would if they were being circumcised as an adult for medical reasons. May as well get it done and over with to be sure. There’s two parts to that argument:

  • Pain - Seriously people. It is as bad as the old sport fishermen argument that it is ok to hook fish and throw them in again because the fish can’t feel it. Perhaps it is even true, but that doesn’t change the fact that the trauma of being hooked and pulled out of the water will leave the poor thing scarred for life. Who can say this is not the case for the infant too?
  • Safety - Well, perhaps we should introduce removing the appendix in the infant too whilst we're at it? No point in leaving that around to cause appendicitis later on. And why not some cosmetic surgery? It belongs in the same category after all.

Personally I take a slightly more relaxed view of the whole thing. If you feel you have to chop pieces off your infants, go for it. I can understand that you’d want your little one’s little one to look the same as yours. After all, my decision would have been based on the same argument. Just don’t go making up crap to justify yourself.

That should be left in the hands of professionals – like politicians.