Monday, September 13, 2004

Men For Skin 

[Via Pansexual Sodomite] A group in America is trying to introduce a bill which would make male circumcision a crime:

“We have a blatantly discriminatory circumcision policy in this country,” said Hess. “Doctors and mohels who circumcise girls are thrown into prison, but if those same doctors and mohels circumcise boys, they are rewarded with a paycheck – even though circumcision impairs sexual function in both genders.”

There seems to be plenty of evidence to suggest that circumcised men aren't generally hindered in their sexual functioning, and it seems quite strange to argue, as the group's FAQ does, that circumcised men regularly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, while in most respects female and male circumcision are very similar, the key difference has to be that female circumcision is usually very damaging, while male circumcision is only sometimes so.

However, none of this has ever come directly within my experience. I don't know what proportion of the men I know are circumcised, nor how it affects them. If it is generally harmless and the reasons for performing it are mostly cultural, there seem to be no obvious reasons to argue against it, since to ban it would be to eliminate certain group rights for those to whom it is an important cultural or religious symbol. If sufficient information is provided, then people can make their own choices.

What I would be in favour of is just that, though - allowing men, not parents, to make their own choice. I doubt a bill banning male circumcision until the age of 16 or so would be ridiculed in quite the same way this one has been. In this country you can't get a tattoo until you're 18, and since circumcision is similarly permanent, it should probably have similar restrictions. That is, unless we remove all body modification restrictions, which could be quite fun.

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