The Foreskin Follies & The Vagina Massacre
I enjoy having all my original parts, so to speak, and as such I really don't understand the urge parents have to take pieces off their children. Male or female, there is no reason to do this (don't give me the "it's cleaner" reason for males because it's not - maybe 200 years ago when people bathed once a month, but not anymore) and it truly illuminates the lengths we will go to in order to adhere to stupid cultural or religious "norms."
Male circumcision is often justified as being a part of the person's religious heritage. A quote from the article by Sherry Colb states:
... Muslims and Jews have performed circumcision on their sons for thousands of years as a religiously required practice. It serves as an affirmation, at a very basic level, of their religion and culture. To suggest that such a practice is 'unnecessary' is accordingly to ignore this feature of circumcision, the fact that it is experienced by many as an essential and imperative component of their religious and cultural identity.
I'd buy that if the person being circumcised was of an age to consent to what was happening to them. As noted scientist Richard Dawkins and others have said, there is no such thing as a "Muslim baby" any more than there are Liberal babies, Conservative babies or Microsoft babies. It is the parents of these children who are making a religious choice for another person, sometimes against their will (or future will).
I'm going to say that the practice isn't "essential" or "imperative", and I'm backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics in their 1999 statement:
Circumcision is not essential to a child’s well-being at birth, even though it does have some potential medical benefits. These benefits are not compelling enough to warrant the AAP to recommend routine newborn circumcision. Instead, we encourage parents to discuss the benefits and risks of circumcision with their pediatrician, and then make an informed decision about what is in the best interest of their child...
So no, it's not essential. The Colb article also claims that, "Studies suggest...that there may be a cosmetic preference for the look of the circumcised penis." Really?! Well fuck, let me run out and get that handled. Holy shit, women get pissed when men suggest that we have a "cosmetic preference" for a shaved vagina. Imagine how far off the handle they'd fly if we suggested that they should cut a part off of their clitoris because "studies show" it looks better.
Fuck you and fuck your studies.
She concludes her article by stating, "Until we can say with certainty that circumcision is truly harmful to children in a lasting way, we should probably leave it alone." Right, so keep doing that unnecessary removal of normal tissue to ANOTHER PERSON who may, later in life, not like that this was done to him, because it seems at the moment to not be eternally physically/emotionally harmful. Fuck you with a barbed wire mitten.
Moving on to female circumcision or, more appropriately, female genital mutilation (FGM). If ever you want a demonstration of barbarism in culture and religion, behold this sad display of backward "thinking". With this you can have either or both of a clitoridectomy or infibulation (see above link for definition; aka Pharaonic or Sudanese circumcision). If you think this is kid stuff, you're right - most of the girls are operated on before age ten. Most girls are playing with dolls and dreaming of a life with one of the Hanson brothers, not - "...(having) parts or all of their clitoris or labia removed....their vaginas sewn up or the flesh shrunk with corrosives,". That is what we like to call Top Shelf Fucked Up. Why does this sort of Jeffery Dahmer shit get a pass because of the religion/cultural tag that's slapped on it? Blows my mind. Thankfully the British government has laws to protect people, even if they are having a ton of problems enforcing them (ref.). The Canadian government also grants refugee status to women fleeing the practice - go us.
I'm harping on the fact that FGM is a religious practice and you could certainly argue that it is "a social custom, not a religious practice." True as that may be, I'd bet a lot of money and my right testicle that most of the people who perform the rite and most of the people who subject their daughters to it use religious as well as social rationalizations for it.
How polite do we have to continue to be to religion/culture and their horrifying "customs"? Destroying the adult sex lives of women is not something quaint to be celebrated in villages before the girl's first period.
There also seems to be a bit of, "well, it happened to me, so it's going to happen to you" going on with the women in these tribes/cultures (maybe I'm reading too much into it, but come on...hazing breeds people who haze). These women need to seriously step back and take a fucking look at what they're doing. If you saw three people in an alley holding a woman down and using a fucking kitchen knife (or broken bottle! Read the article!) to cut her genitals, that would be just cause to jump in and, if necessary, get beat up or killed in her defense. Yet, here these countries are, attempting to make this behavior acceptable under the guise of religion and "social norms".
If ever you want proof of evolution, look at the terrifying reality of FGM and think about the small steps that would have had to take place to lead a village to the point where they hold down girls and do these horrible things. It's like a murderer who has an elaborate M.O. and stages his victims in poses, takes pieces of clothing, jewelery or skin, and leaves scarcely a trace behind. If a forensic examiner saw a scene like this, the first thought would be, "Ok, there have been previous murders or assaults where he cut his teeth and got his ritual down pat."
I've quoted Hicks before and I shall again, "...we're a virus with shoes."