Recently I saw this comment on Tumblr (I’ll keep him anonymous, to avoid hate mail)
It seems as though women care a lot more about circumcision. If you don’t have a dick, why do you care? Most guys like their penises, even if its circumcised. So women, shut up, because you have no idea.
Alright. Rather than pick apart this *clearly ignorant* statement in all its fallacies, I’d rather just broach the issue of why I think women, especially those who have become mothers, care so damn much, and even more, why all adults should care.
For women who have become mothers, they have changed. They have completed a rite of passage from woman to mother, from child-free to child-full. Mammals are hardwired to protect children. It’s part of our evolutionary biology, and absolutely necessary for the preservation of the species. If our brains didn’t release oxytocin (the love hormone) when we are around children, we wouldn’t have survived as a species.
That’s not to say men don’t care (or even to dichotomise gender in such a way), I’m merely talking about the BIOLOGICAL differences, in the pregnancy-birth-breastfeeding cycle of womanhood. Our maternal instincts are fiercely driven to protect children, and circumcision directly violates maternal instincts.
So what about those mothers who cut the genitals of their children, does that mean they don’t have maternal instincts? Nope, it means they are a product of their culture and have allowed their culture to blind them from the inherent harm. As in, we placate our maternal instincts by giving ourselves reasons to cut the genitals of children.
- Uncircumcised boys are dirty, and I don’t want him to be dirty, or to be made fun of for being dirty.
See the maternal instinct? I’m protecting my son from being ridiculed for having his whole penis. This then correlates with strong socialisation that penises are dirty, and only unlucky girls end up with uncircumcised men, whose parents don’t love them enough to cut their penises.
- Circumcision has been proven to protect against *insert every medical justification ever given to cut a child’s genitals.*
There it is again, protecting our children from disease. It doesn’t matter how minor, if we can come up with a medical reason, we can keep cutting our sons, and we can let the mama lion in our hearts rest peacefully that we have never harmed our children.
- Girls do not want to be with an uncircumcised boy, and I’m not going to keep him from happiness with a partner.
The maternal protection is especially strong here, because if we don’t cut our sons’ penises, he will never get laid. How traumatic if our sons’ first sexual experience was with an ignorant bimbo who is too naive to understand and appreciate the natural male genitals.
- All the men in our family are circumcised, and they love it. My son needs to look like all the men in our family.
Here again, the maternal instinct protects the boy from ‘otherness,’ which could potentially be quite traumatic when the family whips out their penises at Thanksgiving and he’s the only one with a foreskin. Or worse, when he sees his father’s circumcised penis and wonders why on earth his loving parents wouldn’t cut his to match his dad’s. After all, matching penises is most certainly integral to family relationships.
Now, fathers have just as much paternal instincts to protect their children, and we hear men argue these same points. Which is why, no matter male, female, trans, or however a person identifies, we need to really understand how these fallacious arguments do not protect children at all. Rather, they protect us, the adults, from having to face the very ugly truth about circumcision.
It is our responsibility as adults on this planet to protect children from harm, not place them directly in harm’s way. If only one child has ever died from circumcision, we have failed to protect them. If only one child has ever lost his penis, we have failed. If only one child has ever been traumatised and negatively affected, we have failed. If only one man has grown up to HATE his circumcision, we have failed.
So, adults, have you leveled up? Have you found the courage to pull back the mask, to de-robe the wolf in sheep’s clothing? Have you discovered the amount of harm cutting the genitals of children has cost us as a society?
If we do not find the courage to expose this ugly beast, we are being complicit in the death, trauma, and harm of children.