Well, this is a first.

I’m simply amazed. I have never been referred to as a “disgusting, vile, stupid freak” before, at least not to my face, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. Really, after reading through the posts on this gem of a blog, I’m not all that offended. But this particular post brings up some issues with the debate about circumcision that I feel I need to address. And since I was asked ever so politely to not “pollute” her blog further, I decided I would instead use my own blog to release my “child-hating screeches”.

Bottom line, if you’re going to disagree with someone, try to remember that there is a difference in debating an issue, and simply berating people with whom you disagree. The validity of circumcisions is ripe for internet discourse, so long as the debate is centered on data, not hearsay or feelings. There is absolutely nothing worse than a self-proclaimed “academic” who spews hate of this sort without any evidence to support her attacks.

After talking to our pediatrician and other infectious disease experts about the data and discussing our own feelings on the matter, Hubby and I made the decision to circumcise our son for a mixture of health and cultural reasons – BOTH of which are valid. I stood by the doctor during the procedure and held my little Monkey’s hand; he barely cried, much less than he did when he was hungry and wanted to nurse, and the circ healed nicely within a couple of weeks. I don’t regret our decision one bit.

Now, if circumcision is not something you feel comfortable doing to/for your son, for whatever reason, that’s perfectly valid. If you think we were wrong to circumcise our son, that’s fine too. But comparing our decision, made from a desire to improve the quality of our son’s life, to mutilation, as occurs in a hate crime or sexual assault, due to a sick fetish on the part of the assailant, is quite depraved. Further, defending that accusation without a shred of actual data to back up your claims that circumcised men are either 1) sad, hapless victims, or 2) suffering from mommy issues, is downright irresponsible.

Now, excuse me while I get back to enjoying this beautiful holiday weekend with my Hubby and what’s left of my son.

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25 thoughts on “Well, this is a first.

  1. Well, since her current post says that big pharma is paying trolls to come to her blog…. I have to think she’s not thinking very clearly.

    I’m sorry you got slimed.

    FWIW, my only opinion on the whole circumcision thing is “well, that’s one parenting decision I don’t have to worry about”- since I have two girls.

  2. I’d been reading that person’s blog for a couple of months simply because she occupies a similar part of the academic world to mine, and had grown increasingly despairing of the way the conversations tended to go. This thread was the last straw, and I’m not going back to her blog… Point being, I just wanted to throw in my support for reasoned disagreements, good logic and rhetoric, and clear-headed thinking. Thanks for saying what you did and taking a stand.

  3. It was super amusing because she kept insisting that everyone was being screech and hysterical while she was Teh Rock of Reason, when she was the one flinging nonsensical insults left and right. An embarrassment to people who hold PhDs, really.

  4. I followed the link… I really wish I hadn’t. There were so many things that I wanted to say, but I knew it would be useless. I’ve got to agree with Sally – Whatever happened to conversations and reasonable language, regardless of whatever side you’re on?

  5. I am really sorry… Your comment over there was perfectly civil and certainly did not deserve the reply it got.
    Unfortunately, circumcision is a topic where emotions run high; it’s a personal decision and people feel very strongly one way or another, and I have seen numerous threads on the issue turn very ugly very fast…

  6. Wow and I thought the home birthing debate was getting rough! Well you guys aren’t the only one apparently mutilating your son in the name of good health! Good grief, people!

  7. @GMP – From reading the entire cadre of her work, her refusal to engage in civilized debate extends well beyond the topic of circumcision. Also, the mob mentality of her *followers*, many of whom feed her power trips with their own falsehoods and hysteria, is more frightening than Clarissa herself. I felt like I was in the blogosphere version of Lord of the Flies over there.

  8. GMP, wasn’t this your comment on that same blog?

    “None of my boys were circumcised and I consider circumcision to be mutilation, plain and simple. There is no way I could never endorse someone removing another person’s body parts that are not diseased.”

    Sounds a lot like Clarissa’s exact point, even to the point of calling it “mutilation, plain and simple”. Seems odd to have you blogsplaining here.

    If only I were on Twitter….

  9. I am against circumcision of newborns, but I don’t agree with the name calling that Dr. O received in response to her civil comment, nor do I like how that whole thread developed.

    As for the use of the word mutilation, it means alteration of a part of the body or its function (feel free to google it). The term does not necessarily imply violence; it also includes rituals such as tattooing, ear piercing, and circumcision. My ears were pierced when I was a little girl (not a baby, so I remember it) and it felt horrible and I consider it mutilation.

  10. GMP,
    Claiming “dictionary definition” is just a little disingenuous, don’t you think? You know full well the connotations of using mutilation the way you did.

  11. @GMP: My ears were pierced as a little girl (5 yo), and I barely remember it, except for being excited that I could finally wear some of my mom’s smaller earrings.

    Definitionsplaining: my new favorite word.

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  13. I was drawn to #FWDAOTI because of the silliness and hostility of Clarissa, which was astonishing. However, if anything I’m probably more in agreement with her than with you as far as circumcision. I mean, from an infectious disease standpoint the procedure is not without risk (neonates post-circ are the only population I know of where males get more UTIs than females), and there’s no evidence to suggest it prevents disease transmission in the environment your son will grow up in. It strikes me as strange to put up your position as about “data” in that context.

    I do think that “mutilate” is a word like “barbaric”- it’s just loaded with judgy connotations.
    It might be borderline accurate here though. I don’t buy that using a dictionary definition is disingenuous- but one should recognize that what constitutes an “alteration” is subjective (as evidenced by how we perceive hair and nail trimmings. The fact that we do not consider cutting them to be mutilation is culturally specific, although probably in part related to the lack of pain involved).
    (sidenote- you say that to be funny, Namnezia, but I’d argue it’s perfectly fair to considered pulling out one’s hair and nails a form of self-mutilation.)

  14. Becca, now THIS is how one discusses a topic like circumcision in a civilized bloggy world. I accept your challenge, and respond with my own set of arguments:

    I mean, from an infectious disease standpoint the procedure is not without risk (neonates post-circ are the only population I know of where males get more UTIs than females), and there’s no evidence to suggest it prevents disease transmission in the environment your son will grow up in.

    As I alluded to in my post, the data are not completely clear on this subject, in that the data for an individual growing up “in the environment [my] son will grow up in” are somewhat lacking. But that doesn’t mean that circumcision does not prevent disease transmission as it does in other environments. As for the UTI risk, at least according to our pediatrician and the peds ID specialist I work with, the risk is very low – in our peds [approximate] words “not enough to affect your decision if you’re strongly in favor of doing the circumcision”. (That convo was 11 months ago.)

    It strikes me as strange to put up your position as about “data” in that context.

    As I said, our decision was based on both health and cultural reasons – but mostly cultural, if you must know.

    I do think that “mutilate” is a word like “barbaric”- it’s just loaded with judgy connotations.
    It might be borderline accurate here though. I don’t buy that using a dictionary definition is disingenuous- but one should recognize that what constitutes an “alteration” is subjective

    Fair enough. But I’ll add that the entire pots and thread in Clarissa’s slice of the internetz was, by objective standards, incredibly judgmental. Which is why we all took a swing at the FWDAOTI pinata.

  15. Is it just me or does it seem like the people who get most worked up about this are women, who have no experience owning a penis?

    As an uncircumcised guy, I can say from firsthand experience that being uncut when the majority are circumcised is not a great experience. The cultural factor is important. But, my understanding is that the rates are falling in the U.S., so that’s not as much of an issue any more, which left me pretty indifferent about whether to do it for our son.

    I left the decision up to my wife, who has an MPH. She looked at the data and came to the conclusion that the benefits are significant enough, and the risks small enough, to warrant the procedure. Most of her colleagues, who are educated math/science types, agree. So, we did it and nothing bad happened. The end.

  16. At our daycare in a small town in a red state, ~50% of the boys are uncirc (according to the daycare ladies). I imagine it’s higher in say, blue states and cities. I don’t think culturally it’s a big deal either way these days unless you live in a majority Jewish area.

    I did the research and decided in the US medically it seems to be 6 of one half a dozen of the other (assuming that you don’t get a crappy doctor who forces the foreskin or alternatively botches the procedure, and a few other similar assumptions, though forcing the foreskin is a pretty strong sign you should switch pedi) and let DH decide. If we were in a country where AIDS etc. were more prevalent and condoms less so that might have tipped towards circ for medical reasons. The argument that one of my colleagues made that he should be circ so that he would have more staying power in bed frankly disgusted us, so it did not enter into our calculations.

  17. You think that cultural and health reasons are valid. Is female circumcision valid because it is the culture in some parts of the world? You say if I make a claim you want data, well I have data that you can’t dispute. Have you ever heard of an uncircumcised man that has to shove tampons up his foreskin? Maybe women who are so worried about hygiene should amputate parts of their genitals to make themselves cleaner. And people that say that they circumcised their son and nothing happened, nothing happened yet cause he is still to young. Wait 20 years when he comes to you and says, “Mom, Dad, why did you perform a bizarre, sexual mutilation torture ritual on me?” What are you going to say then when he hates you for mutilating his body. Don’t say that can’t happen because that is what happened to my own parents and they obviously didn’t expect that when they made “their decision” back in 1987.

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