A guide to convincing parents to circumcise their babies

Circumcision - penis size australiaTo convince otherwise well-meaning parents to take their precious, perfectly formed baby boy and amputate one of the most intimate, sensitive parts of his body would take a compelling argument. While cultural and religous influences can be strong, certain pro-circumcision individuals and groups have devised a formula to help parents go against their instincts and have their baby circumcised. We reveal the secrets to their formula to help Australian and New Zealand parents identify when they are about to be conned:

1) Keep releasing new and recycling ‘studies’ pointing to the mostly-discredited medical benefits of circumcision (perpetuating the fake ‘debate amongst experts’).

2) Frame the debate as an issue of ‘parental rights’ (as if parents choosing elective surgery for their children is somehow a right or valid parental choice). Avoid the topic of human/children’s rights – and if it comes up – compare circumcision to everyday food, education and vaccination choices parents make for their children. Always use the term ‘parental rights’ rather than ‘personal choice’ as the latter will highlight that the decision should really be made by the owner of the penis.

3) Never, ever discuss the value and functions of the male foreskin.

4) Dismiss out of hand the losses and harm caused by circumcision along with the voices of damaged and resentful men.

5) Avoid discussion of the fact that medical benefits of circumcision exist only in (biased and self-interested) studies and never in real-world settings.

6) Expresss the potential benefits vaguely ‘reduces the risk’ and/or misleadingly ‘60% reduction’ to exaggerate their importance, leaving out key facts like ‘from women to men’.

7) Don’t mention the complications of the surgery itself (loss of penis, skin bridges, scarring), and if brought up try to minimise the downsides: call haemorrhage ‘bleeding’ and MRSA ‘infection’.

8) Belittle the opposition: call serious concerns ‘notions’. Accuse those who speak out against infant circumcision as having a foreskin fetish (An odd claim which begs the question: Who has the fetish? Those who want you to give your child away to strangers who will strap him down and cut his genitals, or those who want you to hold him in your arms and accept him as perfect as he is?)

9) Drive the biggest possible wedge between male and female genital cutting. Compare the most surgical sterile variety of male genital cutting with the most horrendous, primitive variety of female genital cutting, without revealing that both have varying degrees of severity.

10) Use and the ‘buy it now’ sales strategy by falsely claiming that it is easier/less painful when done as an infant, and use fear tactics to worry parents into thinking that other purported benefits (eg. reduced risk of penile cancer, prostate cancer) only apply when done as an infant. The pro-cutters know that once the child becomes a teenager they have missed their chance, as there is no way the boy will let anyone chop off part of their most important body parts.

11) Only quote ‘experts’ from the pro-cutting community, who all have some self interest in promoting circumcision. Never quote the medical authorities as no medical authority in Australia and New Zealand (or the world for that matter) recommends infant circumcision.

The next time the Australian or New Zealand media picks up on the latest ‘study’ that shows that circumcision is now a cure for (insert the latest affliction/disease here), see if you can spot one or more of the above techniques.  If you are an expectant parent you will know how they are trying to manipulate you, and if you have joined the cause to protect our children you will know to call them out on these techniques.

18 thoughts on “A guide to convincing parents to circumcise their babies

  1. Reblogged this on Circumcision Doctors Australia and commented:
    Every six months or so a group of pro-cutters will issue a press release to the Australian media with the latest ‘reason’ to rush out and circumcise your baby before it’s ‘too late’. The formula they use is predictable, and always uses one or more of these strategies. This should be mandatory reading if you are expecting a baby boy, because you will now be able to identify how they are trying to manipulate you. Or if you are a health or lifestyle journalist perhaps you will be able to put that media release under a little more scrutiny.

  2. 12) Don’t call it surgery, just refer to it as a “little snip.”
    13) Repeat as many times as needed, “He won’t feel any pain.”

  3. Yet, killing the child before he is born is a parental right. Ahem, I mean “personal choice”. Better the child be alive and snipped, than DEAD.

    • http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/black-or-white

      Someday, when someone is discussing abortion and not circumcision, someone can write a piece about “How to convince people to be pro-choice” or “How to convince people to be pro-life” and the second one can use phrases like “killing the child before he is born” to cover everthing from the morning-after pill to cranioclasty at term, but until someone writes that piece, how about we stick to circumcision here?

    • Ah, this classic red herring. Let the record show that it is impossible to be either for or against abortion and simultaneously pro-circ without being a hypocrite. In one case, you believe in the child’s right to life, but if born male, to *not* have a right to an intact body? Or you’re a proponent of “her body, her rights” yet not “his body, his rights”? Shaky moral ground in either case.

  4. Jen, you’ve hit on another tactic, which is to compare circumcision to abortion. While both are human rights issues they are otherwise unrelated and should be discussed separately. I’m not even sure what connection you are trying to make here. Is it that because abortion is legal we should therefore allow other human rights infringements after the child is born?

  5. Another tactic to add to the list:

    “It is not necessary to interview any couples who decided not to circumcise, but if you do, quote only vague reasons, like ‘We just didn’t think it was necessary.’ that will carry no weight with readers…..”

    Read more in this ultimate guide for the media on how to write convincingly about circumcision:

  6. What a load of crap. It does not make the penis smaller. It does not make sex any less plesureable. It makes it easier to clean and stops the possibility of complications later on in life where someone may have to have a circumcision for medical reasons. Someone sew this losers mouth shut.

    • Wanting those who are speaking out against circumcision to just keep quiet is a fairly typical reaction from men who don’t want to hear the truth. As is latching on to myths such as cleanliness and the (minute) risk of needing to have it done later in life.

    • So what OTHER parts of the body can we start removing because something MIGHT happen later?

      I know.. men are 10 times more likely to get breast cancer than penile cancer & it’s not like they can breastfeed so OFF with their breast tissue. Sound good to YOU?

  7. As an RN and a mother, I am always educating people about the human rights of little boys and girls and intersexed children to keeping the genitals they were born with. Every person on this planet has the right to keep the normal and natural genitals they were born with, in the normal and natural state they are in. That follows that no parent, for religious, community or cultural reasons has the right to circumcise their son, their daughter or change the genitals of their intersex child. They will always have to grow up harmed by that decision. I don’t curse or shame people who make this decision for their child when they don’t know better but when you do know better and still change someones future sex life anyway by cutting their genitals, you should be aware that what has been done is wrong and will always be wrong.

  8. Been trying to convince my sister to not mutilate her new baby boy that is coming…. so sad. I am thinking about starting an organization!

    Stop Male genital Mutilation Already! (SMeGMA!)

    But seriously, it is so sad that people still do this barbaric practice to Babies. If there were an organization, I would join.

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