Male circumcision is the surgical procedure of removing part or all of the foreskin on the penis. The word circumcision is derived from the Latin word “circum” or around and “caedere” to cut. Research indicates that circumcision dates back possibly to the stone age. No one really knows for sure exactly why circumcisions were originally performed but several theories have been made. Perhaps it was used as a form of sacrifice or a rite of passage. Some believe circumcisions were performed to alter the sexuality of the man. For whatever reason, circumcision got it’s start, and it is still the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States today.
As a religious requirement, followers of the Islamic and Jewish faiths circumcise their sons. On the eighth day after birth, a special naming ceremony and a “bris” is performed usually by a mohel (a Jewish ritual circumciser). This is a very special time for the family and afterward a party is sometimes thrown. Although many believe that circumcision is fundamental to Judaism, some Jewish families are choosing to have a circumcision free ceremony. Instead, they would have a “Bris Shalom” or the ceremony without the slice.
According to user added content on Wikipedia (Which is currently being flagged for it’s question of neutrality on the subject) Routine circumcision practices in South Korea are largely the result of American cultural and military influence following the Korean War. Also noted on Wikipedia are the non-western initiatory traditions that state circumcision can be part of an initiation rite in some African, Pacific Islander and certain isolated Australian aboriginal traditions. Certain Aborigines people are believed to practice the more painful form of circumcision which includes sub-incisions. Basically in a nutshell, a sub-incision is a cut made through to the urethra with the expected outcome of making the penis look almost female “Labia-like”. Sub-incisions are almost always self performed.
Circumcision used to be “popular” in Great Britain, Australia and Canada. Some believe this was due to the belief that it’s a human rights violation, completely cosmetic and national insurance coverage would no longer pay for the procedure.
Although circumcisions have been practiced for a very long time, the practice had not always been widely popular. It wasn’t until the “Germaphobia” (19th and 20th century) kicked in that doctors started recommending circumcisions to every baby born. The cheesy white substance secreted from the foreskin, or smegma, was viewed as dirty. Circumcision remedied this problem. No foreskin, no smegma. People also believed at that time that masturbation was damaging, and circumcision would thus prevent boys from masturbating. That theory did not pan out too well, as a large portion of males in the United States alone happen to be circumcised. There are no reports of them having the inability to do so, or a lack of desire to want to. Next came circumcision as a status symbol. Wealthier people were giving birth in hospitals under the care of doctors. Hospital births almost always came with a circumcision. Not being circumcised meant you were lower class and poor.
Now comes the current times. According to the World Health Organizations publication in the US Public Library of Science Medicine journal in July 2006, circumcision appears to have some sort of protection against HIV. The study suggests that the foreskin maybe provide an entry point for HIV. Both circumcised and uncircumcised males were involved with several studies. The rate of transmission was seen to be higher for uncircumcised men. Other studies have shown evidence that uncircumcised males are at a greater risk for acquiring HPV.
So let’s recap: Circumcisions go back farther then we can imagine. It has been used to cure masturbation, boost your social status, cure germaphobia and rumored to have also been used to cure epilepsy. Now in the current time, it’s suggested that it’s a possible added preventative against HIV and HPV (Safe sex practices should still be in place, circumcision is not to be thought of as 100% protection)
But what does current society REALLY think about infant circumcision? Go to just about any online parenting message board and you’re bound to find a Circumcision debate board. Both points of view arguing back and forth. Those opposed to circumcision believe their is never a good reason for a boy to be circumcised. They use words to describe circumcision as: mutilating, sexual molestation, human rights violation etc. Those that approve of circumcision generally have the opinion that it’s parental choice, it has benefits and maybe not everyone would want to chose that.
What happened when I asked actual people that I knew? The results are:
Just about everyone that I asked, regardless of age or sex, pretty much gave me the same answers.
“Circumcision is cleaner,”
“His daddy is, and he has the penis, I let him make the choice”
“I never gave NOT circumcising much thought, I just thought it’s something that you just had done”
“We chose to have our son circ’d because we believed it to be a healthier choice, we were also concerned about the ‘what ifs’ later on down the line. I’d rather have it taken care of early on”
So, to complete my AC experiment, here is the question:
As a member of todays society, Do you believe that circumcision has a legitimate place in the medical world, or do you believe that circumcision should go out like the dinosaurs and become extinct?