One of my favorite blogs, Bitch PhD, recently published a post defending male circumcision and expressing the view that "fundamentalist god-fearing people" would oppose this practice. Opposition to circumcision was also connected to anti-Semitism. This was very shocking to me because I believe that circumcision is one of the most barbaric castrating practices known to humankind (I need to clarify here that I'm talking exclusively about non-religious circumcision.) So this is what I wrote in response:
Historically, circumcision has been one of profoundly sexually repressive practices. In 1888, Dr. Kellogg advocated circumcision for boys as a remedy against masturbation. In 1936, L.E. Holt proposed male and female circumcision for the same reason. As we can see, fundamentalist "god-fearing" people are very much in favor of this and other castrating techniques. It is mind-boggling to me why parents would inflict this on their newborn child. Why not allow him to make this decision for himself when he grows up? Do you need to mess with his penis the very moment he is born? Are we as a society that terrified of our genitals?
I believe that the argument about circumcision reducing the incidence of HSV and HPV is completely specious. If we follow this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, we should advocate cutting off women's breasts to avoid breast cancer. If a body part has a capacity to get diseased, let's just lop it off. What sense does this make?
My conviction that to perform circumcision on people without their consent is wrong stems not from antisemitism (as some people have suggested) but from my profound belief in the inviolability of human body. The traditionalist, puritanical forces in this country do everything they can to prevent women from being in charge of their own bodies. Aren't we accepting their logic when we state that parents have a right to inflict circumcision on their sons?