Letter to the Editor,
The Daily Yomiuri,
Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8243
It was to be expected that the German government would at least pass a resolution condemning the Cologne district court’s recent ruling that infant male circumcision is a physical assault, reported in “German parliament defends circumcision” (July 21).
It bothers me greatly that modern advanced societies condemn female genital mutilation, but not male genital mutilation. So I was quite pleased in late June with news of the Cologne court’s ruling that the procedure represents “grievous bodily harm” of non-consenting, underage victims. Of course it does! The court’s position was that the young boys’human right to protection of their physical integrity outweighed, at least for a time, their parents’ right to practice their religious or cultural rites. So what I want to hear from circumcision advocates is how the procedure is not an assault. The usual arguments that male circumcision is an antique and revered sacred custom and that it does not deprive grown men of satisfying sexual lives are beside the point. And, the argument of medical benefits in the form of hygiene and AIDS prevention remain unconvincing at best. The point is genital integrity and the rights of sovereign individuals to their whole selves.
Male circumcision is a genital mutilation because it renders boys less than whole by robbing them of their full complement of natural equipment. Equality of the sexes demands that males’right to genital integrity be congruent with that of females. Hence any artificial or elective excisions in that area deserve strict legal oversight.
It is almost ridiculous to hear circumcised men defending and even boasting about their surgery. They seem like incomplete men to me eulogizing a physical deficiency.
But I could be wrong.