Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
The May 8 story from the Philippines, “‘Circumcision party’ held in Philippines”practically made my hair stand on end. It reports the festival atmosphere surrounding a mass “pagpapatuli” event in Marikina City, near Manila in a bizarre quest to gain Guinness World Record recognition. Alternately, it might be called an attempt to raise public health by promoting safe procedures in a region where it is often done by “people who aren’t doctors using crude methods.” But in that case one might say that there ought to have been an anti-circumcision campaign, not a safe circumcision one.
I oppose male circumcision on the grounds that it is genital mutilation comparable to female circumcision, and therefore not just a child abuse crime but a human rights crime. Opponents of female circumcision may reply critically, claiming no proper comparison at all, and circumcised men would protest that it is not a mutilation, does not rob them of sexual pleasure, and is a time-honored cultural rite of passage into manhood for boys. But I argue that, instead of being a rite of passage into manhood circumcision diminishes males, rendering them less than whole and less than proper men. If I know that a man is circumcised my estimation of him is unavoidably compromised.
The supposed health benefits of the procedure that we sometimes hear about are so minimal as not to warrant even being called negligible. In other words, properly speaking there aren’t any. So let’s cut out the circumcising already!
Circumcision ranks in my imagination close to snuff porn.