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Polevaulter Donkeyman's rants, raves musings and flame wars

If You Oppose Circumcision Then You Must Be An Excessive Masturbator

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Emily Yoffe is the advice columnist for Slate Magazine. In her live chat on Dec 4, 2012 she printed the question of a writer (Circumcision Standoff), who wants to circumcise her future son based on some scientific studies which have shown beneficial effects of male circumcision but whose fiancé (who was circumcised) is vehemently opposed. The letter writer claims that this opposition could be a dealbreaker since her desire for circumcising her future son is borne out of her concern for his well being.

Ms. Yoffe replies that the fiancé is probably opposed to circumcision since his circumcision interfered with his masturbation. She goes on to say that she is a supporter of the physical abuse of male infants since she is Jewish. However thankfully she does mention to the letter writer that circumcision is not a panacea for HIV, HPV, herpes, urinary tract infections and possibly cancer. Finally she mentions to the letter writer that she and her fiancé should talk over their disagreement with a neutral party.

As is natural, I was disappointed on reading Ms. Yoffe’s response. While it could have been worse (e.g. uncritically praising the letter writer’s selective reading of the scientific literature) she continues to support the barbaric physical abuse of male infants.

As luck would have it, Ms. Yoffe was scheduled to participate in a reddit IAmA the next day. In that IAmA I asked her the following questions:

  1. In this column http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2012/12/dear_prudence_my_sister_is_being_abused_by_her_husband.single.html “Circumcision standoff” you trivialized a man’s objection to circumcision as due to excessive masturbation. Do you think men cannot have principled objections to circumcision?

  2. You say “I’m Jewish, so a big believer in circumcision” — Does that mean Parents’ religious convictions should trump bodily integrity of their children? How then can you disagree with the cultural imperatives for female circumcision?

  3. Would you be ok with Type Ia female circumcision where the clitoral prepuce is removed (An exact analogue to male circumcision)? http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/overview/en/index.html

  4. Would you be ok with a ceremonial pricking or nick of the clitoris? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/health/policy/07cuts.html

  5. Why didn’t you point out to the letter writer that she should not shirk her duties towards her son regarding teaching him genital hygiene instead of making her life easier by physically abusing him as an infant? Do or do you not think she is a bad mother for attempting to make her life easier?

  6. Do you think the woman would be endangering the life of her child by creating a false sense of security around her and her son that circumcision will prevent HIV, HPV, herpes (which could potentially motivate the son to forego wearing condoms)

  7. If a man wrote to you asking for advice on how to convince his wife to agree to circumcising their baby daughter (Type Ia or ritual nicking) would you advise him to seek out a neutral party?

  8. Why couldn’t you advise the woman that she should wait until her son attained the age of majority and then try to convince him of the advantages of circumcision and then leave the decision to her son on whether or not to proceed with non-emergency, non-lifesaving permanent body modification surgery?

  9. Would you recommend labiaplasty of infant females so as to prevent/reduce occurrence of urinary tract infections? http://www.cosmeticgyn.net/labiaplasty/labiaplasty-why-women-want-labia-reduction-surgery.html, http://www.vaginalabiaplasty.com/labiaplasty/medical-reasons-to-seek-labiaplasty

Unsurprisingly Ms. Yoffe chose not to answer the question. Interestingly my questions were voted the most controversial post of that particular IAmA. I got pushback from other posters that I wasn’t asking a “real” question (whatever a real question might be), I wasn’t asking an “honest” question (and what exactly is or is not an “honest” question was left unclear), I was pushing an agenda, I was a loon. One poster stated that the IAmA is only for asking Ms. Yoffe questions regarding her life as an advice columnist and thus my question was irrelevant. However Ms. Yoffe herself had stated:

I’m happy to talk about being Dear Prudence, how I choose letters, your favorites, what you think I’ve gotten right and wrong. … I’m happy to talk about whatever’s on your mind.

Finally, a poster raised a nice hypothetical for anyone who wants to circumcise their son so that he resembles his circumcised father::

So if [the mother] had big boobs and [the] daughter was flat, would [the circumcision-supporter] support her getting a boob job to “look like mom”?

The similarity argument, i.e. the son of a circumcised father should also be circumcised so that he doesn’t get confused over why he does not resemble his father, and that he would also resemble his circumcised peers in the school locker room (and so would avoid bullying), is an argument trotted out by a lot of circumcision enthusiasts. I wonder if they would also support the similarity argument raised by this father (written under the pseudonym “Want To Be a Dad”) here

Unsurprisingly Ms. Yoffe’s answer in the above case is quite different to what one would expect if the question was regarding male circumcision.


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Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

January 3, 2013 at 04:28

Posted in hypocrisy

Tagged with ,

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