The more I think about this, the more my heart hurts.
What are we going to tell these boys who are being circumcised, as the cutting rates in the U.S. drop, as there is a move away from child genital mutilation? Are we prepared for the potential anger, grief, and crisis these boys may experience?
The generation of sons being cut has two major disadvantages compared to previous circumcised generations. One, they have the internet & are capable of surfing the web from a very young age. (Probably younger than I would want a son learning what I know about circumcision.) Two, they will know many intact boys. It is no longer the case of an entire football team having cut penises. Circumcision is fading as a physical sexual identity marker in the male community.
Then there are parents of circumcised boys. There are the mothers who deeply regret cutting their sons, and I imagine these sons will fare pretty well emotionally, as they will be met with compassion and remorse from at least one parent. There are the parents who are naive, uneducated, and simply circumcised compulsively, because ‘it’s what you do.’ It’s hard to conjecture how these parents might react to being confronted by a cut son, but I’d posit the children of these parents would choose forgiveness for ignorance.
The sons I worry about are the ones whose parents very arrogantly ignore the intactivist message. The message that says, ‘his penis is fine, his body his choice.’ These parents who very defensively say, ‘Bugger off, it’s my kid and I’ll cut his penis if I feel like it, and tough luck if he doesn’t like it.’ The sons of these parents are the ones I fear for the most.
Who will be there to comfort a grieving heart?
I have heard from many men who are now estranged from their parents because they were met with just that reaction. The difference is these men are almost always adults, who are capable of coping with the emotional repercussions of such a jaded and cavalier attitude about cutting one’s penis.
What happens when it isn’t a man, but a child? A ten-year old who asks about circumcision? A thirteen-year old? Will our intact sons be a support network for their circumcised peers?
I intend to raise my son this way. With the understanding that circumcision is a mistake parents make, and some parents don’t realise or are unwilling to accept it was a mistake, and it’s important to support a circumcised friend in whatever way that friend needs support. In much the same way we support and educate men who are learning about circumcision.
However, it’s that children will be learning this that concerns me. Keeps me up. Incites blog posts.