Reader submission 2 – Tony intactivist

This post is submitted as a rebuttal to the prior guest post.


This is the one and only rebuttal post that I will allow.  The comments section is where you may reply to a post you disagree with.  That is not what reader submissions are meant for.


This is posted as is with no corrections or deletions.  This is obviously not written as an opinion by myself


GUEST POST – Rebuttal to “Reader Submission 1 -Parents Choice”

“Reader Submission 1 -Parents Choice” is a weird mix of rationalization from conclusion, argumentum ad populum, and straw men.

The writer claims “most men who are circumcised are happy with it. They are happy with their parents’ choice.” I agree with this, although my experience suggests that the approval rate is lower than most understand. But so what? It doesn’t demonstrate anything useful in defense of parental choice for non-therapeutic circumcision. “We’re happy with it” does not justify imposing it on someone who might not be happy with it.

This problem also exists in the later argument, “most men only know their circumcised state, so have no reference.” Physical experience isn’t the only point of reference. It’s eay to recognize what is normal and existed at birth. “It’s my penis. It was my foreskin.” is a valid point of reference. I have a reference to rights and choice. And having no reference doesn’t mean having no preference, or automatically having a preference for whatever your parents leave you with and/or what society says you should be happy with.

The writer asks if we should stop circumcision because a few are unhappy? Yes, and obviously so. If only one person *might* be unhappy with *non-therapeutic* circumcision, we should not perform it on children. Given that we know there are men who are unhappy, we easily jump that low hurdle.

The writer holds a misguided view of our society, claiming that we are a democracy, and “the majority makes a decision and circumcision is a perfectly legal parenting decision.” We are a republic, not a democracy. This is pedantic, but the difference matters. To defend a majoritarian view that fifty percent plus one validates an action is to open society to any degree of unethical behavior against a minority group (e.g. male minors) within society. History is full of examples of this. Pick your least favorite, maybe one that would’ve harmed you if you were born in an earlier era. Would the violation have been legitimate because a majority in your time supported it?

The principle involved is the right to bodily integrity and autonomy, a core human right. Human rights should never be open to majority vote. They have been, and clearly are in the present, as circumcision demonstrates. This does not make it valid to imagine the healthy foreskin of male children is the one area where an exception to this human right can and should exist, for reasons. With everything else with children, we recognize the illegitimacy of non-therapeutic surgical intervention as a parental “right”. This should be no different, “fifty percent plus n” notwithstanding.

This is critical here because, as the writer declares genital cutting to be a parental right, any such right must extend to all of their children, not just their sons. Either the right belongs to the parent or it doesn’t. If it does, it is without regard for the gender of their children, or we’re creating arbitrary rules unbounded by principles of rights and equality merely to justify what we want.

The writer reminds us that males circumcised as children “won’t remember it”. What else may we do to children because they won’t remember it? They won’t remember a punch or a broken arm or an amputated toe or … And yet, we recognize how absurd “won’t remember it” is for anything else because we’re not married to wanting and needing an exception for what was done to us and what we want to do to others. It’s arbitrary and indefensible, not to mention disgusting, as a defense.

The writer mentions “a good argument that it heals quicker in an infant”, which is a useful reminder that circumcision is surgery. It involves risk, creates a wound, and removes normal, functioning tissue. We must not pretend that the decision involves only the potential benefits some value.

The writer asks, “what about the women? What do they say?” This is irrelevant to anything more than a possible negotiation between a woman and her potential sexual partner(s). If a man’s partner wants him to be circumcised, that’s interesting, I suppose, but it holds no weight in consideration for what his parents should be allowed to do. What does individual male X prefer for himself? You don’t know. I don’t know. His parents don’t know. There’s no reason for any of our opinions to hold any sway.

“Even in the UK, which is not a country where circumcision is common, women have been known to prefer a circumcised man.” What percentage? Is it “most”? Is it “many”? Is there a citation for this “have been known to prefer” claim?

Next, notice the shift here, and from earlier points about sexual satisfaction: “Jews, Muslims and some Christians perform circumcision as a religious requirement, something that has happened for thousands of years. Would it still be required if circumcision was the debilitating action the intactivists claim? No. The religions would have adapted to remove the requirement. After all, it wouldn’t be good for the population as a whole if procreation was almost impossible as they like to claim.”

We’re all probably acquainted with the historical quotes relevant here to suggest the negative effects of circumcision were known long ago and intended, and have only recently been forgotten, although they still appear today. (e.g. it doesn’t effect sensitivity, but it makes you last longer, which is good. “Head I win, tails you lose”.) Even ignoring that, an argument about altered function (e.g. gliding) and/or sensitivity is not the same as an argument that it inhibits procreation. That’s a straw man. Knocking that one down isn’t proof of anything. If anyone has claimed that procreation is “almost impossible”, I haven’t seen it. Provide a citation, so I can criticize them, as well?

When the writer mentions the claim that “the boy should be free to make his own choices,” the missing piece is “just like his sisters.” His sisters have legal (and cultural) protections for their healthy genitals, so it’s incorrect to discuss circumcision as a parental right when concluding circumcision “is a perfectly legal choice for parents to make”. If it’s a parental right, again, that so-called right applies to parental choice regarding the healthy genitals of his sisters, too. How we interpret the law is wrong. Either parents have this right over their children, male and female, or they don’t. Which equality battle does the writer wish to fight? We get to defend equal rights *or* arbitrary genital cutting, not both. If we can pick the conflicting gendered sides we like, that may have majority support, but it has no principled foundation. That works from the conclusion we want, not to the valid conclusion.

This should be clear in the writer’s examples. “The other choices [parents] make” shifts from a gendered distinction on the right to genital integrity to a gender-free summation of other parenting choices. The comparison isn’t even whether parents may educate their sons and daughters differently, or feed them differently. It would be whether they can educate their daughters and not their sons. It would be whether they can feed their sons and not their daughters. Maybe most things are “more important than a small piece of skin.” But daughters have that same small piece of skin because they’re humans and humans, male and female, have a prepuce. Individual self-ownership of this “small piece of skin” is a human right, not somehow a female right and an adult male right.

The writer claims that parents can educate their son and “[h]e will understand that it was done for good reason, not just because the doctor said it was a good idea. That way it won’t be something for him to worry about, and it will be forgotten, just part of life.” Does the writer assume that all the men who aren’t happy being circumcised simply haven’t had that conversation with their parents? If they’d only have the conversation, the unhappy men would see the error(s) in their preference and suddenly thank their parents and forget the issue?

“Another large part of the intactivists tactics is to deny the many studies that have taken place into the benefits of circumcision. They claim the evidence is flawed, the studies are flawed, the medical organizations that publish them are biased towards circumcision. Really?”

I suspect the evidence is flawed. I suspect the organizations are biased towards circumcision, albeit with good intentions. But I’m willing to grant any and every potential benefit the writer wishes to claim. Make something up, if you want. It doesn’t matter to me. The right to bodily integrity still trumps this as a parental choice. For a non-therapeutic, permanent intervention, proxy consent must be held to a higher standard than individual consent. There are more effective, less invasive ways to prevent and/or treat virtually every claimed benefit. This is the same standard we apply to the genitals of female minors, and the remaining body parts of both girls and boys.

The writer suggests that opponents of non-therapeutic circumcision should appeal to lawmakers, governments, and large medical orgs. I request that the writer do more research into the various efforts of activists to understand that this is already occurring. The writer should also ponder the differences in how lawmakers, governments, and large medical orgs outside the United States have approached this topic.




Reader Submission 1 -Parents Choice

This is posted as written, with no edits.   Any submissions are welcome though I won’t post vitriolic rants with vile language or threats.  Simply leave the post you’d like me to post in the comment section and write ‘guest post’ or ‘reader submission ‘ or something similar somewhere visible.

I think we are all aware of the tactics employed by the intactivists, they are certainly vocal enough to ensure we all know exactly what they think. But what about the rest of us? Shouldn’t we have a voice too, why don’t we speak up for the right of parents to choose, or those that fully support circumcision. I guess the truth is that for most of us it really isn’t that big a deal. Intactivists like to claim that some men are unhappy being circumcised. I don’t doubt that, there are posts on the web that show some men are unhappy. But we must remember that they are small in number, most men who are circumcised are happy with it. They are happy with their parents’ choice. So should we stop circumcision because a few are unhappy? No, just as everything else in a democracy, the majority makes a decision and circumcision is a perfectly legal parenting decision. Why not wait until the child is old enough to make a decision? There is a claim that it is painful for an adult. It is probably painful for the child too, but they won’t remember it. I am sure that most men are glad they don’t have any memory of their circumcision. There is also a good argument that it heals quicker in an infant. So it heals quicker and there will be no memory, we’re good to go… right? Wait, here comes another intactivist argument, circumcision totally desensitizes the penis (or according to a comment I read recently, it weaponizes the penis…. Wtf? Weaponizes? What does that mean?). The truth is that most men only know their circumcised state, so have no reference. Well, again most men seem happy with what they have, and again the democracy rules. What about those that are circumcised as adults? What do they say? It seems that most of them are happy to be without their foreskin. In both cases they report happy and fulfilling sex lives. But if we can’t rely on the evidence from the largest group of men, because they have no reference, who can we ask? Well in America most men are circumcised, so what about the women? What do they say? Of those that have experience of both circumcised and uncircumcised, most will either say they prefer circumcised, or have no overall preference. Only a small percentage will say they prefer an uncircumcised man. So what about another claim from intactivists that it ruins sex for women too, well they would be voting for uncircumcised if that was the case. Even in the UK, which is not a country where circumcision is common, women have been known to prefer a circumcised man. So another claim that doesn’t add up. Jews, Muslims and some Christians perform circumcision as a religious requirement, something that has happened for thousands of years. Would it still be required if circumcision was the debilitating action the intactivists claim? No. The religions would have adapted to remove the requirement. After all, it wouldn’t be good for the population as a whole if procreation was almost impossible as they like to claim. So it comes down to a choice for the parents, and as I stated at the beginning, it is a perfectly legal choice for parents to make. Intactivists like to say that the boy should be free to make his own choices, but parents have a duty to care for their offspring. The other choices they make have a much bigger impact on what that boy becomes as an adult. Feeding can affect development, schooling will affect knowledge and social skills. The parent’s attitude will have an impact on the person they bring up too. All of which are more important than a small piece of skin. What do you do if you have (or will) circumcise your son? Well, make sure you are happy to talk about it when the inevitable questions arise. Be able to give good reasons why you circumcised him. That might mean researching and understanding the benefits of circumcision, or it could be that it is required for religion. He will understand that it was done for good reason, not just because the doctor said it was a good idea. That way it won’t be something for him to worry about, and it will be forgotten, just part of life. Another large part of the intactivists tactics is to deny the many studies that have taken place into the benefits of circumcision. They claim the evidence is flawed, the studies are flawed, the medical organizations that publish them are biased towards circumcision. Really? I doubt these large medical organizations are trying to brainwash us into circumcising. They risk losing all credibility if they cannot back up the studies, would it be worth it? Finally when they cannot persuade parents that their arguments are right, they start the personal attacks. Why do this? If they genuinely wanted to stop parents circumcising their sons they should go to the law makers, governments, these large medical orgs and persuade them to outlaw it. But they know that they cannot change the law, their arguments are not strong enough for that, as I have shown. So instead they go after the vulnerable new mother (mostly they attack the women, not men) telling her that she has harmed her child. So we are back to the start again, gone full circle. Do most circumcised men feel unhappy? No, they are perfectly fine being circumcised. So it is definitely not a problem and should (will) remain a parent’s choice to make.





Planting the seed…of dissent.


Subtle, right?

I recently published a post detailing the lows people will stoop to while trying to convert the general public to their cult-I mean, cause. In it I focused on the trend of putting activist literature into the bags of hapless children, who are out trick or treating. I mentioned the phrase activists like to use, called “planting the seed”. By which they mean to get people to think about their cause. Whether that means targeting children with propaganda (ie candy with stickers or pamphlets attached) or pissing off everyone in your community with over the top protests or posting blatantly offensive signs in your yard…Like the ones Hollie Redinger posted.


“Cut Pumpkins Not Babies” “Ask Your Parents If You Were Circumcised” “YouTube circumcision and see what they DID to YOU when you were a baby”

She caught a lot of shit from a few people on her page about handing out intactivist propaganda with the Halloween goodies, but when she posted the pictures of her signs? Well… The term “shit storm” doesn’t even begin to cover the hurricane of excrement that took place, as many anti-RICers and even some intactivists swarmed in a nearly 450+(and still going) comment frenzy to air their displeasure. The main grievance being the ethics of targeting children on this lighthearted holiday. They even compared her zealotry to that of the Westboro Baptist Church, and other religious fundies for taking a page from their book of proselytizing.


“But this is DIFFERENT because… intactivism!” Spoiler alert: hardcore intactivists use just as much emotionally manipulative, factually incorrect information as pro lifers do, yet they think they’re justified in their campaigns of harassment..Just like other people we know who claim to be “saving babies”. So no, you’re not any different.



Holly, of course, LOVES the attention. It makes her a martyr in her eyes, and in the eyes of her equally delusional close knit groupies. She even goes so far as to compare her cause to fighting slavery. I wish I was kidding. Also, calling the people you wish to convert “Stoopid”? How mature and educational. You sure convinced me.



One person even made a call to police.


She isn’t even handing out candy, which I have to say is a travesty in and of itself. At least its not a bag of pennies, I guess.


This isn’t about intactivism anymore, it’s about her fucking ego. She even had the cheek to post this picture on her timeline after her thread blew up.


She certainly “planted the seed”, alright… Only its not the one she had in mind. By exposing herself as the unstable, obsessed, unethical asshole she is, she has successfully created a solid division in those who follow intactivism. On the one side, you have the people who are saying “you are hurting the cause. Stop.” and the others like Hollie who are saying “do whatever it takes” even to their detriment. Perhaps the seed that’s been planted is the one that will blossom into some members realizing that they will not follow a cause that has unethical lunatics like Hollie dictating to and representing them. Maybe it’s the seed that makes them wonder if what THEY are personally preaching is actually correct, and not simply repeating the the same old garbage taught to them by someone who lacks integrity. This entire blog is composed of examples of intactivists and their leaders not only admitting to doing things like lying and making numerous fake accounts to convince others, but who laugh about it, incredulous, that anyone would actually listen to them. This is what people think when they hear the term “intactivism”. This is who they see. That should frighten all of you self proclaimed intactivists out there.

Happy Halloween.


Ahhhh Halloween! That special time of year when children dress up as their favourite superheroes, cartoon characters, ghouls and goblins and then embark on a door-to-door journey to gather candy. Sure, adults and teens use it as a convenient excuse to dress up, party and binge drink, but kids tend to be the main revellers with their sugar filled goodie bags and the excitement of getting to stay up late.
Despite Halloween being about costumes, candy and the veil lifting between the living and the spirit worlds, there exists a special breed of asshole that also emerges this wonderful time of year.
I’m not talking about the people who give out mini toothpastes, raisins or those gross molasses candies (seriously. People actually like those?!). Nor am I referring to the people who don’t turn off their porch light or put up a sign indicating they’re not participating in giving out candy, and then react rudely when people ring their bell. No, I’m talking about those assholes who slip bible verses, pro life pamphlets or other political propaganda into young children’s loot bags.
This is nothing new, of course. Growing up, it seemed like every town had that one house that parents and their trick or treaters would skip past. Thanks to social media today though, a lot more attention has been brought around these proselytizing idiots who use Halloween to push their cause du jour.
What was once mainly the domain of relgious fundamentalists, handing out propaganda has been adopted by everyone from anti-vaxxers to PETA activists. And now, intactivists are getting in on it, too. You know, because it works so


Yes, much like how anti-choice protestors think they are “counselling” the women they scream at, harass, shame and bombard with blatantly false information, intactivists are “educating” young children and their parents by handing out “information”. Said information procured, no doubt, from biased intactivist websites that cite no credible studies, facts or resources. Not that hardcore intactivists like Hollie Redinger are concerned with facts, mind you, but who needs facts when you have hysteria and hyperbole? Loling forever at 50% of your penis missing..image

Speaking of Hollie, it seems as though her idea to use a much loved holiday to push her cause onto young children has caused a stir on her page. When one of her followers informed her (correctly) that people would get upset at her putting intactivist shit in kids bags, she threw a tantrum and flooded the thread with memes and berated the dissenter. Telling the poster she wasn’t a REAL activist (only a “hobby” intactivist) and then another follower accusing her of trying to tell her there was only one right way to be an intactivist (the hypocrisy is truly stunning). All because the poster didn’t think it was doing the cause any good to emulate rabid bible thumpers by handing out bullshit on Halloween.

Hilariously enough, Hollie used a meme that featured Albert Einstein, a circumcised Jewish male. Oh the irony.image

The poster is right, though. Parents don’t appreciate strangers putting political garbage in their child’s treat bags. Let alone strangers putting pamphlets talking about penis, foreskin and sexual function in the bags of young children. This is grossly inappropriate, and the excuse that it’s “for the parents” doesn’t fly. That’s bullshit. Intactivists push the importance of targeting young people and “planting the seed.”image

They target kids in particular like most fundamentalist fucksticks do, because kids don’t have the means to think critically about these issues and often believe most anything adults tell them. As opposed to adults, who ask for evidence backing up your claims. Gee whiz. Sounds kind of exploitive, manipulative and cowardly when you put it that way. Adults are about as likely to take your stickers and pamphlets on circumcision as seriously as they would pro life junk mail. Which is to say they won’t, and suddenly you wake up to a well deserved egged house. You’re not going to convince anyone, even if some people agree with the sentiment I guarantee they still don’t appreciate activists using Halloween as a platform. So if you think putting stickers on candy,image

posting inflammatory signs aimed at children in your yard,image

or doxxing/harassing people on the streets or internetimage

will change the hearts and minds of your target audience, then you’re as delusional as those people who think doing the same shit will lead others to God.
So hand out the goddamned candy, and for just one day keep the political bullshit to yourself. Don’t be a Halloweenie.

An Open Call

Originally posted on The Case Against Intactivism:

I’d like to hear from you, dear reader.  The furious intactivist.  The circumcising parent (both religious and secular).  The moderate.  I’d like to post your opinion on my blog.  So please, feel free to submit a post in comments, with the words ‘Blog Post’ in it, and I’ll post them.  I’m not going to post redundant comments, so please don’t flood me with ‘his penis, his choice’ or ‘your right to religious freedom ends where his body begins’ posts.  I’ll post anything that hasn’t been posted yet.  You’ll get your very own shiny blog post, right here on The Case Against Intactivism.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled blog.

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How a Single Foreskin Becomes a Thousand Vials of Face Cream

This is a rather technical read.  It was written for me by a writer for a medical communications company, initials KD, with over 25 years of experience in medical research, first at a medical school, then at two pharmaceutical companies. She has a degree in Biomedical Science, and has agreed to help explain exactly how a single foreskin can become a thousand vials of face cream. She has asked that I redact her name, because of intactivists prior contacting of people’s work, attempting to get people fired, along with harassment , threats of rape and threats on their very lives.  Because of this, I have agreed to list this only under her initials and credentials

Before everything, of course, there is a circumcision.  The parents give their informed consent, both for the procedure, and the acquisition of the foreskin for production of fibroblasts.  A single foreskin can produce thousands of cells, and those cells can produce thousands more.  This is an original article.  I should mention that this addresses face creams.  Fibroblasts from foreskins are also used to produce skin grafts for people who were severely injured, and for medical research.

The vast majority of the dermis layer of skin is made up of connective tissue, such as collagen.   The dermis also contains nerves, blood vessels, and cells (fibroblasts). The fibroblasts produce collagen and extracellular matrix, along with growth factors that promote cell growth and differentiation.

To harvest fibroblasts from a piece of skin, the tissue is soaked in an antibiotic solution, and then minced with scissors or a razor blade.  (The subsequent steps of this procedure are performed in a tissue culture hood to minimize contamination.) The minced tissue is placed in a solution of enzymes to separate the cells from the connective tissue, and then centrifuged and/or filtered through mesh to separate the cells from the rest of the non-cellular material.  The cells are washed with saline solution, then resuspended in an artificial growth medium containing amino acids, vitamins, growth factors, and other nutrients.  The cells are placed in one or more tissue culture plates.

This is called the “primary” culture.  Over a period of several hours, the cells attach to the bottom of the plates.  The cells are placed in an incubator at 37c, 95% air, and 5% CO2.  The medium is replaced every few days. The cells divide at an exponential rate, with the number doubling every 12-24 hours. Once the cells almost cover the bottom of the plate, the cells are washed in saline, and treated with an enzyme (usually trypsin) to cause them to release their attachments to the plate.  They can then be divided into multiple new plates, with the cells from one primary culture able to seed anywhere from a few to thousands of new plates.  Each iteration of this process is called passaging.  Fibroblasts from normal newborn skin can be passaged many times until division begins to slow down, the cells begin to differentiate, and eventually they cease dividing. (These cells can also be “immortalized” in a number of different ways.  They are then considered to be “transformed” and can divide indefinitely.  Traditionally, transformation was achieved by incubation of the cells with certain viruses, but there are now other ways this can be achieved.)

A single piece of tissue can generate millions and millions of cells. Kind of like a cutting from a plant can make an entire tree – over and over again.

The used culture medium, also called “human fibroblast conditioned medium,” collected from the cells, contains growth factors, collagen, and other nutrients produced by the fibroblasts. This medium is collected and purified, then can be added to cosmetic products. There is some debate as to the effectiveness of these factors applied to intact adult skin.  However, there aren’t any actual cells in these cosmetic products. A single skin sample could generate thousands of separate cultures, each culture generating conditioned medium every couple of days, thus generating countless vials of face cream.

*This post was edited to remove a typo, and to include the points that this post is about face creams, while the fibroblasts also have other uses

So we did this trolling thing


I’m obviously far from the only person who feels this way.

Originally posted on The Poxes Blog:

Circumcision, like vaccination, is kind of a controversial issue, it appears. Unlike vaccination, circumcision is not one of those things that you’re required to do to send your child to school or to keep a population safe from communicable disease. (Yes, there is good evidence that HIV infection can be curbed by circumcision, but that’s for another post.) I became aware of “intactivists,” people who are activists about leaving boys intact (uncircumcised), during the vaccine wars. As it turns out, a lot of anti-vaccine people are also intactivists, sharing the fear and anger at the government and pharmaceutical/medical systems. Intactivists can be quite nasty, just like anti-vaccine activists.

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