Here is part 2 of our really awesome interview series with members of the intactivist movement. For part 1, click here.
Q – As a male in the intactivist movement, what is your perception of the way the foreskin is talked about, or circumcised penises?
Um, There are some women, some men who will go on about how great the foreskin is, how it’s like a million times better to sleep with an intact man as compared to a circumcised men. There are a few people who will like, go on about how bad sleeping with a circumcised man is or like how dried out and horrible it is.
Q – How does it make you feel, or how do you think it would make some other circumcised men in the movement feel?
I could see how it could affect some of the men’s self-perception or self-esteem. I think some of them buy into that narrative. People who haven’t had a botched circumcision, that they can never really be sexually fulfilled, because they’re circumcised. Like, their sex life is never gonna be as much as it could have been, or it’s gonna be a shadow of what it could’ve been because they’re circumcised, so I could see how that could damage some men.
Q- Do you think they hyperfocus on the sexual aspect of circumcision, especially when talking about circumcising infants?
I think they like…over-exagerate the effects, all around. I think there is some concern, the infant will become a man someday, so it WILL affect him . I think a lot of them really believe that your sex life will be dramatically altered or even ruined if you are circumcised, I mean, they throw around like 90% of the feelings are gone if you’re circumcised, which is, um, a gross exaggeration.
Q – I see words like ‘research’ thrown around a lot, but don’t see a lot of actual scientific information used by intactivists. How scientifically literate do you find most of them to be?
A lot of intactivists are very scientifically ILliterate I would say. They’ll just parrot whatever statistics they see, and they don’t actually look to see if there is any backing to them. There are certain statistics I see parroted a million times over like the 20k nerve endings…I’ve seen 70k nerve endings (laughs) there’s not a lot of backing (note: there is none outside of a quote by Prof. Fleiss in a Mothering Magazine article, and that was 20k) to this, the 117 deaths a year, um, that study is clearly flawed, and it’s not scientific if one really reads the study and reads the critiques of it. I still see it repeated over and over. The autism study also comes to mind (laughs).
Q – What suggestions would you have to help intactivists become more scientifically literate?
Before reading a statistic or what you believe to be a fact, actually LOOK to see if you can find a credible source for these ‘stats’ before you spout them out. That’s the main thing I would say. Perhaps actually reading through a study before you take facts from it or cite it.
Q – How often do you think intactivists get information from a bad secondory source and take their interpreation of it as factual?
Many intactivists will just take any ‘fact’ that they hear, it doesn’t matter how biased the source is or how unrealiable the source is, and just run with it. For exampble, before I joined i2, the article stating 32% boys are being circumcised, and it’s clearly like, 2x that, and it was being repeated over and over again. I still see where people say ‘a majority of boys are left intact’, when it’s clearly not the case.
Q – You say any ‘fact’, but you really mean any fact that actually validates their anti-circumcision opinion. Do you think that weakens a legitimate advocacy?
Yeah, because our opponents will jump all over this, that all intactivists will only use very biased or unreliable sources. So all of us get lumped into anti-science people or people who are really just full of shit (laughs) I don’t really know how to put it better.
Q – What is one of your biggest criticisms of some of the ‘extremist’ intactivism?
One of the big things: from the inside, some things make sense. You have to put yourself in the shoes of someone on the outside of intactivism who knows nothing about circumcision, who think it’s just a snip or whatever…and they see these guys with bloody crotches and signs that say ‘circumcision anguish’ or whatever and they have no idea what they’re talking about and they just…look like a cult to someone from the outside.
Q – Is there any advice you would give to a new intactivist?
Um, I would say really make sure that the facts you use have a credible backing. Just because another intactivist says something, doesn’t mean it’s true at all. And don’t buy into the ‘intactocopping’ stuff, just because someone is an intactivist doesn’t give them free reign to do anything they want to. Don’t buy into when they say ‘every type of intactivism works’ some things DO hurt our cause.
Q – How often do you think intactivists lies about stuff, like being a man damaged from circumcision (like ‘David J Bernstein’) or comes up with fake personas (David J Bernstein, Hollie Redinger) in order to manipulate people?
A majority of intactivists I don’t think lie or knowingly lie. If they do use false statistics they don’t think they’re actually false. But there are quite a few, unfortunately, who condone what Bernstein and Redinger and the rest do when they make fake profiles and fake stories and the like. I wouldn’t trust any stories from anonymous people on the internet, for intactivism and just in general as well. I’d be very skeptical of these people, really.
Q – I’ve seen a lot of excuses made for people who make violent statements in the name of intactivism (Die baby fuckers, die, etc) or threaten murder or rape or say women should be circumcised. Do you think i2 should crack down on that sort of thing from within, since it is so damaging to the movement?
I think that sort of behavior certainly needs to be cracked down on. When people see that they’ll think all intactivists are complete nutjobs (laughs). I mean like, if people are gonna be angry or whatever that’s fine, but it’s really not acceptable to go on about how people should be killed and stuff for um, supporting circumcision or whatever. This is the problem of how some people go about intactivism. The antagonism towards other people. Calling people things such as “baby fuckers”. I see it in threads all the time, of other intactivists being antagonistic, leading to people getting defensive, and closing them off to our message. I understand the frustration of seeing the same things being repeated to us a million times, but pissing them off does nothing to help our cause.
Q – Do you think making excuses for that behavior is acceptable?
Uh, no. I think a lot of people they see circumcision as the worst thing ever, and they see anyone who could possibly be for, or even neutral on it, as supporting evil. And so that’s why they excuse demonizing people. It’s like ‘cutter’ or whatever. [A way to dehumanize them so they don’t feel bad about excusing that.]
Q – What about people who don’t even support circumcision, but are against the bullying behavior (like myself)? Do you think we deserve to be lumped in with people who actually fetishize circumcision, or called cutters or trolls?
No, I don’t. I understand why people call out the bad behavior. I myself have tried to call out people or at least question things a few times. And been called an intactocop for doing so (which is really an idiotic term). I believe that the people I am speaking of are a very small fraction of the people who vocally oppose circumcision. But they seem to get most of the attention, and their actions give the rest of us a bad name. There is also the problems of some intactivists belittling cut men in general, and insulting cut men that disagree with us. There are even a few which insult regret mothers. Nothing good can come of this. Now, I still strongly oppose the non-therapeutic circumcision of minors, and will continue to be vocal about it. But the idiocy and craziness has got to stop.
Stay tuned for more interviews!