The Truth About The Case Against Intactivism

I guess it took me until now to understand that people truly do not understand my position.  So I’d like to outline this with as much clarity as possible.

I am against non-religious circumcision of infant boys.  I don’t do it myself.  I want parents to know that it isn’t necessary.  That there are SOME benefits because I think that is the current scientific consensus, but there are also risks, and the benefits are only potential and may never be realized.  That’s true about the risks, as well, yes, but since there are no actualized or guaranteed benefits, only potential benefits, circumcision is unnecessary.  It can wait.  Or never be done.

Intactivism is RUINING a good cause.  What do I mean by that?  Intactivism has only gotten more extreme, and extremism is ruining the movement.  Extremism is what causes people to promote lies and phony statistics.  Extremism is WHY there is so little science regarding this issue.

Extremist intactivists don’t threaten me, or pro-circumcision people.  Nobody is running scared from you.  My blog exists to counter your bullshit because I actually am against circumcision, and people like you are ruining the movement.  No mainstream scientists bother to try to get funding for the issue or bother trying to counter your lies or butt heads with you because you are a joke.  Nobody takes you seriously.  You need to understand that.

I personally believe that parents should be educated about the truth of circumcision.  That there are small benefits, smaller risks and it is unnecessary.  Not that it’s rape or mutilation or whatever other asinine assignation you give it, but rather what the actual facts actually say.

Please, please stop doing this.  Stop making a public spectacle out of this.  Stop doing this because you are doing nothing but setting the movement and the goals back.  By years, if not decades.  Please take it seriously and stop hanging up cabbage patch dolls with hemostats on circumstraints, or painting your damn crotch red and yelling at strangers.

You want circumcision to go away?  Stop screaming at the CDC or the doctors of the AAP.  Quit using your quacks to come up with junk science and torturing bullshit out of data.  Tell your leaders to stop getting arrested, stop encouraging death threats, stop gloating about crashing jets.   Stop doing this.  It doesn’t hurt me, I’m not even your enemy.

I’m shining a light at you, as are others involved with this blog or other movements like this that have recently sprung up.  You obviously misunderstood.  Nobody is running scared.  Nobody is threatened.  Nobody takes you seriously.  Please, understand that.  Nobody takes you seriously because you don’t take this seriously.  Taking something seriously means you respect the topic and yourself enough to know what you’re talking about and tell the truth.  It means you don’t alienate people you claim to want to help.  It means you throw facts, not shit.

If you truly took this seriously, you would work hard to understand how best to accomplish your goals, not jet around the country looking in desperate need of a tampon.  You don’t hold up signs nobody understands and make a public mockery out of something serious.  You don’t come up with labels like intactocop, which prevent self-correction.  You shine that light on yourself, and fix things before they become a problem, not encourage everyone to become more and more extremist.

Take this damn topic seriously.  Stop trying to war on the internet, or perpetuate endless infighting.  You are shooting yourselves in the foot.  Quit labeling and shunning people who are trying to help you by shining a light on your bad behavior.  Stop encouraging attention-seeking behavior under the erroneous belief that any publicity is good publicity.  It’s too easy to counter the idiocy.  It’s too easy to get distracted by the bad behavior and dismiss the message.  It’s too easy because I think even you have started to lose your own thread.

Pick it up and find it again.  You have started to parody yourselves.  Learn from your mistakes and move on.  It’s long past time.


Phimosis – Guess What, You’re Wrong.

So I see it said all the time that a ‘child under 18 can’t be diagnosed with phimosis’. So at 17 years 364 days, no.  A day later, yes?
No.

What is phimosis?

What is the definition of phimosis?

  • Phimosis is the inability to retract the foreskin behind the glans in males.
  • Phimosis is usually divided into physiologic and pathologic phimosis.
  • Physiologic phimosis is the normal condition in which children are born with a tight foreskin and separation occurs during late childhood and early adolescence.
  • Pathological phimosis occurs due to infection, inflammation, or scarring and is usually found in uncircumcised adult men.

However, pathological phimosis can occur in someone of any age.  Typically, once it is explained that children can, in fact, develop pathological phimosis it’s usually waved away with some accusation of premature forcible retraction.  Since we seem to have to start at the basics, what is retraction? It is when you pull the foreskin back toward the body of the child.  You can retract safely to the point of resistance, should you need to wipe poo or some other particulate off of the outside of the child’s penis, but most children cannot be fully retracted, which is when the foreskin can be fully pulled back over the head of the penis.  This was an old standard of care which was advised to parents with uncircumcised children in the past, but the current standard of care now says to simply wipe the outside without retraction.  So why did I just say you can retract to the point of resistance?  Because lets face it, if poo can get in there, it will get in there.  Intactivists make any retraction sound akin to ripping your child’s fingernail off, but just as if they go something under the top of the nail (NOT THE NAIL BED) you could easily clean that out without harming the child.  Same concept.  However, just like you would not force the nail off the nail bed, you should not force the foreskin back.  This is also not something that needs to or should be done routinely, but only in special circumstances.  Forcibly retracting the child can, and does, cause scar tissue to develop, which can also cause…you guessed it, phimosis.  However, many parents who I’ve seen talk about their sons having phimosis never retracted them.

How can that be?  Well, pathological phimosis can be due to anything from an unknown cause (idiopathic) to infection, inflammation to forced retraction or even eczema.  Yes, I keep bringing retraction up because it is actually a cause.  But intactivists blame pretty much any issue with the intact penis on premature forcible retraction.  Regardless of the individual case.

And here’s the thing about phimosis…it doesn’t require circumcision.  Steroid creams and stretching (pulling forward AND back to the point of resistance) work the majority of the time.  The small amount of time it doesn’t work (about 15-20% of the time) then a much less invasive surgery called a preputiaplasty, or modified dorsal slit, works.  Dorsal slit also works but it creates an unappealing ‘flap’.  However, phimosis is what is put on the form when circumcising an infant, which is code word for ‘unnecessary’, I guess.  Because they’re talking about physiological phimosis, and that is the normal inability to retract the foreskin.  This normal inability is not phimosis caused by disease or inflammation.  It generally resolves by puberty, and regardless, as I said above, there is no need for circumcision to resolve it even if it was pathological.

I can’t think of a good ending for this blog, so there you have it.  Enjoy.


We Found the REAL Carole Anne

Irrefutable PROOF!

 


***Trigger Warning!*** Why Extreme Intactivists Will Lose Their “WAR” on Outlawing Circumcision

 

The parallels between extreme anti-abortion activists and intactivists have become the real elephant in the room. I’m not sure how “educating about the benefits of foreskin”  has ended up mirroring Operation Rescue’s tactics in the 80’s and 90’s, which I fought so hard against. How did I suddenly find myself involved with intactivists, who over the last two years,  began promoting the same tactics? How do the extreme pro-life activists mirror the extreme intactivists? Let’s take a look at the similarities.

On Operation Rescue’s web page, they describe their  organization as “one of the leading pro-life organizations in the nation” and their activities as being “on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates” (see source below.)  Operation Rescue held demonstrations at the White House, in an eerily familiar fashion as what is now seen during Genital Integrity Awareness Week in Washington D.C. The behavior escalates with every new year; from the intactivists who are now also “on the cutting edge” as they “rip off the Band-Aid.” In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a bill into effect called F.A.C.E., the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances, to keep patients safe while entering a medical establishment to receive medical services. The pro-life demonstrators used to block the access or hold signs and SCREAM horrible thing at the women entering clinics. So, a bill was necessary to protect American women from dangerous activists who eventually ended up murdering doctors and blowing up clinics.

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In an ironic twist of fate, this bill has been the saving grace for the clinics that have recently been targeted by lone wolf intactivists, who picket doctors’ offices based on speculation. It’s also the reason why police don’t take kindly to extreme protesters who don’t comply with the requests of the officers. The bill was created to keep the public safe from extreme activists and, thankfully, it does its job. Unfortunately, the law hasn’t stopped harassing phone calls and death threats, which  intactivists are now making against doctors and judges. Are you seeing the similarities between the two groups yet? What we know from the history of abortion is that outlawing abortion doesn’t work, in fact in countries where abortion is illegal; there is  a higher abortion rate than in countries where it is a safe and legal procedure. Education, not extreme demonstrations, is what lowers abortion rates and it will be education about the benefits of foreskin that lowers the circumcision rate in America.

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I realized earlier last year that things were getting out of control within the intactivist movement. The men were becoming more and more aggressive and eventually abusive toward the women on their side when the women started to speak up about the aggression. A smattering of women have joined up with the extremism of these men.  Now, we are seeing more and more “Angry Men” who are threatening the lives of doctors, nurses and even their own mothers. It’s only a matter of time before a life is lost and the term “intactivist” will carry nothing but the connotations of mentally unbalanced extreme pseudo activists.

 

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http://www.donotlink.com/dztm


Intactabortioncates (Trigger)

You may be wonder what this title even means.  When I was uploading the media for our newest blogger and blog post, I couldn’t help but notice that I’d seen similar images.  So when It’s almost impossible to distinguish that extreme advocacy of violent anti-abortion advocates and the extreme advocacy of violent anti-circumcision advocates, I can’t help but feel a little disgusted.
Don’t agree with me?  Check these images out.  (TRIGGER)

Anti-Abortion

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Anti-Circumcision

bsm3bsm2bsm4intactmeme1intacttruck4intacttruck2intacttruck1intactmeme3intactmeme4intactmeme5intactmeme7

Is this the kind of advocacy you want to support?  This is not an advocacy I want to support.  I want something that uses information, not fear, not aggression, not violence, not gore.

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Why I Don’t Go With The Flow

Interestingly, you would think this blog would be a hub for parent’s choice advocates, parents who are upset about being bullied, and people looking for some information about intactivist claims.  Instead, it’s usually a hate read, or a way for certain intactivists (like Brother K, for example) to pretend to be victimized.  It’s a place to solidify outrage.  But why?  I’m not lying about anything.  The questions about Carol weren’t an attack, merely someone finally asking the questions a lot of people have quietly been asking each other (and by the way…a picture of a sandwich and a video of a male and female voice with the camera pointed at a Facebook page?? L.O.L) for awhile now. The bad behavior shown here is not photoshopped, or made up.  It’s just a light shined.  Yes it’s a one-sided story.  But a lot of the time, there really is no excuse for that bad behavior.  And it shouldn’t be excused.

This is a legitimate advocacy.  I want to see it succeed.  I know some people will say that I’m some sneaky snake or an intactocop (a word used to prevent self-correcting).  That’s because I’m not going with the flow, I’m not sitting down and shutting up, and I refuse to.  Anti-circumcision advocacy should be better than this.  Those voices shouldn’t be the overwhelming voices, shouting down the more reasonable advocates.  Read nearly any mainstream media piece about intactivism (or the comments section in any story about circumcision) and intactivists look unhinged.  Why would I want to be a part of or excuse that kind of behavior?

When an advocacy has more in common with extremist anti-abortion advocates, including threats of violence, that’s an advocacy I’m not ashamed to speak out against.  And the thing is?  That kind of advocacy isn’t the majority of anti-circumcision voices.  If I’m not highlighting your behavior, I’m not talking about you.  If you’re getting offended on behalf of someone else because they’re ‘saving babies’, you need to really consider that.  Really think about it.  Sure, it does work sometimes.  But it certainly hasn’t done much to change the numbers significantly over the last decade, which is about the point the advocacy got really aggressive.  Keep in mind, the majority of your audience is simply reading silently.  It’s only a small portion of the people that are actually reading that will be interacting with you.  How do you think most people react to people raging at them, threatening them, calling them ‘cutters’, telling them their abusing their children, raping their children, that they themselves should be mutilated and raped, and ascribing essentially every negative action by a person to them being circumcised?  Yes there is room for aggressive advocacy, but there isn’t room for it to be shouting down more moderate, information-based advocacy.

We also know that fear-based approaches don’t work.  Over-emphasizing risks and minimizing benefits (to the point that many claim there are none) is a fear-based approach. It’s also not a truthful approach.  The best evaluation of the current science is that there are few benefits, fewer risks, and it is unnecessary.  That is hard to hear when you’re being told over and over and over that circumcision is the biggest atrocity perpetuated on helpless infants, that doctors are just out for your money and don’t care about their patients, and that there’s some big conspiracy to keep circumcising infants to steal their foreskin for face creams.

Finally, there is the all-too-common anti-Semitic attacks on Jews.  Claiming that because members of the AAP taskforce were Jewish that they are biased, for example.  Well, Jews don’t proselytize.  They don’t want Goyim circumcising.  That is their covenant with their G-d.  It is an important covenant that cannot be replaced with a made up ceremony.  And yes, some very ultra-orthodox Jews engage in a practice called metzizah b’peh.  This is oral suctioning of the blood from the infants penis.  Yes I find it abhorrent.  But presenting it as a common practice in Brit Milah is bullshit.  And that doesn’t even begin to address the claim of the ‘traditional Jewish circumcision’.  Most intactivists don’t know anything at all about Judaism, but they want to tell Jews how to be Jews.

Lastly, the constant comparison to FGC.  It is done to shock, because most people know the picture painted by anti-FGM advocates instead of those who study it.  They picture a 14 year old girl thrown down and having her genitals cut out and sewn up shut, leaving only a small hole for menses and urine, for her husband to cut open when he takes her virginity.  Then the intactivists yell about how that’s not the most common type.  But that’s the reason they use the comparison, because they want to transfer that same horror onto infant circumcision in the US, which really isn’t comparable and which really is less invansive.  But yes, there are methods of FGC that are less invasive, like in Malaysia.  Yes, that is true.  And yes, people are still horrified by even that, despite it being less invasive.  Because they are trained not to think critically when it comes to FGC.  Trying to take the horror from a procedure that is, in most ways, completely incomparable to male circumcision in the US, is disingenuous.

These are my biggest issues with the advocacy.  Not the basis of the advocacy.  The attitude.  The aggression.  The parroting of information (accurate or not).  The lack of self-correction.  The lack of critical thought.  The constant confirmation bias.  The Dunning-Kruger effect. The threats.  The echo-chamber.  The refusal to converse with people who don’t agree with their tactics.  The labeling and shunning of ‘other’.  The violent language.  The willingness to lie.  The bullying.  The harassment.  Not the fact that they are against infant circumcision.

Because I am against infant circumcision.  I want it to be widespread knowledge that infant circumcision isn’t necessary.  I want people to willingly choose not to do it, not have their hand forced because advocates are impatient.  I want advocates to leave Judaism and Brit Milah alone, no matter how much they don’t agree with it (AND NO, THERE IS NO RELIGIOUS REQUIREMENT TO CUT A GIRL).  I want solid science used.  I want advocates to know how to understand the science, and how to use it effectively, not to parrot what they see on Dr. Momma.  Not to post idiotic memes.  Not to regurgitate un-sourced claims.  Not to repeat lies pulled straight out of the ass of Dr. Fleiss.  Not to rely on the well-meaning-but-erroneous math of Dan Bollinger.  Not to bully well-meaning parents or cuss out well-meaning doctors.  Not to threaten people or use violent language.

I want to see anti-circumcision advocates to use critical thinking, including critical thinking of their information and their tactics.  Because I think what they are doing now is failing to accomplish anything.  That makes me angry and sad.  I want them to succeed.  But that isn’t going to happen through fear, and anger, and lies.  Please.  You are better than this.


Intactivist Interview 2

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!


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