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Saturday, January 5th, 2013
2 years, 1 month.
I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I believe if there is any change I feel I need to make in my life, I need to make that change no matter what day it is, as long as that day is still “today.”
However, it just so happens that around January 1st of 2013, I officially decided I want to make a point to stop participating in the polarization of America.
To quote Jimmy in one of my favorite movies, That Thing You Do, “I….. I quit. I quit. I quit…”.
In other words, I am choosing to see both Democrats and Republicans as good people.
I am rejecting the belief that “the other side” is completely irrational and/or evil, no matter how extreme or overzealous I am conditioned to believe they are, thanks in part to pseudo news channels like CNN and Fox News.
That goes for whatever “the other side” happens to be, not just political affiliations: pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-gay marriage vs. anti-gay marriage, attachment parenting vs. supporters of the “cry it out” method, gun control reform vs. no gun control reform…
Basically, on all of these controversial issues, the side I am now on is technically… neither. Because I now publicly associate with the third party in favor of removing the “vs.” between the two polarizing sides.
Granted, I still have my personal opinions of how I feel about these polarizing topics, but I am much more interested in attempting to help tone down the collective angst regarding all the controversial issues that divide America.
I am tired of adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.
With that being said, I was pretty skeptical a couple of months ago when I was approached by Susan Terkel, one of the authors of the then-upcoming book, The Circumcision Decision: An Unbiased Guide for Parents.
Knowing that my collection of blog posts on circumcision had put me in the hot seat with dozens of my readers, on several occasions, I had officially decided to retire from ever writing about circumcision again.
Then I received a preview copy of The Circumcision Decision in the mail. After reading it, I decided I actually wanted to participate in promoting the book, as much as possible.
In fact, I was so passionate about this book that the authors asked me to write a blurb for it, which is printed on the very first page, as well as, the back cover of the book:
“With grace, wisdom, and class, The Circumcision Decision impressively presents both sides of the story in such a balanced narrative, that some of us who have already made up our minds beforehand may now find ourselves challenged by the flip side.”
I proudly associate my name with The Circumcision Decision and am pleased to announce it was nominated as a 2012 finalist for the Books For A Better Life Award: Childcare/Parenting.
This book, which is now officially published and available for sale on its website, is the perfect answer to the circumcision controversy and, more importantly, to any soon-to-be parents of a son who are trying to best educate themselves on deciding whether to circumcise their son, or to leave him intact.
My guess is, no matter which side of the circumcision decision a parent lands, reading this book will simply give them the courage, confidence, and closure on how they honestly personally feel about circumcision to begin with.
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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
I love it when you Google easy questions that I can so easily prove the answer to with a few hyperlinks. I will now prove legitimacy to this outrageous, yet true, claim.
So to answer your question, yes, your facial cream very well could be made from human foreskins, which are sold by hospitals; thanks to circumcisions.
It’s really that simple. However, I would like to better illustrate this truth by sampling what other respectable blogs have to say on the subject.
Summer Minor, a contributor for Yahoo!, explains just how human foreskins are big business for cosmetics:
“Foreskin fibroblasts are used to grow and cultivate new cells that are then used for a variety of purposes. From the fibroblasts new skin for burn victims can be grown, skin to cover diabetic ulcers, and controversially it is also used to make cosmetic creams and collagens. One foreskin can be used for decades to grow $100,000 worth of fibroblasts.”
The article goes on to specifically name SkinMedica, selling for over $100 for a 63-oz. bottle, which was made famous by Oprah Winfrey.
An article called Top 10 Products You Didn’t Know Are Used in Cosmetics, featured on TopTenz.net, basically says the same thing, adding the estimation that one piece of foreskin from a baby boy can be used to create around 4 acres of new skin.
On Plasmatic.com, a review of SkinMedica confirms the foreskin myth to be true as well.
The question isn’t whether or not foreskins are used to make facial cream. The question is… do you care?
Let’s say you found out whatever brand of facial cream you use is made from foreskins, would that keep you from buying it again?
My guess is no.
The exception might be if you happen to oppose circumcision; in other words, you’re an intactivist. Then it might bother you.
But I predict if you’re okay with circumcision, you’re okay with what your facial cream might be made from.
As for me, a guy who happens to not use facial cream, I support a parent’s right to choose circumcision, especially for those who do so for religious reasons, and I believe in the importance of the separation of church and state, therefore opposing any attempts at passing laws to ban circumcision in our country. (Like in San Francisco last year. Not cool!)
So by default, I’m all for foreskins in facial cream. It’s better than just throwing them away or burning them in an incinerator.
Still to this day, I don’t know what ever happened to mine, back in 1981 when I was circumcised… Though I bet my mom tried to save it in a scrapbook.
Image credit: Portrait of beautiful spa girl, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its stance on circumcision, saying the benefits outweigh the risks.
If you are a soon-to-be parent of a baby boy who has been trying to figure out whether or not circumcision is right for your son, then the AAP’s statement is good news. Now you can have some closure on this subject.
Circumcision it is. Done.
But if you are an Intactivist, one who actively campaigns against circumcision, then the American Academy of Pediatrics’ revised circumcision stance is bad news:
After all, it means that an organization that most parents would find to be respectable and trustworthy is justifying an unnecessary tradition of genital mutilation.
The AAP’s revised policy takes away the credibility of what Intactivists have been trying to tell us all along.
So much for the neutrality of this article: I’m not an Intactivist, by the way.
Like most parents who have decided to circumcise their son, I am not and have never been passionate about the subject of circumcision.
However, on three different occasions now, I have explained what propelled me to choose circumcision:
Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?
Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral?
Dadvice #7: A Skeptic’s Letter To Intactivists
When it was all said and done, I had no problem saying this to Intactivists:
“You may be right.” It’s just that ultimately, I don’t care if they’re right. What’s done is done.
It became evident to me that the only way I could find shelter from the tidal wave of violent comments I received in those three Dadvice articles was to A) repent of the sin of circumcising my son, B) start using The Dadabase as a platform to preach Intactivism, and C) make an oath to not circumcise my next son, should I ever have one.
That sort of parenting extremism simply turns me off to their ideas, as valid as some of their points may be.
The vibes I have received from most Intactivists have been saturated in condescension, sarcasm, and prejudice.
I realize that stating my opinion on this today is only throwing gasoline on the fire; further perpetuating the frenemy relationship I have with Intactivist readers. Maybe I’m just curious to see if Intactivists will collectively be clever enough to learn how to be relevant in how they communicate with us unbelievers?
Will Intactivists kill me with their kindness? Will they prove me wrong when I say they are condescending to those of us who do not believe the same way as they do?
For their sake, I hope so.
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Friday, March 30th, 2012
I have enjoyed this past week or so as we’ve debated “pro-circumcision vs. Intactivism.” You all have enlightened me. I respect your cause. In fact, I would like to officially crown you the winner.
You win, in the sense that I now see “staying intact” as a legitimate and respectable alternative to circumcision.
You win, in the sense that you seized the opportunity to use the comments sections of both Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son? and Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral to inform not just me, but anyone curious enough to watch our debate, with a plethora of knowledge that we normally would not have exposure to.
You win, in the sense that you have proven that Intactivists can make a powerful presence and be very persuasive.
(In regards to me being curious to hear from those who oppose circumcision but are pro-choice regarding abortion, I realize now that was completely fruitless. I forget that those who are pro-choice don’t regard a fetus as a human life because of the technicality that he or she hasn’t either passed through the birth canal or been surgically removed via C-section. So you’re right; there’s really no comparison.)
In the end, however, I am still sticking to my beliefs on why I personally support circumcision, for the very reasons I have already explained. So while you did win the debate for the world to see, you didn’t win me over.
That’s not a lack on your part; you can’t help my resoluteness.
Throughout our debate, I have asked professionals (doctors, medical students, and an owner of a day care) for their personal takes on the necessity of circumcision; not hinting at my own stance before inquiring them. All their experience-based answers reflected my own beliefs.
If not, I would have been willing to change my mind on this.
Therefore, I believe it’s fair to say that I have been pretty open-minded to what is a new concept for me: Intactivism.
And I guess that’s what bothers me about Intavistism. I don’t see how as its subscribers you are open-minded to any other viewpoint on this: Either all or nothing.
It’s been made pretty clear to me now that unless I vow to circumcise my next (yet to be conceived or born) son, then I am ultimately making a selfish, prideful, self-serving, immoral choice.
Go back and read all the comments on those two posts. Notice how few Intactivists had any words or even tones of encouragement. (Some did.)
But for the most part, I was shouted at (indicated by ALL CAPS, re-occuring italics and exclamation points!) and spoken to in a sharply condescending tone.
It has been demonstrated to me that in the blogosphere, Intactivists have power in their large presence, but overcompensate their passion and zeal in a way that comes across as bullying. Yes, bullying.
Not that I am offended. I instead find the whole thing to be such a curious event.
I am convinced that the comments left on a blog post can easily send a stronger message than the one the actual author writes. The way the majority of Intactivists have chosen to represent themselves, as a whole, is clear for anyone (including those readers who pondering Intactivism) to go back and read.
I think with a better bedside manner, Intactivists could really get their point across in a way that is not so loud that we “cutters” can not hear it. I question your approach, not your morality or your competence; like I feel you have done towards me.
That’s my constructive criticism; though again, ultimately, the way Intactivists have represented themselves in my comments sections is not the reason for my refusal to convert.
This is not an emotional experience for me. It is for you. I think that’s where the disconnect is between us.
Sincerely, I thank you for what I have learned about circumcision from you. These deep discussions have indirectly caused me to think of other hot button issues (or at least strangely moral ones) like “how young is too young to medicate a child for ADHD and/or depression?” (Obviously, I’ll be publishing that one soon, along with one about how questioning if surgical birth control, getting snipped, is like playing God.)
No matter what, we’re still cool. I enjoy being your frenemy. Let me know the next time you’re in Nashville; I’ll let you buy me a Starbucks.
Your Open-minded, Yet Barbarically Cut Fellow Parent,
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Sunday, March 25th, 2012
In this anticipated sequel to “Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?” my goal is to answer whether or not it’s necessary to circumcise your son, and more importantly, whether it is morally wrong to do so.
Interestingly, I never would have been asking myself these questions today if it weren’t for the overwhelming number of comments I received in such a short amount of time regarding my personal view on circumcision.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing I learned through this process is that there exists a passionate, underground movement known as “Intactivists” who strongly oppose circumcision and references to Wikipedia.
I didn’t realize I was participating in a debate with them nor was I aware of their existence until I wrote about the hot topic last week.
The way I see it, I’m nothing more than the blog version of a talk show host whose job it it is to initiative engaging conversations. I simply pitch the issue to the crowd, accented in my personal angle, then I step back and see if anyone joins in the from there.
So while Wikpedia is obviously not the most professional, legitimate source for the medical aspect of circumcision, I do find it to be the best source to catch a glimpse of what main social perception of it is.
Because after all, this isn’t simply a medical issue. That’s not why people are fired up about it. Instead, it’s incredibly personal and social.
Normally, I always credit the winner of a debate to the side that refrains from getting overly emotional, shouting (ALL CAPS is the blog equivalent), speaking in a condescending tone, and attempting to prove that the opponent’s moral character is flawed.
And while many of the Intactivists did those exact things, I still think they won the debate. Yes, that’s right, Intactivists. I think you won.
By “won,” I mean that you made my reasoning of pro-circumcision seem to be about as legitimate as the illegalization of marijuana.
The way you to got to me was by showing me that circumcision is not necessary, despite it being “normal” here in the United States. I now agree that there is a lack of overwhelming evidence that circumcision prevents a plethora of health concerns.
Something my previous Dadvise post exemplified was that A) my suspicion of possible health concerns along with B) a peculiar fascination for the commandment for circumcision from God to Abraham (regarding Jews, not Christians) both seem to represent a lot of Americans and why they un-passionately (and maybe even carelessly) say yes to circumcising their sons.
But wait, there’s more…
As I’ve talked to friends and coworkers about why they chose to circumcise their sons, I got the same answer every time: ”I was circumcised and I’m fine, so I didn’t really think about it. I just had my son circumcised too.”
I asked one of my doctor friends in Houston for his take on if circumcision is necessary and I think he summed up it up perfectly: “There are medical benefits but I think it’s still more personal preference and psychosocial than medical.”
Because honestly, why else is circumcision the norm here in America?
He’s right: the psychosocial factor possibly has everything to do with it. I suspect I will be mauled in the comments section for being this honest, but here it is:
I don’t want my son to be the only one who is uncircumcised in the locker room.
And while stones are being thrown at me, here’s another thing:
Even if I ever decided that circumcision is totally pointless (not just unnecessary), if I ever had another son I would have him circumcised too because I wouldn’t either son to have to feel so confused about himself compared to his brother.
My stance: I don’t believe circumcision is necessary, nor do I believe it is morally wrong. (I can’t believe it is morally wrong because God Himself commanded it; even though only for the Hebrew people.)
That’s right; I stand by my decision to circumcise my son (16 months ago, as if I could change that now) yet I recognize that circumcision is not necessary. And I don’t feel guilty about it.
Here’s what I’m really curious about, though. I wonder if there are any readers out there who oppose circumcision but are pro-choice regarding abortion?
I would love to hear that reasoning. Welcome to the Debate Club.
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