Friday, December 18, 2015

Thankyou for 100,000 page views of my anti-circumcision blog and Goodbye

Thankyou for 100,000 page views of my anti-circumcision blog.

My working life is about to change, the needs/demands of my profession mean that Iwill expand my Private Consultancy, and my workload will probably double in 2016, so my work in the anti-circumcision campaigns of social media will be severely restricted.  Its now time for others to make their contributions.  I hope that I have made a difference.

Some background information:

My main recent motivation has been to counter the predominant pro-circumcision views in America, while my initial motivation was to counter our own Australian procirc fanatic Brian Morris.

I had been content that routine infant circumcision (RIC) had been overwhelmingly abandoned by both the medical profession and parents of Australia in the 1970's and 80;s, though still stubbornly high with statistics in 2015 showing about 11 to 12% of boys still being circumcised.  In the early to mid 2000's I began to notice the beginning of an incessant media campaign by Brian Morris et al, to reinstate routine infant circumcision in Australia.  I did some research and found that Brian Morris had been a long-term pro-circumcision campaigner who had fought against the abandonment of RIC, he had been condemned for his views, and he had even made dire predictions about the genito-urinary health of Australian males because of the abandonment of circ, which in the end have all proved to be false.  I thought I must add my medico-scientific voice to counter Morris et al.  I initially wrote to the RACP, and was assured by their response about the circumcision of infants, and they informed me that Brian Morris was not a member of the RACP and anything he said in media did not represent the views of the RACP.

I then discovered social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and found that Americans had a much bigger problem than Australians.  I found myself puzzled by America's high infant circumcision rates, and wanted to understand why, and also help support the American anti-circumcision movement. Further research helped me to understand that circumcision had infiltrated the American psyche and was part of their cultural identity and that they would fight very hard to retain the practice.  I was amazed but not really surprised that even the American Academy of Pediatrics was willing to subject themselves to international shame and ridicule to defend the right of their practitioners to continue the practice (What a shame they didn;t put the same effort into defending the rights of their real patients "infant boys").

I can proudly say that most page reads have come from America (52,306), so I have had some influence in the USA even if only small.

I have spent a lot of my very limited spare time in this endeavour, though my writings have predominantly been rushed, and were not for academic publishing or peer review.  When I re-read them, most of my blog posts do read rushed, and are not fit for scientific publishing.  However, that was never my intent, my intent was for these blogs to be read by ordinary people, and to be motivating pieces which would encourage further reading. 

There are many great academic/scientific writers in this field who are worth reading, and a good follow on from my works, such as:

Dr Robert Darby of 
Dr Brian Earp Brian Earp, Proposed CDC guidelines on male circumcision: A critique (at 
Morten Frisch. Time for U.S. parents to reconsider the acceptability of infant male circumcision.   Prof David Forbes. Circumcision and the best interests of the child. Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health 51 (March 2015): 263-265. 
Source: Brian Earp and Robert Darby. Does science support infant circumcision? A skeptical reply to Brian Morris. UK Skeptic, 10 June 2014.

Best of luck to my friends in this endeavour!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ugly Genitals

How fascinating that in the post modern world we live in, we now have the concept of "ugly genitals" emerging as a social construct. Read = (Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann with their book The Social Construction of Reality which is based on a combination of Alfred Schutz' Sociology of Knowledge and Durkheim's concept of institution, developed a theory that aims at answering the question of how subjective meaning becomes a social fact. "The social construction of reality".)

Now we have cultures presenting subjective meaning as fact when it comes to the attractiveness of genitals. Look at whats happened to the social construction of what constitutes attractiveness in the female genitals.  In Western cultures, now for a vagina to be considered attractive it must be hairless, waxed, shaven, the Brazilian.  Who decided this?  But worse how did we buy into this.  Unintended consequences = Labia size?  Someone socially constructed that large labia are unattractive and small labia attractive.  The consequence of this is that now women are having labiaplasty (labia reduction) done in order to make their vaginas attractive according to this new social construction as if it is a fact??. Who said??  In FGM cultures an uncircumcised vagina is considered ugly, and a mutilated vagina attractive?

Male genitals.  In genital cutting cultures the circumcised penis is considered attractive and the foreskin is considered ugly extra skin.  In intact cultures the natural genitals are considered attractive and the circumcised penis is considered ugly, scarred and dried out.

Genitals are just genitals, their purpose is to provide pleasure which ultimately ensures we reproduce our species, to ensure our survival.  The most important aspects of the genitals is the physical feeling and pleasure they provide, and the ability to procreate.  Along with the hormonal drive that creates the urge for sex, genitals help create new life, ensuring the human race survives.  How they look is really of minor importance, and only a modern phenomenon.  Is a persons, integrity, personality, commitment, love, intelligence, and facial features (also socially constructed ) not much more important than genital appearance.  If we were to rate in order of importance the most valued aspects of a human being, where does genital attractiveness rate (remembering it is a social construct) among the human attributes?  Not that highly surely?

How has this come about?  Is it an increasing narcissism among modern humans?  Is it the digital photography age, and manipulation of photos to change the way the human body looks (Study found editors digitally reduce labia size).  Is it the culture wars around circumcision and all forms of genital cutting done on children that leads to social constructs to justify ancient tribal customs?  Is it an obsession with the superficial?  Is it an idealisation of the human form?

What do we do about it?  Well it always starts with education, awareness and knowledge, that depending on the culture we live in, that culture is socially constructing concepts about genital attractiveness, and we need to be careful about buying into it.  To challenge these social constructions.  To argue that nature created humans with a large variability in our human features, and encouraging acceptance of how we are made/look as the most valued ideal.

What are your thoughts on this subject I'd like to read what other people think?