When Activism Becomes Extreme.

On observations…
 
Activism, no matter what form or shape or cause, is comprised of passion. An injustice is seen and vigorously fought for. As with any activism; there are extremists. Those who find themselves so overtaken with the injustice that emotions often drive the conversation, which frequently leads to heated arguments instead of civil discussions.
 
I fully understand these individuals. I was one; and still am sometimes and trying to change. These are the people who attack on a personal level because they find it very difficult to separate the person from the act. A good friend told me once: “Sometimes you have to punch someone in the face to get their attention.” It’s a beautiful saying and I fully agree. However, it can be done without making it personal.
 
As soon as you go on the offensive (or defensive) with attacking, an insurmountably wall erects itself and the conversation becomes dead before it begins. No one will learn, or even be interested in learning, at this point. Why would they? At this point you’re defending your pride, not your argument.
 
In many instances it’s best to just disengage and walk away. Save your sanity from those who have no desire in learning your side. Being rude and uncivil is what makes movements seem to be led by a bunch of unhinged loons that people take with a grain of salt. Unfortunately a bad reputation is a common byproduct of activism.
 
Before I became a father, I thought nothing of spanking, circumcision or allowing a child to cry in a vein attempt to train them. Now as a father, I have learned better and fight vehemently against them. I see the injustice in these. I voice these opinions. I will not stop voicing them. But just because I don’t allow myself to lash out at a naysayer by arguing or allow myself to walk away upon realizing their intent is not to truly understand but to simply argue and pot-stir; in no way am I condoning that injustice or accepting it’s continuance.

On my blog, I have many many people that don’t necessarily agree with everything; but do listen. They lie in the background, absorbing what is being said and reading the comments. They take some advice and leave some advice. What if one of these people are on the fence and see someone admit they spank or someone that circumcised their child or left them to cry or any else you don’t agree with. What if this person who admitted this was attacked and pounced on by ‘peaceful’ activists? What if this person watching then decided to deem the cause as batshit crazy? I will always defend my opinion. I will always discuss my position. But I will never attack or bash.

The more we are the crazy, the bashing, the unhinged offensive attacks; the less we allow the movement to move forward. The more we are willing to teach through understanding, modeling and with poise; the more we will be listened to as a sane voice. A voice worth listening to. We can be that voice without the extremism. Extremism is not a good thing.

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Circumcision. I did not consent and I’m speaking out.

GA Logo Blue CircleI always here the argument: “I never hear guys complain about being circumcised.” Well, I’m here to tell you that you can no longer use this argument. Men complain. And often.  Besides, how often do you approach strangers and ask if they are happy with their circumcision (or lack thereof)? My guess is never. I know I don’t walk around with a sign hanging around my neck saying that I’m unhappy with it. And I am unhappy.

I know what I was robbed of. Such a valuable piece of flesh, the foreskin.  Protector, cleanser, lubricator, glider and superb pleasure provider.  I’ll never know the pleasure of intercourse that my foreskin would have provided. I won’t know the pleasure of having an undamaged glans due to being roughened and calloused from a life of exposure, chaffing and constant rubbing. The benefit of having a natural gliding motion, trapping in its naturally provided lubricant, is lost to me. The ridged band and 20,000 fine-touch nerve endings were taken from me, forever stealing my ability to experience sex as nature intended me to. The foreskin; the incredible 15+ square inches of skin; was cut off in infancy because of false information.

Men do complain. You just need to be receptive when they do.

Do I blame my parents? Partly, but not much. They could have researched it, but I was born in a time when virtually all males were circumcised in the US. It wasn’t questioned. It was just done. My parents did not know any better. After all, doctors know best, right? Well, in the case of male circumcision they don’t, and willfully so. They rely on false information[1] and highly flawed African studies[2] to perpetuate the belief that it is necessary. There is money to made[4] in the procedure (cough cough facial cream[3]), so of course it’s in the best interest of those invested to continue the lie. So no, I mostly blame our medical establishments for not keeping the best interest of our male infants in mind.

Our culture is one where it’s so engrained in our psyche that intact penises are not only gross, but unnatural. “I’m glad I don’t have an anteater.” “No turtle neck for my guy!” These are often spouted arguments by ignorant men. Men in need of suppressing facts and realities through cognitive dissonance. It’s funny because the rest of the world views the US culture of cutting boys gross, unhealthy, unnatural and sick. Women that have experienced both cut and intact penises overwhelmingly (85% [1]) prefer intact men; so really the joke is on those boasting about being cut as infants.

When we really boil this down, despite all the false “health benefits” and its “better aesthetics”, we have a violation of our most basic of human rights – our right to ourselves. Our infant males lose this right no sooner than they are born. Their bodies are not their parents to decide what to do with. Our girls are protected from cosmetic alteration at birth. Our boys should be allotted that same basic human right.

My bodily rights were violated. I was not allowed a choice. I did not consent to a permanent cosmetic alteration of my most private of areas. And the very fact that I’m a man writing this is proof that men do indeed complain; and we are not complacent in the fact that this continues as normal in our society.  I’ll close this with my favorite quote which I can’t locate the origin of: “They got my foreskin. But I won’t let them get my sons.” We need to protect our boys.

(1) – http://intaction.org/10-myths-about-circumcision/
(2) – http://www.intactamerica.org/sites/default/files/IASummaryAtlanta.pdf
(3) – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-cut-above-the-rest-wrin/
(4) – http://www.foreskin.org/f4sale.htm