Thursday, July 27, 2006

No, you're not allowed to talk about foreskin

This happened a few weeks ago, but it's been bothering me ever since, so I feel I need to blog about it to get it off my mind.

A few weeks ago, I was at dinner with two friends, both who happened to be women. For some reason, one of them brought up circumcision. It wasn't so much to discuss circumcision, but to take a stand behind a particular view. You see, she thought the whole idea (circumcision) was stupid. She assured me that there is no reason for the procedure. People who keep their skin live the exact same lives as people who don't keep their skin. Thus, the procedure is pointless.

The other woman agreed.

Now, this really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm hoping that men reading this will feel the same way. If you're a woman, imagine that this conversation was unfolding between two of your male friends right in front of you:

Man A: It's really stupid that women are taught to wipe in one direction. There's absolutely no need for it. There's no benefit for women. They should stop taking the time pointlessly teaching them to be afraid of wiping back-to-front.

Man B: Yeah, I totally agree.

Women, wouldn't that annoy you?

Here's the thing, I'm guessing that between the two of these women who were discussing circumcision, they probably have SEEN more live penises than I have. They certainly have handled more live penises than I have. However, if that makes them penis experts, then I'm "vagina Yoda."

The fact is, I know men who haven't been circumcised, and I know about the extra hygiene they have to go through because of it. (stuff gets caught up there) Additionally, I know that there is a HUGE amount of skin that is harvested for grafting from baby foreskin, and that skin does a TREMENDOUS social good to burn victims and other people who need grafts. Additionally, regardless of how these two women seem to be appalled by the idea, the people I know who still have their skin have found that many women are not so excited about the idea when it is thrust in front of them. Just when the guy is feeling pretty good about himself, his lovely lady freaks out and makes him feel like a freak.

Oh, and let's not forget where most of the nerve endings on the unit are. This way they're exposed (which may make sex, on average, too 'easy' for men, and that's a legitimate complaint) and yet still there's plenty of skin to avoid direct contact with those. It seems like a good compromise. (and I'm not even going to discuss the "scooping" effect that has been documented in recent evolutionary studies of penis size, but I think there is some relation to this discussion too)

Anyway, I managed to end the conversation when I mentioned that there actually is a procedure that allows a man to reverse the operation. The skin is pulled forward, tacked forward, and gradually over time stays in the new position. This idea apparently grossed at least one of them out, and the conversation stopped. This too made me feel like these two were completely underqualified to criticize this common procedure.

I understand that women are packaged with the most complicated piece of reproductive hardware in the known universe, and I respect that. However, that particular unit doesn't eclipse the male version; it simply has no relation to it. It's like apples and oranges. Regardless of how simple the male unit is, it's just too different, and I'd appreciate it if it received a little more respect.

Now I have to figure out what to tag this entry. Hm.

1 comment:

jay c said...

Well said, Theo!