Tea: Earl Grey with cream, and one sugar
Song: ‘ King of Intimidation‘ by Alanis Morissette. This is from the collector’s edition of Jagged Little Pill, so it is quite older, but top 5 Morissette songs for me. In feminist anger, I always reach for this song.
In my infinitely growing classiness, I descended into banal arguments around circumcision. In short, I am against it. In short, I realise that the majority of Americans are for it as it is considered normal to cut off a piece of human flesh when one is too young to consent a permanent alteration.
I wanted to ruminate then on consent. Some context on my beliefs, I am a child-rape victim, self-identify as a feminist, and have a background in French sociolinguistic focusing on Franco-Canadian varied identities…in other words I am not a medical doctor, and am not approaching this from a medical point-of-view. If one is searching for statistics on the body aspects of mutilation, this is not the place. I am intrigued about the mental aspects right now.
Consent is on the rise with public discussion. #Metoo really effected change within the social sphere: to the point where an accusation of rape is enough to end careers. This is a far cry from just a few years prior when rape was rampantly undisclosed, but we still have work to do. I, as a member of Western society, have a lot to do within my own actions. What does it mean to consent? What does it mean to be consensual? Is there a middle point – a semi-consensual grey area -? What needs consent? Does everything?
First, consent (for me) is the expressed participation/involvement on all sides of an action. I can consent to buying a car, but if the dealership does not want to sell, it is still theft to take it. With circumcision, consent is given to permanently alter one’s interaction with the physical world. Infants lack consent ability in our current understanding of consent. Parents can consent to medical procedures, so why should genital mutilation be any different?
It comes down to the reasons for which a procedure is necessary versus elective. Necessary circumcision – which there are a select few instances – exist. The boy will be able to live a better life without a tight foreskin cutting off circulation, and possibly causing a serious infection…that cannot be avoided by parenting by teaching a boy to wash properly.
Now, that is about as medical as I feel comfortable getting. When I was circumcised – I am American, after all -, I was not asked by my parents as I was a fresh evictee of the womb. Why would they not wait? My father quite plainly stated that it was because of his covenant with his god. I now, not a worshipper of his god, have to look down, and see evidence that my beliefs are permanently removed from my body. My body will never reflect my beliefs.
I am bodily tied to a history of rape, and genocide under which the three major religions have thrived. They even praise their murders within their books. This could be thrown away as ‘history’, but traits of this barbarism still continues in my own pants – or kilt/tunic depending on the day -.
I was raped by a youth pastor from ages 2-5. The youth pastor also happened to my paternal grandfather. Consent was never given for any act as I was too young to consent, yet the same understanding is not given when a stranger grasped my penis, and sliced off a piece of my body. When I think about my circumcision, I feel the sour, slick slime in my soul that every rape victim knows.
The daughter of my sister’s ex compared it to changing a diaper. I find that insulting on a spiritual level. To compare grasping a strange child’s penis to cleaning is as perverse as what my grandfather did. A friend from college went a different route comparing to her husband: would the child feel left out being different than ‘Daddy’?
I am going to say this: WHO IS COMPARING PENISES (PENII for my Latin friends) WITH THEIR CHILDREN?
My father at least drew it plainly to religion. As a person in touch with his Jewish heritage, I am well aware of this argument. My boyfriend is half-Bahraini. His parents are devout Muslim. He also heard the same spiel. Why is it permissible to force a child into a religion whilst decrying other religions for doing the same?
I understand that I have shot myself in the foot for being so open against it; I am even sure that this was the final straw in my own family. Feel free to hate me. Feel free to judge. I, however, will still stand the innocent boys you mutilate for respective sick reasons.
-J.A. Victor Wilson