Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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Circumcision, Continued

I find that many circumcised males have a tendency to get huffy when anyone speaks out against the institution of routine nonconsensual unanaesthetised circumcision, feeling that their own dicks are being judged inferior. Considering the fact that most anti-circumcision websites speak of circumcision with words like "male genital mutilation," I do think this reaction is understandable so I wish to address it here.

I do not think it is polite or healthy or civilized to try to convince someone who is happy with their genital configuration that they should start viewing themselves as "mutilated." Just as I would not try to tell a happy post-op MTF transsexual that she had "mutilated" herself, so also I would not try to tell a happy circumcised male that he had been "mutilated." The word "mutilated" is an aesthetic judgment which cannot be objectively justified. Objectively speaking, we can say that a body modification has taken place, and we can say whether it took place with or without consent. But we cannot judge, objectively speaking, whether that body modification is aesthetically pleasing or not, "mutilation" or "art" (and yes, even art can be unwanted, painted upon someone who did not consent to be a canvas for it). And it does not make good sense to me for a movement supposedly aimed at "helping" the victims of forced circumcision to promote derogatory aesthetic judgments about the victims of such violence.

So it was not by accident that in my last post I used the phrase "sexual assault" rather than "mutilation." A person who has been sexually assaulted does not become an inherently uglier, less attractive person for having been assaulted. They are not doomed to live a "mutilated" life of inferiority and incompleteness. They are simply a person who has had something done to them without their consent, and when I speak out to say that they should have been asked for consent, that does not imply that they are now ugly because they were not asked. I have a much deeper and more complex sense of aesthetics than that. Often it is precisely though surviving victimization that people become most beautiful.
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