The Row Over Circumcision

Hanna Rosin's pitch for circumcision hits a nerve among male columnists.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

In an effort to reduce HIV rates, the Center for Disease Control said this week that it may recommend that all boys born in the United States be circumcised. In The Daily Dish, Hanna Rosin called the angry responses to the CDC's potential recommendation, "hysterical," and argued that the medical benefits make a good case for routine circumcision. "Scientifically speaking, it's not remotely controversial," she said. That may be, but her post was met with a very intimate kind of outcry from male commentators who said the procedure was a more personal one than Rosin could understand.

  • Mind Your Business, writes Freddie at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. Freddie says "heterosexual men who don't use intravenous drugs, with very few exceptions, don't get HIV or AIDS." So the idea of recommending that all baby boys be circumcised to prevent a disease that afflicts only a small percentage of people is illogical. "Circumcision is still a surgical procedure; it's permanently altering to those with no capacity to choose or ability to prevent the surgery; and it is changing the natural human form in the service of pursuing health gains that benefit a statistically tiny portion of the American population."
  • Our Foreskin, Ourselves, says The Economist. "For men, for deep-seated psychic and cultural reasons, ensuring that your son's equipment looks like your own, and does not renounce his membership in a tribe you belong to, can be a very big deal."
  • Circumcision Isn't So Bad, says Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain blog. He says Rosin was just trying to make a point about public health. "The advantages in terms of hygiene are well-known." And besides, McCain says, "familiarity with the fact of foreskinless functionality (i.e., I've fathered six kids) indicate my circumcised state is entirely adequate to the rigors of the task." But what about sexual pleasure? Chris Bodenner asks at The Daily Dish. He's optimistic. "But what if a slight decrease in sensitively actually heightens sex overall? In other words: The guy lasts longer. And that's generally better for everyone involved, no?"
  • Circumcision Violates Human Rights, says Tony at the RollingDoughnut blog. "American culture gets it wrong on what should be permitted on healthy children who do not need medical intervention and can't consent to cosmetic surgery."
  • There are Strong, Visceral Emotions Here I Don't Understand, Hannah Rosin writes in a lighthearted response. She seems unfazed. "I'd forgotten how passionate Dish readers, and Andrew, are on the subject of circumcision. Andrew once published a photo of this 'gruesome procedure' which has the feel of one of those pro-life placards - after which I probably rescinded his invitation to my son's bris."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.