Those of us in the “crunchy” parenting blogger community have all accepted that circumcision is a human rights violation. Together, we advocate and educate for the protection of our most helpless members of our society.
The OMB Facebook page lost a LOT of “likes” from openly stating that the photo below was an irresponsible choice on the part of the group that created it. We are not out to win a popularity contest, and when it comes to babies, we will always side with them. No matter how many fans we lose.
We cannot verify the intentions of the picture, so let us deconstruct what we can see.
1. A bright, cheery, happy mom’s head rests on the words “he is circumcised”. Intended or not, the message here is “I chose to have my son circumcised. He’s happy, I’m happy. There’s no problem here, folks”. In reality, those of us who learned the truth of circumcision too late struggle deeply and daily with what we chose for and stole from our son.
2. Co-sleeping is something that many believe is best for baby. Choosing whether or not to sleep with your baby is not a human rights violation.
3. Working outside of the home is something that many believe is not in the best interest of the baby. Choosing to work outside of the home is not a human rights violation.
4. Exclusively breastfeeding baby is something nearly everyone acknowledges as best for baby. Choosing not to breastfeed is not a human rights violation.
5. Circumcision is making a choice for a non-consenting minor that permanently and unnecessarily removes healthy, functioning and useful tissue. Circumcision is a human rights violation.
6. The above photo comes from a group whose name leads one to believe that they are in tune with their bodies, their babies, and their babies’ bodies. There is an assumption that they will promote stuff that is good and natural and whole. Circumcision is none of those things and is not a parenting choice.
7. The words celebrate and circumcise are used in the same message. There is nothing to celebrate about circumcision.
8. It is more popular and is easier to be diplomatic and suggest that everything is okay for everybody. This is not true. Circumcision is “lumped” in with three other things that promote “mommy wars”. This suggests that circumcision is controversial and that each family needs to make the decision for themselves- like co -sleeping and working outside of the home. This is not true. Circumcision should be decided only by the owner of the penis.
9. ”We do things differently” suggests that we adopt the “to each their own” mentality when it comes to circumcision. It asks us to accept circumcision as a valid choice.
10. For anyone who knows anything about the history of circumcision, the function of the foreskin or the procedure itself, the mother in the purple shirt and her words jump out like a preschool activity worksheet entitled “which one of these things doesn’t belong”?
11. This image pushed many who were “on the fence” about circumcision over the edge- toward circumcision.
12. This image trivialized the pain and sorrow that many mothers who found out the truth too late are dealing with.
13. This image fueled the argument of pro-circers who can now say: “look, even CRUNCHY people think it’s good!”
Don’t believe me? Go check out the thread on our Facebook page.
14. Personally, what saddens me most about this is that the idea of “crunchy” is so grossly misrepresented. I am not a fan of labels, but they exist. People associate this term with practices that are good for one’s body and the Earth. The page who published this image preyed on that. Their likes may have grown, but at the cost of selling themselves out. Most of us who blog under the “crunchy” label have a tremendous amount of integrity and choose right over popular. Every time.
It is my observation that this group is suggesting that those of us who are angered by this image are holding mothers who chose to circumcise responsible. They are using the button -pushing catch -phrase that we are “judging” and that we should stop. Again, this is a VERY popular thing to say. Many mothers get all excited when we start talking about judging- maybe it justifies decisions so that they do not have to think about them. I am not sure.
For anyone who has done any work on themselves, they are aware that judging is only something that we can do to ourselves. Any time we catch ourselves thinking of this, we stop to think about what is making us uncomfortable.
This was a sad and upsetting day for baby boys. An organization who we expected to stand up for them, opted for diplomacy. And following the recent AAP statement, it feels worse.
There was a graceful way to handle this situation. As soon as this group realized what was happening they could have said: “we did not realize the message that we were sending. Our intent was not to promote or celebrate circumcision, but to acknowledge that we all love our children no matter what choices we have made. We are going to remove this photo until we come up with something more accurate”.
And then they could have shared this:
Keep the deconstruction going. What can you add? What makes the first image above wrong?