In almost every conversation about FGM I've ever seen, someone brings up circumcision, and draws a comparison pointing out that women don't seem bothered by it, and that everyone is silent on the issue. This is one of those issues that drives me a little crazy; here's an opportunity for men to campaign for an issue that they care about, and where an argument can almost certainly be made that people routinely inflict an unnecesary and potentially harmful (well, they'd probably argue *always harmful) procedure on children too young to consent, and it usually gets brought up as a "gotcha" instead. It seems like a waste.
And it's not like there isn't a point to be made. We're talking about permanently removing part of a boy's body for pure reasons that have no actual basis in medical health. The reasons given for circumcision are primarily religious, cosmetic, or based on myths and tradition. That certainly makes the conversation difficult, since people who support it are sometimes going to do so for reasons that can't easily be logiced away. There's real room for men to promote a change that could benefit future children, if the conversation is taken seriously and made on its own ground, but when it gets brought up as a "men suffer too!" argument, it breeds ill will and distracts from the also valid conversation about FGM.
And it ends up feeling very disingenuous, to me. Certainly there are men who resent being circumcised, but the evidence of lasting harm is hardly conclusive. There are men on both sides of the conversation. And equating a normal circumcision with FGM is a false comparison, anyway; what is done to men in a standard circumcision is to FGM what an ear piercing is to a lobotomy (well... perhaps not quite, but the hyperbole is slight).
And, of course, the motivations for each bear questionable resemblance. The purpose of circumcising men isn't to remove sexual pleasure or ensure "sexual purity" for future spouses; even if you don't accept the validity of the arguments--and, clearly, there are many who don't--it just isn't the case that they're the same. The arguments against each are certainly similar, but why each happens is not.
Ultimately, there's nothing wrong, I think, with advocating an end to both. I just wish it didn't feel like every time I saw male circumcision brought up was antagonisticly on feminist blogs.
(uploaded on the T)