Wrong. I have ONE cause — Human Rights. All other rights issues stem from this central trunk of the rights and issues’ family tree. Women’s rights, LGBT, genital integrity, workers’ rights, children’s rights, and more — ALL are branches of the primary concept that roots us in our basic right to self-determination, autonomy, and our humanity.
Today provided a perfect example of how different experiences color our activism. Usually, this is a good thing, but occasionally, our pain from our own experiences clouds our words, resulting in our message devolving into a war of emotion. It becomes a contest of “my pain is greater than your pain” — a competition no one wins.
My morning started with me checking my Facebook and Twitter while I made breakfast as I hurried my daughter to get up, get ready for school, and catch the bus.
I try not to spend all day on Twitter, but tomorrow’s Full Moon seems to have kicked up people’s crazy cycles a day early.
First, on Facebook, I responded to a friend’s comment about his neighbors’ loud sex last night. As the conversation progressed to sex positions (okay, I brought it up), I mentioned that the reason the original missionary position is the only position ever condoned by the Catholic church was because it provides the least pleasure for the woman. It puts the man in the superior, stronger, aggressive position while the woman is inferior, at the mercy of the man, and passive and submissive. Another chick chimed in saying some women “love to be ‘conquered.’” As a woman who has spent most of my life fighting NOT to be conquered by men, I disagreed, but I did not linger since I had to get some real work done.
I spent a couple hours working my day-job (Thursdays are a day-off for me), and what followed was an entire day on social media in one activist role or another. And I have preserved some of those exchanges in the photo gallery below. (To view them at full size, click the box on the lower right of your screen.)
The second round of today’s activism started out simple enough — me talking about orgasms, specifically, mine, and how I cry when I orgasm. I followed that with a comment that men crying during orgasm is perfectly natural. Twitter being a public forum, a random guy jumped in the convo with a rude comment ridiculing how it would look with a “he man blowing his load and crying.” This began a series of tweets back and forth as I tried to explain that a man crying during orgasm is perfectly natural. After all, men are human beings, and human beings have feelings.
Apparently, men are still not allowed to be full human beings in our society.
The third and most exasperating exchange occurred with a man who, it turns out, is also an activist — an intactivist, to be precise. An intactivist is someone who fights for ending all circumcision because genital mutilation is a human rights violation of a child’s bodily autonomy and is sexual assault on the child. This guy had tweeted the following comment:
“The sexual urges of women in our society are more important than the pain of a baby boy.”
After a morning of hearing that some women want to be conquered, men who cry are not masculine, and a few other ridiculous notions that are proof positive our society is still sexually repressed and almost entirely mentally unbalanced, I could not sit by and let this tweet go without standing up for women’s right to be sexual and not be shamed for it. Did I do it the right way? Could I have handled myself better? Should I have called him a moron so many times? Maybe. Maybe not.
The thought I had toward the end of this Twitter war (that lasted over a couple hours) is that this guy is reacting and projecting because of his own pain with his circumcision. Just as I possibly was too harsh in earlier altercations today.
Hearing a woman wants to be conquered made me think back to when I was molested as a kid, my rape when I was 21, and my Steubenville-esque experience. Talking about the horribly unsatisfactory missionary position brought to mind my own status as one of the 70% of women who has never orgasmed during sex — a statistic for which I still feel shame for myself and anger at my partners for not caring enough about me to ensure I had pleasure, too. It reignited my distaste for the porn industry that created a caricature of women as hyper-orgasmic nymphomaniac slut-bunnies — as opposed to erotica that presents sex and sexuality in a beautiful, honorable way.
I was reminded yet again of the hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of women who have been raped, tortured, killed outright, and burned at the stake by the Christian church who has feared women’s sexual power since Peter stole the church’s high seat from Mary Magdalene. As a pagan witch doing research for my stage writings, I spent years reading witch trial transcripts, scouring historical documents of witch hunters, Inquisitors, and missionaries in Europe and in colonial America who were obsessed with exorcising the natural sexuality of women. This does not include the women who were beaten, raped, and killed for wanting the right to vote, or the right to fight alongside men in the modern military. Too many thoughts and memories swarmed in my mind.
Hearing that a man can’t cry when he experiences pleasure infuriated me because so much of our patriarchal, imperial, testosterone-driven culture still carries the gender-role prejudices of religion and hierarchical misogyny and misandry that does a disservice to women and men.
Today’s activism was about shame. And pain. And how, even when we mean well, speaking up for one issue cannot happen at the expense of demeaning other people who are probably also in pain. After all, the oppressive culture that says mutilating a child’s genitals is okay is the same repressive culture that says a woman is to blame for her rape because of how she was dressed, or two people cannot love each other because they’re the same gender.
I’ve been a grassroots activist for 27 years, and I’ve seen in-fighting in every single rights group I’ve ever worked with — religious rights, American Indian rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights. Who’s a real witch? Who’s a real Indian? Bisexuals aren’t really discriminated against. Women don’t need full body autonomy or equal pay. Conservative Democrats aren’t real Democrats. And it’s all bullshit.
My motto has always been, “Human Rights are non-negotiable.”
I love that there are so many of us, each working in a niche that is important to us. Yet, that does not mean one corner of activism outweighs another. We can’t all work for all causes at all times. We have to split up into different groups to cover all the bases. Remember that equality does not mean we are the same, but rather, though we may be different, we are of the same value as human beings. Our human rights family tree is rooted in and celebrates our differences, with roots deep in the soil of our humanity, echoing the ancient axiom, “As above, so below.”
However, if you only care about one group who is hurt or exploited and not another, then you’re not working for rights issues, you’re a special interest asshat who is no better than the elitist oppressors who mock human rights activism while making fortunes off the masses’ suffering.
So I may not know the full extent of pain that another person has experienced, just as they won’t know the full extent of mine. But we can try to listen better. We can forgo the pain-game and stick to the work at hand. Don’t allow the oppressors’ need to stuff us into boxes and categories or divide us into opposing sides hinder our work of coming together and doing the work.
We are better than that. Do the work. Be the Change.
We Are All Connected.
- NEWS: Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
- OpEd: ‘Male Circumcision Is No Biggie’
- Anatomy: #TeamUncut Intact Natural Penis Collage for #ForeskinFriday (21+ NSFW)
- OpEd: The Face of Orgasm: Is Your Woman Faking Orgasms or Not?
- DailyOJ 01-26-13, Part 2: The Fear of Intimacy
- OpEd: America’s Love/Hate Relationship with Breasts
Don’t get me wrong — I love ALL penises: circumcized penises, small penises, large penises, all of them. But some uncut men in the United States still have to deal with discrimination from partners who are unaccustomed to seeing, handling, or loving a natural, intact penis.
I recently saw a tortured comment from one uncut guy on Tumblr. He was so distraught by a girlfriend calling his natural penis “nasty,” he was seriously contemplating getting circumcized at his current age of 23 or 24. I was horrified — not only at the thought of an adult male choosing circumcision just to be considered “normal” in a culture that has no clue about what normal sexuality should be (i.e., not evil, not sinful, not shameful, not jackhammering a vagina), but this girlfriend then told all her friends about his “nasty” penis and he became the laughing stock of his friends and acquaintances — at a college, no less.
** Stepping up on soapbox: America’s Puritanical overlords and evangelical bullshit have so warped our culture, few people have a clue as to what is natural and beautiful… in penises, breasts, or vulva! And yes, I am one of those radical tree-huggers who views routine infant male circumcision and any female circumcision as aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon, with the perpetrators being culpable and deserving jail time. (Stepping down…) **
I have already had a few submissions, and while some are great, some are a bit lackluster — not for size or shape, but for the absolute disregard for ambiance!!! Jeez! Dudes! You’re taking pics of your penis for a woman!!! Why is the toilet in the background?!
So I’m laying out some Submission Guidelines.
- Photo must be of you and submitted by you, and YOU must be 21 years of age or older, regardless of where you live in the world.
- Photo must be a close-up of your penis and testicles, or of your body somewhere from your navel to above your knees, i.e., your face should not be in the pic.
- Multiple photos are permissible to show the way the foreskin moves/changes in different states: unaroused/natural, partially aroused, fully erect, etc. No cum shots will be posted (but you can send them anyway ).
- Photos should be taken in natural light with NO FLASH — using flash does NOT make your penis look inviting. (Sorry, but that’s the truth.) So take the pic near a window, outside in the woods or other place where you won’t be arrested for indecent exposure, etc.
- Higher resolution is better.
- Photo may be edited by me for size, color tone, etc.
- I HATE BLUE!!! So please don’t have anything blue in the picture.
- All men — straight, gay, bi — are more than welcome!
If in doubt as to tone and ambiance, PLEASE look at my Tumblr page. I adore sensuality. Crude porn shots is NOT what I’m looking for. I want to honor the male and the uncut penis.
Sumbit via email on the main ArousedWoman.com website.
P.S. Cut guys — feel free to send pics, too, and I’ll put them in a separate collage.
* Follow trish on Twitter. *
* Visit the main ArousedWoman website. *
According to the Intactivist site, Circumcision and HIV, the local ACLU chapter of Santa Cruz, CA, was in very bad form at a recent Pride parade, and apparently, this isn’t the first time Northern California ACLU chapters have displayed a double standard in protecting civil liberties — particularly protecting the religious freedom rights of parents over the basic civil liberties and human rights of infant boys.
Protecting the United States’ First Amendment is the cornerstone of my writing and music. I find it unconscionable to see the ACLU’s Northern California and Santa Cruz affiliates and others putting some people’s religious beliefs ABOVE infant boys’ pro-choice rights to their bodies.
If someone wanted to take a slice out of my body or my daughter’s, the ACLU would stand behind my right to my body and her right to hers. I doubt the ACLU would support the stoning of a woman because she had premarital sex — a stoning dictated by a misogynist religious mandate. And yet, the circumcision of newborn boys is a perfectly acceptable religious mandate?
Why would any person or group support the physical and sexual abuse of defenseless infant boys by putting religion over the child’s right to his body? Is this a case in which the Orwellian adage rings true: “All animals are equal… but some animals are more equal than others”? Since this body mutilation occurs on the penis, which is necessary for reproduction later in his life, isn’t circumcision a violation of the boy’s reproductive rights as well?
Every American baby boy has inherent, inalienable, protected rights including his First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion. Since he is only days old when the scalpel-happy doctor and religious fanatic parents are wanting to permanently modify and potentially permanently harm his newborn body, the baby boy cannot say what HIS religion is yet — if he even wants to participate in his parents’ religion that mandates this mutilation.
The baby boy does not have a voice. Except for us activists — intactivists!
Contact these ACLU branches and use YOUR freedom of speech to speak out against the ACLU protecting adults over innocent babies: ACLU-Northern California: (415) 621-2493, and ACLU-Santa Cruz: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet them @ACLU and @ACLU_NorCal or find them on Facebook to let them know this is NOT acceptable for an organization supposedly devoted to protecting civil liberties for ALL.
I want to be proud of the ACLU again. So ACLU-Northern California and ACLU-Santa Cruz need to do the right thing and protect baby boys from religious extremism.
1 – those who are completely unaware of an issue so their apathy is due to ignorance…
2 – those who are aware of the issues but have been drinking the Kool-aid too long to see the rights violations right in front of them…
Or in this case, in their pants.
Last night on Facebook, I updated my status with this:
“My thoughts on FGM & Male Circumcision: Any body modification not fully consented to by the person on whom it is being done is straight up EVIL & being perpetrated by ASSHOLES.”
After yet another exhibition of my Irish gift of being blunt, an interesting discussion followed by friends who, of course, feel similarly. I went on to say:
“Any change to the body is the basic human right of THAT PERSON to make a change to the body. Especially when this isn’t a life-threatening situation. Circumcision in 1st world countries is done out of habit more than educated knowledge that it is a religious act — and since many white Americans proudly claim to be Christian, why the hell do they do this to their babies? (Though I think brainwashing a child in any one religion is also heinous, but that’s another convo.)… Many people do not realize that baby boys die from male circumcision, just as some girls die from FGM. Female Genital Mutilation is the definition of barbaric & misogynist.
“P.S. I refused to cut my daughter’s hair until SHE was ready to have her hair cut. Most people see the hair as dead, but it isn’t — not from a spiritual perspective (and no, I’m not Indian)… I gave [her] her first haircut on her 5th birthday, and her ears were pierced 5 years later. Her body. Her choices.”
One enlightened friend wrote about male circumcision:
“It’s traumatic to babies, it’s dangerous, and so unnecessary. The argument “so he’ll look like his father” makes me want to fight! If Dad was missing a finger, would we chop one of baby’s fingers off too? And then there’s the rampant sexual dysfunction caused by corneated glanses that guys have to beat the crap out of in order to get off.”
Then there was one comment that left me with my jaw hanging open as disgust and dismay ran through my bloodstream.
One commenter wrote:
“FGM is a sin (if you are a believer in such) and a crime against nature, but male circumcision is no biggie. It actually has proponents in the medical field who make good arguments for it.”
While I love it when people agree with me, the only time I can truly create change is when I’ve reached someone whose ideology is different (read: narrow-minded and uneducated). So my response is thus:
- No, I don’t believe in sin. “Sin” is a carefully crafted construct of religious propaganda to steer the masses into doing its bidding, which usually entails keeping the rich, white guys wealthy and in control. (Where have I heard that before?)
- Circumcision IS a “biggie” to the innocent baby on whom this violation is being perpetrated.
- The so-called medical proponents must be operating under the delusion of religious brainwashing, socio-cultural conditioning, or being highly compensated to keep spouting these “medically necessary” lies regarding male circumcision.
Circumcision as we know it is a practice of the Abrahamic religions, namely Judaism and its spin-offs Christianity and Islam. As with many aspects of the Jewish faith, Judaism was heavily influenced by the religious practices and ideologies of Ancient Egypt, which is known to have practiced circumcision on adult men who chose to be circumcised as part of their initiation into the priests’ order.
Because of the spread of these religions outside their indigenous Middle Eastern origins, the brutal practice of shearing the foreskin off a newborn’s penis has gone global. However, not every country under these religious delusions practices male circumcision.
The proponents for male circumcision offer little medical evidence that it is actually “necessary.” Also, I would rather trust the body’s inherent intelligence that it has a foreskin because it serves a purpose — to the boy who will become a man. Granted, I don’t know why we still have an appendix, but I do know why my clitoris has a hood — the same reason the male version of the clit, the glans penis, also has a hood.
Proponents for male circumcision also offer the ridiculous argument that boys want to “look like their father.” Was the father circumcised later in his life when he was old enough to make an educated, informed decision based on his personal preference to have the foreskin removed? Likely not. The father was probably circumcised as an infant as well, without his consent.
Those who say circumcision prevents AIDS and HIV transmission are also not getting the whole picture. Plenty of circumcised men in America have HIV or AIDS. The lack of foreskin didn’t prevent the spread of the sexually transmitted disease. Here’s an article from the University of Oxford regarding medical studies supposedly supporting male circumcision.
Essentially, the issue of male circumcision is one of basic Human Rights, that a person has the basic right to choose what happens to her or his body. No one should be allowed to make such a permanent change to a person’s body without their consent.
Informed consent is crucial because of the medical and sexual ramifications, including permanent physical damage to the penis, the urethra, as well as the psychological repercussions as the child grows up.
What if the government passed a law that all baby boys must have their pinky amputated? Or their left ear? Or their nose? Would you willingly submit your newborn child to this just because the government said to? I doubt it. But parents willingly subject their baby boy to having a part of his anatomy amputated just because of a tradition from a Middle Eastern religion and/or American cultural conditioning?
I absolutely think there should be legislation prohibiting circumcision since there are fanatics who will keep enacting this barbarity on baby boys UNLESS legislation bans circumcision. If someone cut a slice out of my daughter, that act is punishable by law with prison time because it is aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a minor. But circumcision is okay?! NO!
Others would say that banning circumcision violates the parents’ First Amendment freedom of religion. Then what about the baby’s fundamental First Amendment right to Freedom FROM his parents’ religion — to remain a whole human being?
But I’m a female. What would I know about wanting to preserve a person’s right to choose what happens to their body?
Here are some facts from the wonderful website, IntactAmerica:
- Risks include infection, hemorrhage, scarring, difficulty urinating, loss of part or all of the penis, and even death.
- The amount of skin removed in a typical infant circumcision is the equivalent of 15 square inches in an adult male.
- No professional medical association in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world recommends routine circumcision as medically necessary.
- Most medically advanced nations do not practice child circumcision. Three quarters of the world’s men are intact.
- The foreskin is actually an important and functional body part, protecting the head of the penis from injury and providing moisture and lubrication. Circumcision also diminishes sexual pleasure later in life.
- Claims that circumcision prevents HIV have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or false.
- Whatever the rationale, forced removal of healthy genital tissue from any child – male or female – is unethical. Boys have the same right as girls to an intact body, and to be spared this inhumane, unnecessary surgery. (Okay, I threw this one in because of its comparison to Female Genital Mutilation.)
Source: IntactAmerica.org, “The Facts Behind Circumcision”
I can only surmise that the men who are pro-circumcision are circumcised themselves (and the women who are pro-circ have only been with circumcised partners), and the thought of a “different”-looking penis is too weird for them to accept what is natural. Or the circumcised men feel jealous that they might be missing out on sexual pleasure, so they want all men to miss out on sexual pleasure, perpetuating this basic Human Rights violation on these innocent children.
No one can undo the past, so if you’re a man who is circumcised, please don’t feel jealous. Sexual pleasure is an energy, and incredible sexual pleasure can be learned without the need for genital stimulation at all.
Just as women need to speak out for women’s rights, men need to speak out against male circumcision. The voice being heard has to come from the gender being violated. But know, we women are here to support you in ending this heinous practice of non-consensual circumcision just as we know you guys are here to support us in our fight to keep control over our bodies.
Male circumcision IS a “biggie.” Circumcision is a Human Rights violation that scars the male in more ways than just physically. If need be, let’s get Congress to enact legislation to prohibit male circumcision. It is the individual male’s right to choose what happens to his body.
by Trish Causey
originally published February 14, 2012
As people around the world celebrate love on Valentine’s Day, I feel it is important to bring attention to a day that has probably never made the American evening news and will certainly never pop up on trendy blogs. A few days ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) brought attention to the 8th annual International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a barbaric custom actively practiced in 28 countries in Africa and the Middle East and which occurs “under the radar” in other countries with high numbers of immigrants from these areas, including the United States. FGM encompasses the removal of the clitoris and usually some of the labia via a razor blade, knife, or broken piece of glass. FGM is performed on girls ranging in age from infancy to 12 years old with no anesthetic and no proper wound dressing.
FGM proponents in these developing countries claim the purpose of FGM is to prohibit a female from enjoying sex as an adult, thereby reducing the chance that she would take lovers outside of marriage. The custom is so entrenched in these cultures that it is the mothers and grandmothers who force the girls to be mutilated — they tell the girls they will be considered “ugly,” “unclean,” or undesirable to a potential husband if the girl is not cut.
An important site working to end this practice is the Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project. On their site, they explain three kinds of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) that are routinely performed in Africa and the Middle East.
“The first and mildest type of FGC is called ‘sunna circumcision’ or Type I. The term ‘Sunna’ refers to tradition as taught by the prophet Muhammad. This involves the ‘removal of the prepuce with or without the excision of part or all of the clitoris.’
“The second type of FGC, Type II, involves the partial or entire removal of the clitoris, as well as the scraping off of the labia majora and labia minora…. Clitoridectomy was invented by Sudanese midwives as a compromise when British legislation forbade the most extreme operations in 1946.
“The third and most drastic type of FGC is Type III. This most extreme form, consists of the removal of the clitoris, the adjacent labia (majora and minora), and the joining of the scraped sides of the vulva across the vagina, where they are secured with thorns or sewn with catgut or thread. A small opening is kept to allow passage of urine and menstrual blood. An infibulated woman must be cut open to allow intercourse on the wedding night and is closed again afterwards to secure fidelity to the husband.”
Rights groups are working tirelessly to bring awareness to the issue of FGM, and some countries have adopted new laws that prohibit FGM. However, the fight is an uphill battle for two reasons. First, the practice of FGM is socially and culturally tied to tribal initiation traditions. Secondly, the women in the tribes are brainwashed by the ingrained misogyny of the culture.
Imagine if your mother said the only way you would be considered beautiful is if you have your external sex organs slashed away in a hatchet job? That is the mentality that is perpetrated on these girls, who grow up to repeat the cycle with their daughters and granddaughters.
The effects of the mutilation not only effects the girl who is subjected to the assault, but also to other girls. FGM is not usually performed in sanitary conditions, and the mutilator usually does not wash the cutting implement after each cutting. The transmission of disease can occur not only at the time of the mutilation, but later as the wound becomes infected due to lack of medical treatment.
Death is also a consequence of FGM due to the girl going into shock or developing internal hemorrhages, bleeding out, as well as becoming septic. Aside from the wound itself becoming infected, the urinary tract, bladder, and the entire pelvic region is susceptible to infection.
In an interagency statement between OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, and the World Health Organization, these organizations officially call for the end of FGM:
“This Statement is a call to all States, international and national organizations, civil society and communities to uphold the rights of girls and women. It also calls on those bodies and communities to develop, strengthen, and support specific and concrete actions directed towards ending female genital mutilation.”
The full document is available on the WHO’s website in several languages, including Arabic, English, Freech, and Portuguese.
For the record, I find any form of circumcision to be barbaric, whether it is the Jewish tradition of circumcising newborn males that has been adopted in so-called Christian countries, including the United States, or Female Genital Mutilation that occurs in patriarchal, developing countries, and now in so-called democratic, “free” countries. The misconceptions of being uncircumcised are as unsubstantiated by science and rational thought as the notion of FGM making a girl “beautiful” is simply ridiculous.
Support women and the beauty of women’s sexuality by doing your own research about this horrendous practice and bringing an end to Female Genital Mutilation around the world.
Aroused and fighting,