Circumcision is violence against men and boys says Health Professor
The circumcision of baby boys is a form of violence against men and boys that helps make us indifferent to other problems that men and boys face, according a UK-based Professor of Health Studies.
In a Huffington Post article that quotes one of the key ideas from our book, Equality For Men, Professor Damien Ridge suggests that our willingness to keep subjecting boys to the “brutality” of a dangerous, painful and medically unnecessary practice without their consent is a sign that we have “compassion fatigue for men” and “have become desensitised to how boys and men might be feeling “.
In the book Equality For Men, author Glen Poole proposes that “our traditional view of sex equality is that women HAVE problems and men ARE problems” and argues that “we are collectively more tolerant of all types of violence, abuse and harm when the person suffering is a man or a boy”.
According to Professor Ridge, commentators on his Huffington Post blog will often highlight the negative stories about men that are prevalent in the media and contribute this negative narrative about men and boys. He says:
“It’s pretty hard to think outside of this story. But increasingly, people like Glen Poole…..are happy to disrupt this narrative whenever they can. He is unapologetic when he says, ‘men and boys are the main victims of both men’s violence and women’s violence’.”
Ridge is concerned about the “lasting psychological trauma” that circumcision can inflict on boys. He says:
“Not only is severe physical pain caused (unbelievably, it is frequently carried out without anaesthetic), but psychologically it may dissociate boys from their emotions and generate a store of negative emotions. Infants being circumcised frequently appear to observers to go into a shock and dissociate, and subsequently it is thought that many are left with lasting psychological trauma.”
According to Ridge, “disconnecting boys from their sensuality and feelings so that they can kill” is a requirement of “highly militaristic societies” and that in the past, circumcision may have contributed to this disconnection process.
At a time when many professionals are seeking to “help both men and women reconnect to their emotions as a means of becoming more rounded human beings”, Ridge suggests that our tolerance of circumcision contributes to our general tolerance of harm happening to men and boys. He concludes:
“We need to talk about the wider social implications of the practice, which include snipping off any feeling the wider population might have about the plight of modern boys and men. Male infant circumcision should be understood not just for the disturbing effect on the unfortunate baby, but also for the numbing effects on those who inflict it, promote it or are just plain indifferent. ”
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