« Joseph, Joseph, and biblical role models | Main | Last Thursday poem of the year: Milne's King's John's Christmas »

December 22, 2004



Jen, the male anatomic equivalent of removing the labia majora is removing the scrotum. Look it up.


Jen, comparisons of snipping off a piece of skin and mutiliating someone so that she is incapable of having sexual pleasure are just the sort of thing that will kill your credibility. That's like saying, "Well, some people pierce little girls' ears, so you can't be against razoring off their clit, too!"

Interesting. A little piece of skin, comparable to peircing ears. First of all, that is about the most uninformed, calloused comment I think I have heard in a while.

The labia is just a little piece of skin too.
It is funny. I have been an MRA for 3 years. I have never ONCE heard an MRA defend FGM or try to make it less than MGM. And you call us the selfish, callous ones?

It does not need to be a contest. What are you afraid of if MGM becomes known for what it is and fought against? That you will lose funding? Or that you will lose only girls are victim status?

Have you ever seen a circumcision? Let me tell you a story. When my son was 2, his doctor informed us that since his foreskin was not able to retract, he would likely have problems for the rest of his life. He recommended circumcising him. He said it was a minor surgery and it would be better to do it now than later. Of course I have since found out that many boys do not retract until 4-6 years old. I have also found out that non-retracting forskins can be solved in other ways than simply cutting them off. However, being niave and believing that we were in a very reputable hospital with top notch doctors, we took his advice.

I talked to Tom about the surgery. He trusted me. He trusted his doctor. I will never forget him walking hand in hand into the prep room with the doctor who he trusted and who we thought was doing what was best.

Tom was brought out still mainly under anestesia. He started to wake up, and as he did so began screaming. Not tantrum screaming not oww.. I bumped my head screaming, but rigid body, spastic jerking, face frozen in horror screaming. He continued to do this for over an hour until he finally passed out.
When we finally got home, I had to change his bandages every 4 hours. I had to literally sit on him to hold him down, with him screaming, each time. After the first week, it still was no better, but thankfully I only had to change him 2 times a day.

To this day, at 9 years old, he is terrified of doctors. He will break into panicked screaming if he gets a shot, if I have to wipe out a cut, and when the doctor does the checks for hernias and abnormal testicals. He panicked at the eye doctors just getting eye drops. He doesn't trust doctors, and he doesn't trust me.

I still get nightmares about holding my 2 year old son screaming in agony and not being able to help him. I remember the nurse asking me to have him be quiet he was disturbing the other patients. I don't think my reply was very kind.

If you think a circumcision is just a little peice of skin, or like peircing ears, excuse me but you don't know a fucking thing about it.


Where did you go to med school, mars?

The labia is the outer lip of the vagina. There is no reproductive purpose to it, it is an extra peice of skin designed much as the foreskin, to protect the delicate reproductive organs from dirt and chafing, and keep them moist.
The scrotum is like the ovaries. It holds the half of the reproductive cells necessary to reproduce.

As I keep asking, why do you feel the need to make one worse than the other? This is no contest, and I certainly am not advocating FGM. On the contrary, I strongly feel ALL GM, male and female, needs to be abolished.


"The only "real" rapist in the public imagination is a black man raping a white woman."

Um, doesn't this kinda negate your Kobe Byant theory?

Could it be that some of these women, (not all), like the one in the Kobe Bryant case, are promiscuous. I mean she was found to have semen from another man in her underwear when she went for the rape exam.One, a woman who is traumatically raped is unlikely to go have sex with another man. Two, if the woman was promiscuous, that is relevant to her claim she was jumped on and raped. It was within her character to have a one night stand.

In a he said she said, it is relevant the character of both parties. If Kobe had 3 or 4 prior convictions or even arrests for rape, that would likewise indicate he is less reliable, or more likely to have been guilty, than if he had not had a record. Witness credibility and all.

The whole rape shield law is tricky. On the one hand we should protect those truly victimized by rape. On the other, it cripples the ability of the defense to protect their client. In a case where the accuser is falsely accusing, the courts are now legally tied to protect the accuser.
Shielding the victim's name is only done for minors and women. When a man is a victim of rape often times his name is published.

The woman raped Mario with a stick, yet gets a plea bargan to turn in those who beat the man, when it was the woman's false accusation of voyuerism which got him beat up in the first place.

Cases like this show that rape shield laws are used unfairly. This man should not have had his name published. By law.

There are some pretty sick things in this world. Done by both men and women.


"Interesting. A little piece of skin, comparable to peircing ears. First of all, that is about the most uninformed, calloused comment I think I have heard in a while."

Said I didn't like it. But if you persist in thinking that it's the same or worse than razoring off a clitoris, then well, we're not speaking the same reality. It's not the suffering Olympics. It's a basic misunderstanding of reality. For one thing, the intentions behind razoring off a clit (not the labia only) and sewing a woman shut are utterly different than between snipping a foreskin. Which is still unnecessary and cruel but by no means intended to cause lifelong changes to basic sexual function.


Who is "mars"? don't see a sigfile here with that.

The scrotum is not the equivalent of the ovaries. It is a fused equivalent of the labia (note that little midline ridge visible on most scrota). The testes happen to be in the scrotum in most males, though occasionally they fail to make the trip down the inguinal canal to reach the interior of the scrotum, which is contiguous with the abdominal cavity.

FWIW, I don't see an overarching need for infant male circumcision in the non-Jew. There are arguments about preventing phimosis, but that can be dealt with later, albeit with more trauma than with infant circumcision. There are arguments about cleanliness, but you can train a boy to clean under the foreskin, and before he is old enough to do so, you can wash it yourself. There are the issues about human papillomavirus infection and transmission and the increased incidence of penile cancer in non-circumcised men - but again, if the man cleans and inspects, and doesn't wait around for sores and lumps to "go away", statistically this isn't going to be very important.


Kobe Bryant is a celebrity, thereby negating the blackness. On the other hand, some black night watchman or janitor or unemployed guy fits the old South stereotype of a "real rapist".


Could it be that some of these women, (not all), like the one in the Kobe Bryant case, are promiscuous. I mean she was found to have semen from another man in her underwear when she went for the rape exam.One, a woman who is traumatically raped is unlikely to go have sex with another man.

I take it your conclusion is that she had sex with this other man after she was raped. Actually, that's not the case. The tests that were done on the underpants showed that the other semen was older than that of Bryant and that the panties had probably been washed in the meantime.

Generally, in any case, rules of evidence don't allow evidence of similar past acts to show that someone must have acted the same way in the instance at issue, so evidence of her "promiscuity" wouldn't be allowable anyhow.

Also, I'm not exactly sure how the rape shield laws work, but my understanding is that they apply to court proceedings, and that newspapers generally decide for themselves in the absence of a court order protecting the accuser's identity whether or not to reveal it. The convention is not to reveal the name. The fact that a newspaper printed the male victim's name has more to do with the newspaper's attitude toward male rape victims than the inequitable application of rape shield laws.

La Lubu

Sweet bedda matri. Jen, you could have sex in the morning with your husband, be raped that afternoon, and have two sets of semen in your underwear. Would that then, make you an incorrigible slut? Would that then, be proof of your willingness to have one-night-stands, as your rapist would no doubt claim? It's a question of character, y'know.

Whether or not someone is judged to be "promiscuous" has a lot to do with one's gender, and little to do with one's sexual history. If you were raped, how would you go about proving to the authorities that you were, indeed, a rape victim? Because in the real world, that is what happens. The woman has to be able to convince authorities that she was raped. What if the rapist claimed you came on to him? That you invited him in? That you were one real horny broad? How would you prove that you were raped?

In other words, what if what happened to the real estate agent in my town, happened to you? Especially if you had the complication of semen from your husband and semen from the rapist in your underwear, a factor that was not present for the real estate agent?


Just a point of clarification about the semen in the panties: the reason it's relevant is that, if there was evidence that she had had sex with another man after the rape, Bryant could argue that he was not the one who caused the injuries documented in the rape exam, and thus, cast doubt on her claim that he raped her.

Of course, it also provides a way for the defense to introduce notions of promiscuity into the whole situation, thus damaging her credibility.

And since when does having one-night stands mean that you can't be raped?


I never said they couldn't. If reputation is allowable for other witnesses, then it should be allowable for all witnesses. If the girl puts herself repeatedly in dangerous situations, then she has a greater chance of getting raped. However she also has a greater chance of having consensual sex. How is the court supposed to know the difference beyond her word? One witness's word alone is usually not sufficient to convict for any other crime with no other evidence.

I think the ideal of protecting the woman has damaged the protection of innocent men against purposeful or accidental false allegations.

How is a possible second rape if the man is set free (if he was guilty) somehow more evil than the near certain rape of an innocent man in prison?

Or is this like circumcision? It is worse because it happens to women?


Boy, if rape isn't rape because a woman's not a virgin, then I guess murdering prostitutes doesn't count, either.


I wonder, if African women have such painful intercourse, then why do they have sex more than Westerners? Why is Aids rampant in Africa due mainly to unprotected hetero sex with multiple partners? You would think African women would be less likely to have sex if it were so painful. Seems there is two stories here.


As I keep asking, why do you feel the need to make one worse than the other?

copied from my reply to your post on my blog

"I agree that if you are from the side which says both are wrong, then deciding which is more wrong seems stupid. However, in terms of the manifesto which we are presented with from MR activists, isolating this bias is important; MRAs often come from a standpoint that the world is out to victimize little boys, and that little girls have every advantage. It is simply hyperbole to suggest that male circumcision is a life-threatening procedure with such painful consequences as FGM; whether you think male circumcision is wrong or not, it rarely leads to death as FGM does. Making the problems surrounding male circumcision appear to equate to FGM suits the MRA agenda; they can portray it as an evil practice ignored by feminists who are only concerned with the supposedly equal practice happening overseas. It’s another way of saying feminists don’t care about little boys, and it simply isn’t true."


La Lubu said:
"rla, I'm having a hard time following you. The identity of the accuser is only protected during the time when the accusation is believed. If it comes to light that the accusation was false, there is no more identity protection."

The time from when the false accusation is made to when the truth comes out can be 17 years - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2218630.stm

But that's not the real point. It is irrelevant for what period her identity is kept secret, or that the false-accuser may face her victim in court. The real point is that any length of time for a man living under a rape charge can lead to community ostracisation, unemployability, poverty and suicide.

And when the charge turns out to be false, even if it is in just a few short weeks, guess what? Nothing changes for him. Somehow, that page 17 vindication doesn't have the same impact as that front-page accusation.

Rape shield laws make it all too tempting for those with malice on their mind.

Sheelzebub said:
"Frankly, if the courts want to keep the names of the accused secret, it's no skin off my nose."

Exactly! What's the big deal in protecting an innocent man from a malicious accusation that could ruin his life? Why would anyone want anyone wish to stand in the way of such a simple step that would help many and harm none?

Why have several people on this board disagreed with this? It's a mystery, I tell you.

"If rape and sexual assault didn't inspire the type of retaliation against the accuser that it does, I wouldn't be for shielding their identitiies. But it does--and it happens to the accusers, not the accused."

This is what further mystifies me: how can you simultaneuosly see the victim status of the accuser - who may have been raped; but not the victim status of the falsely accused? Does this have to be a one-way street?

NancyP said
"No male celebrity can be guilty in the eyes of the general public, and all women bringing charges against celebrities are deranged sluts or golddiggers in the eyes of the general public.

Women who bring charges of rape against sports stars are routinely the subject of death threats from fans."

But don't you see NancyP? If the sports stars' identity was kept secret, there would be no "death threats from fans" because the fans wouldn't know. Can I count you as a supporter of my view?


If reputation is allowable for other witnesses, then it should be allowable for all witnesses.

Well, I just explained to you why prior acts aren't admissible to show that the act under question was in conformity with past practice. Reputation is out, too.

Why do you think it's the women in Africa who are having sex with multiple partners? Many times, their husbands are having sex with prostitutes and bringing the infection home.

La Lubu

Who told you Africans have more sex than Westerners? Sounds like stereotypes to me.

rla: I'll give you a break since you're writing from the U.K.; here in the U.S. the vindication wouldn't be on page 17, it would be front-page news. Plus, he'd have ample opportunity to hit the talk-show circuit, and get a made-for-TV movie deal. Here, false accusations of rape are far less of a problem than actual rapes not being prosecuted.

Rape is a terrible crime. People want to believe that it is something that just can't happen to them. So, the persons who are raped are often vilified as much as the persons committing rape! Jen's post is an example---if a woman is "promiscuous", then the sex was consensual, even if she said "no". That way, Jen can put herself in the category of "women not likely to be raped" because she can label herself as "not promiscuous".

Women who are raped are criticized---"what was she doing out late at night?" or "why didn't she lock her door (or window)?" "why is she living in that neighborhood?" "why was she wearing that outfit?" "why did she go there with him?" or even "but she had been drinking!" Predators who use drugs like rohypnol made the most of that attitude. Survivors of rape are highly suspect, in a way that survivors of mugging, theft, vandalism or other crimes are not.

And it happens to men too. Male rape survivors of street attacks are more often than not gay....and are thus vilified in the same way as women. If not gay, then they are assumed to be. Male prisoners who are gang-raped (as usually happens to non-gang members) are said to be "punked out". Prison rape is ignored, and de facto used as a form of social control of violent inmates; authorities willfully use rape victims as sacrificial lambs to keep order in the prisons---and this happens in both male and female prisons. Folks on the outside can blissfully look away, smug in the assumption that again, this isn't something that's going to happen to them---they're prisoners! and thus deserving of anything they get.

Like it or not, women are raped more often than men. Like it or not, very few rape accusations are false. And like it or not, it is disingenuous to believe that these attitudes happen in a vacuum, and are not part and parcel of sexism. Male rape survivors are cast in the role of women. (why else are they called 'bitches' and 'punks'?) Female rape survivors are cast in the role of fallen women.

La Lubu

Jen, you need to run, not walk, to Hugo's links on FGM.

It is beyond offensive for you to claim that the spread of AIDS in Africa is due to promiscuous women. Gaaahhh! That post is so full of ignorance and hatred....don't you see what you're doing? All the distancing of yourself from rape survivors isn't going to do a damn thing to make you safer. It's just going to kill your compassion for them.

Any discussion of AIDS in Africa is incomplete without a discussion of war, and rape as a weapon of war.


There is no evidence whatsoever that Africans have more sex than anyone else. You pulled that directly out of your ass. In fact, many African societies are so obsessed with female virginity that it might even make our anti-woman brigade here a little queasy.


Zuzu, don't forget the salient point Steve Gilliard brought up--a lot of HIV transmissions to "good" wives in Africa come from men who work arduous jobs in mines and other all-male workplaces where they are away from their wives for months, if not years, at a time. Homosexual contact is common (like the all-male enviroment of prison) as is contact with prostitutes.


I thought of that later today, after I'd posted. I had the AIDS Highway in my head at the time -- the transcontinental highway that's encouraged long-haul trucking, and greater movement of people and, consequently, diseases.


God, please read "Possessing the Secret of Joy" by Alice Walker if nothing else. Sometimes only literature can show us the complex motivations we live with and why a woman might have sex even as she finds it painful.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

I wonder, if African women have such painful intercourse, then why do they have sex more than Westerners?

Because, of course, Africa is one thoroughly culturally homogeneous continent, in which everyone both practices female genital mutilation and is living with rampant AIDS. Because, of course, AIDS has only to do with how much sex you have, and nothing whatsoever to do with how much protection you have available, so we know for sure that Africans are having more sex than we are. Because, of course, if all the wives are genitally mutilated, we can guarantee that all the prostitutes are as well; no society would ever divide women up into those who are not supposed to have a lot of sex and those who are. Or, if the prostitutes are genitally mutilated, they'd never have to submit to prostitution anyway; they would only be having sex with lots of men because they like it. Because, of course, women are sure not to have sex if it's painful, or with a husband who's been unfaithful, no matter how much they might want or need that husband's support.

Sheesh. There are so many ways that AIDS and painful sex for women could coexist on the same continent, that I can't think why you need to ask the question. Until you can show me a report by a serious epidemiologist that says the women in cultures that practice female genital mutilation are pursuing sex with more zeal than women here in the US, I'm not going to take this argument seriously.

Hey, in fact, looking at the FGC page Hugo linked, here's another way this practice can coexist with AIDS:

Beyond the obvious initial pains of the operations, FGC has long-term physiological, sexual, and psychological effects. The unsanitary environment under which FGC takes place results in infections of the genital and surrounding areas and often results in the transmission of the HIV virus which can cause AIDS.

Look, Jen, I don't especially want to get into a pissing contest about whether middle class American women or middle class American men have it worse. I mean, in some ways women have it worse, but what the heck, I'm more interested in freeing both sexes from rigid roles and stereotypes than in proving women are always worse off. But can't you admit that some women, somewhere in the world, really are suffering things which are not comparable to what men are suffering here? In return, I'll cheerfully admit that I'm much less oppressed than women are in some other places.

There's a reason circumcision of boys isn't as severe as genital mutilation of girls; if any society tried to kill the sexual enjoyment of its boys to that degree, it would have trouble reproducing itself. To put it bluntly, female orgasm is a nice incentive to reproduction, but male orgasm is obligatory. So when men have been mutilated to a degree which would severely interfere with their ability to enjoy sex, only a select few have been chosen for the dubious honor.


"they can portray it as an evil practice ignored by feminists who are only concerned with the supposedly equal practice happening overseas. It’s another way of saying feminists don’t care about little boys, and it simply isn’t true.""

All I have seen here is either "I know it is bad but it isn't that bad" or " It's just a little piece of skin."

Yes, I do not think that feminists give a crap about little boys. Otherwise they would be fighting this, what is happening in our country, to our sons. This isn't a third world country, where the lack of medical attention causes most of the injuries, and where we really have no say anyways. This is the united states, a supposidly forward, modern country. When MGM was done under filthy cicumstances with no medical followthrough, boys died as well, of the same things.

MRAs fight what is most prevalent and what they can do something about. Right now more boys are mutilated than girls, and it is happening in our own country. MRA's are not saying that every girl everywhere is perfectly happy and knows no pain. They are saying that girls overall are no worse off than boys. Playing the victim card carries a huge amount of power that is denied by feminists.MRAs are trying to say that girls are not victims because they are girls. The want people to realize that when bad things happen to boys, it is just as bad as when they happen to girls. Just on this board I have seen boys pain get swept aside to make way for female suffering. It is bigotry.

"Promiscuity, especially the total number of sexual partners, is correlated with AIDS in both the United States and Africa [34,35]. Although generalizations are difficult, most traditional African societies are promiscuous by Western standards. Promiscuity occurs both premaritally and postmaritally"


I am just quoting. No hatred here. I really have no opinion one way or the other about the sexual lives of african men and women, other than it is suicide. I read this earlier while researching FGM, and was just reporting what I found. There is a 1:1 ratio men to women aids sufferers. Obviously women are having as much sex as the men are. I was not putting a value judgement on their sexual lives, although I am sure that dispite my saying that some will believe what they will of my intentions.

Interestingly enough, FGM is a causal factor in the spread of aids, scarring making for easier transmission. No studies have been done for men. Another good reason to ban the practice.

There are no studies which show the breakdown in which level of FGM is prevailant. Therefore, unless I see the numbers, I cannot assume, as you do, that most FGM is level 2 or higher. Level one is the female equivilant of MGM, removal of small peices of skin covering the clitoris and sometimes the outer labia.

I still have not heard back from my questions.

1. If FGM does not result in sexual dysfunction, then is it acceptable to circumcise girls for cosmetic purposes, like is done to boys now?

2. What is the reason for the one must be worse than the other?

and a new one.

3 if it became a cultural norm to slice off girls earlobes at birth, would that be acceptable? The earlobes are small peices of skin that really don't serve any funtion. This would be even less traumatic than male circumcision, as there are far less pain receptors in the ear than the penis, and unlike the foreskin, earlobes serve little purpose.

I am guessing I will not recieve answers for 1 or 2, and a whole slew of how dare I and it's not the same for 3.

I would not advocate even piercing ears of infants. We need to keep our knives off our children. Period.

This whole discussion makes me sick. That anyone can defend this practice is just beyond my understanding. As Hugo said, if you are not openly against it, you are for it.


"But can't you admit that some women, somewhere in the world, really are suffering things which are not comparable to what men are suffering here? In return, I'll cheerfully admit that I'm much less oppressed than women are in some other places."

Sure, when you also admit that there are men all over the world far worse off than western women.

Neither sex is over all more oppressed than the other. Sure, perhaps a handful of people in the world have power, and many of that handful are men, but A. MOST men have no power and B. that small number at the top are quickly becoming more female.

Women have not died in the millions in wars they did not start. At the same time women have had to give up much to be protected in such a way by the men.Rape, abuse, poverty are not worse than death, and not only done to women. I truly believe that it balances out. It is only not balanced when half the sacrifices are ignored.

Women have their set of burdens, and so do men. When feminists start to see that women do not have the market cornered on abuse and oppression, then perhaps we can start to talk.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Regular reads

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 01/2004