It Always Hurts To Call Out A Hero

Betty Dodson has gotten a lot of respect in these quarters. That’s why reading this from her this morning has me rather upset and disappointed. (Emphases mine)

What do American men have in common with Middle Eastern and Tribal African men? All three societies routinely perform circumcision on boys while the rest of the world does not. In the United States, we circumcise babies within the first few days or week. Muslims do it to young boys who are between 12 and 15 while African boys are between 6 to 10 years of age. In all three instances circumcision is performed without anesthesia! Perhaps Muslims circumcise boys late to insure they will become angry young men willing to sacrifice their life for Allah. In Africa it’s a rite of passage into manhood, a warrior who now can kill animals and other men. The fact that the AMA does not support circumcision citing there is no health benefit, I suspect it’s the same for Americans: circumcision prepares our young men to go to war. After all, War Inc. has been America’s number one industry ever since 1914 following WWI.

Later in the same article she writes:

It’s no wonder men hate women consciously or subconsciously. Look at what mothers have allowed a doctor to do to them. First Baby feels pleasure with soft touches that get him partially erect. It feels good until the Doc applies a cold hard metal clamp. The searing pain that follows lasts twenty minutes or more like a sustained torture. May I suggest we consider the similarities between American men and their Islamic brothers or a primitive African tribe?

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m bitter over having part of my dick cut off. That is a decidedly not cool thing to do to a kid (or anyone against their will). It is barbaric and it should be stopped. This is not the way to stop it. Dr. Dodson here equates “Middle Eastern” and “Muslim,” then goes on to paint all Muslim men as Islamist suicide bombers. She refers to Africans as “primitive.” Both of these are then compared and contrasted to Americans. “We don’t want to be like those people” she seems to be suggesting.

Dr. Dodson has certainly done some amazing things. This kind of sloppiness, xenophobia, classism and racism is not among them.

4 Responses to “It Always Hurts To Call Out A Hero”

  1. Nelson... Says:
    January 18th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    That is pretty fucked up.

  2. Mechalith Says:
    January 18th, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Y’know what bothered me more, honestly? “It’s no wonder men hate women consciously or subconsciously.”

    I definitely don’t hate women. Granted, I’m a lousy counterexample here because I’m also uncircumcised, but I hate this kind of unnecessary gender-bias crap.

    The main idea in the article (circumcision baaaaad) is a valid one I think, but the entire range of reasoning used to support it is amazingly shoddy. The idea that men are more prepared to be warlike and aggressive and generally fuel the hatemachine after being cut is absurd, and the racial and cultural assumptions she makes to even try supporting it are fallacious at best.

  3. Tara Says:
    February 1st, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Her views in that article are a bit extreme. The biggest problem with circumcision in the US is that it is done simply because it has become the “norm.” While for some it serves a religious purpose, others just do it because it’s done. I forget exactly when the stats were taken but the US has the highest rate of circumcision. 90% of males are circumcised. The next highest rate in a country – 10% in Australia. Pretty big difference.
    Odds are it became so widespread here because of the idea it was beneficial to health – easier to keep clean. That’s been disproved now, but people just continue to go along with it. They worry their sons will feel different and weird if they are uncut and all of their friends are circumcised.

    She needs to not generalize as to why different cultures perform the ritual. Unless she has done a lot of research and reading, or hell, conducted her own enthnographic study, she should keep such ideas out of a public forum.

    And the woman hating thing – dear lord. Ignorant is all I have to say about that. While circumcision is a ritual in many cultures and is tied in with male camaraderie and used in male bonding rituals, that has nothing to do with hating women. While rituals can be used to keep power differentials going and a distinct split between men and women, that is far from the case in the US. It’s thoughts like hers that men subconsciously hate women that help perpetuate stupid myths of difference.

    I’m not going to touch the racist elements of that. I’ll stick the sex and gender stuff since that’s what I’m learning now.

    All I know is, if I ever have a son, I’m not making that decision. I don’t have a penis. I’m not making a decision about someone else’s.

  4. Wendy Blackheart Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Noooooo, not Betty! NOT BETTY!

    I mean, yes, circumcision is horrible. I think it should never be done, ever, until a child is old enough to make that choice. I feel that other wise, it is mutilation. (I feel the same way about infant ear piercing, which mine were.)

    But oh god, to hear someone I respected as much as Betty Dodson say such hateful things hurts. If thats the way she’s going to be, I don’t want her on my side of the argument.

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