American Circumcision

American Circumcision is a documentary presenting the articles of faith of a group calling themselves “intactivists” who believe males should be given a choice whether to have the procedure done. The medical argument against waiting is that the benefits of circumcision are realized for infant boys through adulthood: if left until men can decide for themselves the risk of infections and disease is (slightly) higher.

The documentary features two evidence based medical scientists talking about the health benefits of circumcision painted as evil and out of touch. They are contrasted with a parade of very passionate people making emotional arguments against the scientific evidence.

Their motivation seems to be a deep body horror that infant boys are being mutilated, that they can feel the pain of the operation, that it is somehow traumatic despite the fact that infant brains cannot remember pain. There is much discussion of the damage to sexual sensitivity done to boys and of the trauma of the operation.

Fascinatingly, there is a real body mod practice most people would find horrifying for the truly dedicated “intactivist” who wishes to reinstate his foreskin. The foreskin restoration enthusiast uses a combination of pinching devices, weights, and elastin cream to stretch the foreskin. Enough of this self-torture (a great deal is required to be effective) and the penis will appear as though it was never circumcised. The descriptions of the intensity, time, and determination necessary to achieve this seem to put it almost into the realm of fetish practice.

Some of those interviewed conflate female genital mutilation with circumcision. Circumcision is a loss of a small amount of extra tissue of an infant boy vs the heinous practice of female genital mutilation, done up to her mid teens, which is “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reason” which renders the female incapable of enjoying sex. It is ridiculous to compare the two.

“…a deep body horror that infant boys are being mutilated, that they can feel the pain of the operation, that it is somehow traumatic despite the fact that infant brains cannot remember pain. “

Turning away from the documentary to do some research reveals the medical consensus that there is some benefit in disease risk mitigation that results from circumcision, but mostly in cultures where hygiene and education is less advanced than in the developed world.

As a circumcised male, I find the phrase “intact” as a reference to uncircumcised men to be pejorative and offensive. I have no memories of the procedure. I grew up thinking this is how we look out of the box. An early sex partner mentioned she thought I had a very lovely scar. I was not aware I had a scar, was ignorant of the whole situation. Being circumcised has had no impact on my life at all, as far I can tell. There are some young (and older) men in the documentary who, upon reflection, have found cause for rage and recrimination toward their parents for having it done. Each to his own, I suppose.

Using the term “intact” is certainly meant to persuade in this film, which is a propaganda piece against circumcision presenting anecdotal evidence and logical fallacies.

Life comes with many occasions for pain and discomfort. When the long term benefits clearly outweigh the short term pain we don’t think twice about submitting children to it and explaining it later. We also live in a culture where body modifications many would consider horrific are just fashion, though clearly appropriate only when self-selected by adults of age. The body horror argument is specious and unsophisticated. The film gratuitously shows an infant being circumcised. I daresay most of us do not have the medical training context or experience to watch any surgery, so this will naturally be disturbing and uncomfortable. It is not horror. 

The tone and approach of the film seeks to cast doubt on scientific evidence the same way religious extremists, UFO believers, or conspiracy theorists would. If you’re a person who cleaves to evidence based science, it’s a hard film to watch because the scientific method takes a beating in all the emotional histrionics. If you’re a person more interested in a classical romantic approach to the world, proceeding more by feeling, intuition and esthetic conscience than by boring old facts, then it’s a hard film to watch because it will seem to expose yet another awful thing humans have conceived to make this brief existence more terrible than it has to be.

In the final analysis, both the potential benefits and potential harms resulting from circumcision are minimal for boys in the developed world. Parents can make the decision based on religious tradition, medical evidence, or just because that’s how it’s always been done in their family, either to circumcise or not and feel fine about the choice.

American Circumcision (2017). Written and directed by Brendon Marotta. Starring  Georgeanne Chapin, Jonathon Conte, Dean Edell.

6 out of 10

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81 responses to “American Circumcision

  1. “The tone and approach of the film seeks to cast doubt on scientific evidence the same way religious extremists, UFO believers, or conspiracy theorists would. If you’re a person who cleaves to evidence based science, it’s a hard film to watch because the scientific method takes a beating in all the emotional histrionics.”

    The scientific evidence seems to be against male circumcision. Three national medical organizations (Iceland, Sweden and Germany) have called for infant male circumcision to be *banned*, and two others (Denmark and the Netherlands) have said they’d support a ban if they didn’t think it would drive the practice underground.

    “Routine” circumcision *is* banned in public hospitals in Australia (almost all the men responsible for this policy will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%).

  2. Triggered much!
    All children, regardless of gender, deserve to grow into adulthood with their genitals INTACT.

  3. What an interesting take on this film. It’s easy to see that you cannot possibly look past your personal bias and social conditioning to research the truth for yourself. No one is saying to take what was said in this film as the bible and make your decisions based off it alone. It’s meant to be a jumping off point, to do your own research. If you are doubting the scientific validity of the points made in the movie, prove them wrong! It’s easy to fact check every scientific point presented during the movie. Look up the studies (which were shown briefly on the screen, with full name and authors, date and journal info available. This will be possible once we get DVD and digital copies available to slow down and jot down the info) and read them yourself. You claim intactivists didn’t present any scientific information, yet I remember multiple times that studies flashed on the screen and were spoken of briefly.

    Documentaries are meant to spark more research. You seem to have wanted this magical “unbiased” look at things that shows that cutting the genitals of healthy babies is perfectly acceptable. And you’re just got going to get that from anyone except people who are pushing their personal bias’ onto the situation. The facts are clear and have been since the 1970s that there are no medical benefits. And the risks are severe.

  4. I’m sorry for your loss, Bradley. You deserved the right to keep and enjoy all of your private parts, just like pretty-much everyone on Earth born outside of Islamic, American and Jewish cultures.

  5. I saw American Circumcision last night at a screening. Bradley Gibson’s ‘review’ is not actually a review of this amazing and much-needed film, but a soapbox for him to pontificate about why he’s okay with part of his penis having been cut off when he was a child. It’s as if he didn’t even pay attention to this documentary. He went in with a pre-conceived notion, and came out having refused to open his mind or consider what the film was actually about.

    Let’s start with Bradley’s claim that “the potential harms resulting from circumcision are minimal for boys in the developed world.” Bradley presents this opinion as if it’s a fact, and provides no evidence to support his claim. The film spent many minutes of footage presenting numerous cases of botched circumcisions, in which babies either lost their lives completely or lost their entire penis. Further, the film exposes the fact that there is no institutionalized reporting system within American hospitals to record the statistics on botched circumcisions. The film interviews doctors who say they see the horrific results of botched circumcisions once to twice per week! And the film presents photos of babies who have lost their entire penis.

    Bradley saw all of this but it didn’t register in his biased brain, and he didn’t mention any of this footage in his review because it would challenge the massive level of cognitive dissonance he’s built up.

    Furthermore, the film demonstrated an interview with an Intact Man who can have Multiple Orgasms with his foreskin; Multiple Orgasms that he would not be physically capable of experiencing if he’d been circumcised. The film also talks about a scientific study that demonstrates the foreskin is the most pleasurable part of a man’s penis, and men who have been circumcised experience 75% LESS pleasurable sensations during sex. Bradley also doesn’t discuss the extreme pleasure potential of the foreskin because to do so would be to admit that perhaps some part of his sexual potential had been stolen from him when his foreskin was amputated.

    Bradley neglects to mention in his review that most European medical associations condemn circumcision as a human rights violation and strongly recommend against it. His claim that there is a ‘medical consensus’ of disease prevention is pure B.S.

    Bradley also neglects to mention that the women in the film who say circumcision is comparable to genital mutilation of females are themselves survivors of genital mutilation.

    I have been restoring (regrowing) my foreskin for more than 8 years and the benefits are tremendous. It’s not painful, it’s easy to do, it only requires wearing a stretching device under one’s clothing, and doing this has massively improved the quality of my sex life. Although a restored foreskin is not as pleasurable as an intact foreskin, it’s WAY better during sex to have a restored foreskin than no foreskin at all. Bradley’s characterizations of foreskin restoration are his own distorted attacks reflecting his bias, and don’t line up with what the men in the film say about their experiences of foreskin restoration as being highly beneficial and worthwhile.

    Basically, Bradley didn’t write a review here, he wrote a defensive post trying to rationalize the harm that was done to him. He ignored virtually all of the material in the film that contradicted his own pre-existing conclusions, and also misrepresented much of the material in the film.

    Film Threat should be embarrassed to have published this pile of garbage and should invite someone to write a REAL review of this film.

  6. Talk about burying the lede. It took until paragraph 7, but we figure out the reason for this reviewer’s scoffing invective and incredibly defensive response to this documentary: The moviemakers hurt his feelings about his penis with the truth. Anger, denial, and dismissal and a pining for a return to happy ignorance is a common initial response when faced with the brutal ugliness of involuntary, unnecessary surgery.

    There is no “potential” in the harm of infant circumcision Brad – a significant portion of the penile skin is always removed in the process. Far from “extra”, it’s 30% or more taken out right in the middle of the most sensitive part of the penile skin system.

    But this film is not about your penis, Brad. Really, it’s not. Infant circumcision and the millions it is perpetrated on really is that ugly and that unnecessary, regardless of the sex of the baby involved. There are plenty of mutilated women in Africa that rush to the defense of FGM with the same gusto you as a circumcised male defends infant male circumcision. Women in some African countries report high satisfaction with even extreme FGM procedures when polled about it. This, however, does not justify perpetuation of a stupid procedure and negate the obvious wrongness of involuntary and unnecessary removal of part of a baby’s or child’s genitalia without their consent.

  7. Just because an infant can’t remember pain doesn’t mean he can’t feel it and isn’t traumatized by it. And certainly doesn’t make the action right. Rape victims who are drugged don’t remember it either l, but when they’re made aware of it they’re still traumatized and have lifelong scars. Intact is a precisely perfect word – unharmed, unaltered, and whole. Just the way we all were born. No piece of skin is “extra”, especially one with thousands of nerve endings.

    1. Thank you. I had a botched circumcision that left me with life-long pain. No doctor would discuss it with me because there’s nothing wrong with circumcision and you’re crazy if you think there is. And we’ll put you in an “insane asylum” if you don’t shut up about it. Out of desperation I decided to restore foreskin to see if the visual would somehow help in my mind. Surprise! I got physical healing when chunky bits of suture tunnels and other surgical debris began to push through to the surface. I went into it with totally negative expectations and was surprised by my outcome. Severe jabbing pain could insert itself at the most inopportune times (intimate sexual activity if you need the prompt). Now I have no pain in my unit. But this creep comes along and tells me it’s a fetish to seek a whole body, while it’s fine to cut up human tissue that is not diseased. How much money did the writer and FilmThreat get from the US Medical Industry for this screed in favor of circumcision? No other medical authority in any modern, industrialized economy and culture on Earth has such a perverted view of the human penis.

  8. It would seem based on this review that the author of this article was eternally biased from the beginning and offended by the mere approach of the subject or they did not in fact watch the entire film. The author’s own admission to lack of medical knowledge is hugely telling on their stance toward circumcision. While criticism is healthy in all aspects of life I would say that using criticism as a base for rejecting something so informative such as American Circumcision I lose faith in this author’s reviews. Many points made in this review fall short of what was actually portrayed in the film and I would be surprised if someone reads this review then watches the film and comes to the same conclusions.

  9. This article is full of offensive trash. I understand why you feel threatened because you were cut at birth. The term intact is not offensive. It refers to the natural, whole, intact penis left unmutilated. Get over your emotions before you publish articles.

  10. The Reviewer seems quite traumatized. Overlooked, is the fact that circumcision outcomes for a childhood procedure are very haphazard. But even when everything goes perfectly about half the surface of the penis is removed. There’s only one person with the ethical standing to offer consent for that, the owner of the penis.

  11. “It is ridiculous to compare FGM to male circumcision…”

    People who say this aren’t just saying it’s totally different to cut male versus female genitals, they’re saying the two practices are so amazingly separate that one should be completely and utterly illegal regardless of severity, while the other should remain completely legal despite growing opposition, reports of harm and risk, questionable historical motives, etc.

    In fact what is ridiculous is to insist they shouldn’t be compared.

  12. So, you find the word, “intact” offensive do you? What other word would you suggest? Uncircumcised won’t do, because we don’t call our heads “undecapitated”, or our breasts, “unmasectomized.” Intact is the correct, non emotional word. Would you prefer, “complete” or “whole”, because I suspect you’d find that even more triggering, you poor delicate soul you.

    Further, it seems you were unable to write this review without going into circumrage. The state in which a circumcised man goes into a rage to protect the sanctity of his cut penis, lashing out at those who would protect him, instead of those who cut him.

    Your inclusion of personal testimony about the scar on your penis is VERY VERY telling of your psychological state when you wrote this. I am very sorry you are going through so much pain and trauma reliving your circumcision through watching this movie. They say the body never forgets trauma, and by your reaction, this is exceedingly true in your case. Sorry about your penis, bro.

  13. you poor thing.. growing up thinking you were just born missing part of your genitals. Obviously you have massive cognative dissonance about it being harmful. We should not be scarring childrens genitals and having them grow up to think thats normal. You are not intact…you are missing part of your body and it’s ridiculous that recognizing such a simple fact offends you so badly. Only 30% of men on earth are missing their foreskins. Most men on our planet are happy and healthy having their whole bodies. There is no scientific evidence that circumcision actually has any benefits and plenty of evidence that shows it is harmful. Trauma for children even before they form lasting memories is harmful to their brains. You also forgot to mention that the only persons in the film making the comparison between forced male genital cutting and fgm are fgm survivors themselves and that there are different types of fgm. Some types of fgm are more severe and some types of fgm are less severe than male genital cutting. Boys are not immune to being circumcised at a later age, while they can feel it, in a questionable setting(look up Islamic Turkish circumcision parties, tuli season in the Philippines, or circumcision initiation schools in Africa). All mammals, males and females are born with a prepuce organ. It is a benefitial, functional and healthy body part. The foreskin is not small on a male or extra. Human boys are not born with a foreskin by mistake. Circumcision removes half the skin, the ridged band and the fenulum that is meant to be on the penis. The foreskin is not a birth defect and healthy babies dont need surgery. #i2

  14. There are so many factual errors with your review, it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Here’s one of the more egregious ones: “Infants can’t feel pain.”

    This is completely wrong. Infants most assuredly feel pain, and some infants herniate, blow blood vessels in their eyes, and go into shock.

    Additionally, while most cut men cannot recall their surgeries to consciousness, the traumatic events are recorded in what is known as implicit memory.

    Please do some research before you write. You’re harming people with the outright falsehoods in your review.

  15. “…infant brains cannot remember pain.” The fact is that infants can FEEL pain. They feel everything in a part of the body with thousands of nerve endings. No mother would want to inflict pain on their precious, innocent baby, but they do. They send their sons to be circumcised like lambs to slaughter. It’s absoluteky horrific. This was a chance for you to fight on the behalf of baby boys everywhere. You failed miserably.

  16. Triggered much, author? It’s a shame how many people are too mentally weak to accept the harm that’s been done to us all.

  17. I’ll just add to what others have not yet said – You mention that you feel the term intact to be used to referred to uncircumcised men is pejorative and offensive. I don’t understand why, if you are as fine with your circumcision as you claim. Intact means something that is whole, and whether you agree with it or not, a circumcised penis cannot logically be considered whole since a part of it has been removed. The only way you can find the use of intact men to describe uncircumcised men as offensive is if you are offended by the notion that circumcision makes you less than whole. I can understand that offense – we’re all offended by it – but it’s a truth that you have to come to terms with, and I suspect you know already on some level, or it would not bother you enough to suggest it is offensive.

    While I can respectfully disagree with the majority of your ignorance-laden review, there is one point you made which cannot go unchallenged: the feminist canard that FGM is heinous and circumcision is not. To say that comparing the two is ridiculous shows that you yourself have bought into propaganda – one that inherently sees you as of less inherent value because you are a man. In my opinion, for a man to concede to this form of toxic feminism, sacrificing yourself to it like an obedient puppy…well, I can hardly find a better term to describe such a one as mangina.

  18. Bradley Gibson’s review of “American Circumcision” is an excellent demonstration of how thoroughly most American men (and women) have been led by American obstetricians and pediatricians to believe that circumcision is a harmless procedure without any noteworthy negative physical, psychological, sexual, or emotional ramifications. This highly lucrative medical practice has continued in America, not because it has any real medical benefits, but because of the gullibility of the American population and the gullibility of the medical community itself. The practice became routine in Britain and America during a period when Victorian medical practitioners were conducting medicine without any awareness of the role of germs in causing diseases. The American Dr. Lewis Sayre promoted removing merely the tip of the foreskin in 1870 because he believed that the excessive abundance of nerves in that area were sending nervous spasms to other parts of the body and concluded from a few “successes” that removal of that tip would have beneficial effects throughout the body. He didn’t realize that the “tip” of the foreskin is the most richly erogenous portion of the penis. Other doctors like John Harvey Kellogg more astutely observed that the foreskin, being the most erogenous part of the penis, was the source of great temptation for boys and teenagers to develop the dangerous habit of masturbation and therefore the entire foreskin should be removed to prevent this sinful practice. From that time on, circumcision became a great source of income for doctors willing to perform it. When one theory of its rationale was abandoned, another was necessarily invented. By World War II circumcision became de regueur for men in the military who later became fathers and had it done to their sons. The practice has continued with a wide range of dubious rationalizations because most men, like Mr. Gibson, take great comfort in believing the “scientific” justifications provided by such organizations as the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is very unfortunate that Mr. Gibson appears to have tuned out of the eloquent testimony of Marilyn Milos and many other individuals in “American Circumcision” that circumcision is traumatic for infants and has inevitable negative sexual consequences for the men they will become. It is true that many men are able to maintain a sense of wholeness and sexual self-confidence in spite of this surgery, but there is a growing amount of evidence that men and women both are missing much of the sensation and joy that are provided simply be allowing “sex as nature intended it” to be a routine part of the American experience.

  19. The “benefits” of circumcision are so slight and negligible that the argument for giving people the choice to decide for themselves in adulthood far outweighs any other argument to the contrary. There are billions of men around the world that aren’t circumcised and they’re not all dying of horrible penis diseases, the health benefit argument is a foolish one.

  20. You might not think you are missing anything being circumcised, but you will never experience sex the way nature intended it to be. You don’t know what you are missing. And regarding your statement that infants can’t remember pain- there are studies that proove they do.

  21. Why should some one be able to decide how much of someone’s body they get to keep? What other body part can some one “just decide” to get rid of? Why is circumcision not recommended by any medical organization in the world?

    Also, most circumcised women enjoy sex just fine and would defend their mutilation just as you are.

    Their are 4 types of female circumcision; and if you think no type of male genital mutilation can compare with infibulation, good subincision.

    There are boys who died because of their mutilation, its not always simple.

    “Uncircumcised” makes a mutilated penis seem like the norm. It is not. Less than 2% are circumcised at birth. Its not normal and not ok.

  22. Gibson writes,” An early sex partner mentioned she thought I had a very lovely [circumcision] scar….”

    LOL….what a compliment…..”oh sweetie you have the nicest genital cutting scar I ever seen…”

    I guess penis size wasn’t noteworthy…..LMAO

  23. In any other context if someone were to forcibly restrain an infant or child and do something to harm his or her genitals most people would consider that child abuse. What kind of mystical irrationality has caused us to mindlessly accept the same within a medical or religious context? It would be possible to take any non-life-essential body structure such as toes, ears or fingernails, associate them with infections, diseases and other “problems”, wrap it up in medical jargon and “studies” and construct arguments favoring routine amputation of these parts from all infants (save for the few “fanatics” who might wish to keep all parts of their babies!) The fact that sane people would quickly dismiss practices of amputating infant ears or toes as ludicrous if not horrific illustrates the absurdity of slicing away healthy genital tissue from babies. The author of this review appears too defensive of his own penis to see the logic, and rationality of human rights and body ownership.

  24. “…Some of those interviewed conflate female genital mutilation with circumcision. Circumcision is a loss of a small amount of extra tissue of an infant boy vs the heinous practice of female genital mutilation,..” “…. It is ridiculous to compare the two….” The writer needs to do his homework. There are several forms of female genital mutilation. Some of them are heinous and some are less intrusive and less damaging than the typical male circumcision. The “small” amount of tissue amputated from the non-consenting infant, if left intact will become approx. 15 square inches of complex tissue on a grown man, not just skin. With rare exceptions, Humans, male and female, are not born with “extra tissue.” Just like girls, boys are born perfect, just as nature intended, not defective requiring corrective surgery.

    Many men accept what was done to them because they don’t realize how the quality of their lives has been compromised, or because of ego refuse to allow themselves to accept the truth. It’s very sad that for many men it is easier to perpetuate the same abuse on to their offspring, than to admit to themselves that they were injured by the procedure. It is all about Individual Human Rights, or in the case of infant circumcision, Rights Denied.

  25. The film is currently 2/3 of the way through a month long tour, but if you Google the name, its website links to a page where interested parties can host their own screenings (if enough people buy tickets). Hopefully people might be able to see what this review is talking about, in a theater, before the movie gets relegated to the dustbin that is Netflix.

  26. Not sure if this was supposed to be a comical review? In any case, definitely got my laughs for the night. Thanks for the entertainment man.

  27. It is quite a shock to the system to go from ignorance to a different perspective. It is natural for the reviewer to compare it to “religious extremists, UFO believers, or conspiracy theorists.”

    Bradley Gibson clearly had a difficult time with the movie and did not know that his private parts had scars and that his current genitals are not as they came “out of the box.” Those who have come to a greater understanding of this perspective know how difficult it is to accept that something so routine in America is so wrong and has been done to us or we have allowed it to be done to our children. Bradley not only had to experience the first step in the process, but he had to immediately share his first emotional reaction on the internet as a movie review.

    He clearly could not separate his reaction from either the movie an abstract philosophic and moral issue and we should remember our own Odyssey of understanding and how embarrassing it would have been to have our historical perspectives enshrined in a movie review.

    Cultures who practice FGM feel the same way and defend their practices the same way. Had Bradley been castrated entirely he would probably still believe that it was normal, not know that he had any scars, and still believe that his enjoyment of women was complete.

    Minds like Bradley’s are the minds that need to be changed in order for infant circumcision to stop. I am fairly certain that Bradley would not choose to be circumcised as an adult if the doctors had left him intact. Hopefully seeing the film will make him think twice about circumcising his own children should he have them. He will at least know that there is a very good chance that cultural norms will have changed in America and his son will resent him for having him circumcised.

  28. This review is by someone in denial… Which is natural, who really wants to accept the fact they have been vialoted and abused as an infant, along with millions if not billions of other men. Stop the madness, put an end to this stupid cutting of penises!

  29. There are no medical benefits to circumcision unless there is some life threatening reason to perform surgery on an infants genitals. Ask a doctor what the function of the foreskin in mammals is and they will stare at you blankly and state the function is that it needs to be removed. You can cite any number of reasons medically but doing this routinely to an infant is child sexual abuse. There is no evidence based medical science that can prove there are health benefits to mutilating an infant’s sexual organ at birth. Actually the scientific evidence is just the opposite. If you believe that infants do not feel pain then simply look at a circumcision being performed and you will notice that crying is a sign of an unacceptable and untolerable experience. The truth is that infants not only feel pain but they experience it to a greater degree as the neurological development is at its very beginning stages. The practice you define as circumcision is a form of trauma based mind control. To sexually mutilate an infant is rape.
    The truth of doing this to a male infant is far worse than doing it to a female. Never mind the fact that it is illegal to perform a surgical procedure on a females genitals without being found guilty of a class one felony but the 14th Amendment does not apply it’s equal protection of male genitals from being cut since 1996. That is the amount of denial that this procedure has caused in American men as well as the doctors who violate their oath of office when this crime is committed. It is not ridicilous to compare the two forms of genital cutting as there are plenty similarities between what are essentially a loss of bodily autonomy. That is why an infant is raped. They did not provide consent and their parents were listening to a supposed authority who has a mistaken belief that sexually harming an infant is actually providing some kind of benefit. That is where the mind control comes in. Its a negative loyalty which is both unconscious and intergenerational.

    Intact is not propaganda but a physical reality. Since most of the world spares their infants from this barbaric and unnecesary blood ritual the scar you and I both have is the symbol that someone used a sharp instrument and marked our flesh removing the most highly erogenous tissue. It’s not something I find lovely but abhorrent. If one of my sex partners told me that I would find her both lacking in empathy and uncaring for the trauma that I experienced as an infant.

    Life does come with its occasions for pain and discomfort. To intentionally create pain in an infant for no reason either medically nor religiously is basically condoning child torture. The surgery is a horror and the fact that people so easily acquire the medical training to cut an infant like this with no empathy for what the infant is experiencing shows that their medical training is severely lacking when it comes to the knowledge and experience of trauma. An infant is a few days old and we subject it to horrendous pain and expect no effects? This is in error. If we look at issues present in the typical genital mutilation of an infant we see the effects of trauma on the psyche of an infant. What we do not see are the hidden developmental traumas. Attachment bonding is inhibited, latching behaviors in breastfeeding are stunted, nourishment barriers are created, post traumatic stress disorder, dissociation, betrayal trauma, a basic impairment in the felt sense of trust in the world, brain damage from 10-20,000 nerves being severed and the neurological re-routing the brain must do to the fundamental organ of procreation. It’s not histrionics its basic developmental psychology, neurological development and trauma science You want to create the best climate for nurturing and bonding in an infant that you possibly can. Especially at so young a stage of development. Violence begets violence and no amount of denial, rationalization or minimization will change the fact that cutting an infants genitals is an unnecessary sexual trauma and for no valid scientific reason!

  30. OMG… I pity you!
    So sorry for your loss and your ignorance…

    “Lovely scar”?!? The word “intact” is offensive to you?!?

    Unbelievable… I am actually at a loss for words….

  31. Oh Bradley
    You obviously missed the part of the fIlm that featured the happily circumcised woman. She defends female cutting.
    She clearly and emphatically states that she is fine and not mutilated. She enjoys sex and has orgasms! Having her genitals cut apart improved her!
    Were you in the men’s room examining your itchy scar during that part of the documentary?

  32. I have a foreskin and find foreskin protective and lovely. I live where the vast majority of men have foreskin. I feel sorry for the reviewer and for all people who go through this useless violent abuse that is circumcision. Fact is circumcision (an obvious form of genital mutilation) is almost never beneficial at all. It’s also not ok for parents or anyone else to choose it to be done to someone else. Yes, I’ve also read the science, and not just one or two papers or conclusions, either.

  33. All these men who say they’re happy they were circumcised to slightly lower the risks of a few things are forgetting that men love taking risks of varying degrees in order to increase fun in life. Two beers instead of none, a big motorcycle instead of a safe car, having sex rather than abstaining. Even very highly religious men will climb ladders rather than stay safely on the ground. So, why is it ok to have the best and most pleasurably sensitive part of the penis removed so you’re possibly a little bit safer from a few things, if the scientists on the pro circ side are to be believed? By the way, a gaping hole in a study does not a trustworthy conclusion make; and neither are the scientists who made or left those holes good or trustworthy scientists. Look for the holes in the studies, people. On the pro circ side the holes are often absolutely huge. That is not good science.

  34. Gibson, after reading your article about the movie that I viewed last night, I have to say that you have missed the point, in fact several points. It’s almost as if you watched the film only to see what you already believed. This is a common logical fallacy called confirmation bias: “A fallacy of logos, the common tendency to notice, search out, select and share evidence that confirms one’s own standpoint and beliefs, as opposed to contrary evidence. This fallacy is how “fortune tellers” work–If I am told I will meet a “tall, dark stranger” I will be on the lookout for a tall, dark stranger, and when I meet someone even marginally meeting that description I will marvel at the correctness of the “psychic’s” prediction. In contemporary times Confirmation Bias is most often seen in the tendency of various audiences to “curate their political environments, subsisting on one-sided information diets and [even] selecting into politically homogeneous neighborhoods” (Michael A. Neblo et al., 2017, Science magazine).”
    Maybe you could watch it again, this time paying attention to those parts that you (blocked out) “missed”?

  35. I love how the comments only serve to prove the author of this article was correct… inquacktivists disregard rational thought in favor of histrionics. Look at all the triggered loons, angry because someone saw this propaganda film for what it is… a total piece of crap that only appeals to the scientifically illiterate and/or drama queens and drama kings.

    1. The scientifically illiterate??? Most *national medical organizations* are against male circumcision of children. Are they all “triggered loons” too?

      Three national medical organizations (Iceland, Sweden and Germany) have called for infant male circumcision to be *banned*, and two others (Denmark and the Netherlands) have said they’d support a ban if they didn’t think it would drive the practice underground.

      “Routine” circumcision *is* banned in public hospitals in Australia (almost all the men responsible for this policy will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%).

      1. Odd to call the responses here “triggered” (without addressing the substance of a single point raised, of course) when the review itself is so obviously “triggered.”

        As to scientific literacy: I lived in Germany for a year, where the vast majority of the men are intact. They seem to be perfectly fine and healthy. We hear the Brian Morris types going on about how deadly it is to have a foreskin, and yet I’ve never heard them point to a non-circumcising population that has all the problems the foreskin is supposed to cause. Who are the quacks here?

    2. Holly Ann Williams, how much cutting of infant male or female genitals would you consider scientifically and morally acceptable? Where would you draw the line? And why would you draw the line there?

    3. I always kinda thought, “if it ain’t broke, don’t ‘fix’ it” was a great rule of thumb.

      We don’t routinely perform preventative amputation for any other potential disease of a healthy body part. What is the rationale behind routine preventative circumcision? Why is the male foreskin where some folks draw the line?

      First, do no harm.

    4. You must disregard the well being of an infant being held down and healthy tissue being cut off of their body as histrionics. How about you investigate trauma from a scientific point of view and provide the most nurturing and best care for an infant rather than cloak harming an infant in fake science!

  36. The body remembers what the mind forgets. Early trauma is separated from consciousness because it is too painful to be conscious. This is part of our psychological defense when there is no physical way to escape the trauma. Research has shown that circumcised men are less emotionally aware and responsive. For more on the psychological effects of circumcision, see Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma.

  37. Seems less a film review, but more a self analysis of the reviewers own circumcised penis and a echo of familiar pro-circ propaganda/circumfetishism. It’s no wonder less people take film critics seriously when some clearly are blatantly biased and/or bandwagoners. I understand that this is very much a pick a side touchy subject but the test a good critic will be if they can hold back their temptation to turn this movie review into their own personal politics.

    1. Does seem to be more a rant then a review of the movie yes.

      Note Im circumcised myself and do NOT take offense to calling “Uncircumcised” Men intact.

      Or to calling me myself Mutilated.

  38. First, this is not a film review, this is the stream of consciousness from a man who claims being circumcised ” has had no impact on my life at all, as far I can tell” but who admits to being triggered by the word “intact” to describe men who were not subjected to this procedure. Interesting. What would he prefer? “normal” “natural”? I suspect these would also trigger him because Brad lives in a world where facts about penises are not welcome. He recalls growing up thinking his penis was just how it came “out of the box”. Doesn’t say how triggered he was when he found out the truth on that one – but he then recalls another moment – when a sex partner commented on his scar – again another fact he was unaware of. Circumcision creates a scar. Despite his claim otherwise, Brad clearly has been impacted by being circumcised i.e. on at least two occasions in his life, someone told him something about what happened to his penis in the past that he didn’t know about (sidenote: he still claims that not remembering things means it doesn’t matter). Then he walked into this film. He forgot it was his job to review it. Instead he launched into a battle with more facts about circumcision and penises he didn’t know. He accuses the messengers of “emotional histrionics” – yet it is Brad who can’t deal with the word “intact”.

  39. You’re either struggling to cope with your own circumcision and don’t want to fully confront how fucked up this practice is, or you are just an idiot.

  40. The reviewer needs to educate himself and stop embarrassing himself talking gibberish about something he obviously knows nothing about. How can he watch a carefully crafted documentary and not learn anything from it?

  41. Cutting female and male genitals have the following similarities:

    * Over 100 million procedures have been performed on current populations.
    * It’s unnecessary and extremely painful.
    * It can have adverse sexual and psychol. effects.
    * It’s generally done by force on children.
    * It is generally supported by local medical doctors.
    * Pertinent biological facts are not generally known where procedures are practiced.
    * It is defended with reasons such as tradition, religion, aesthetics, cleanliness, and health.
    * The rationale has currently or historically been connected to controlling sexual pleasure.
    * It’s often believed there’s no effect on normal sexual functioning.
    * It’s generally accepted and supported by those who have been subjected to it.
    * Those who are cut feel compelled to cut their children.
    * The choice may be motivated by underlying psychosexual reasons.
    * Critical public discussion is generally taboo where the procedure is practiced.
    * It can result in serious complications that can lead to death.
    * The adverse effects are hidden by repression and denial.
    * Dozens of potentially harmful physiological, emotional, behavioral, sexual, and social effects on individuals and societies have never been studied.
    * Where female genital cutting is practiced, cutting the genitals of males is often practiced.
    * On a qualitative level, cutting the genitals of male and female children are one and the same thing.
    * To allow us to develop into our maximum individual and social potential, we must stop the cutting of genitals of both sexes.

    Any of these acts upon a child without a genuine medical reason, as in a life-threatening or chronic infection, or a birth defect, should be both outlawed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This type of behaviour is unacceptable, and anyone participating in such behaviour requires the use of the correctional system in order to prevent them from harming another child.

    Genital cutting is disgusting, harmful, and completely unacceptable behaviour.

  42. Forcing genital mutilation on a child of any gender goes against freedom at every level, if every mutilated man had an idea of the true extent of damage done the people that do this barbaric crap on children would be in prison.

  43. Rebutting arguments with ad hominem attacks like “religious extremists, UFO believers, or conspiracy theorists” is one half step short of breaking Godwin’s Law (q.v.).

    BTW if “science” says babies don’t feel pain, the anaesthesia is not necessary. So how come most physicians (not all and no most mohels) administer some kind of anaesthesia?

    I know: they must be getting kick-backs from the drug companies? OR is that another conspiracy theory?

    Cant have it both ways, Brad.

  44. This article (not a movie review, come on) about how good circumcision is, and how bad a movie is because it seeks to enlighten viewers about circumcision, proves absolutely one point. Circumcision creates proponents of circumcision. It somehow embeds in a human brain total, unyielding support for the practice of partial penis amputation in the psyche of some men who experience it. And establishes complete unwillingness to become educated about a controversial topic, and to understand the pain that many men have suffered from it.

  45. “The medical argument against waiting is that the benefits of circumcision are realized for infant boys through adulthood”

    Well, you could have stopped right there, because that’s a lie. There are NO “health benefits” to circumcision — even pediatrics organizations worldwide have confirmed this.

    And the rest of this waste-of-space article is just chock-full of misinformation. I especially love the “But they won’t remember!” argument — boy, what a slippery slope THAT is! 😀 By that logic, you could accost someone in the street, administer some scopolamine, inflict any permanent bodily damage you like on them … and that would be A-okay, because “they won’t remember.” Can I come over to your house and do this to you, Brad? Don’t worry, I promise you won’t remember! 😀

    Not sure what your agenda is, Brad, but it’s mighty suspect …

  46. Happy to see that pro-cutters are taking the time to watch it. Surprised that one would leave still supporting the dated and barbaric practice. I could say so much, but I think all the other comments did it for me. I am cut, too. It took having a son of my own to look into the practice carefully. I left my sons intact (and that word is not used as propaganda, it’s more accurate), oldest is 12. I seriously wanted to find a good reason for the practice, but I have only found more reason to be passionately against it.

  47. Bradley I too am offended by the terms intact and uncircumcised. We don’t refer to people with eyelids as intact or unblepharectomised. We refer to them as normal or the norm. All mammals have a foreskin or prepuce, it is normal. Most men and women in the world have a prepuce, it is the norm. America is neither normal nor the norm in this regard. You have been surgically altered without you consent. Get over it. Deal with your cognitive dissonance, instead of encouraging circumcision on defenceless children.

  48. I am circumcised myself and self identify as mutilated or maimed. I am a Righteous Martyr, giving my all to oppose this degenerate practice.

    Even with my MS and unemployment, I find ways through T shirts, and handing out cards to show that I live.

  49. “The film gratuitously shows an infant being circumcised. I daresay most of us do not have the medical training context or experience to watch any surgery, so this will naturally be disturbing and uncomfortable. It is not horror. ”

    Wow. Of all the ridiculous arguments made in this “review”, this one is the worst. One does not need any medical training to feel horrified at such a thing. Is open heart surgery “disturbing”? An appendectomy? A C-section? Uncomfortable, yes. Disturbing and horrifying? Not so much.

    You rationalizing why it isn’t disturbing is what is disturbing.

  50. Look at the intactiloons proving the point of the review. Intactos are nothing more than irrational, histrionic little drama queens who deny science when it disagrees with them. Most of them don’t vaccinate either. Most of them don’t believe in soap or germ theory!

    1. Three national medical organizations (Iceland, Sweden and Germany) have called for infant male circumcision to be *banned*, and two others (Denmark and the Netherlands) have said they’d support a ban if they didn’t think it would drive the practice underground.

      “Routine” circumcision *is* banned in public hospitals in Australia (almost all the men responsible for this policy will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%).

      Circumcision cannot be compared to vaccines because vaccines don’t involve cutting off normal, functional parts from babies’ bodies.

    2. Nicole, like the “science” whereby Nazis tried to kill off the Jews because they were considered an “inferior” race.

      Yep, I bet the Jews were considered loons back in the 1940s.

      They are now one of the most powerful forces on the planet.

      So-called “loons” one day…powerful bankers, investors, businesspeople the next.

      “Science” wins…until it doesn’t.

    3. Ad hominen attacks also don’t give your argument any power. All these attacks do is make your argument weak and pointless.

  51. No national medical association in the entire world recommends routine infant circumcision. To suggest they do is dishonest. In most industrialized countries circumcision has fallen out of favor and remains a minority practice in less than 10% of infant boys. Except for Muslim countries and Israel who circumcise for religious reasons, the USA stands alone in the world in continuing to circumcise between 25-65% of infant boys (depending on the state), but the practice continues to decline and over time will become a minority practice in the USA, as well. It would decline sooner if the doctors who practice it in the USA would be more honest with parents about the loss of function and long-term harm of amputating this normal healthy human tissue from a baby. The medical establishment readily admits that they don’t know the long-term complications of circumcision because they have never been adequately studied and records are not kept to document it. The fact is that such surgery on a baby is very imprecise so some men have been harmed by the procedure more than others. One man who feels he is okay with his circumcision cannot speak for another man whose circumcision was not performed as skillfully. If an adult man wants to have the surgery then that is his choice. But an infant should not have such body modification forced upon him without medical necessity.

  52. I’m not sure how random anecdotes about one’s first lover and amateur review of medical research qualifies as a film review?

  53. The problem with this opinion piece is that it is culture bound. It presents the opponents of juvenile circumcision as “emotional” and the supporters of juvenile circumcision as “evidence based” and “scientific”. However, doctors are as divided about juvenile circumcision as the general public, and the division of opinion follows national and cultural lines in different countries.

    In Scandinavia there is a lot of hostility towards the practice of infant circumcision and this is reflected in the medical profession in Scandinavia; in the United States and Israel it’s quite different. Doctors on both sides of the debate read or have access to the same literature, and they come to different conclusions. This suggests that circumcision makes less difference than either the supporters or the opponents admit.

    The opinion piece is right in saying that circumcision or non-circumcision seems to make little difference. As that’s the case, why bother with it? Scandinavian men get on quite well with their foreskins and live as long as men in Israel and longer than men in the United States. That suggests to me that circumcision contributes more to doctors’ incomes than anything else.

  54. The term intact is also used on animals that have not been castrated. Its not an offensive term, all it means is unchanged.

    Like many other things the US falls behind in this is one of them. Why are we so against males having full agency over their bodies? Let them decide when they grow up if they want to be circumcised or not. Their body, their choice. They should not have a non medically necessary procedure forced on them.

  55. Really???

    Clearly, you haven’t done any real research on FGM. Only 1% of FGM removes more tissue than male circumcision, and that is the most extreme version called infibulation. Also many cut women still experience sexual pleasure as the whole clitoris is impossible to remove since it goes deep into the body. In many places male circumcision is done at older ages by traditional cutters and not doctors just like how you imagine FGM. In Singapore they cut baby girls in hospital, removing the prepuce which is what the foreskin is, the prepuce.

    Also, the adult male foreskin is not a small skin flap like you claim. It’s the size of an iPhone on average! Or 1/3 to 1/2 of the penile skin!

    You are clinging to the idea that altering infants’ gentials irreversibly is acceptable in order to make yourself feel better about your own penis and your own parents’ decision.

    Intact is an ACCURATE description! Uncircumcised is NOT an accurate description. When they find a way to replace the foreskin with lab grown tissue, then we can truly call someone “uncircumcised”.

    The fact that you even mention your penis status in a film review shows how biased you are and how obvious it is that you are experiencing cognitive dissonance.

  56. Since this idget has already been beautifully deconstructed by others here, I’ll just summarize this garbage review: This guy is triggered that his peepee is ugly and sex isn’t as good. This whole review is drenched in the tears of a man who thinks this documentary directly makes his penis less adequate. I’m cut by the way. Just because you’re cut doesn’t mean that uncut guys are better than you, don’t push the truth out because you conflate it with you being less of a man. Grow up bud.

  57. It’s not rocket science?

    Fighting for infants to be spared from torture, organ theft and sexual assault with a object is what we as compassionate human beings call knowing the difference between right and wrong. And America should be ashamed for discriminating against men and assuming we are happy being disposable. That each of us cut men is happy losing $100.000 worth of tissue from our most sensitive and private body part. Arguing anything else but for the truth is foolish and harmful to us as a species. Saying you’re glad you’ve lost part of your penis is like claiming you could play piano better with nine fingers. So no we are using our time wisely and we do have day jobs but I will take a day off to protect other infants from the the pain I feel every time I have to change my underwear or take a piss or pull outta my girlfriend. I fight for men to have the same rights as women because feminism a bullshit and is a distraction to make men feel like the abusers. EQUAL RIGHTS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS PEOPLE ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE 🚀🔬 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦❌✂️🚼🚹

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