GENDER STUDIES / SOCIOLOGY
A proposed relationship between circumcision and neural reorganization
“It is hypothesized that circumcision reorganizes the male’s somato-cortex to raise the threshold of sexual excitability/distraction. This threshold shift thereby allows the young men of a social group a) to be slightly more tractable in executing corporate activities beneficial to the community and b) to be slightly more restrained sexually and more cooperative in the pair bond.”
R.S. Immerman and W.C. Mackey. Journal of Genetic Psychology 159:3, (1998), 367-378.
A biocultural analysis of circumcision
“Inferential data support the hypothesis that a practical consequence of circumcision, complementary to any religious-symbolic function, is to make a circumcised male less sexually excitable and distractible, and, hence, more amenable to his group’s authority figures.”
R.S. Immerman and W.C. Mackey. Social Biology 44:3-4, (1997), 265-275.
Male Genital Mutilation (Circumcision): A Feminist Study of a Muted Gender Issue
“Feminism…is for building new and fairer social politics for both genders, especially children. …Women will also benefit from defending male children’s rights. … (W)omen are recommended to take the initiative to encourage men to break the barrier of silence about MGM, to support them, and be understandable when some of them show resistance or denial.”
Seham Abd el Salam. Post-Masters Fellowship Research. American University in Cairo (1999).
Rationalising circumcision: From tradition to fashion, from public health to individual freedom
“The rationalisations invented to provide support for the practice of genital mutilation ‒ whether male or female ‒ within various cultural and religious settings have very little to do with finding a critical and reflective moral justification for these practices. In order to question the ethical acceptability of the practice in its non-therapeutic forms, we need to focus on child rights protection.”
S.K. Hellsten. Journal of Medical Ethics 30, (2004), 248-253.
Genital Cutting and Western Discourses on Sexuality
“Although critiques of female circumcision have been widely taken up, general public opinion toward male circumcision remains indifferent. This difference cannot merely be explained by the natural attributes and effects of these practices. …In particular, I suggest that certain problematic understandings of male and female sexuality are deeply implicated in the dominant Western discourses on genital surgery.”
K. Bell. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 19:2, (2005), 125-148.
Circumcision and the socially imagined sexual body
“Circumcision can be seen rather as a sociocultural intervention with post hoc medical justification. …Does circumcision reduce penile sensitivity? …The nature of the loss is in a sense ‘unspeakable’ and for many people unimaginable, because the reception of delicate sensation is not part of their notion of masculine sexuality.”
J. Richters. Health Sociology Review 15, (2006), 248-257.
A Rose by Any Other Name? Rethinking the Similarities and Differences between Male and Female Genital Cutting
“We propose a scale of damage for male circumcision to complement the World Health Organization’s categorization of female genital mutilation. …The origins of the double standard identified are placed in historical perspective, and in a brief conclusion we make a plea for greater gender neutrality in the approach to this contentious issue.”
R. Darby and J.S. Svoboda. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 21:3, (2007), 301-323.
Foreskin is a Feminist Issue
“The areas of overlap we have focused on are the mechanisms by which genital cutting functions to mark and define bodies in ways which clearly demarcate the sexes‒both by managing sexuality and by coding bodies and particular body parts as masculine or feminine. Through an exploration of these technologies of cutting we have sought to highlight the relevance of routine neonatal circumcision for feminist objectives.”
M. Fox and M. Thomson. Australian Feminist Studies 24:60, (2009), 195-210.
A Tale of Two Technologies: HPV Vaccination, Male Circumcision and Sexual Health
“Our analysis highlights the importance of considering how technologies like HPV vaccination and circumcision contribute to the ongoing construction of gender (including ‘good’ and ‘bad’men and women), race, and sexuality. It is precisely at these intersections of bodies with technologies that the ‘double standard’ is reproduced.”
L.M. Carpenter and M.J. Casper. Gender and Society 23:6, (2009), 790-816.
To cut or not to cut? Personal factors influence primary care physicians’ position on elective newborn circumcision
“Although most respondents stated that they based their decisions on medical evidence, the circumcision status of, especially, male respondents played a huge role in whether they were in support of circumcisions or not. Another factor that had an influence was the circumcision status of respondents’ sons.”
A.J. Muller. Journal of Men’s Health 7:3, (2010), 227-232.
Opposition to the Jewish rite of circumcision in modern Israeli society as expression of motherhood and feminism
“The opposition to circumcision in Israel is a statement that goes against the devaluation of the primary dyad between a mother and her child. It is not an isolated event but a part of a broader conceptual believes [sic] that emphasizes more ‘feminine’ values such as motherhood, breastfeeding, nature and ecology, as opposed to ‘muscular’ values as culture, ritual ceremonies, financial wealth and militarism.”
Y. Bankirer, Y. Abramovich, S. Gooldin et al. (Abstract) European Psychiatry 25:S1, (2010), 530.
Circumcision: Identity, Gender and Power
“Without compromising either our children’s identity or our survival as a people, we can invite all of our Jewish children, our baby girls and our baby boys, into a brit b’lee milah, a covenant without circumcision, and school them in the wisdom love and beauty of the Jewish tradition.”
M. Pollack. Tikkun (2011)
Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark
“Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequen sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia, and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfillment.”
M. Frisch, M. Lindholm and M. Grønbæk. International Journal of Epidemiology 40:5, (2011), 1367–1368.
The Male Circumcision Debate: Social Movements, Sexual Citizenship and Human Rights
“The irony is such that as we as Westerners attempt to ‘save’ non-Westerners here by imposing legislation to protect them from most types of genital cutting, there is no one who can protect ‘us’ from ourselves. …Because the practice of male neonatal circumcision is routinized in the United States and to a lesser extent other Western nations, the procedure has escaped this same scrutiny.”
L. Sardi. Societies Without Borders 6:3, (2011), 304-329.
Questioning Circumcisionism: Feminism, Gender Equity and Human Rights
“The larger framework within which circumcision operates is referred to as ‘circumcisionism’. Circumcisionism is the hegemonic view that genital circumcision is a normative and acceptable practice.”
T. Wisdom. Righting Wrongs: A Journal of Human Rights 2:1, (2012), 1-32.
The new politics of male circumcision: HIV/AIDS, health law, and social justice
“We suggest that, as with female genital cutting, male circumcision ought to be debated within a paradigm of social justice which gives adequate weighting to the interest of all affected parties (including women whose health may actually be compromised by the procedure) and which renders visible the socio-economic dimensions of the issue. …The shift in analytical frame that we propose has the potential not only to make us re-think our approach to the ethics and legality of male circumcision by challenging its construction as a familial decision but also to impact on the need for a broader conceptualisation of health law as rooted in social justice.”
M. Fox and M. Thomson. Legal Studies 32:2, (2012), 255-281.
The Completely Unregulated Practice of Male Circumcision: Human Rights Abuse Enshrined in Law?
“The sheer antiquity of ‘ritual’ circumcision (and now after 140 years, Anglophone medicalized male circumcision) has allowed it to escape legal scrutiny, though there is much musing in the academic literature. Without legal incentive or bioethical rigor, medical authorities have created – indeed, established by conscious omission – a regulatory vacuum which suits their needs.”
J. V. Geisheker. New Male Studies: An International Journal 2:1, (2013), 18-45.
Promoting genital autonomy by exploring commonalities between male, female, intersex, and cosmetic female genital cutting
“Genital autonomy is a unified principle that children should be protected from genital cutting that is not medically necessary. Safeguarding genital autonomy encompasses helping societies and individuals to explore wounds common across different forms of genital cutting regarding, gender, power, the quest for cultural belonging, and social and sexual control.”
J.S. Svoboda. Global Discourse (2013).
Forced genital cutting in North America: Feminist theory and nursing considerations
“If feminism asserts that bodily integrity, autonomy, and fundamental human rights are essential components of gender equality, it follows that these must be afforded to all genders without discrimination. …Nurses are positioned well to be at the forefront of this cause and have a clear ethical duty to advocate for the elimination of all forms of forced nontherapeutic genital cutting.”
K. Antinuk. Nursing Ethics 20:6, (2013), 723-728.
Masculinity and Embodiment in the Practice of Foreskin Restoration
“The aim of this paper is to explore the body politics of men who pursue foreskin restoration, the organizations that support them, and the tools they use. Ultimately, I hope to lay bare what restoration really is and does for the men who practice it.”
A. Kennedy. International Journal of Men’s Health 14:1, (2015), 38-54.
(Im)perishable Pleasure, (In)destructible Desire: Sexual Themes in U.S. and English News Coverage of Male Circumcision and Female Genital Cutting
“The English press depicted male circumcision as diminishing male sexuality, whereas U.S. papers showed it as enhancing male sexuality. These patterns are influenced by, and serve to reinforce, cultural norms of embodiment and ethnosexual boundaries based on gender, race, and nationality. They may, in turn, shape public understandings of female genital cutting and male circumcision as social problems.”
L.M. Carpenter and H.H. Kettrey. Journal of Sex Research 52:8, (2015), 841-856.
Circumcision, sexual experience and harm
“We also highlight some of the inconsistencies in the current legal treatment of male versus female forms of nontherapeutic childhood genital alteration, and suggest that problematically gendered assumptions about the sexual body may play a role in bringing about and sustaining such inconsistencies.”
B.D. Earp and R. Darby. Univ of PA Journal of International Law 37:2, (2017), online, 1-56
Male Circumcision Grief: Effective and Ineffective Therapeutic Approaches
“Cultural circumcision has been an under recognised cause of male body-loss grief. Male circumcision grief is now being more commonly expressed. …We found that therapists were reluctant to accept that the grief was real, were unaware of foreskin functions, denied circumcision had physical or psychological sequelae and minimized patient grief using humor, cultural aesthetics, controversial health benefits, sexism, and an erroneous understanding of penile anatomy and sexual function.”
L. Watson and T. Golden. New Male Studies: International Journal 6:2, (2017), 109-125.
Gender and genital cutting: A new paradigm
“In recent years…a growing movement of scholars, activists, and individuals affected by childhood genital cutting have argued that all children, regardless of sex or gender, should be protected from such intimate violations. By drawing attention to the overlapping harms to which female, male, and intersex children may be exposed as a result of having their genitals cut, this movement posits a sex and gender neutral‒that is, human‒right to bodily integrity and genital autonomy.”
B.D. Earp and R. Steinfeld. In Teresa Giménez Barbat (Ed.), Gifted Women, Fragile Men. Euromind Monographs-2, Brussels: ALDE Group-EU Parliament, (2017).
Girls and Boys as Victims: Asymmetries and dynamics in European public discourses on genital modifications in children
“Sooner or later, European societies need to respond to the following questions, which, in reality, are one and the same question formulated from different perspectives:
– Why should girls not enjoy the same opportunities as boys to be incorporated into cultural and religious communities through a ritual involving minor cutting of their genitals?
– Why should boys not have the same legal protection as girls against non-medically motivated alterations of their genitals?”
S. Johnsdotter. International Seminar on FGM/C: Medicine to Critical Anthropology. Rome, (24-25 November 2017).
The law and ethics of female genital cutting
“We show that there are troubling inconsistencies in the way in which female genital cutting is understood in Western contexts. Specifically: (a) all nontherapeutic genital alterations to female minors are crimimalised…while even more invasive nontherapeutic genital alterations to male and intersex minors are permitted…; and (b) genital alterations of adult women regarded as ‘cosmetic’ in nature are treated as legal, while in some jurisdictions, anatomically identical procedures classified as ‘mutilation’ are illegal.”
A. Shahvisi and B.D.Earp In S. Creighton & L.-M. Liao (eds.). Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery: Solution to What Problem? Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2018 in press).