Monday, May 18, 2015

Thanks to the U.S. obsession with chopping baby penises, my blog has gone viral!

I've also had a lot of amazing feedback, including emails, a few of which I'll proudly display here.
One of my initial fears in writing an article like The Foreskin: Why is it such a secret in North America? was that I wouldn't be taken seriously -- especially in the U.S. Skeptic community.

Two years later, I'm now in the habit of stirring heretical and counter-cultural thoughts among the Skeptics, and now on my blog as well. I'm far from worried that I'll be derided as "not skeptical enough".
` I received lots of praise when I finally got the chance to finish the post, not only from skeptics, but from other people the world over! No wonder this article got 211,288 views in the week preceding April 18:

Only ten days after that, the total number of pageviews was over 600,000.
Yes, the article itself is dated May 8, 2013, but that was merely the date which I saved the first draft. I'm not above retro-publishing blog articles, especially when none of the adjacent articles had been published either, and most of the intervening time has been astonishingly insane.

Now that I have my health, my own Internet connection, and even my own space to write, blogging and getting my facts straight has been easy enough to take on this enormous task.
` After all, it is heresy in America to talk about the foreskins' sexual functions, for the man and his sexual partner. Or to say that smegma is the normal fluid coating the various folds of female genitalia, and in larger amounts than in males.

Perhaps most shocking of all is that every day in the U.S., there are medical professional who diagnose a boy's normal foreskin as a birth defect called "congenital phimosis".
` A baby's foreskin is supposed to be attached to the head of the penis, which protects it from infection and debris, and it doesn't usually retract for several years.
` Some doctors consider this normal development to be an ailment which must be 'treated' by tearing the membrane that keeps the foreskin in place, and repeatedly washing beneath it.
` This causes severe pain and further problems, which are then blamed on the foreskin instead of the doctor's incompetence.

Just like most of the other mythical "problems" with foreskins, this belief stems from moral and so-called medical claims which became popular in the late 1800s. Of course, I've explained how all this came to be in my article.
` Persistent belief in such myths is a serious issue, but one that is not likely to end unless significantly more awareness is raised. And I have already done some of the work!

Here's a screen grab of my weekly stats for today, a whole month later. It seems I've had only 19,934 views this week, along with more views and comments on other posts!
Over two hundred comments on the same post!? WHAT!?!?!!
That's another thing -- comments! I've never gotten so many! (The numbers are much inflated by one very dedicated troll, however.) So far, none of the replies I've written have shown up in the comments section. I'll no doubt address them soon enough.

Also in that graphic, you can see my next article's title, Child Circumcision: Culture-based ignorance, fetish, and pseudoscience. It delves even deeper into the insanity, from inaccurate anatomy books and ignorant doctors.
` It even contains my discovery of circumcision advocates who are motivated by a particularly sick brand of pedophilia. These are the guys behind the website "CircInfo", as well as "BoyGuard".
` It is also filled with comments from people who were raised in various cultures, which demonstrate the cross-cultural comparisons I've been making.

My next three posts essentially wound up getting deleted, and one of them was about my blog going viral. So, now I'm doing it again!

Although I "thanked Blogger" for this apparent malfunction, I thought I should take the time to mention that I am thankful that Blogger is really easy to use, hosts my blogs for free, and even tells me my stats.
` I'd also like to thank everyone for their genuine feedback (i.e., not trolling). Some people even helped me to make a few improvements past the first version of this blog post.
` First of all, some commenters were in confusion over my gender, so I added a disclaimer mentioning my girly bits. I also got many emails, and here are several that shaped the various versions of this post:

Jen B
Fascinating, well-researched article...but I have a suggestion:

It's a long piece; the graphics help "break it up" a little bit, but I think it would be easier to read/digest (more people would read it in its entirety) if it were divided into sections with headers.  

Great job, though!
So, I re-read the article, found the 'natural' divisions in subject matter, and added the various bold headings. I also decided to add more information about the efficacy of condoms in preventing HIV.
` Many more emails came into my inbox, including this one:
For all the reasons you describe, we opted not to circumcise our son. We have a great pediatrician who told us never to let anyone retract his foreskin. When he was about three years old I was giving him a bath and he was playing with his penis. He pulled the foreskin back and the head of his penis popped out. He made a cute remark like "look what I can do" and I said "neat" and that was that. There was no blood, pain, or crying. He did it one more time after that but never again. ...
Part of your blog concerns me though, because it sounds like that shouldn't have happened until he was a teenager and that he could have somehow done some damage to himself. Again, he seems fine. He hasn't had any urinary tract infections nor does he complain about pain. He does touch his penis sometimes and I ask him why and he says because it feels good, which seems normal enough to me. Do you know if him popping the head of his penis out is normal or can you refer me to someone who would know? 

Thanks,

P.
I wrote back to P. and also added some more info to my blog, mainly that it's possible for a child this young to be able to fully retract his foreskin. It isn't likely, but it happens on occasion, just as it can take as long as age 18.


Then, to my surprise, I received an email from Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo. I felt a bit strange accepting his request to allow him to reproduce my article on his website of interesting claims -- but I did.
` Even more comments and emails poured in, and later I found my article re-posted on yet another website! Ji forwarded me an email message from Frank, who wrote:
I congratulate you and Ms. Quine for her fine, informative article on the human foreskin. But one point, please, that is not so insignificant as one might be tempted to think: The article states categorically that the foreskin retracts upon erection (and, incidentally, spells out the obvious: that retraction exposes the glans). Autonomous, no-hands-needed retraction indeed sometimes does happen---BUT VERY, VERY FREQUENTLY IT DOES NOT...!!! I have not been able to find any statistics whatsoever on this phenomenon---but I know for a fact, from myself and from NUMEROUS other men's experiences, that even a moderately longer foreskin will continue to cover the glans DURING and AFTER full erection. ~~ That's important for two reasons: (1) it is a physiological FACT, and (2) its misrepresentation can make some men without autonomous retraction believe that they are somehow not normal. Heaven forfend that it should impel them to circumcision..... ~~~ Thanks for your attention.
And so, I went back to spell out this fact in my article. And, just to be rigorous, I gave it a little editing once-over, such as removing excessive instances of the phrase "to point out" near the end of the article.
` Now it's better than ever, including copies that had previously been made of it! Besides adding a link to this post at the bottom, will I make any further changes? Only time will tell!

I've also gotten a few responses from people who want me to know that the HPV vaccine is evil, and I wonder if I'll get sucked into a cycle writing about such things and any of Ji's claims as well?

In the meantime, I have a lot to take care of in my life. Another post is on the way. Thanks for reading!

28 comments:

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  3. Looking at the countries and people where circumcision is done, could it be that it makes those people less forgiving, due to elimination of the commensal anaerobic bacteria of the foreskin, when taking into account how bacteria influence our mind? https://medium.com/gut-check/gut-instincts-moral-enhancement-the-microbiome-f5bd3395cc1a Could that mean that circumcision was done on purpose to make men hardened soldiers?

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    1. I'm not so sure about the change in bacteria, but I'll be willing to bet that circumcision of infants does change them emotionally, damaging them and possibly links violence to sex.

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  5. I also wondered the same thing, if forced infant circumcision introduces violence and preprograms their brains to think of violence as a normal part of life. And come to think of it, wouldn't it also link violence with sex?

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  9. i dont understand how anyone could not know what a foreskin is until 20.....did you ever see the scars and wonder what they were? did you never google it (due to your interest in anatomy)? did you not see it in other mammals and wonder what it was? i cant believe it

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    1. Anonymous from July 5, I didn't know what a foreskin was, had no idea that guy's penises had scars. I just thought that was normal. So do many guys!
      I did not have the internet back then. I explain this in my article. I also had never looked at other mammals' penises. What do you think I am, some kind of pervert ;-)

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    2. true but some have really obvious scars like a black ring around there penis and im sure there where books back then that explained what a foreskin was i thought men were the ones who where clueless about the female body o_o

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    3. same for guys that dont know they are cut for most of their life i mean god damn thats crazy like how could they not know

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    4. I've never seen a black ring around anyone's penis...and even being curious about anatomy as a child I didn't put two and two together and wonder why some peni look different from others....

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    5. I have seen black ringed dicks...you'll probably see one too one day its nasty

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  11. okay even if foreskin did "give more pleasure for the woman too" how would you even know? you never been with an uncut guy before so you cant know. hell this wasn't even a problem for you until someone told you

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    2. Jordan, I was not sexually active until I was 24. I wasn't able to feel my genitalia until I was 30, due to my mind's reaction to a severe and prolonged trauma I suffered at age 21. I found that sex was extremely painful, and blamed myself.
      ` It wasn't until I was 32 that I had sex with an intact man. Though he was generously endowed, his penis didn't cause any friction at all. I was used to scraping and infections, but this time, there was no pain at all.
      ` I looked up on the internet that scraping by a circumcised penis is an acknowledged medical problem, and can lead to severe vaginal damage over the years. I also read many personal stories of women who described the exact same thing, and I stopped feeling like it was my fault that I was in pain.

      I also have written about most of this on my blog.

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    3. 32? daym only a year ago, that's crazy

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  12. its not illegal in europe or canada but a senior british judge has recently acknowledged that it is sometimes worse than fgm

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    1. Indeed, male circumcision has more sexual impact than most types of FGM.

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  13. Read a lot of your article on Circumcision and it was very, educational. I was in the situation of not knowing I was circumcised until somewhere around a year ago, and I'm twenty now. Any guy I'd seen before was circumcised and any anatomy textbook I had in school showed a circumcised penis, like you've said. I also thought it was just a Jewish thing then, so all that considered, I figured my member was whole. I have just a little bitterness now for the fact that my mom wanted that done to me, even if she was lied to about "risks" of keeping it. She's religious too, so the sexual factor is something I'm sure she could have very possibly been aware of. One thing I'm just theorizing is that circumcision could have also caused me to have aspergers. Anyone could tell me I'm wrong, but I'd imagine having highly sensitive skin being cut off at an age where it's as sensitive as it'll ever be would cause enough psychological trauma to have that effect. It's also known that Autism is about five times more likely to happen in boys more than girls. In this country where circumcision is a norm, I wouldn't be surprised if those two things coincided.

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    1. That's an interesting idea, and it has been discussed by researchers of circumcision, neurology, pain, autism, etc. I don't know if the sex ratio of Asperger's is any different in the U.S. compared to non-circumcising cultures, though, but that would be evidence.

      I don't know much about this at this particular time, but it is my understanding that there are a variety of genes involved in neural signaling and whatnot that are involved in the characteristics of the Autism Spectrum. I'm quite Aspergery myself, and I attribute much of that to the trauma, isolation, and continual abuse I've had in my life, which I've only just now pulled myself out of for the most part. If I'd had more healthy social interaction, and was also physically and emotionally healthy, I would have developed social skills more normally. I also would not have felt nearly as overwhelmed by sensations as I did, which was grounds for a lot more abuse. I probably had Aspie-like tendencies to begin with, but they became very profound along with the decades of PTSD. Sensory overload is a characteristic of PTSD and autism.

      What these researchers are saying is that the trauma of circumcision could make their autism spectrum genetic tendencies much more pronounced because the child is so overwhelmed by pain. Beyond that, I don't know much, but something tells me I will soon enough.

      Thanks for sharing your story. I take it your mom didn't talk about such things? It's true that some guys don't know they've been circumcised until they're around your age, or even decades older. I wonder how many grown men die without ever knowing they were circumcised?

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  14. In your original article, the statement "Only one of these studies (Auverts [sic], 2006) was actually published in a peer-reviewed journal" is a trivially refuted inaccuracy. All three randomized trials were published in peer-reviewed journals. (And: you misspelled the name Auvert.) (And no: I will not look this up for you. Not my job.)

    If you had looked for those papers with a simple google search, you would have found them. So the fact that you are willing to make this claim in your post (and then leave it there, despite claims of re-editing it) means - definitively - one of two things. Either you have done no real research at all on this subject, but are just parroting other peoples' false claims - or you've done the research and you're flat-out lying.

    Which is it?

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    1. How in the world do you want her to prove the non-existence of something? Since you claim the peer-reviews exist you have to provide evidence of this.

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