Stop Body-Shaming Me Just Because I Am Circumcised

Posted by Ravi Kumar in Body Image, Society, Taboos
February 14, 2017

Circumcision is a religious ritual, both in Islam and Judaism. Medically, it is defined as the removal of the foreskin from the penis. Though it is observed as a religious custom by Muslims, nearly 80% of India, being primarily a Hindu population, views it as mutilation of perfectly normal human skin – and therefore, finds it ‘abnormal’.

Growing up differently from those around you is very difficult. If you are an Indian Muslim, chances are that you have definitely been ridiculed for your circumcision status. Slurs like katwa, or raised eyebrows at a urinal are things that I have personally experienced. This is not something that has started just recently. Even in acclaimed movies like “Mr. and Mrs. Iyer”, men were attacked based on their circumcision status during religious riots. The reel reflects the real here – as there have been episodes of a nature similar to what was shown in the film, throughout history.

Speaking from a medical perspective, circumcision decreases the chances of contracting HIV and developing urinary tract infections.The stances of the world’s major medical organisations on the issue range from considering elective circumcision of babies and children as having no benefit and posing significant risks, to considering circumcision as having a modest health benefit that outweighs small risks.

Opponents, however, argue that HIV is comparatively less prevalent in India, and therefore, such measures would only produce desired results in African countries.The disadvantages mainly lie in the removal of the foreskin, which constitutes almost half the skin on the penis. The foreskin provides natural lubrication and protection. It is well-known that a circumcised man cannot indulge in masturbation without a lubricant – which makes the act much more difficult and time-consuming.

A recent college survey in Mumbai showed that nearly 90% of the girls and 80% of the boys interviewed found the practice of circumcision harmful and totally unnecessary. This clearly shows the mindset of our country regarding this issue. The majority of the people in this country think that circumcision is act of mutilation. It is definitely considered to be taboo, and often not talked about. The Indian society is extremely judgemental, when it comes to circumcision – and therefore, most circumcised men are ashamed of being ‘abnormal’. This fear and shamefulness exists even though men suffering from phimosis (a rare disorder, characterised by the inability of the foreskin to retract from the head of the penis) do undergo circumcision.

Circumcision can also lead to embarrassment during sexual encounters, because this is something girls in India are not used to. But shaming and humiliation in this age is so ‘not cool’!

Body shaming is absolutely pathetic, and we must learn to accept someone as they are. We must introspect ourselves, before using adjectives to describe others. Many of us did not even have a choice, when we were circumcised at birth.

Foreskin or no foreskin – we are all one, and belong to the same country. Under our clothes, we are all the same – and a little piece of skin shouldn’t make any difference whatsoever!