I once had a nasty run-in with Men’s Rights Activists in the intactivist movement. On this one conversation I was alarmed to hear that the men present believed in “female privilege”, because baby girls’ genitals allegedly are left entirely unmolested from life’s onset. Based on the history of circumcision I mentioned circ was patriarchal and women, mothers who defy the system, would be the reason intact boys become the norm.
One man absolutely lost his shit and blubbered misogynist insults at me until he blocked me out of rage. Another brought me to tears by saying something that happened to *me*, to my body, never did happen and that I was lying (it was extremely personal to say and nothing I had ever told another living soul besides my husband, so the level of violation was deeply felt– I obviously should never have trusted that kind of personal experience to anyone like this person but I was trying to correct their assumptions about female experience and privilege), after he spent some time condescending to me and my friends (who, up until that time, thought we were a vital part of intactivism– our boys are whole). <— That man now has a major role of power within Brother K’s Bloodstained Men movement– a movement I previously thought deserved my respect.
Now notice I didn’t say ending routine infant circumcision was a cause I left behind…! (And, neither have the feminists who’ve been speaking out against this behavior. We all still believe in stopping RIC.)
He then deleted all his nasty comments, kept mine which were full of justified anger and now out of context (looks crazy, hysterical, of course), and messaged me to *privately* apologize and told me that he’s actually a really *nice guy*. No, he’s not a publicly make it right kind of guy, he’s a scream at you for effect and then hide the evidence kind of guy.
You know, a coward. A blowhard. A bully.
These men I referenced from that convo are all childless, by the way. But they had fun telling *me* about birth because “their girlfriend did it natural in the hospital”. (Mansplaining galore…)
This was the turning point for which several of my natural parenting friends and I realized that the intactivist community didn’t value us. We didn’t belong. Even though we were the mothers, because we were females and we had disagreed with the sexist attitudes we suddenly encountered, they may as well have hung a “no girls allowed” sign– what could *we* possibly know? We were just mothers who’d saved our sons and the sons of friends through information, support, and love.
Now this was a shock to me because my observations of Brother K and his movement up to that point were positive. He seemed like a cool hippie dude. What were all these awful woman-haters doing in this group? Had I missed it and they’d been there all along?
We are the ones having the gentlest births, the gentlest parenting, the most mother-led-instinct in the home, and yet you would alienate us? We are the reason it is working. We are your truest hope, beyond all other tactics you’ve tried. We are the most educated and passionate, well-rounded on all these societal interlocking topics, and we are on the front lines. We are the feminist natural mothers.
Since then, the rise to power of that one abusive and self-pitying rageaholic has been noticed. We left groups and put certain people on block but still, these things came up. Avoidance of this brand of male aggression was futile.
I’ve seen more and more anti-woman, anti-feminist dealings, more talk about female privilege from the boys club and their handmaidens, and the new frontier– confronting birth and pro-woman pages, of all places, to ask their stance on circumcision. And not just as their own post, or as a message, but as a derailment of the original post on other important topics. I’ve seen this in at least two places on Facebook that I can recall– on The Girl God and Birth Anarchy. The first responded graciously as is her gentle nature. (Because, you know, it’s really important when discussing that all our gods were men and that girls matter too, that we check to see if we’re properly caring for male genitals.) The latter did not. And I was pleased with both responses; no one owes the sexists in intactivist circles anything. The intactivist questions were a tangent out of place both times. It was awkward and disrespectful to observe. It was like being accosted by religious fundamentalists as you were minding your own business.
This tactic is cowardly– for two reasons. One, they are hitting up sites that are very much anti-circumcision in the first place. You’re preaching to the converted. Two, they are hitting people when they are down. This was clear on the Birth Anarchy page, in which the post they attempted to make about themselves was about a woman seeking justice after a forced episiotomy.
Only cowards make an enemy out of a gentler friend and don’t target the real enemy. Because it’s strong. It’s daunting. You would rather this mission never be accomplished and the movement eat itself than to tackle the real enemies. It’s then about getting out your own power and feeling like you can dominate someone. It’s easier to follow the disgusting pig narrative that we have “pussy privilege” — a true embittered cry of the resentful MRAs — than to band together with like minded souls for the common good. That makes you an enemy to intactivism.
Because your intactivism only works if you act like the ultimate victim. That means you have to first tear women down.
I watched an intactivist woman tell me women “allowed” circumcision to happen. Allowed! We didn’t invent it, we didn’t enforce it, it wasn’t our idea, our husbands still hold more control and power than us in society and in our homes, and it certainly doesn’t benefit us sexually or otherwise– but yet, through all this, the onus was on us… we had allowed it. These are the women in the intactivist movement and why they get along so well with the MRA type men.
Make no mistake, I’m not asking you to be nice, intactivists. Just not to be pigs and assholes to innocent women. I’m not asking you to not be pissed about circumcision. Get mad! It’s terrible. I’m telling you how ineffective it is to shit on women who are recovering from traumas and act like that is justice. I’m warning you that you are barking up the wrong trees and it looks impotent-bully as fuck. Laying the blame at mothers’ feet and targeting 18 year old new parents right after delivery is hardly taking on the big dogs. It’s just cowardly aggression, like a Rottweiler going after a chihuahua. Sure, it’s easy to go after smaller, weaker targets.
I want to say I still love what you do but you are alienating THE most important people for the progression and longevity of your movement. They are the lifeblood. Your short-sightedness and blatant disregard for the strong women of what would be this movement is lacking in both compassion and smarts.
More mentions of mothers than daddies, and doctors. Doctors do the cutting, doctors invented it, doctors profit off it. Daddies insist it be done for bullshit macho male reasons and beat their wives into submission. But okay, moms, this one’s on you.
And for all their bodily integrity nonsense, and not trusting doctors, and supporting the natural flow of goodness and letting nature be and do it’s job, I’ve watched them have no problem with women in their movement getting cut up in Cesarean sections with the same familiar retort: “I’ve done my research”. Oh, intactivists, where have we all heard that before!?
This is not best for babies, though. And it is not best for women. It’s meant for emergencies and that’s for good cause. But cheer that on all you like if you don’t mind being hypocrites. Or maybe it’s only baby boys who are sacred, and fuck what happens to their mothers? However, mothers who’ve been traumatized by birth are far more likely to submit to cutting their sons out of defeat or depression, or sometimes lack of consciousness. Mothers disrupted from their natural oxytocin are more likely to feel a disconnect from their child, have a harder time bonding, PTSD, PPD, difficulty breastfeeding… and I know some MRAs think that is good for boys ultimately. I do not. They think it will teach boys not to love women too much, which attachment to a doting mother would inspire. Yes, an injured woman will continue the MRA cycle of violence well.
Now, it would be brave if you were going to places you suspected were pro circumcision. It would be brave if you were going after the people who were doing the cutting, and the people who unapologetically profited from this system. Those things would be confronting the problem. I have to wonder what limp-dicked mission you hope to accomplish by badgering vulnerable women who already very likely agree with you. Attacking gentle and wounded women is the easy way out. It’s for people who are deeply insecure about their dicks, which MRAs are.
One of MRAs pet causes is routine infant male circumcision, which is quite unfortunately and unconnectedly a shared cause of modern gentle parents, especially feminists who believe in mothering on instinct and leaving warlike male domination behaviors in the past. Circumcision is indeed a relic of male aggression in a thriving patriarchy, even though MRAs try very hard to continue blaming women for this. But I’m not here to convince you of that history, just to make you aware of the infiltration of one of the only true things a men’s rights activist has to bitch about (circumcision), and how this cause will continue to remain limp in their hands. Again, many of these men are childless.
And why does that matter? The future is with mothers and their children. It is the in tune Earth Mothers who are procreating, procreating a LOT, and doing it with ultimate gentleness and love. Whole mothers make whole babies. Keep babies whole and women have a better chance of staying whole and then they in turn keep their babies whole… etc. The future does not lie with angry men shouting into the wind about their dicks. The future is not with the street signs, blood theatrics, and the streetside hostility. You will reach people and get attention and change some minds, but no, the primary change does not occur there for the future generations. I’ll tell you exactly where the change is happening. It is on the front lines. It’s with the mothers who instinctively know they want to keep their sons safe, and believe in it. They are trying. I was anti-circumcision instinctively before I heard any of the statistics. I would have been anti-circ with or without these guys. And I was lucky that I had the personal empowerment such that I would have fought any male partner who tried to contest me. Not all women have these things. Beating them up will not gain them these things. Beating them up even when they are being good will not gain anything.
The MRAs have large amounts of single men, deadbeat fathers, involuntary celibates, and many of them will never be fathers. Those who are, are very controlling in the household. I actually know one who insisted his wife circumcise their son(s). Male control is obviously a dead end street. Male control is the reason for circ in the first place.
Ha, not a chance! ^
Women, softness and compassion of an Earth Mother, are the future. Feminists are the future. Your movement will never survive without feminism. Without feminism, decisions and power will always revert back to warlike males (see: Heather Hironimus) having turf wars and dick waving contests. Your movement is only succeeding because young mothers talk amongst themselves in private groups and share knowledge and stories and support. You said you don’t need us but it is we who do not need you. If you think this is war, and a war against the women mentioned in this post, know that all you do is perpetuate male violence.
Rape of all types is a manmade invention.
Sexual rape, birth rape, and surgical rape.
Control and aggression aimed at women and children destroys the world.
The world will be saved by a Western woman. -The Dalai Lama, 2009
Restoring peace means restoring power to women.
You invented war. You can either keep waging wars or you can listen to women.
Respecting life starts at the source– the womb, and the Earth. Without this, you are emptiness.
Male violence is the worst problem in the world. Name the problem.