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The other evening, I was walking home from the grocery story and two people were walking at the same pace behind me, allowing me to hear clearly a portion of their conversation. It went like this:

Woman: Did you know that they’re developing a cure for baldness that seems to actually work?

Man: Hmm.

Woman: Only thing is that it uses babies’ foreskins.

Silence

Woman: Well, they cut the things off anyway, so they might as well be put to use.

More silence

Somehow, I get the feeling that if a man had been talking so casually about lopped off labia I would have turned into the dreaded salivating bulging-eyed feminist monster of Rush Limbaugh’s nightmares.

I’ve gotten to an age when I can look back and see where ideologies have led me to mistakes and where I’ve gotten things right. One thing I believed when I was younger, and experience has only strengthened that belief, is the importance of bodily integrity or bodily autonomy. For instance, once upon a time I knew even less about trans issues than I do today, but I was probably prevented from doing or saying hurtful things because of a general belief in bodily autonomy coupled with the notion that one person cannot tell another that other person can or should feel.

It seems like a rather banal thing to say, but a man has a right to do as he likes with his own penis. However, it’s quite obvious that many parents, especially in the U.S., don’t feel that way. I’m gratified to see that rates of non-therapeutic circumcision have declined in the U.S., but I would really like to see it become non-normative. I was just really disturbed to hear the blase way this young woman was talking about other people’s bodies.