Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision
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Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision

2007, Society  -   184 Comments
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Ratings: 6.50/10 from 22 users.

Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of CircumcisionDirector Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon takes a personal - and local - look at the controversy involving infant male circumcision in his documentary, Cut.

A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ungar-Sargon interviews professors from that school and from the University of Chicago as he examines the pros and cons, ethical and physical, of a procedure that, for Jews, has signified the covenant between God and Abraham for centuries.

It's a relative newcomer in the United States, routinely performed only since the post-Civil War/Victorian period in the belief it discouraged masturbation and prostitution. On-camera experts debunk more recent health benefit claims.

Ungar-Sargon queries his Orthodox Jewish father and brother as he wrestles with his own feelings about the procedure, which some consider a human rights violation; he also calls on mohels and rabbis, mothers and fathers who follow the tradition and men who regret their circumcisions (the footage of the foreskin-regenerating Tugger device alone makes this unsuitable for younger audiences).

Viewers are left with a pretty clear notion of what the Orthodox Ungar-Sargon will do if and when he has a son, but in this informative and thought-provoking film, he gives both sides their say.

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mohammed
mohammed
4 years ago

I would like to restore my penis.. my family circumsised me as a baby ..they deprived me of sexual pleasure

Michael
Michael
6 years ago

I disagree with forced circumcisions on infants with the exception of actual medical necessity. I was circumcised incorrectly at 1 or 2 days old resulting in over an inch long skin bridge because not all of the foreskin was removed and it attached to the glans. I have to clean with a Q-tip. I also have a skin tag and have discomfort sometimes. Considering what happened the first time I don't trust the doctors to perform a corrective surgery. Not trying to be explicit but when I was about 10 I discovered self pleasuring before puberty because of the shower head hit the exposed head creating a pleasurable feeling but I only did it that one time until puberty. I've been ashamed of the botched circumcision since late childhood/early teens and I'm reluctant to have sex as I only became sexually active at 28. I'm 38 now and only had sex around 6 times. I self pleasured when puberty started here and there and I noticed that I had sensation through my teens but going into my 20s I lost almost pretty much all sensation. I've never actually enjoyed sex and have never actually tried to date or even get into a relationship because of the disfigurement and lack of enjoying sex. Nobody studies the long term effects of circumcision of all scenarios to have an informed view scientifically. It's just considered automatically right in all situations and people in my situation are overlooked and the worse off that the people (luckily the number very small but still just as sad) that were partially degloved or amputated. From what I've read about individuals that were degloved by the partial degloving that had to heal that way they don't really have sex and of course the amputees have to be asexual. I feel the worst for them. For the individuals claiming it's not mutilation apparently it is when the individuals life is severly altered and can't or won't because of their condition.

James Haynes
James Haynes
7 years ago

all yall crying about circumcision are silly. if you had an ample amount of penis, you would not cry about loosing a little flap of skin. fact of the matter is that an uncircumcised penis creates wetness (much like a vagina) and causes increased amounts of bacterial and fungal infections. many will argue that a natural penis is more pleasurable than a skinned prick, but im telling you that if you say all the right things, you can satisfy your lady before you ever even involve your penis and the presence of your foreskin will be the least of your worries, just like you dont care if she is on birth control.. love dont care about a foreskin. sheesh...

John Mulvihill
John Mulvihill
12 years ago

In its natural state, the human penis is a varied and complex piece of erogenous machinery that, when doing what it was designed to do, is poetry in motion. Eliminating the foreskin takes away the whole essence of this, one of nature's most artful solutions to having one part of one's body enter a part of someone else's. The foreskin eliminates the friction of A penetrating B by introducing a sleeve — the foreskin — between the moving parts.

What's not said in this documentary is that Americans have been taught that circumcised males are cleaner, and that a distinction between middle-class males and those who work with their hands is circumcision.

Yusiley S
Yusiley S
12 years ago

Any form of genital mutilation is barbaric to me, especially when it is done to those who can't speak or defend themselves. Even the manipulative genital surgeries doctors do on new borns to force them into either being a boy or a girl, because they were born intersexed (or hermaphrodite), is disgusting and violation of human rights and dignity. Why can't adults just leave the private parts of children alone? Gesh... what a bunch of pedophiles, always needing to touch children in the so-called naughty place. >_> Sorry if my comment is offensive in any way, but when it comes to altering a childs' body in order to fit some ideal, especially when it's done without anesthesia, it agitates me a lot. Most of these adults need to allow the child to grow up and allow him/herself to make the choice whether to have the procedure or not. Anyways thank you for posting this video. It's good to see docs about men and their private parts, since there are so many on women and their private parts.

Now to those who are stating that male genital mutilation is the same as female. It's not. With female circumcision there isn't one type (there are actually four basic types), whereas for males there is just one/two...the removal of the foreskin and another one where the penis is split down the middle of the shaft. Another thing after the circumcision, the man can still have an orgasm, whereas the woman (depending on which procedure was done on her) cannot. Not to say that it isn't wrong (I think all forms of forced body mutilation should be do away with, especially if we want to evolve into a better species), I'm only correcting those of you who are stating that female genital mutilation is the same as the males. Please do some in-depth research on the subject of male and female genital mutilation before posting or stating such things as facts.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

Here in the UK doctors will only perform a circumcision as a last resort treatment for medical reasons, after all other options are exhausted. How they can say it doesn't really hurt that much is beyond me. I'm sure most of these people would baulk at the idea of female circumcision, what's the difference? How can anyone put their baby through that ?

gunk wretch
gunk wretch
12 years ago

i am having a lot of trouble watching this and i have been working up to it for a few weeks because i knew it would be hard..

the fact that anyone can think this is acceptable in any way is frightening, it just goes to show the insane things people will do in the name of tradition. Even plenty of non religious people do it so we cant blame religion totally, its a sign of how idiotic people are about going against the grain, or how willing they are to accept authority figures judgements.

So what if its part of peoples culture, some cultures used to hunt heads, others treat their women as property and circumsize them, it was part of white peoples culture to commit genocide against natives and forcibly convert them, just because you have a meme does not make you justified in carrying it out! duh!

Kimberly McRae
Kimberly McRae
12 years ago

I'll admit I can't watch this right now because this subject makes me so upset. I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people who see child circumcision for what it really is: a barbaric act of genital mutilation. People act like it's an issue of freedom of "choice" to have their babies circumcised but they never mention the fact that the child being mutilated has no choice at all and will be the one who will have to live with their parents decision for the rest of their lives. This practice should be outlawed just as female circumcision is outlawed in most of the civilized world. Just because children are minors does not negate the fact that their bodies are their own!

John_Ge
John_Ge
12 years ago

Circumcision should be made illegal. It's gross and barbaric, and the fact that so many women want/prefer their partners and their sons to be circumcised just shows how horrible, shallow, egotistical and ignorant they are.

Those women who are pro-circumcision should have their clitoral hood removed and their labia minora cut short. Then maybe they would realize what they're demanding of men and what they're doing to their sons.

Today, there are NO valid and scientifically proven reasons to why it's more hygienic to remove the foreskin. None at all.
There has been made invalid, poor and insufficient studies that show that circumcision reduces the risk of certain diseases and infections, but those studies have so many flaws that I don't even know where to begin. I suspect that they're fake, or else the people who made the study must be complete retards.

J009_5B
J009_5B
12 years ago

In order to reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV, the World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging male circumcision. They have the following on their website:

"There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe. WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence.

Male circumcision provides only partial protection, and therefore should be only one element of a comprehensive HIV prevention package which includes:
- the provision of HIV testing and counseling services;
- treatment for sexually transmitted infections;
- the promotion of safer sex practices;
- the provision of male and female condoms and promotion of their correct and consistent use."

Any questions please ask the WHO.

Arturo Reaza N
Arturo Reaza N
12 years ago

I remember the first time I masturbated by looking at a sexy, shapely model pictured in the newspaper. Now, I am circumcised and I almost fainted that day.
I cannot imagine feeling any more pleasure. I am very visual and that's what gives me pleasure, not so much how I feel down there. Thus, I'm looking forward to buy me one of those expensive RealDolls, because only women way out of my league turn me on lol. But I digress. Maybe circumcision is a bad idea for adults because their nerve endings have already been formed and dispensed with, crippling their sensation, but when one is very young, in my case probably 5 years old, then maybe the nerve endings continue repairing themselves or perhaps even new nerves are created.

Lisa Ostrouch
Lisa Ostrouch
12 years ago

I really like the conclusion the filmmaker came to at the end.

I am utterly horrified. I cried a couple of times. I am the mother of a 15 year old boy. Like it was yesterday, I can remember the day the doctor came in to take my baby for circumcision and how horrified I was when he told me they used no anesthetic for the procedure. I was very torn about what to do, but he assured me it was quick and no big deal. I was a young kid, and had just given birth. I wish someone would have been there to inform me. I remember how I cried when they took him away, and now know this I feel absolutely terrible! I feel like I failed my son in this decision, and now he can never get that foreskin back! Awful, sick, barbaric!

Alejandra Sandoval
Alejandra Sandoval
12 years ago

This is completely barbaric!!

aka Max
aka Max
12 years ago

Anybody with an ounce of common sense should automatically accept that circumcision has no place other than as a final medical resort. As if it were needed, here's just another barbaric, shameful, twisted side-product of f*cking religion.

It's time we rational, scientifically, logically-minded non-theists stood up and took back the asylum from the lunatics.

F*cking religion makes me want to puke into my hat. Religious types can kiss my lovely cheesy helmet.

gsmullennix
gsmullennix
12 years ago

Muslims seem to be forgotten. They follow the same practice for the same reason. They took it from the Jews as Islam was created. They and the Jews and Christians are People of the Book. Just a piece of skin.

Jack1952
Jack1952
12 years ago

I was medically circumcised at age 8. No big deal at the time. Preferred that operation over a visit to the dentist. I hated the dentist.

I really enjoy sex. It doesn't seem possible that it could even be more enjoyable. Maybe it's true but...oh well.

I have never felt mutilated or deformed. It's just something that is.
My son was circumcised at birth. It was standard practice at the time. I suppose they should have asked. My son is comfortable with it. If asked today I probably would have said no. No reason other than why do something that is unnecessary.

Today cosmetic surgery is quite common. No one suggests that it should be against the law despite the many cases of complications from the surgery.

Many responses seem to be of an emotional nature and some have a rabid anti religious fervor to them. A decision made emotionally or through bias is not an objective opinion. Leave it as a choice to the parents. Honestly, circumcision is not as traumatic as some of theses posts make it out to be.

StillRV
StillRV
12 years ago

Barbaric. Yea someone needs to get out more. Genocide continues in Darfur but when a man without foreskin takes 5 minutes to nut as opposed to the 5 minutes the uncliped man takes that is a down right horror. If it somehow crippled the sex drive or incapacitated the man ok but dicks have been having a grand old time for quite some time without their hoodies on. Ohh and for you folks who rage and call it mutilation What about piercings? Ban them? Even ears on little girls?

Wayne Wiblin
Wayne Wiblin
12 years ago

Geez its never been a subject to bother me. Some guys have such an emotional reaction to it, come on its useless skin on the dick get over it. If some want to call it barbaric then I think you should re-check the things in the world because its really not even worthy of being on the barbaric list

ChellyBellyChizza
ChellyBellyChizza
12 years ago

Yeah I'm a woman, but I don't see the big deal. You don't remember it even happening and I'd much rather put a circumcised dick in my mouth than an uncircumcised one....uncircumcised ones (in my experience) have the grossest smell and taste D= My fiance's circumcised and he's not Jewish and if we ever have a kid and it's a son we're having him circumcised.

But in all seriousness....
Getting a useless flap of skin cut off is WAAAAY different than getting a woman's clitoris cut off. They have female circumcision in Africa and some parts of Asia where they basically mutilate the female vagina to prevent sexual acts for pleasure. Many women have it done against their will, as adults or teenagers, the equipment used is not sterile and many of the women die from infection.

Quit your bitching.

Farzad Azad
Farzad Azad
12 years ago

ridiculous religions!

BlueNick305
BlueNick305
12 years ago

Waaaaaaaahhhh! Momma I want my foreskin back and my body to be clean of forced vaccines in my youth by you and the school! So many mistakes...

Jack_Burton
Jack_Burton
12 years ago

If it prevents you from getting the clap even once its prob worth it...

kafkafil
kafkafil
12 years ago

I'd like to see these women be so willing to cut off their daughter's clitorises.

kafkafil
kafkafil
12 years ago

How can that woman doctor commentate about circumcision? Does she have a foreskin? It's like male doctors telling women that they should have their clitorises or breasts removed. I've got one and I've not always been religious about cleaning it regularly but I've NEVER had a problem with it. It's great, I love my foreskin.

kafkafil
kafkafil
12 years ago

Circumcision. Marijuana. Coca. Magic mushrooms. Jeez, God made a helluva lot of mistakes, didn't he? He must be an idiot.

kafkafil
kafkafil
12 years ago

Mutilators. Child abusers. They should be in prison. How is circumcision normal while merely touching a child is the worst thing in the world? How is showing breasts on TV terrible while showing rape and murder on TV is fine? The world is seriously f--ked up.

a1234b1234c
a1234b1234c
12 years ago

I was having a really good day until I found out I am missing strings to my orchestra. Im not Jewish why the hell I'm i circumcised. Damn this world and its stupid cultural tendencies. We should stick with science alone!!!

Ill never have sex the same now... crashed!

oklima
oklima
12 years ago

If it wasn't already abundantly clear how sick and depraved religion is, just look at how they mutilate newborn children. Sick, sadistic psychopaths

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

its not even worth responding to such an uneducated comment, but G od didn't create this world perfectly, in order for us to work hard and fix it. Does that mean we 'hate' G od's creation because we change it?!

princesspatricia
princesspatricia
12 years ago

Continuously, the bible tells us to be circumcised within our hearts for the LORD. Yet, in the old testament, it was and still does remain the covenant in which GOD made with Abraham and the Jewish people. Just as sacrifice was to them for sin, so Christ became sacrifice for our sins. In other words, where circumcision was the covenant between GOD and Abraham and the Jewish people before Christ (the word became flesh and dwelt amongst us), so our circumcision has come THROUGH Christ within our hearts...of those who believe....... Also, sacrificial animals and grains were offered as atonement for sin in the old testament (before Christ), yet now THROUGH Christ, all things have been made new and HE (Christ) took it upon himself to be the perfect sacrifice for all of our sins. The LORD calls upon his people to that which is circumcised of and within our hearts.......Set apart from the world and worldly ways.

Achems_Razor
Achems_Razor
12 years ago

I am against circumcision unless for medical reasons.

It is basically done for religious reasons, it should be illegal as should be forced vaccinations for the very young.

Winston Smith
Winston Smith
12 years ago

It's "not the circumcisions so much as the mucking around? (to quote the mohelet) The baby minds its diaper being moved by not its flesh being cut in such a sensitive area? Its one of the most painful things in the world I assure you. Just look at videos on 'circumcision trauma'

Mowgli33
Mowgli33
12 years ago

@ 50 minutes...lets get our baby drunk then mutilate him...in the name of God. Well so daddy can feel good about being in a covenant. Why not go ahead and pierce his tallywhacker while you're there.

"it's not my fault I didn't do it" Really you're cutting the baby.

TheKlingonFarmer
TheKlingonFarmer
12 years ago

There is at least one medical reason for circumcision, which is actually quite common. If the foreskin is too tight, it can cause problems for the sexual performance of a man, often making sex painful. It can also affect a man's ability to urinate, which can do damage to the urinary tract and bladder, and possibly lead to infections.

The problem with circumcision is the lack of freedom of choice, so it shouldn't be done if the person wanting/needing the procedure hasn't made the choice. But please stop acting as if there's no use/need for circumcision, as it can be used to improve the lives of many in situations such as those mentioned above.

Hash Hashi
Hash Hashi
12 years ago

They must really hate god to mutilate their beautiful god given body. Can't believe this is happening in this age, very cruel.

Eniki520
Eniki520
12 years ago

ahahahah i think its funny that its the men on the site defending circumcision by saying girls like more, yet all the women on here say they like uncut better.

George
George
12 years ago

Thank God not me or my sons, My parents were from Europe and Roman Catholic's .... Magyar's and I can't say enough about how pleasurable it has been for me and all the ladies in my life. I am sixty and still going strong thanks in good measure to my natural state...... Thank You very much.

PavolvsBitch
PavolvsBitch
12 years ago

Common sense dictates that mutilating a babies genitals is barbaric; the child goes into utter shock and automatic disconnect with trust of his body, his parents, his environment. Thus he is easily implanted with insane philosophies, neurotic rituals and psychotic perversions as he grows. All part of the utter insanity of The Jews.

Gay Misterio
Gay Misterio
12 years ago

aaaa f*** this s*** im glad im mexxxican! ;)

1Jeti
1Jeti
12 years ago

Wow, reading some of these comments truly makes me feel sick, "JoeChange" ->Circumcision makes the mind more complicated< giving greater intelligence ?? hmmm isn't that a contradiction right there??

com·pli·cat·ed?
–adjective

1. difficult to analyze, understand, explain, etc.: a complicated problem.

in·tel·li·gence? ?
–noun
1. capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.

2. the faculty of understanding.

So a "complicated mind" has difficulty to understand, and greater intelligence has a "greater" capacity for learning. DO U GET MY POINT?

Look the truth is, the sooner we become less ignorant and start working off nothing but facts, the sooner the world around u will open up. We will be doomed 2 live the way someone eles tells us 2 if we continue with this ignorance.

ig·no·rance?
–noun
the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.

this is a very small subject in the grand scheme of things, but just as important when u make it acceptable 2 Mutilate a defenseless child, you can open people to extreme ethics violations, there 4 making other forms of supprestion "Necessary for the improvement of man".

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

"The role of infant circumcision in the United States of America is mysterious. The US is the only country in the world where the majority of baby boys have part of their penises cut off for non-religious reasons. Yet this extraordinary custom is very much taken for granted. If it were being introduced today, it would certainly be rejected as barbaric and un-American."

Taken from the site "Circumcision in the US".

While people from the developing countries (the US being first once again) are the loudest to condemn the practice of woman genital cutting in the third world, they on the other hand see nothing wrong with men circumcision , actually most don't even question it.

And who ever said women like circumcised men more...not once they liberate themself from this shite belief. And for 1, i much prefer to give head to a natural penis than an injured dickeroo!
az

Picaboca
Picaboca
12 years ago

In otherwords... God made a mistake when creating humans and now the Jewish belief has the correction....

Dave In Dayton
Dave In Dayton
12 years ago

Don't expect both sides of the story with this one.

nocreationism
nocreationism
12 years ago

It is so mindless to damage a child in the name of a belief. Jewish or not, it should be included as a crime, just as it is when the cultural traditions of Africans who do a similar exercise to thier women, in the name of a senseless belief. Just remember, your inhuman cultural belief, and because you may belong in the majority of those who make up the laws - in most cases - places this cultural group in a position to continue to harm and forever damage their young males. I was totally shocked when I first seen this exercise done. Please change this antiquated cultural practice so that no more young males are damaged in this way. This is just as stupid as what Russell Peters (the comedian) joked about, where cultures are affected because of senseless practices. He said an entire cultural group speak with a lisp, to this day, because their Ruler, at one time, spoke with a lisp. I could not pass this one by without adding a comment. It is too shocking and unbelievable, and to think, wine is toasted while it is being done, just adds to the the mindshock!

capriciouz
capriciouz
12 years ago

You are correct - WHEN YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT AFRICA - an AIDS/HIV prevalent society. Is America an AIDS/HIV prevalent society? No they are not. It's also quite humorous you bring this up while ignoring the scientific studies conducted in America which show evidential contradicts to your position.

Jim
Jim
12 years ago

Don't cut foreskin, don't run it over! Let it live its life and then it gets older.

JoeChange
JoeChange
12 years ago

Sorry if this pops some corks, but I offer this theory in favor of circumcision: it makes for greater intelligence! Circumcision makes the mind more complicated, more sophisticated, smarter, as opposed to simple-minded.

It introduces more stimulation, sexual stimulation, into the neural core of the developing mind's neural networking, like in the brainstem, medula oblongata, the reticular activating system, and the hypothalamus, which Nature otherwise largely postpones until adolescence when the penis is so often erected and extending out of the isolation of the foreskin.

A more developed, more complicated core of a neural network leads to greater, richer, branching of the neural network as the infant grows. Sex is more deeply integrated into the core of the developing self.

It probably leads to deeper bonding with the mother who then often touches the sensitive parts of the exposed penis in changing diapers, bathing, etc.

If, as I am arguing, there is this benefit of increasing intelligence, it makes sense for parents to make this choice for their child. Then, arguably, it is morally defensible for Jews and Muslims to have been doing this for so long, and Americans generally since World War 2.

Getting hung up on the procedure itself, surgery involving some pain, blood and crying is missing the point. The argument that the baby never gets over the trauma is contradicted by history, but we now have the means with anesthetics to minimize or even eliminate such pain, which is probably the better way to go about it.

The discussion in the Bible about Abraham doing it, offers the notion that it will provide such advantage as to create a special people that will spread all over the earth.

The filmmaker apparently didn't consider such benefit, nor those he interviewed, nor those commenting here. Defenders' justifications have been either for health reasons or just because of Abraham's deal with the divine.

Sertsis
Sertsis
12 years ago

To be honest, I had a hard time clicking play on this one due to the subject matter. I had long believed that circumcision was a health issue, one that my parents had bought into, as neither are Jewish, and I wasn't even aware of the religious aspect of it till much later. After seeing, and cringing at this doc, it's no mystery to me why it is done so young. I am happy to report that I don't remember a thing about it, I saw wine being administered, and I'd like to say 'thanks' if I received the same consideration, although I'm sure there wasn't enough wine in France that day. Also, my circumcision happened long before I could throw a punch, no doubt a practice brought forth from ancient wisdom. I harbor no ill will to anyone on either side of this debate, and I am grateful that both sides were represented in this doc.

alans
alans
12 years ago

Nature has constructed certain things for a reason. The practice is completely unnecessary. All it takes, is to study a little anatomy, biology or physiology to understand the purpose and functionality of nature's design. By the way, to the guy below who talks about smegma, he should educate himself a little, before making ignorant comments. Smegma is dead skin cells, oils, and moisture, related to the same process our bodies shed dead skin cells, release oils, and sweat. This is the reason why we need to clean ourselves, wash our hair and take a shower. The dust in our houses is composed of shed dead skin cells. The other reason for the design, is to provide lubrication during sex, amongst other functions. Also, females have smegma! It is an accumulation of sweat, moisture and dead skin cells inside the vagina and around the clitoris. Once again, this is why we clean ourselves, which is what every human being must do, circumcised or uncircumcised, if they don't want to stink.

greyspoppa
greyspoppa
12 years ago

havent watched yet so sorry if this was brought up in this doc, but maybe two months ago on NPR they had a segment on a rabbi in ny,ny gave a child(s) herpes because the custom is for the rabbi to suck off the foreskin with there mouth after its cut??????????????????????????????????????????????????are you f--king kidding me WOW THATS RELIGION FOR YA