Saturday, June 11, 2011

Circumcision - Whose Choice is it to Make?

I am Kathleen, owner of both Cottontail Baby and Mamaclothonline and, most importantly, mother to three young boys. It is in my Mom role that I have been reading with great interest the news that San Francisco is considering a ballot initiative that would outlaw circumcision for boys under 18. The ban would make circumcising minors punishable by a fine of $1000 and up to one year in jail. There would be no religious exemptions. The more I read and the more I learn, the more I am finding myself quite conflicted about this proposed ban.

Certainly, on the one hand, circumcision is a form of mutilation of the body of a very much innocent and helpless infant. If God made it this way, why do we need to tamper with it as the actor Russell Crowe infamously tweeted earlier this week? I agree with this and feel the same way regarding this and a whole host of cosmetic procedures.

On the other hand, I do understand all the studies that indicate the health issues related to circumcision (some studies in Africa suggest that circumcision helps stop the spread of AIDS). I also understand the cultural and religious rituals associated with circumcision especially amongst Muslims and Jews and the importance placed on this rite of passage in both religions. Circumcision is so important to both groups that a ban of the practice could be seen as violating one's First Amendment rite to practice one's religion as one sees fit.

One study I read indicated that while only 30% of males world wide are circumcized, over 80% of males in the US are circumcized. Clearly, this is a US cultural issue in many ways. I am curious to know why this is so important and prevelent in our country but significantly less so world wide? Does it have something to do with our anti-septic, shrink wrapped culture? Are we just a nation of conformers and afraid, even for our tiny infants, to go against the norm? Are we lemmings who do not think for ourselves but just blindly and unquestionably approve unnecessary procedures?

One issue in the debate that I find most interesting is the dichotomy between what is good for the males and what is good for the females (female genital mutilation). Female circumcision (the removal of the clitoris) is illegal in this country. The San Francisco ban would simply provide males the same protection that is already enjoyed by females. I have yet to speak to any parent who believes in circumcision for boys who feels the same way for girls. Why is that? Is it that the process for girls is so much more barbaric (done when they are so much older and in such a crude fashion leading to significant illness, disfigurement and, occasionally, death)? I think that has to be part of it. In addition, for boys, circumcision is done for religious and health reasons but for girls, it is a cultural practice designed to repress women by eliminating their ability to experience sexual pleasure.

In the end, is this simply a parents rights issue? Does the government really need to legislate every choice parents make for the children? Is this just another in a long line of Big Brother laws such as outlawing spanking, criminalizing parents when their children misbehave (many laws that penalize and, in some cases, jail parents for having truant children for instance) or criminalizing parents who smoke in cars in which their children are riding.

What do you think? Is this a clear cut issue for you or are there many shades of grey? What would you do if you lived in San Francisco and this law passes?


In terms of a giveaway for this sunny month of June, I would like to give a Thirsties Fab Duo. The relatively new Fab Duos are so soft and squishy and remind me of wrapping up in a towel after a long day at the beach. They come in fun, summertime colors such as mango, ocean and honeydew. No matter what you choose to do in regards to circumcision, these are great, comfy, wonderful diapers for your children.

So, to enter the drawing, you need to do the following by June 25, 2011:

  1. Comment on this blog post and tell us what you think
  2. Fan Cottontail Baby on Facebook
  3. Fan the Cloth Diaper Retailers Cooperative on Facebook
  4. Join the Cottontail Baby mailing list

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What we bring to the beach

Summer is here and I'm fortunate enough to live within a couple of miles of the Jersey Shore. (For those of you that have never been here, many places are completely UNlike the Mtv hit show.) Looking at my beach bag this past weekend, I realized how many beach products are a throwback to my cloth diapering love. Whether you're hitting the beach, the community pool, or even the park this summer, there are many great products to make your outings easier.

Reusable swim diapers - Cute and functional, swim diapers are a no brainer for cloth diapering families. Snooty Booty Diapers offers three different brands- Bummis Swimmi, AMP swim diapers and bambino mio swim diapers. Each adjusts or closes a little differently, giving you a full range of diapering options for the water. If you only hit the water once or twice a season, consider using a pocket diaper with no insert.

PlanetWise Beach Bag - This is the best beach bag I've ever had! Fully lined with waterproof/wickproof PUL, this bag will easily hold a couple of wet beach towels and bathing suits. There's also a dry compartment that holds my keys, wallet, cell phone and book. It's so handy to be able to use one bag for wet and dry items.

Loving Naturals Sunscreen - My daughter used to come home from the beach with a red face. We thought that the hat and sunscreen weren't cutting it until we realized that she was reacting to the sunscreen (within minutes of a bath, the redness would disappear). That hasn't happened since we started using Loving Naturals. It is really smooth, goes on easily and doesn't smell like regular sunscreen does. It does leave a 'white shadow' for about 20 minutes after applying, so I tend to put it on before we head out. It lasts a while before we need to reapply and my very fair daughters stay burn-free! 100% natural and vegan, this really is an amazing sunscreen.

June 8-15, save 5% on the above products with code 'cdrcsummer' Free shipping during the month of June!


Cloth Diaper Retailer Cooperative Copyright © 2010 Cloth Diaper Retailer Cooperative