Male circumcision gives women the shaft one more time

Women are dying of AIDS while some researcher bends over his penis, smiles at it fondly, and imagines what little alteration would make it an all-purpose tool safe to use again.

Kelly Jean Cogswell reminds us that women need protection from HIV more than men — and sometimes from men.

Women aren’t factored in at all except as a vector of disease. While millions of dollars are already pouring into circumcision programs even if only men have foreskins to whack off, women are struggling for equivalent funds for female condoms and microbicides – never mind programs with as vague a goal as girl power, the real key to HIV prevention.

I could go on quoting from her article, but I won’t. Why don’t you go on and read it yourself.

Article after the jump.

THANK YOU to Adrienne Soti for forwarding this article.

Cut It Off – And Stop AIDS

Women are dying of AIDS while some researcher bends over his penis, smiles at it fondly, and imagines what little alteration would make it an all-purpose tool safe to use again.

He’s not the only one with his dick in his hand. Each new report on male circumcision pumps up the protection believed to be provided by that little snip, snip so that pretty soon I expect to see the numbers not only show the procedure will stop HIV dead, but also reduce global warming, and maybe slow the Iraq war, too.

Not that it doesn’t have limited benefits. Circumcision may lower the rate of transmission as much as 50 or 60 percent for men, as long as they screw in the missionary position, and only between the sheets of a few very controlled studies.

In the real world of South Africa, there’s very little difference in HIV rates between communities that snip, and those that don’t. In Northern Zambia, the difference only lasts until the young men move to the big city with its bright lights and Manolo Blahniks, metaphorically speaking.

Forgotten also are all the circumcised men in the States that dropped dead before ARV’s came on the scene. A foreskin more or less didn’t help them. Or don’t faggots count when you’re counting heads?

Women aren’t factored in at all except as a vector of disease. While millions of dollars are already pouring into circumcision programs even if only men have foreskins to whack off, women are struggling for equivalent funds for female condoms and microbicides – never mind programs with as vague a goal as girl power, the real key to HIV prevention.

It’s young women getting AIDS these days. UNAIDS says we already make up 60 percent of the 15 to 24-year-olds living with HIV/AIDS.

In sub-Saharan Africa girls of that age are three times more likely to be positive than their male peers. In the Caribbean it’s 2.5 times. Why? Because in most places we still don’t own our own bodies. Men think we’re dirt and they treat us that way.

At a recent international conference in Kenya of HIV-positive women, activists talked about how more and more men are raping virgins because they’re assured of a “clean” screw.

It’s a kind of rape, too, those men who know they’re positive, or do plenty of high-risk messing around, and still refuse to wear protection with their wives. Insist, and a woman may face violence from her husband – and her community too.

Some activists told stories about how women are used as “testing kits” for their husbands, sent to clinics and when they come back positive, tossed out of the house with their kids. Often they are beaten first, sometimes raped. The men then find new “clean” wives that will get infected soon enough, but at least last long enough to take care of
their bastard husbands.

The women in one seminar began by introducing themselves as widowed or separated with one kid or two or three, each proclaiming in no uncertain terms they weren’t in themarket for another man. Maybe when pigs fly or hell freezes over.

If circumcision means anything to these positive women, it’s just more of the same or worse. They’re worried men may respond to the increased protection by throwing away their condoms and screwing everything that moves, hastening the spread of HIV. And having been promised near-immunity, who will men blame when they catch it? Who risks violence and death? Ladies first, and girls.

Beyond the problem of HIV is the greater one of misogyny with a deep thread of lesbophobia. Women fighting AIDS are women fighting, stepping out of their place. In South Africa that can mean a death sentence.

Just last week, Sizakele Sigasa, an outreach coordinator at Positive Women’s Network and queer activist, and Salome, a dyke friend of hers, were tortured and murdered. Sizakele, when she was found, had her hands tied together by her underpants and her ankles tied together by her shoelaces.

She had three bullet holes in her head and three in her collarbone.

In June, Simangele Nhlapho, a member of an HIV-positive support group run by the same Positive Women’s Network, was found dead with her two-year-old daughter. Both were raped before they were killed. The daughter also had her legs broken.

It’s time for AIDS activists and researchers to shift their attention away from the penis and see the connection between hate and HIV and dead women. Only power will save us, not cuts, not even condoms unless we can make men wear them.

And if somebody still insists on tinkering around with men’s dicks to stop spreading HIV, maybe they should do a more comprehensive procedure, call it the Bobbitt and cut the whole thing off.


Reference

Cogswell, Kelly Jean. Cut It Off – And Stop AIDS. Gay CIty News. July 26, 2007.

[Dead link] http://www.gaycitynews.com/site/printerFriendly.cfm?brd=2729&dept_id=585504&newsid=18630253

About David Wilton

Fronterizo, defense lawyer
This entry was posted in Culture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Male circumcision gives women the shaft one more time

  1. SunkenShip says:

    Haha, what a great article! And it’s the truth!

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