Look, I’m critical of circumcising male babies because of the bodily autonomy issues, but maybe don’t play fast and loose with the scientific facts? And don’t torpedo the success of a very important book just because it includes ten pages on a public health policy that you dislike? Circumcision helps to reduce the risk of HIV infection. In places where HIV infection is widespread, that may make circumcision good public health policy — that’s what a lot of international health organizations think, anyway. Or it might not — it might be that the moral and ethical implications of removing a piece of a baby’s sexual organs trump the health benefits, even in places where we are literally talking about the difference between life and death. I don’t actually know. I am generally in favor of “do not permanently fuck with your kid’s body without his or her consent,” extending from circumcision to pierced ears. But when it’s a procedure that has been shown to have very few negative side effects but offers a 70% reduction in the likelihood that you will contract HIV? In places where the HIV rate is depressingly high, and where preventative tools like condoms may not always be readily available? The calculus changes.
Women deal with violence or its threat all the time. Women who defend themselves make people pause, however. Violent women, especially, disturb people. They upset the “natural order” and cause no small amount of unease. If a woman’s defense of herself enters the courts, well, that is always enlightening for the degree to which male norms are revealed to permeate the justice system and she is either re-victimized, criminalized or pathologized for defending herself. Now, in an interesting modern twist on old themes, enter the camera and its intensifying and catalytic effects – both real and metaphorical.