I’m putting together a book of the best thinking on circumcision.
Most of what is written about circumcision is surface thinking. Circumcision debates online devolve to bumper sticker ideological statements. “Circumcision is cleaner.” “Circumcision is genital mutilation.” “It looks better.” “It’s my choice.” And so on.
For a topic that affects the majority of the American population – every man, partner of a man, parent and child – circumcision has not received the same level of discourse that other important issues have. If either side of this debate is correct, it has massive implications for publicly policy, gender, sexuality, human rights, medicine, childrearing and a whole host of other topics. Yet mainstream discussion of circumcision remains at the level of middle schoolers giggling about the word penis, thumbnails of a banana with the tip removed, and pro and con lists that read like someone choosing a fashion accessory rather than making a lifelong decision for their child.
The issue of circumcision is reaching a tipping point. European nations are considering banning the practice. At the same time, the United States federal law against female circumcision has been declared unconstitutional. Presidential candidates and celebrities have commented on the issue of circumcision. Isn’t it time for the discourse around this issue to move beyond surface thinking into the real questions circumcision raises?
My documentary American Circumcision included interviews with top voices on both sides of the debate. It condensed information that would have previously taken months of study into a one hour and forty minute film. The movie received awards, and is currently available on Netflix. It currently stands as the definitive work of media on the circumcision debate.
However, despite covering on this issue more than any previous media, there were still aspects I was unable to cover. I built the film around the central question “is circumcision something Americans should continue?” Yet there are many other questions one could ask about this issue. In releasing the film and touring with it across the country, I had many people raise these questions at our screenings, on social media, and in the press and podcasts I did to promote the film. There are enough questions raised by this issue to fill a book, and justify a second artistic venture going even deeper into the issue of circumcision.
That is why I’m putting together a book of essays featuring the best thinking on circumcision. Each essay will explore a unique aspect of this issue. Like the film, I plan to allow the full range of perspectives so that readers can compare different viewpoints side by side and come to their own conclusions.
- How To Contribute: If you are interested in contributing, send one essay 1,000 – 5,000 words in length exploring an aspect of circumcision, a 2-3 sentence bio, and a signed copy of this form [download here] giving me permission to use your contribution in the book to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Submission” as the first word of your headline by June 30, 2019.
Some of the interview subjects from my film will be returning to contribute essays, however there will be many new voices.
If you are interested it submitting an essay, I would recommend picking one aspect of this debate and going deep. Find the perspective only you could contribute. For example, one sexologist has told me they are interested in writing a chapter just on what happens to the pelvic floor during circumcision. That is a unique aspect of this issue I have not seen covered elsewhere and something that only someone with their background could cover.
What I’m looking for is powerful writing. Although some of our contributors are academics, this book for the general public. Write in a way that captures attention. Personal stories, opinion pieces, original research, etc. are all welcome as long as it deepens our understanding of this issue.
If there is someone whose unique perspective you would like to see in this book, please share this blog post with them and ask them to contribute. I have reached out to a few “big names” asking for a contribution, but there is a greater chance of public figures contributing if they see their audience wants them to speak on this issue.
The power of this book is in the collaboration. This is an opportunity for public figures to speak on circumcision, next to top experts. Each author will be able to expand their audience to the combined audience of every other author in the book, plus the audience I have through my feature-length documentary on Netflix for only the cost of a single essay, roughly the length of a long blog-post.
Together we will create something greater than any one contributor could do alone, that will become a must-read for anyone interested in the issue of circumcision.
The deadline for contributions is June 30, 2019. My goal is to publish September 2019. Currently, I am looking at self publishing, but open to other offers.
To see my previous work on this issue, watch my film American Circumcision here.