Honk if you're uncut!

A reader is perplexed by a bumper sticker about foreskin.

Published November 11, 2005 10:13PM (EST)

Confused Broadsheet reader Andrea Dickson wrote in today in a state of befuddlement about a link to a Cafe Press bumper sticker emblazoned with the words "If men were meant to have foreskins, we'd be born with them."

Acknowledging that this may be an issue for the guys over at the Cockpit, Dickson wrote: "I've been trying to wrap my brain around this one for a couple of days ... is this the stupidest funny thing ever or the funniest stupid thing ever? Is it meant to be irreverent? I'm so at a loss ..."

Well, I was too. And while this is probably more of a Cockpit thing, Broadsheet is anxious to put readers' minds at ease. So I looked into it.

Much to my surprise, and mild disappointment, a quick Google search for the phrase "If men were meant to have foreskin" turned up absolutely nothing dirty. Instead, I came upon the "Intactivist" thread of MotheringDotCommune, the Natural Family Living Community forum.

"Intactivists" believe in leaving baby boys uncircumcised. This particular thread, posted in the spring of 2004, was a discussion of possible paraphernalia that would get the message out. "If men were meant to have foreskins, they'd be born with them" was one of the possible slogans.

So yes, Andrea, the bumper sticker you found, while clearly reworded from the third person to the first so that a man, and not just his mother, could put it on the back of his Prius, is irreverent. But it's also an observation that Intactivists take very seriously.

Other MotheringDotCommune suggestions for bumper stickers included: "Breastfeeding for all; circumcision for none," "Intact and Lovin' it!" "Circumcision: The more you know, the worse it is," "God Makes Perfect Babies: Stop Circumcision," "Circumcision: A solution in search of a problem," "A foreskin is not a birth defect!" and "Proud mama of an intact son."

About this last one, one community member sagely pointed out that "when your boy is, say, over 8 years old or so he may wonder why you have a bumper sticker announcing that his penis is intact."

Yes, he may wonder that. And then he may cry.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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