Whose Body, Whose Rights?:

Examining the Ethics and the Human Rights Issue of Infant Male Circumcision

By Lawrence Dillon and Tim Hammond

1995

"Contains uncensored footage of male genitalia and of actual infant circumcisions. Viewer discretion advised."

Part I is self-contained for stand-alone use within a 30-minute time constraint. 56 minutes. Color/Stereo.

$34.95. 1-800-343-4727. VideoFinders, 4401 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027. For censored version (adult genitals in Part II obscured) or discount on volume orders, call 1-415-826-9351.

Whose Body, Whose Rights? is a social issue documentary designed for general audiences and for use in discussions of medical ethics, human sexuality, and the human rights of children. It explores the growing men's awareness of and activism surrounding routine male infant circumcision in North America.

To help viewers better understand why men have become active on this issue, basic male anatomy is demystified -- including the structure, function and value of the foreskin -- and the scope of the problem and adverse outcomes of infant circumcision are revealed.

Tracing contemporary history from Victorian use of circumcision to control the sexuality of children of both sexes, to military circumcision campaigns targeting blacks during World Wars, the video examines how circumcision became a social custom in English-speaking cultures, especially the United States. Current medical ethics are evaluated by men of various ages, races, religions and sexual orientations as they share individual and collective testimony about the adverse physical, sexual and psychological impact on their lives of a surgery they did not choose.

Women's views are also revealed -- mothers who feel betrayed by the medical profession's promotion of painful newborn surgery -- as well as survivors of female genital mutilation who expose the cross-cultural similarities in beliefs about the disposability of male and female children's genitalia.

This documentary probes the positive steps people are taking to heal themselves, to educate others, and to guarantee fundamental human rights of body ownership and self-determination for future generations of children, through filming of uncircumcision support meetings, interviews with doctors who no longer circumcise infants, demonstrations against medical associations and suppliers of circumcision equipment, performance art pieces, and other art forms.

Whose Body, Whose Rights? is a unique video ripe for our time, certain to provoke both inner reflection and cultural self-examination.