April 9, 2013
Foreskin Crusaders to protest against Oprah event
[The term "crusader" is as unfortunate as it was in the second Gulf War. Most infant circumcision in Canada is not religious.]
by Zev Singer
OTTAWA — While an expected 14,000 people stream into Scotiabank Place on Wednesday night to hear Oprah Winfrey speak, they will be greeted by a group of protesting foreskin activists looking to take the media mogul to task.
This will take a bit of explaining.
The group, the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, or CAN-FAP, opposes the circumcision of baby boys. Oprah has become their target because, they say, she has endorsed an anti-aging skin product that was developed using skin cells harvested from a baby’s foreskin.
The product, made by SkinMedica, sells for around $250 per ounce.
The company could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but has previously explained that it does not use foreskins in the production of the cream, and has not since the original one was used to develop the line of cells nearly two decades ago. (There was actually nothing special about the foreskin — any baby skin would have worked, but foreskins were the available source).
[That is disingenous. There were issues of informed consent (and from the foreskin's owner, not just his parents) and medical ethics in the sale and re-use of human tissue even then. A man is walking round somewhere unaware that the cellular descendents of his foreskin are now adorning Oprah's face. There have been other notorious cases of the non-consented use of human tissue where availability was precisely what made its use so despicable. ]
However, CAN-FAP founder Glen Callender, a Vancouver resident who also staged a protest outside the Oprah event there in January, said Tuesday that in his eyes non-consensual male circumcision is a human rights violation that he equates with female genital mutilation.
“If you were to do that to me right now, today, as an adult, it would be aggravated sexual assault. You’d go to prison for 14 or 15 years,” Callender said. “I can’t see how that would be any different if you did that to me as a defenceless baby.”
Callender, a 39-year-old freelance writer and editor, said his main issue is the sexual pleasure that’s being taken away from men.
Oprah has had no comment.