[DESIGN AND CIRCUMCISION

There seems to be general agreement in the civilized world that female "circumcision" is a violation of human rights. For more than you may want to know about this practice, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_cutting

Surprisingly, male circumcision has defenders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision On the primitive level they may simply defend it as the command of a god or as an essential ritual for achieving mature manhood. On a more sophisticated level it is defended as a hygienic step and a protection against disease. One might as well propose pulling the teeth as a preventative measure. After all, brushing and flossing are much more onerous than cleaning the foreskin.

From a designer's point of view it is obvious that the foreskin has a primary protective purpose, particularly when it is noted that all male mammals have it. It very likely also has a pleasure-enhancing function which comprises part of the biological reproductive incentives on the basic level and purely sensual incentives on the interpersonal, non-reproductive level. One would think the human species had learned from the once-faddish removal of tonsils and the loss of their immunological contribution that natural parts of the body are not to be tampered with except for the most serious reasons. Similarly, the appendix, formerly thought to be vestigial, is now known to serve important developmental, immunological and restorative purposes. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermiform_appendix

I am working on a button designed to express opposition to circumcision. For the prototypes a standard pin-back button is covered with the cut finger of a clear rubber glove.

foreskin button.jpg

It would be useful and amusing to design a small cylindrical shaft to go over the sharpened point of a pencil. The cylinder would slide back and forth in imitation of the foreskin, covering and uncovering the point. The combination might be called the "Forepencil." My theory is that this object would, by analogy, teach the obvious purpose of the foreskin and help bring an end to the barbarous practice of circumcision.

pencil foreskin.jpg

Going one step further, one wonders whether an artificial foreskin for the circumcised penis might be a worthy design. It might be an appropriate adornment in the locker room of a gym or in a bedroom. There may be room here for adding interesting graphics. The first step, I think, is to decide on the appropriate material.