Female Circumcision

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A diverse array of traditional, religious, and cultural customs is practiced cross-culturally throughout the world. Female circumcision, also known as Female genital mutilation, or female genital cutting is a custom that has sparked controversy among many people belonging to other cultures not accustomed to the practice. They have presented the question of whether female circumcision is a practice that should be advocated or even allowed at all. My view is that the notion of basic human rights and gender equality strongly oppose this procedure and even though it may be accepted in many cultures, it should be prevented, especially due to the high health risks it poses for females who undergo this circumcision. Its imposition on children should be eliminated. The article “America’s Next Top Issue: Female genital mutilation” discusses the topic of Female genital mutilation and how it was dealt with by Fatima, a contestant from the new season on the increasingly popular show America’s Next Top Model, hosted by Tyra Banks. Fatima is from Somalia. She talked about her personal experience undergoing Female genital mutilation and her views on the practice. Fatima stated that in Somalia, female genital mutilation was seen as “positive”. This portrays just how different the beliefs and practices of various cultures are. In Somalia and various parts of Africa it is a good thing, while in the United States, even the concept of female genital mutilation is shocking to most people. Groups like Equality One and others are working to stop this practice in African communities. They also discussed Fatima’s statement about not being able to have sex with a man. Female genital mutilation not only affects women physically, but it affects them psychologically as well. When asked whether this discussion was appropriate to be aired on a television show, Bien-Aime stated, “It’s a good thing.” 2) Background research:

In L.A. Briggs article, she highlights the issue of female genital mutilation in the Ekpeye community of Nigeria. A clear, all-encompassing definition of female genital mutilation is provided, “traditional operations that involve cutting away parts of the female external genitalia, or other injury to the female genitals, whether for cultural or any non-therapeutic reason” (Briggs, 42.) All the scholarly articles I encountered basically defined female genital mutilation as any sort of cutting or damage to the female genitalia. There were also up to five different types of circumcision described. The least severe type is called ritualistic circumcision, which is just cutting the clitoris. Next, there is sunna circumcision, where only the clitoral hood is removed. Then clitoridectomy, or excision, is the removal of the clitoris and the labia minora. The most brutal form is infibulation, or pharaonic circumcision. This is when the clitoris and the labia minora are removed. Then, the labia majora are cut or scraped and the raw edges are sewn together to cover the vaginal and urethral openings. A small stick is used to leave a hole for urine and menstrual flow to pass through. The female’s legs are then tied together for a period of time until the wound is healed. The scar tissue is typically reopened with a sharp object on the female’s wedding night and during childbirth. Another type of circumcision includes the above-mentioned operations and involves “placing corrosive substances and herbs into the vagina”(Briggs). The most common types of female genital mutilation are clitoridectomy and infibulation. Circumcision is usually performed when a female is between 3-8 years old, before their first menstruation, although, ages at which circumcision takes place may vary geographically. In most areas where female genital mutilation is performed it is done so without anesthesia. A girl is generally held down by a few women, while a midwife or village elder carries out the surgery. In many areas, wounds are covered in animal feces or mud to help...
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