UN set to ban female genital cutting

41

At seven years old, Khady Koita’s childhood was torn apart when she was pinned down and attacked by two women wielding a razor blade. The violence inflicted on her that day would change her life forever.


On Monday, Koita, a leading figure in the campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM), will join other high-profile activists at the United Nations to drum up support for a global ban on a practice forced on millions of children every year.

“FGM is horrific, brutal, degrading and indefensible,” said Koita, who was born in Senegal and now lives in Brussels. “My big hope is that one day no girl will have to go through what I have been through.”

The move to stamp out FGM – which is widely practised in Africa and pockets of the Middle East and Asia – is being driven by African member states of the United Nations, led by Burkina Faso.

They are now applying the finishing touches to a draft resolution banning FGM to be presented to the U.N. General Assembly in early October. It is expected to be adopted in December.

An estimated 140 million girls and women have undergone FGM, which can cause serious physical and emotional damage. Campaigners liken the psychological effects of FGM to those of rape.  

“It is important that women like me who have suffered so much from this humiliation … and who have the privilege to be able to shout our rage, that we do so for those who can’t,” said Koita, founder of campaign group La Palabre

Written By: Emma Batha
continue to source article at trust.org

41 COMMENTS

  1. FGM is a disgusting, primitive misogynistic ritual that desperately needs to be consigned to the history books, I don’t care whether it is religiously or culturally mandated so long as it disappears.

    Strangely there are some secular activists who seem to want to equate this with male circumcision, but the fact is FGM is a  far more mutilating, dangerous and controlling institution than that. Of all the battles to fight by the UN for progress in the world this would have to have some of the clearest moral justification behind it. I am circumcised and feel no worse off for it, though I certainly did not ask for my sons to be so treated, I am not angry at my parents -they followed the advice of the doctors of the day. The same does not apply to some poor Somali woman who has been attacked by a unprofessional razor as a child .

    Anyone who tries to culturally relativize the mutilation of women to deny them sexual feeling as “part of the tapestry of humanity” immediately needs to go and jump of a building as far as I am concerned.

  2. Well said Roy, well bloody said.  All I have to add is what the hell took them so long, as it’s not hard issue to condemn and ban (morally anyway).  I would dare any shower of bastards in the UN to stand up and defend this so we add their sorry ass to the wrong side of history.  Now my answer to those who cry cultural or religious reasons, I say F**k You just because something is either of the two doesn’t make it right.  Slavery was cultural but we banned that.  

  3. Roy72

    (…) FGM is a disgusting, primitive misogynistic ritual that desperately
    needs to be consigned to the history books, I don’t care whether it is
    religiously or culturally mandated so long as it disappears.

    Strangely there are some secular activists who seem to want to equate
    this with male circumcision, but the fact is FGM is a  far more
    mutilating, dangerous and controlling institution than that.

    Hi Roy72, I agree with most of your post. That said, I’m a secular activist and I do equate FGM with male circumcision.

    What do you find so strange about this?

    They are both disgusting, primitive misogynistic rituals that desperately
    need to be consigned to the history books, I also don’t care whether they are
    religiously or culturally mandated so long as they disappear.

    There is no rational reason for either.

    I also don’t care that one happens to be more or less a mutilation than the other, They both remain the mutilation of the genitals of a small helpless child for religious or cultural reasons.

    There are degrees of female genital mutilation, too. It doesn’t make one ‘better’ than the other.

    I’m glad that you feel no worse off for your own experience but try telling that to some poor Somali child of either gender who has been attacked by a razor.

    The genital mutilation of an infant is exactly that, the genital mutilation of an infant. It matters not that a major western nation ‘medicalised’ the genital mutilation of infants.

    We have to call it what it is; it is the genital mutilation of infants – all the religious or cultural excuse’s should not hide what it is -it is abuse, plain and simple.

    Anvil.

  4. “There is no rational reason for either.” No disagreement there.

    “I also don’t care that one happens to be more or less a mutilation than the other, They both remain the mutilation of the genitals of a small helpless child for religious or cultural reasons.
    There are degrees of female genital mutilation, too. It doesn’t make one ‘better’ than the other.”

    Here’s where I do disagree, in an ideal world both activties would not exist. But in the world we have progress (by which I mean reduction of suffering)occurs by the investment of time, logic, money and personal and political will all of which is in finite supply. It makes sense to attack the most mutilating and dangerous practices first.

    Part of the momentum generated in recent years against FGM was because of the phasing out of the redundant term “female circumcision” which made the degree of harm seem equivalent between them.

    Male circumcision does not reduce sexual feeling/pleasure, does not lead to long term trauma or psychological damage (Long term experience in jews and large scale “trials” in US adults would seem to bear this out) and is not used as a controlling mechanism for one half of the species, and does not make it dangerous for that individual to have children. You cannot claim the same for FGM.

    Circumcised men are also less likely to catch or pass on HIV and is being encouraged for that reason in parts of Africa (so long as that is consenting adult men that’s fine by me).

  5.  ” UN set to ban female genital cutting ” 

    Gee, I wonder what UN block is going to give this long overdue action problems?

    The comparing of FGM to circumcision is the fallacy of the false comparison.

  6. Neo’ & Roy,

    Well, they both involve the mutilation of the genitals of an infant. I’m not sure how this is a false comparison?

    With regard to language and terminology, I do not for one moment believe that FGM was seen as acceptable when it was known as Female Circumcision.

    Once cultures that didn’t practice it became aware of it they saw it instantly for what it was: barbaric.

    These cultures, of course, saw their own practises as normal

    Both forms of genital mutilation have been seen as normal by the cultures that practice it, and barbaric by those who do not.

    As regards strategic thinking and resources, you may have a point. Personally I don’t believe this to be the case. I believe this to be an opportunity to cast aside the  redundant term ‘circumcision’ altogether, and call a spade a spade.

    Lets call FGM what it really is: IGM -  Infant Genital Mutilation. We can push at a single domino – or we can push at more than one. It takes exactly the same effort.

    As regards your last points, Roy, we have seen many post hoc justifications for male circumcision, hygiene, cancer, hpv, hiv – yet all fall down on close inspection. Much harm is done, and on many occasions, even when this is performed as a medical procedure in the west (for example there is an increased risk of hiv contraction ‘during’ the procedure), and please show me some figures for adult African males queuing up to be circumcised so as to lessen the risk of contracting or transmitting hiv.

    In countries that do both, one barbaric ritual supports the other. By encouraging one you in effect support the other. By damning both you discourage both.

    Anvil.

  7.  I do not for one moment believe that FGM was seen as acceptable when it was known as Female Circumcision.

    I think there was a time in western countries when the female circumcision label led to confusion amongst the general public as people didn’t really understand what it meant.  Given that male circumcision was quite common at the time and no-one was particularly fussed about it  it left the impression there was no reason to fuss about the female variant.  

    On the general question of MGM versus FGM I’m opposed to both but if I had to choose where to put my charity dollar it would be fighting FGM.  FGM is (usually) a lot more of a mutilation than MGM.  I’ve been circumcised at birth so I can’t judge the loss of sensitivity but I can judge that I have not become incontinent nor been in pain every time I had intercourse.

    Michael

  8. Makes one wonder just what the UN had a problem with that took them so long to pull their combined fingers out.
    This is a barbaric bronze age male invented crock of balderdash.
    Deep shame and derision be on the UN even when they manage, against the odds, to do something right it can be guaranteed it is years out of date or worded so vaguely as to be totally ineffective.
    This abomination of ‘legalized sexual assault was  ‘Invented’ by misogynistic sexually inadequate old men that never understood sex, never understood female sexuality or the actual act and obviously feel threatened by their own insecurities and ignorance.
    Playing around and chopping off bits of anybodies genitalia is a sick disgusting perversion and nothing else.
    Trying to pretend it is somehow to do with the gods or a god is even more farcical…they are basically saying that their delusion fucked up the design so badly that humans have to intervene finish it properly.
    So much for a perfect god and so much for omnipotence and care in the detail.

    Imbeciles have more point!

  9. “I think there was a time in western countries when the female circumcision label led to confusion amongst the general public as people didn’t really understand what it meant.  Given that male circumcision was quite common at the time and no-one was particularly fussed about it  it left the impression there was no reason to fuss about the female variant.  “
    Exactly, I remember originally finding out about it from an episode of Casualty (UK TV medical serial) about 20 years ago when a young girl patient died from an infection after FGM, on the program it was still called “Female circumcision” and I was utterly unaware of the degree of mutilation involved until reading more about it some months later.
    Names are important- similarly doctors battled hard for the name of AIDS for that disease as previous terms suggested that the disease could only affect gays.

    This was why activists wanted the name change.

  10.  Makes one wonder just what the UN had a problem with that took them so long to pull their combined fingers out.

    Ignoring the Security Council veto the UN has one vote for every country or more correctly one vote for every government.  There are a lot of crazy governments out there.  It’s a surprise to me that this thing has got this far.  

    Michael

  11.  Fair enough but I would think pragmatism would be the better part of valour and the majority would overrule the minority…but as in most things that is probably a naive and hopeless idea seeing as it can be used against certain positions like atheism…I am fairly sure that far more countries would  favour the equivalent of ‘burning at the stake’ as there would be those voting to recognise atheism’s innate human rights.

    So as you were that man!
    It just seems that humanity learns very little when it comes to reality and the affliction of pain or suffering on vulnerable folks, quoting some obscure half balmy religious tract as a precedent and an invocation of a religious ‘must do’ ceremonial claptrap shenanigan!
    Seems that we have a long way to  go as a cognitive species before we can claim we are in fact cognitive and a compassionate rational society that inflicts no such nonsense on their own.

  12. mmurray

     

    I do not for one moment believe that FGM was seen as acceptable when it was known as Female Circumcision.

    I think there was a time in western countries when the female
    circumcision label led to confusion amongst the general public as people
    didn’t really understand what it meant.  Given that male circumcision
    was quite common at the time and no-one was particularly fussed about it
     it left the impression there was no reason to fuss about the female
    variant. 

    On the general question of MGM versus FGM I’m opposed to both but if I
    had to choose where to put my charity dollar it would be fighting FGM.
     FGM is (usually) a lot more of a mutilation than MGM.  I’ve been
    circumcised at birth so I can’t judge the loss of sensitivity but I can
    judge that I have not become incontinent nor been in pain every time I
    had intercourse.

    Michael

      <br> <br>Hi Michael, hope you're well. I too recall first hearing of female 'circumcision'. At the time it did little beyond prod an interest in what could possibly be 'circumcised on a vagina?<p></p><p>However within months - not years, or decades, I'd found out what this procedure was, and why it was carried out. As this practice was not 'normalised' in my culture I could see it instantly for what it was: barbarism.</p><p>Of course I didn't see male circumcision as barbaric as this was a 'normalised' procedure within my culture and was (and still is) portrayed as a health 'benefit'.</p><p>In debate it was often difficult to argue that a culturaly 'normalised' procedure like female circumcision was wrong. The name change by activists - mainly feminists - to 'genital mutilation' changed the very nature of the debate by starting not from an amorphous concept like 'culture' or 'tradition', but from the act in and of itself - an act of mutilation, an act of 'assault'.</p><p>Many people - women, brave enough to stand up and be counted could now state that they had not simply undergone a traditional, cultural coming of age 'ceremony', but that they had been subject to an act of barbarism, an act of assault, an act of mutilation.</p><p>As Roy says, names are important - that's why activists wanted the name change.</p><p>As for choosing where to place your charity dollar, there is simply no choice to make. What did it cost to move the argument from female circumcision to one of female genital mutilation? What did it cost you to use the letters MGM rather than circumcision in your paragraph above?</p><p>Again, as Roy says, names are important.</p><p>Your last point regarding sensitivity, pain, and incontinence is, I feel, moot, as people - infants - can and do die from the procedure resulting in MGM. A procedure often carried out in non-clinical conditions, by non-clinical people - here, in the UK.</p><p>To echo Roy's 'Casualty' anecdote, (I'm sure I remember that episode, Roy?) I was (it must be a good seven or eight years back now) talking to a nurse from a large London A&amp;E who'd been doing back to back shifts on the weekend following the start of the school summer holidays and was now sat with me getting thoroughly sozzled in a pub in Finsbury Park. I recall being surprised that her main gripe wasn't the drunks but rather the 'endless' stream of infected muslim boys.</p><p>Apparently it had become a traditional time to 'do' the kids (as she put it) as it gave the whole summer to get over the many resulting infections.</p><p>Anvil.</p><p>(I'm aware the anecdote is not evidence and retell the above story only in so much as it may convey the shock I felt at being told that this was going on in a modern industrialised nation. As shocked as I was to discover the many thousands of girls at risk of FGM here in the UK. These are generational chains. In most case we only need to break one link in the chain for it to end. We can start by calling all types of female and male circumcision by what they are; Genital Mutilation of infants and children. Sorry, another overly-long post.)</p><p></p>
    
  13. I feel a rant coming on, please forgive me…

    I’m sure that most of us here would agree with the statement that FGM is more destructive, both mentally and physically, than MGM and that FGM must be banned globally.

    However, I feel there are additional aspects to this which ought to be considered. Does an infant, or any male child too young to make an informed decision for that matter, need physical modification so as to possibly reduce the risk of a sexually transmitted desease?

    Besides, it seems to me that the jury is still out regarding the sum medical benifits of MGM or consensual male circucision and its reduction of HIV infection. Some studies show that, in some areas of Africa for example, circumcised men have a higher percentage of HIV infection than uncircumcised, principly because the former group feel ‘safe’ and so take no precautions.

    I’m not yet convince by the medical argument in support of male child circumcision, to me it is still MGM.

    This leaves only the religious or cultural argument for MGM. Put simply, it is my view that nobody should be allowed to mutilate a childs body in any form (excepting valid medical grounds), irrespective of the child’s gender or their parents’ faith or culture.

    My point (phew – at last!)? I suspect that the UN will run scared of banning MGM for political reasons. I don’t need to mention the individual faiths that support/require MGM (ah sod it! Judaism for one), but it’s not difficult to imagine the global cries of religious persecution that would follow UN condemnation of MGM. Well; So f**king what! Those ‘cries’ become insignificant when compared to the cumulative cries of billions mutilated children.

    Both FGM and MGM cross the line by a long way. By delaying condemnation of MGM, for what ever reason, is to delay the inevitable political backlash whilst sending out the message that MGM is somehow acceptable in the meantime. It makes no sense to wait. Wait for what?

    I wonder how many UN delegates forced their sons to endure MGM. Makes it difficult to condem MGM when you’re guilty of the very same.

    Hitch was right, ‘…Religion Poisons Everything’ including the UN, human rights and global politics.

    Note to self: Must check ‘Human Rights’ docs re MGM, relax and get out more often.

  14. ” Well, they both involve the mutilation of the genitals of an infant. I’m not sure how this is a false comparison?  “

    Mutilation???? A foreskin compared to the monstrous extremes of FMG?? You are joking, I hope?

    ” Much harm is done “

    Even considering botched operations and infection this is the fallacy of the false comparison and all the relativistic verbosity does not erase this squishy use of terminology. I smell the stench of ideology here.

  15. Strange how Jesus and his Dad allowed these genitals and associated bits to evolve according to his great plan, only to then have his chosen people hack away at them?

    He really does move in mysterious ways…

    Anvil.

  16. Neodarwinian:

    ” Well, they both involve the mutilation of the genitals of an infant. I’m not sure how this is a false comparison?  “

    Mutilation???? A foreskin compared to the monstrous extremes of FMG?? You are joking, I hope?

    ” Much harm is done “

    Even considering botched operations and infection this is the fallacy
    of the false comparison and all the relativistic verbosity does not
    erase this squishy use of terminology. I smell the stench of ideology
    here.

    Really? And what ideology would that be?

    So cutting the foreskin off a penis isn’t mutilation? What would you suggest it is? Beauty treatment? Or maybe you have a reason for this procedure that I haven’t come across before?

    And even considering ‘botched operations and infection’, ‘much harm’ isn’t done? Really? Is this what you’re really saying here?

    Do both procedures cut flesh from the genitals of infants and young children? Are both carried out by non-medical personnel? Is there any justification for either?

    You hope I’m joking? Gimme a break. Joking?

    What squishy use of terminology or verbosity are you talking about? How about this: take a very sharp or, alternatively, a very blunt stone/knife/piece of glass and remove some flesh from the genitals of an infant or young child.

    Who cares what gender they are? They are both a ‘monstrous extreme’.

    In the poorer Bedouin of southern Egypt/Northern Sudan where a ‘cutter’ cannot be paid for, they do it themselves. They have to to maintain ‘honour’. They throw a big party, steal electricity from a desert pylon, and exchange presents. For young females it can be sufficient to ‘show blood’ and ‘tears’ when in fact little or no ‘cutting’ has taken place. ‘Honour’ has been maintained. The bigger the party the bigger the memory of the honourable deed – ‘Ird’ is kept intact for the females.

    In a strange irony their poverty has kept them from the ‘knowledge’ of the ‘cutter’.

    It’s different for poorer Bedouin boys though, whose manliness and honour (Sharaf) is connected to the ability to withstand pain and to show others the extent of his wounds.

    Joking. Yeah, sure.

    Stench of ideology? You should look where your nose is, mate.

    Anvil.

  17.  

    Neodarwinian

    Mutilation???? A foreskin compared to the monstrous extremes of FMG?? You are joking, I hope?

    ” Much harm is done ”

    Even considering botched operations and infection this is the fallacy
    of the false comparison and all the relativistic verbosity does not
    erase this squishy use of terminology. I smell the stench of ideology
    here.

    Perhaps you should look at the video here: http://richarddawkins.net/news

    FGM may be worse but that does nothing about this!

  18. ”  So cutting the foreskin off a penis isn’t mutilation?”

    Compared to FGM!!!! There is that fallacy again.

    ” And even considering ‘botched operations and infection’, ‘much harm’ isn’t done? Really? Is this what you’re really saying here? “

    That is exactly what I am saying and you need to think statistically as to harm instead if dichotomously. The comparisons of harm are so unbalanced as to be obvious to all but someone grinding some ideological axe.

    ” What squishy use of terminology or verbosity are you talking about? How
    about this: take a very sharp or, alternatively, a very blunt
    stone/knife/piece of glass and remove some flesh from the genitals of an
    infant or young child. “

    That for instance. Sharp knives are used in the overwhelming number of circumcision cases and you know this, but you mention the tools (a very blunt
    stone/knife/piece of glass ) that are used in FMG overwhelmingly and expect not to be called on it.

    ” Who cares what gender they are? They are both a ‘monstrous extreme’. “

    Sex ( gender, now there is a squishy term ). Bullshit. One is monstrously extreme and the other is bad, perhaps, but comparing apples to oranges here is disingenuous in the real extreme. 

    ” It’s different for poorer Bedouin boys though, whose manliness and
    honour (Sharaf) is connected to the ability to withstand pain and to
    show others the extent of his wounds “

    Gee, one small example from a very small tribe. Not too convincing.

    ” Stench of ideology? You should look where your nose is, mate. “

    That is what I said. What is the opposite of feminist ideology? I have forgotten.

    PS: I an not your ” mate. “

  19. A reminder that we’re aiming for cool, calm, rational, objective discussion on this site, even where users disagree with each other vehemently.

    Please don’t let the arguments descend into personal sniping or aggression.

    Thank you!

    The mods

  20. I think there are two issues:

    Firstly, is the cutting of children’s  genitals, for reasons other than medical necessity, right or wrong?

    Secondly, how serious is the harm done to the child’s well-being, both at the time and for their future?

    For example: Racism is wrong. Using hateful racist terms is wrong and so is beating the victim of racism to death. All aspects of racism are declared as wrong by civilised groups. It’s the degree of harm done which dictates the punishment.

    In my view, the UN should declare all forms of cutting to male or female children, as wrong and shameful. The level of punitive action aimed at the offenders could show some degree of proportion relating to the harm done.

    A compromise maybe, but then most democratic laws apply some mitigation.

  21. “…..Male circumcision does not reduce sexual feeling/pleasure…..”

    Wrong.

    Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis
    Morris L. Sorrells, James L. Snyder, Mark D. Reiss, Christopher Eden*, Marilyn F. Milos†,
    Norma Wilcox and Robert S. Van Howe‡

    http://www.nocirc.org/touch-te

    “{CONCLUSIONS
    The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis.}”

    Survey the medical literature. You will find that a good percentage of men circumcised later in life do indeed report loss of sensation.

    “…..does not lead to long term trauma or psychological damage (Long term experience
    in jews and large scale “trials” in US adults would seem to bear this out)….”

    Wrong.

    http://www.circumcision.org/ha

    {“……… Rima Laibow, M.D., reports,
    When a child is subjected to intolerable, overwhelming pain,
    he conceptualizes mother as both participatory and responsible regardless of
    mother’s intent. . . . The consequences for impaired bonding are significant. .
    . . Circumcision is an enormous obstacle to the development of basic trust
    between mother and child.}”http://www.circumcision.org/st…{“Circumcision is Associated with Adult Difficulty in Identifying and
    Expressing Feelings
    This preliminary study investigates what role early trauma might have in
    alexithymia (difficulty in identifying and expressing feelings) acquisition for
    adults by controlling for male circumcision. Three hundred self-selected men
    were administered the Toronto Twenty-Item Alexithymia Scale checklist and a
    personal history questionnaire. The circumcised men had age-adjusted alexithymia
    scores 19.9 percent higher than the intact men; were 1.57 times more likely to
    have high alexithymia scores; were 2.30 times less likely to have low
    alexithymia scores; had higher prevalence of two of the three alexithymia
    factors (difficulty identifying feelings and difficulty describing feelings);
    and were 4.53 times more likely to use an erectile dysfunction drug. Alexithymia
    in this population of adult men is statistically significant for having
    experienced circumcision trauma and for erectile dysfunction drug use. (See link
    to article on our home page.)

    Bollinger, D. and Van Howe, R. , “Alexithymia and Circumcision
    Trauma: A Preliminary Investigation,” International Journal of Men’s
    Health (2011);184-195.”}

    “……and is not used as a controlling mechanism for one half of the species…..”

    Nonsense. Both islam and judaism use it in exactly that manner.

     “……and does not make it dangerous for that individual to have
    children….”

    Straw grasping.

     “You cannot claim the same for FGM.”

    Irrelevant. The harms are severe enough and palpable enough as they stand.

    “Circumcised men are also less likely to catch or pass on HIV…..”

    Wrong.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn

    {“I am not impressed. They cite a couple of incomplete
    epidemiological studies in African populations for HIV infection, and
    they come up with some astounding figures: a 50-60% reduction in
    infection rates. Wow, with that kind of advantage…sign me up.
    However, these are deeply flawed studies. None of them were
    completed: they all abandoned the protocol and stopped the research as
    soon as preliminary results gave them positive values. This is like
    shooting craps and announcing that all your dice throws were
    practice…until you get a good roll, and then, yeah, that was the real
    deal. That one counts.

    They all overstate their results. That 50-60% reduction was in relative rate, in comparison across the two groups. The actual calculated protection in absolute terms conferred by circumcision was a 2%
    reduction in the likelihood of infection. That doesn’t dazzle me, either, and given that the studies were terminated when they got their best results, I’m not persuaded. And finally, give me a plausible mechanism for how circumcision would achieve these remarkable gains. Tell me how it is supposed to work. If it’s something to do with hygiene, it seems to me that better sex and health education should have the same or better effect than lopping off bits of skin….”}

    “…. and is being encouraged for that reason in parts of Africa (so long as that is
    consenting adult men that’s fine by me).”

    Encouraged by fanatics with religious motivations.
    And the consent part is the core concern.
    Infants can not give it.

  22. Thanks for the circumcison.org link, lots of good science there, so certainly haven’t read it all yet. The AIDS summary one is particularly interesting and could be a good example of confirmation bias in the mentioned trials.

    I don’t think we disagree on any core point, I have said earlier that in an ideal world neither would exist at all, but even accepting a loss of sensitivity, and some PTSD or other psychological damage, circumsized men can still have a full, active and safe sexual life and that is simply not true for many/most FGM survivors especially the most extreme forms.

    Where we disagree is on the strategy to bring this about, some here feel all GM should be lumped together, this may well be a more logical philosophical position but it massively increases the social/cultural/religious opposition and hence makes it more likely that all forms of GM will carry on regardless.

    Politics  is never logical and the fastest way to reduce suffering overall and in total is the approach the UN has chosen which is to go after FGM now and leave MGM for the future, and this may mean a long time.

    NB the website also states that “circumsized men are more likely to indulge in heterosexual oral sex”  whichever way you spin that  it sounds like a win/win scenario. Or maybe ladies express a preference in that regard. i don’t think many ladies have posted in the thread so far so maybe they will let us XYs know.

  23. My pleasure.

    I think you have clearly defined our areas of disagreement (aside from your repetition of some standard pro-circumcision talking points for which I provided counter evidence).

    I am completely revolted by female genital cutting.
    I am no less revolted by circumcision and I am not content to do nothing in the face of either
    male or female infant suffering for any specified or unspecified time.
    A large percentage of male infants go into shock when the procedure is performed.

    http://intactnews.org/node/107

    {“Studies show that circumcision is significantly painful,
    traumatic, and affects the brain as evidenced by large increases in heart
    rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels during circumcision. Some
    infants do not cry because they go into shock. After circumcision there are
    changes in infant behavior, sleep patterns, activity level, more irritability,
    and there are disruptions in mother-child bonding and feeding. Anesthetics, if
    used, consist of injections into the penis and do not eliminate circumcision
    pain. “}

    Response to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

    Circumcision Policy Statement

    http://www.circumcision.org/aa

    It is also my feeling-though I don’t have a great deal of medical evidence to confirm it-that
    circumcised men try to compensate for their loss on a subconscious level. Thus the oral sex preference
    which is a ‘win/win’ for the ladies only if it is reciprocal. And only those circumcised later in life are in a position to say whether their sex lives are as full as they may have been without the loss.
    Circumcision removes some 20,000 of the most sensitive nerve endings on the male body.

    Also, the foreskin acts as a natural lubricant during sex. Ladies of my acquaintance who have had both experiences tell me circumcised men tend to batter and ram more often. Anecdotal, yes, but circumcision leaves a permanent ring of insensitive scar tissue.

    I say the fight against female genital mutilation is not harmed in any way by a concurrent and commensurate effort to stop male genital mutilation nor is the second effort any less of a moral imperative. I can’t imagine what I would say to a days old male infant that would justify anything less than my best efforts to spare him such needless pain.

    I appreciate your civility on an emotionally charged subject.

  24. There are variations on these male ceremonies with different level of mutilation. Here are some Australian ones:- http://news.bme.com/wp-content

    In traditional Aboriginal society ALL males undergo circumcision, like other traditional cultures this marks the passage from childhood to adulthood.

    “The rite of circumcision and its attendant ceremonies firmly and unequivocally establish a youth’s status in Walbiri society. Should he fail to pass through these rites, he may not enter into his father’s lodge, he may not participate in religious ceremonies, he cannot acquire a marriage line, he cannot legitimately obtain a wife; in short, he cannot become a social person”
    The circumcision ceremony is carried out between 11 and 13 years of age, depending on individual time of puberty. It is far more significant than the later subincision ceremony.

    “A brother [tribesman] seizes the novice and places him face upward with his feet towards the fire. Another brother straddles him and presses his pubes against the lad’s face to silence his cries, while a third grips his legs. A brother holds the shaft of the boy’s penis, in order to protect “the inside bone” from injury; one of the circumcisors stretches the foreskin several inches, and another cuts it off with two or three quick slices. The rest of the brothers watch closely for it is their duty to KILL THE OPERATOR AT ONCE IF HE MUTILATES THE BOY.”

    Subincision takes place around 17 years of age and NOT all Aboriginal men are subincised.
    Subincision ceremonies are not quite as lavish and extensive as circumcision ceremonies, partly because they are `men’s business’ and partly because it is not as essential as circumcision.

    “Just as the sun rises, the elder brothers tell two of the sister’s husbands to lie on their backs, side by side with their feet towards the fire. The brothers place the youth on his back on top of the men. The brother hands the subinciser the knife, [traditionally made of stone] over which the fathers have previously sung to make it cut straight. To the accompaniment of loud chanting by the company, the man deftly slices open the youth’s penis from the meatus to a point about an inch along the urethra. An elder brother
    holds the penis, to ensure that the “inside bone” is not cut, while other brothers stand ready to kill the inciser if he bungles the task”.

  25. ManhattanMC:
    I appreciate your civility on an emotionally charged subject.

    Allow me to echo that, Roy.

    Roy72Where we disagree is on the strategy to bring this about, some here feel
    all GM should be lumped together, this may well be a more logical
    philosophical position (…)

    It certainly is a ‘more logical
    philosophical position’ regarding universalism under any rational argument about ethics or morality, and leads opponents of such positions into the mire of moral relativism.

    (…) but it massively increases the
    social/cultural/religious opposition and hence makes it more likely that
    all forms of GM will carry on regardless.

    Yes. I think this is where the debate is to be had.

    Though proponents open themselves to charges of cultural relativism, I am aware that there is a utilitarian argument that can be made if it can indeed be shown that this would be the case to any large extent.

    Though I remain open to persuasion I am yet to see any evidence for this.

    Indeed most arguements for this then support old and tired myths about health, or some odd anti-universal imperialist rants about ‘my culture/country right or wrong’, or ‘What we do is not the same as what those heathens do!’, which again, is cultural relativism or, put simply, racism.

    Most instances of genital mutilation in the US are cultural and would, I feel, collapse like a house of cards where the parents signing a form electing for the genital mutilation of their child rather than ‘circumcising’ it.

    (Edit: The strategy means…) we get a lot from a little.

    As you say, words are important here.

    Anvil.

  26. Peter Grant
    I’m against circumcision, but I also wish men would stop bringing it up every time FGM is mentioned.

    Well you would have observed quite a few reasons for this being brought up but the moderators on this site have decided to remove them.

    Edit:

    Put briefly male infant and child genital mutilation supports female infant and child genital mutilation. Stopping both is a moral imperative. Stopping male infant and child genital mutilation in the West is an important and vital part of the fight to end female genital mutilation in the rest of the world.

    I’ll gladly reiterate the arguements at length, again, but unfortunately work calls.

    If nobody else does then I will do so, again, but in a couple of days.

    Sorry if this sounds curt, Peter. It’s not meant to. Just a bit pissed off with this site.

    Anvil.

  27. I am appalled by FGM and i am sad for females who have suffered from it.
    I have found this thread to be very educational regarding FGM and MGM.
    I know very little about this subject.
    Thanks for the very interesting comments.

    I like what Anvil suggested,’IGM’, Infant Genital Mutilation.Good idea that.
    But Roy72 made interesting points too.
    I’m a bit confused with you two.You BOTH make good points.

  28. Stamping out FGM looks like a no-brainer, yes, let’s do whatever we can to end this barbaric torture of children, and the sooner the better.

    Stamping out MGM likewise, but I detect some tactical thinking going on here that suggests going for FGM first is the best way forward.

    I don’t know.   Go for FGM only, and get backing  – or at least, no interference – from the cultures that still practice MGM (you know who they are, and they are very influential).  Or be honest and go for both.  I see attempts to ban MGM got denounced as anti-semitic when attempted in Germany recently.

    Strategically, both kinds of IGM are Bad and need to be stopped.   Tactically, it would be dreadful to fail to stamp out FGM because the MGM supporters got in the way.

  29. Hi. Thanks for your reply,

    OHooligan wrote, in response to anvil:

    Stamping out FGM looks like a no-brainer, yes, let’s do whatever we can to end this barbaric torture of children, and the sooner the better.

    Hear hear. Well said.

    Stamping out MGM likewise, but I detect some tactical thinking going on here that suggests going for FGM first is the best way forward.

    Yes. This is where the argument needs to be focused: Is there a tactical/utilitarian approach to this issue?

    Can we, by ignoring or appeasing powerful interest groups who conduct religious/cultural mutilation of the genitals of their male children, work to end the religious/cultural genital mutilation of female children?

    Well, yes, we can.

    Will this tactic provide us with a utilitarian outcome in that, overall, less flesh will be cut from the genitals of infants and young children, specifically with regard to females, leading to, overall, less suffering?

    I contend this will not happen.

    I contend that in 100% of areas where FGM is carried out, MGM is also carried out (by similar non-medical people in similar non-medical conditions using similar non-medical instruments) and that in these societies – societies that are 100% male dominated and misogynistic – this specific barbaric torture of male children supports, condones, and justifies, the barbaric torture that is FGM.

    To simply tell these male-dominated societies that they should stop mutilating the genitals of ‘their’ female children – their ‘chattel’, is more than futile. This is their religion, their culture, their ‘normality’. Besides, there is no greater justification for this abuse than the strange ‘equity’ the powerful (men) express over the powerless (women) – ‘It happens to all of us – do not tell us how to treat our belongings’ – and leaves one open to accusations of double standards, racism and cultural relativism, – ‘Look at what you do to your own children, to your own women!’.

    Male Genital Mutilation is one of the pillars upon which Female Genital Mutilation sits.

    I have yet to see an argument that doesn’t support this, but I’m all ears.

    I applaud the actions of the UN but grew up being taught an axiom of the screenwriter – ‘Show, don’t tell’ – and found it could be applied to, and found in, many aspects of life. The first thing we can all do to end IGM/MGM/FGM is to lead by example.

    ———————————————

    This brings me to my further contention, that the barbaric torture of male and female children in these societies is, in its turn, supported by the ‘normalised medical procedure’ known in the west (and conducted specifically, if not solely, in the USA) as ‘circumcision’.

    The United States has a powerful hegemony in the world, both economically, militarily, and also ‘culturally’. If anyone has any doubt as to whether this cultural dominance has ‘boots on the ground’, so to speak, then take a look at the stats regarding IGM/MGM in South Korea: prior to contact with the US (specifically its military machine) IGM/MGM was non-existent. It now stands at around 80%.

    IGM/MGM, or ‘circumcision’ in the US, is very a popular ‘procedure’ at around 55-65% of male births. This is a figure that appears to remain constant regardless of changes in medical opinion.

    How can we explain this incredibly high rate of elective IGM/MGM in the US? Is this ‘constancy’ due to either religious or cultural reasons?

    Religious affiliation amongst groups that use and condone IGM/MGM in the US – Jews and Muslims – appear to be less than 3%? So can we assume that the vast majority of instances of IGM/MGM are ‘cultural’ and maintained by pre-conceived attitudes that transcend the changing scientific advice of the day?

    I believe we can. I also believe that we can break that cultural chain – a large factor in the decision to ‘circumcise’ a child is whether or not the father is himself ‘circumcised’. Break that chain and you end the cultural predominance of IGM/MGM in the USA and the resulting message that this then sends to the world.

    Like yourself, and many others on this site, I do not give credence to the idea there is a debate to be had, at all, regarding the necessity of IGM/MGM/FGM. There is no reason, no rationale, and certainly no science, that can justify any non-medical religious or cultural mutilation of the genitals of infants or children – in any society, let alone any modern post-enlightenment industrialised one – so I won’t attempt to argue against such a stance. Suffice it to say that I start from a Darwinian position that evolution provides forms – Prepuces, Clitorises, Labia, Eyelids, Hands, Feet, Penises, Brains, Arseholes etc’, that have function.

    I see no need to take a knife to any of these.

    Given the above, all that remains of the argument then, is regarding action. What can we do, individually? Some, obviously, can do more than others: Police, Doctors, Lawyers, Social Workers, Teachers, Politicians, Representatives at the UN etc’, but one thing we all have is language, and we can, at no cost whatsoever, change how we use it.

    Roy, earlier, said the most important thing in this whole thread; ‘Words are important’. Ask African Americans, Gays, Feminists, Atheists, Agnostics. Do not use the word ‘Circumcision’. Call a spade a spade. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Call it what it is and correct people who say differently – it is the genital mutilation of infants and children.

    For many just listening to this correct use of language will be enough to break their own cultural chain – and then it’s broken. Permanently. Instantly. Forever.

    Anvil.

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