When Marie was two years old, a woman in her village in Africa cut off her clitoris and labia. Now 34 and living thousands of miles away in New York, she is still suffering.
“I have so many problems, with my husband, with sex, with childbirth,” she told NBC News, withholding her real name to protect her identity. “The consequences on my life are all negative, both physically and psychologically."
The practice of Female Genital Mutilation is common across much of Africa, where it is believed to ensure sexual purity before marriage. But Marie says FGM is also “very common” in some communities in America.
“The pressure to get daughters cut is great,” she said.
Female Circumcision and what she is referring to, Female Genital Mutilation, are often confused. Female circumcision is an actual medical procedure to help some women with varying problems, and is very different than what is being described. Could it be this is what she was referring to (as far as rates in the US)?
I’m inclined to think not because a medically necessary procedure wouldn’t suddenly be on the rise without the mainstream media noticing and reporting on the causes and possible preventions. And I pray for these poor women/girls. :bighanky:
I doubt it. Many practices follow people to this country and even though they live here they are still under pressure to follow those practices. In many cases I thing the mutilation and circumcision are interchangeable practices for these folks. In other words, we may have medical reason for circumcision that are legitimate, but in cultures where this is done for reasons of “purity” I doubt there is any difference. I have seen documentations of this being done and the use of sharpened stones is a fairly barbaric way to perform a circumcision aka mutilation.
Strange how the women are targeted for the purposes of purity but not the men. It is barbaric and cruel and has nothing to do with purity at all.
Umm, really? Never heard of male circumcision? Which is done to ~70% of male infants in the US? One of the major historical reasons for male circumcision related to impeding tha male libido. Whether it worked I don’t know, but that was one of the original justifications.
No, I think the poster knows this. Rather, I think his/her point is that women are being targeted specifically because of purity/“purity.” That is not the reason for male circumcision, although by saying this I am not defending (or disparaging) the practice.
I think most male infants who are circumcised are not circumcised with that purpose in mind, moreover, female circumcision is barbaric, i.e., they cut off vital parts of a female’s sexual organ, which destroys a woman’s ability to experience pleasure during love-making.
P.S. And I never heard of Jews using this justification, i.e., circumcision was a purely covenantal sign between male Jews and God.
I am sure there are religious justifications for female circumcision too. I didn’t say it wasn’t wrong. I just fail to see how it isn’t a bit hypocritical that many people are aghast at one and staunchly in favor the other, considering that the male foreskin also has many nerve-endings. One may argue that there is a difference in scale, but in my opinion, not a difference in essence.
Female circumcision is neither prescribed by God nor mentioned in scripture of any kind, in other words, it is simply a MAN-made tradition purported to be religious. Moreover, a bit of foreskin nipped off is not going to ruin a male’s sexual experience or cause him any physical problems as is the case with female circumcision:
The practice involves one or more of several procedures, which vary according to the ethnic group. They include removal of all or part of the clitoris and clitoral hood; all or part of the clitoris and inner labia; and in its most severe form (infibulation) all or part of the inner and outer labia and the closure of the vagina. In this last procedure, which the WHO calls Type III FGM, a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual blood, and the vagina is opened up for intercourse and childbirth. The health effects depend on the procedure but can include recurrent infections, chronic pain, cysts, an inability to get pregnant, complications during childbirth and fatal bleeding.
[quote=josie L]female circumcision is neither prescribed by God nor mentioned in scripture of any kind, in other words, it is simply a MAN-made tradition purported to be religious. Moreover, a bit of foreskin nipped off is not going to ruin a male’s sexual experience or cause him any physical problems as is the case with female circumcision:
Neither is male circumcision, not if you’re Catholic anyway. You can’t use the religious freedom argument for one and then veto it for the other. An as a matter of fact male circumcision does occasionally cause (severe) complications. And sexual differences have been observed between circumcised and uncircumcised men. At risk of being unnecessarily detailed, I’ll just say that it’s been found that it takes circumcised men longer to reach orgasm. Foreskin does, in fact, contain nerve-endings which would be ‘sensitive to pleasure.’ It is not at all unlikely then that sexual dysfunction in males correlates with circumcision. I’d have to look at the data on it, but it’s hardly an implausible claim.
P.S. Many parents circumcised their boys because it was believed (even by the medical community) that by circumcising their child, there would less problems with infections and the like.
And if I could find a citation saying that female circumcision reduced risk of some infection, it would be okay then?
Raskolnikov, I think the comparison to female mutilation is far off-base. I know several adult men who have chosen, based upon their own research and consideration, to have the procedure done. Two were married/sexually active already. And I know at least one other sexually active man who plans on getting a circumcision.
None of these are not masochistic people, nor do they have mental conditions that compel them to pursue body modifications. The ones that have gotten it that I know claim that it has lead to a more satisfying sexual experience. For them but especially for their partners, for reasons I won’t get into here. I’m not promoting it, frankly I think it’s neither here nor there, but I cannot remain silent on the comparison with it and female mutilation.
Those are four sources indicating that women (often a vast majority) in many of these countries (not all, it is worth noting, Iraq and Yemen being two examples) support the process itself, many choosing to have it redone to themselves after pregnancy. It is in fact largely the case that primarily the women of the household, mothers, grandmothers, etc. organize and perform the procedure. In the second link I posted (the JSTOR one) it is mentioned that quite commonly fathers who didn’t want it done to their daughters would find their daughters “circumcised an sewn up” upon their returning from visits to their grandmothers.
While I certainly don’t endorse self-mutilation, it is clear that some people will report a positive response to it, for whatever reason. From your own anecdote, you seem to imply it should be taken more lightly then?
I said I think male circumcision is neither here nor there, so yes, I think male circumcision is no big deal. If it’s not covered by insurance and you don’t have the funds to be spending, then at worst, it’s an irresponsible use of funds.
On the basis that someone you know had it done and didn’t mind it? That’s an exhaustive analysis. And I reiterate the point that if an African woman similarly says she thinks what was done to her is no big deal, does that make it so? To each her own? I expect not.
I believe the topic header is: Female Circumcision on the Rise in U.S. And I was referring to their attitudes. And if you didn’t notice (apparently you didn’t) Iraq and Yemen were among the only countries where woman wanted the practice to end. Or are you suggesting that their husbands badgered them into lying to the surveyors to say that they hated female circumcision when in fact the women were quite fond of it?
I would hardly consider an infant male a ‘man,’ in the US or anywhere, and I would hardly consider it ‘his decision.’ Talk about ascribing hyperagency to a group of people.