Posted by Sadie from D007228.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu (22.214.171.124) on Saturday, December 28, 2002 at 3:38PM :
In Reply to: You missed my message. posted by Jeff from d53-25-237.try.wideopenwest.com (126.96.36.199) on Saturday, December 28, 2002 at 2:19PM :
Female circumcision is a VERY different monster. See article below. Males who've been circumcised can at least enjoy sex afterward.
RISING DAUGHTERS AWARE
On Comparisons Between Male Circumcision and Female "Circumcision" (Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation)
Recently a member of a male anti-circumcision organization wrote a letter to my local editor addressing the issue of circumcision. While truthfully stating the fact that all forms of circumcision performed on minors are a violation of human rights and medical ethics, the writer was gravely misleading and self serving in equating Female Genital Mutilation ("female circumcision") with male circumcision. Furthermore, his choice of wording gave the mistaken impression that FGM has been both adequately addressed and "solved."
Male circumcision is an unnecessary procedure performed for conformist, hygienic and cosmetic reasons. With female "circumcision," these reasons are often cited to mollify critics and, after thousands of years, have become accepted superficially. The main reason, however, that young girls are sexually mutilated, is to ensure their virginity and chastity by severely damaging or entirely inhibiting their ability to enjoy sexual relations. This is to prepare them to become "proper wives." It is done because men insist, no matter how promiscuous themselves, on virginal, "circumcised" brides. No such correlation exists with male circumcision. No boy is circumcised to "keep him virginal" until marriage, or with the deliberate intent decrease his sexual appetite. In addition, as males, boys exist as part of the status quo, while girls still struggle for basic rights.
Female genital mutilation is performed to prepare a woman for proper marriage, and ranges from clitoridectomy, to the hacking, slicing or burning off of all external female genitalia (excision), and infibulation, where the girl's entire outer genitals are sliced off, with the resulting wound bound together with thorn, thread, cowhide thong or sutures. Her legs are then lashed together for 1-6 weeks while she heals. Often water is refused her to discourage urination. She is sewn almost completely shut, leaving small (match head size), inadequate openings for passage of urine and menses. This is mostly done under less than sterile circumstances, with rudimentary instruments (razor, knife, glass, tin can) and no anesthesia. Girls are generally subjected to this between the ages of 3 to 15 years of age, although it varies significantly among regions and sub-groups. These procedures result in complications ranging from shock, chronic infection, post traumatic stress disorders, hemorrhage, severe scarring (both internal and external genitals), urinary tract problems, incontinence, infertility, infant/mother mortality, fibroids, fistula, sexual dysfunction, psychological disturbance, and not infrequently, death. For my infibulated friends, a simple ob/gyn exam is pure torture, resulting in days of bleeding and bed rest. For many, even a child-size speculum is too large and examination and treatment are difficult.
For male circumcision to be equivalent to even the most simple form of FGM (Type I, clitoridectomy) the head of the penis (not just the foreskin) would have to be cut off.
FGM is no longer limited to African, Malaysian and Middle Eastern nations and is now not uncommon in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
If a girl's parents object to this practice, it is not unusual for a girl to be kidnapped and forcibly "circumcised" by relatives or members of the community. Women who speak out about this issue are often ostracized or punished. Even for women who do not fear being ostracized, this is a highly personal and difficult topic to discuss. This is not the case with male circumcision, which has become an open and frequent topic on health radio and television shows and parent support networks, as well as in print and online media.
FGM is only the beginning of women's suffering: a lifetime of endless labor, early, arranged marriage -- often to much older men--, and few basic rights, including the right to education and economic independence. Even today, girls enjoy few of the freedoms their brothers take for granted: movies with friends, outings, school field trips, use of the telephone.
It is highly unethical and reprehensible to appropriate the enormous suffering of 150 million girls worldwide to attack the very real, but far less complicated issue of infant male circumcision; to do so trivializes the disproportionate agony of women. Can male circumcision not be abolished on it's own lack of merit? Any comparison between the two is enormously exaggerated, simplified, and overlooks the misogynous intentions of FGM.
As women we have so many of our own health issues to address-- under funded and under assisted, and a health care system with undervalues and demoralizes us. We must prioritize ourselves. Some anti-male circ activists resort to a type of manipulation: women should actively use their time to support their cause because 'circumcised men are angry men, and angry men commit more violence.' While it is true that angry men are often violent men, and that some men are angry about their circumcisions, it is quite a stretch to blame the long historic and global fact of violence and oppression against women and girls on the practice of male circumcision. By their own statistics, anti male circ activists have noted that America is a lonely hold out in maintaining this practice, and yet a January 2000 report by Johns Hopkins, based on a ten year global study, revealed that 1 in 3 women on this planet have been raped, beaten or otherwise severely abused. According to anti male circ activists own stats, the majority of these women are being abused by uncircumcised males. It is a violent nature in the first place that tends to originate these practices, including circumcision.
What really needs to happen is that men need to grow up and address their own health needs by themselves. Consider this: the majority of capital and resources on this planet is still controlled by men; the majority of appointed and elected policy makers are still men; the vast majority of hospital administrators and policy makers are men; the majority of insurance policy makers (who pay for male circ) are men. Men have time to design Stealth bombers, run for office, take over corporations, but cannot schedule the time (often) to book their own doctor's appointments. The kindest thing women can do for you is to tell you to grow up. Your Mommies are busy, our plates are full.
"In a free society, all individuals have a right to make informed decisions regarding their bodies. If a parent indoctrinates a child into a religion, that child can refuse that religion upon reaching majority age. However, body parts removed from a child cannot be regrown as an adult. Genital mutilation is permanent." --J.N.
Copyright 1999, Rising Daughters Aware, all rights reserved
-- signature .
Post a Followup