FEMALE GENITAL CUTTING
Female Genital Cutting, (FGC), also called mutilation, or “FGM,” is practiced principally in Muslim cultures, and parts of non-Muslim Africa, although not exclusively. FGC was also practiced in the U.S. as a medical procedure in form of clitoridectomy in the 1800’s and all the way into late 1970s. Like circumcision in boys, it was first introduced as means to “cure” masturbation and sexual desire. The American medical profession attempted to advance the practice of genital cutting for both sexes of children, although it’s promotion was ultimately more successful in boys. Female genital cutting was actually covered by Blue Cross health insurance until 1977.
There are three principle types of FGC. Type 1 has two sub-types (A & B.) Type 1-A involves only removal of the clitoral hood and is comparable to male genital cutting (circumcision.)
Female genital cutting is now on the rise again in America as foreign immigrants bring cultural practices to the U.S. which conflict with Western values and laws. A recent study done on behalf of the CDC found that over a half million females in America are at risk for genital cutting.
American ideals will be challenged by those that practice FGC who see anti-circumcision laws as interfering with their religious beliefs. These immigrant groups that practice FGC point to the hypocrisy of Americans who have no hesitation to circumcise boys, yet prohibit circumcision of girls.
- FGM is often perpetuated by mothers, grandmothers, or the victim herself.
- No medical association in the world recommends MGM or FGM, and many discourage or condemn all genital cutting.
- FGM & MGM are done to minors, both can result in serious complications.
- FGM seem to have no effect on fertility rates. FGM is practiced by Muslims, and this group has high birthrates worldwide.
- Both are done because proponents claims it looks better or is more hygienic.
- Both claim it is done to appeal to future partners.
- Proponents of both invoke claims of parental choice or religious freedom.
Other reasons why Female Genital Cutting is gaining a foothold in America
Some anti-FGM groups attempt to portray genital cutting as an abuse directed solely at females. They show further insensitivity by claiming FGM is a paternalistic practice, while FGM is most often demanded by mothers and grandmothers. FGM groups are loath to associate the issue with male genital cutting as it will upset their narrative, but the issues are still identical.
Attempting to differentiate between male and female genital cutting by downplaying the harms of one over the other only weakens the arguments of all.
Only when Americans embrace the idea that all forms of forced genital cutting on children are wrong will we come closer to our goal of eliminating these horrible barbaric practices.
Religious Justifications for Female Genital Cutting
When Americans embrace the idea that all forms of forced genital cutting on children are wrong will we come closer to our goal of eliminating these horrible barbaric practices.