Friday, June 29, 2007

Well, it's a start

At first glance, I got excited about this, though the death of a twelve year old child because of what is essentially male fear is nothing less than a tragedy. It's still commendable. It's still a good step, but I want to see the Egyptian legislature step up to the plate and completely ban female genital mutilation. I refuse to call this female circumcision as seems to be the more common practice in the media. Male circumcision does not remove anything essential to a man's sexual health. Though it is said that male circumcision decreases sensitivity, it doesn't eliminate it. It doesn't mean that the act of sex will more likely than not be accompanied by pain. It doesn't remove an individual's freedom of choice. Female genital mutilation does precisely that.

Do the men not recognize what they've lost for themselves with this? I know that my preference for a lover was to have them excited and desirous, not dreading sex, and frankly I don't get how anybody could prefer it any other way. I know that there are serious cultural differences. My upbringing in the days of bra burning, Ms. Magazine, the ERA and feminism before anyone was stupid enough to attach Nazi to the word, not to mention the idealism and stupidity of "free love", make it impossible for me to understand how FGM could be seen as a good thing.

What scares me about this decree from the Egyptian Health Ministry is the potential for this to force FGM underground. Without the power of law to enforce it, there is no way of knowing what the consequences for disregarding the decree are for someone who is not a health care professional, and it could force this practice back into the hands of anyone who feels they're handy with a knife. I am operating on the assumption that the Health Ministry would at least have the power to cause professional consequences for physicians and nurses.

Fairly deep in the article, it states that an estimated 97% of married Egyptian women have undergone this barbaric procedure, and the Health Ministry states that slightly over 50% of girls between 10 and 18 have been mutilated. I have to wonder how that was quantified, and it breaks my heart that so many women could go through life with such a loss. This is not an issue that would probably ever affect me or my family, but I have to get upset about it. This is something that happens primarily to children, before they have any real choice in the matter, and it will affect the rest of their lives.

I try to respect cultural differences, but this issue is simply beyond the pale. In a multi-tonal world, it's sometimes hard to discern right and wrong, but not here. This is wrong no matter where it's done.


Blogger some chick said...

This is sickening.

And wrong.

And ungodly.



it sucks.

It is the result of culture gone amuck.

On a lighter note:

I stopped by to tag you, so tag you are it.

June 29, 2007 5:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

This is a tough subject. As a woman, I abhor the way women are treated in some other cultures. cannot inflict one's standards on another culture, no matter how "barbaric" another culture's practices might seem.

To mutilate a woman (little girl) in this way is horrific... but there are basic things about the entire culture that need to change before they will understand the horror of the practice. It's a male dominated society, and women are seen as only slightly higher on the food chain than a man's other property. It is desirable that a woman does not enjoy sex. I imagine the males believe it will keep women from being unfaithful. We don't get it...we think it's objectionable. And it IS.

But perhaps, just perhaps, OUR society goes a little too far the other way...

June 29, 2007 10:55 PM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

Shoot, in this case, I have to say that I'm perfectly willing to inflict my standards on another culture's practices, because as Cynthia points out, female circumcision is just a polite way of talking about female castration, usually performed on little girls between the ages of 4 and 8 (!!!), many times performed without anesthetic or sterile instruments...and even done in a hospital, the lifelong physical problems endured by many "circumcised" women are appalling. There is no place for this in a civilized world, and we can't continue to just look the other way.


June 30, 2007 2:50 AM  

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