RESOURCES

Here you will find links to academic material in relation to female circumcision.

NOTE: The content of the below articles do not necessarily represent the position of this website.  Any opinions expressed in the linked or hosted articles are the author’s own.

Last Modified: September 17th, 2018

Articles

TitleCategoryAbstractMedicalReligionConsentWHOLegalAnti-Anti-FGM
“A Balanced Look At Female Genital “Mutilation””. Thesocietypages.org. N.p., 2012. Web. 3 June 2017.

Wade, Lisa.
AcademicLisa Wade provides a summary of the Hastings Center report, “Seven Things to Know about Female Genital Surgeries in Africa.” Wade finds that practitioners of female genital alterations are misunderstood due to ethnocentrism and misinformation and argues for a more objective and culturally sensitive understanding.
“Female Circumcision – An Islamic Perspective by Asiff Hussein.” (2017). Print.

Hussein, Asiff.
AcademicAsiff Hussein is the Vice President of Outreach for the Centre for Islamic Studies in Sri Lanka. He discusses female circumcision from an Islamic perspective. He covers the Islamic basis for the practice (for both Sunnis and Shi’as), the procedure and possible health benefits.
“Khitan And Milah”. The Times of Israel. May, 2017.

Lefkowitz, Philip
AcademicIn this opinion piece, Rabbi Lefkowitz compares the right and religious obligation to practice male circumcision to that of female circumcision (referred to in his piece as khitan).
“Opinion | Religious Exemptions And The Detroit Female Genital Mutilation Prosecution”.
Washington Post. May 23, 2017.


Eugene Volokh.
AcademicProfessor Eugene Volokh is an expert on United States’ religious freedom and church-state relations law. He discusses the US laws that may be used in the defense of a Detroit doctor accused of practicing female circumcision–specifically the claim of religious exemption. As the US government does not seem to grant an absolute right of bodily integrity to children, Professor Volokh finds that if the practice of female circumcision is not deemed to result in long-term medical harm, the Detroit doctor may be granted a religious exemption for practicing female circumcision.
“WHO’s Stance and the Criminalization of Female Circumcision: The Protection of or Violation of Human Rights?.” (2016).AcademicThe author argues that the WHO wrongly classifies female circumcision as FGM. The WHO disregards evidence in its reliance on an “overly-simplified, culturally-insensitive, and…imperialist approach” in defining the practice of female circumcision. The author clearly details the limits of the practice of female circumcision and deconstructs the WHO’s reasoning behind their misinformed conflation of female circumcision with FGM. The author calls upon the WHO and other international bodies to take a fair, culturally inclusive, and evidence based approach to correcting their misguided classification of female circumcision as FGM.
A Cutting Tradition

Sara Corbett
AcademicThe article describes female circumcision practices in Indonesia where the Asalaam Foundation organises free circumcision events for young girls. It also discusses the advantages of the practice. As Western awareness of female genital cutting has grown, anthropologists, policy makers and health officials have warned against blindly judging those who practice it, saying that progress is best made by working with local leaders and opinion-makers to gradually shift the public discussion of female circumcision from what it is believed to bestow upon a girl toward what it may take away.
Ban without Prosecution, Conviction without Punishment, and Circumcision without Cutting: A Critical Appraisal of Anti-FGM Laws in Europe

Dr. Maria Caterina La Barbera
AcademicThis article focuses on anti-FGM laws aimed at eliminating gender-based violence. It uses intersectionality to question the underlying conceptualization of gender-based violence, examines how the problem is represented, and which solutions have been proposed by French, British and Italian laws, showing their inconsistencies and biases. The article uncovers how anti-FGM laws generate new forms of vulnerability for African descent women in Europe, calling for a more complex articulation of gender at the intersection of migration status, ethnicity and neo-colonial relations.
The article highlights the double standard applied to non-therapeutic interventions, in particular ritual interventions on one hand, and cosmetic interventions on the other. Uncovering this double standard, the article suggests alternative framings of ritual interventions on female genitalia.
Understanding that the category of gender is multilayered and context-dependent reveals that international anti-FGM advocacy has silenced dissenting voices.
This article contributes to the debate on how to regulate ritual interventions on female genitalia in Western countries arguing that women are actors and have agency, and are not mere victims and that traditions are not fixed, but are continuously questioned, challenged and transformed by those who shape their lives according to them.
Female genital alteration: a compromise solution. Journal of Medical Ethics (2016). 42:148-154.

Arora KS, Jacobs AJ.
AcademicDr. Kavita Arora and Dr. Allan Jacobs argue for a reclassification of non-therapeutic female genital alterations by effect. Arora and Jacobs find that practices similar to female circumcision that have no evidence of resulting in long-term harm, do not violate human rights, and are not gender discriminatory should be allowed. Attempts at advocating against and outlawing all forms of female genital alteration do not respect cultural and religious differences and have not been successful at changing practice. Rather, in order to safeguard the health of the female child, the authors argue for a strategy that allows de minimus and culturally sensitive female genital alteration practices.
Gender and genital cutting; a new paradigm

BRIAN D. EARP AND REBECCA STEINFELD.
AcademicThe article finds female genital nicking as a religious practice sanctioned by the Prophet Mohammed and argues that if male circumcision is allowed, then female ceremonial practices should be as well. The article questions if there are any compelling health benefits of male circumcision questions distinctions of circumcision practice based on gender. The article also confirms that there is no universally consistent relationship between patriarchal oppressive societies and non-therapeutic genital cutting practices.
The author's define 3 types of cutting of a child's genitalia according to western understanding; namely FGM, male circumcision, and surgery to normalise intersex children, analysing that moral, socio-political, and legal responses to these procedures differ sharply depending upon the child’s sex or gender.
Western women who opt for NGC (non therapeutic genital cutting) are defined as cosmetically motivated, while African woman requesting the same procedure are believed to be culturally and religiously motivated, and hence labeled as victims of FGM.
The argument for female circumcision proceeds in 2 chains, one that conventional distinctions based on sex or gender do not reliably reflect the actual harms that are entailed by various forms of NGC, and second that, by contrast, distinctions based on autonomy and informed consent provide coherent grounds for an empirically justifiable analysis of the moral permissibility of NGC.
The authors conclude that a gender inclusive approach will benefit all, and banning NGC completely would be counter productive and indirectly cause more harm
Gendered Dimensions of Development

Compiled and introduced by Silke Staab and Shahra Razav under supervision of UNRISD- United Nations Research Institute For Social Development
AcademicThis is a 464 page report where FGM is mentioned only 5 times amongst other assessment criteria as something to be eradicated to help the development of women in those countries. No details as to the extent of the alteration procedure nor survey data of affected women is mentioned.
Illiberal Liberalism: How to Explain the Clash of Western Feminism and Female Genital Circumcision

Sadiq, Nooriya
AcademicThis article aims to show how Western liberal thinking has in large part shaped the negative discourse regarding the practice of female genital cutting, or FGC, without giving adequate space to the facts and opinions of those that actually practice the rite. While Western feminism is certainly justified in exercising its beliefs within its own domain, the application of Western thought to non-Western cultures skews not only the practice and meaning behind it, but also the entire basis for what is considered morally “right.” By investigating some of the major points of contention surrounding the FGC debate, this paper brings to light the importance of embracing third-wave or intersectional feminism as the most appropriate avenue to discuss issues regarding diverse cultural groups.
Newborn Male Circumcision

American Academy of Pediatrics
AcademicThis paper discusses male circumcision and the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) position in regard to it. The AAP admits to some health benefit with regards to AIDS prevention for male circumcision, but not enough to justify universal circumcisions for male newborns. Parents should determine what is in the best interest of their child.
Pleasure and Orgasm in Women with Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).

Catania L, Abdulcadir O, Puppo V, Verde J B, Abdulcadir J, and Abdulcadir D. Catania L, Abdulcadir O, Puppo V, Verde J B, Abdulcadir J, and Abdulcadir D.
AcademicA study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2007, conducted by doctors working at the Research Center for Preventing and Curing Complications of FGM/C, in Florence, Italy. The aim of the study was to analyze the sexual functioning of women who had gone through different types of female genital cutting.
During the study four groups were made and out of them group D had 57 women who were infibulated (Type III FGM) which were compared with a group of another 57 women who had not undergone genital alteration. The infibulated women had higher scores in some domains (desire, arousal, orgasm during sexual intercourse, and satisfaction).
The study conducted suggests that women that underwent female genital alteration who did not suffer from grave long term complications were able to have a healthy sexual life because their culture contextualized the alteration as a positive condition. When there is a cultural conflict, perception of pleasure can change and can inhibit orgasm, even if the anatomical and physiological conditions make it possible.
Seven things to know about female genital surgeries in Africa.

The Public Policy Advisory Network on Female Genital Surgeries in Africa
AcademicA policy statement that discourages making public statements about cultural practices without adequate research into the facts and beliefs of communities in Africa. The authors state, "Our main aim is to express our concern about the media coverage of female genital surgeries in Africa, to call for greater accuracy in cultural representations of little-known others, and to strive for evenhandedness and high standards of reason and evidence in any future public policy debates. In effect, the statement is an invitation to actually have that debate, with all sides of the story fairly represented.”
Should female genital cosmetic surgery and genital piercing be regarded ethically and legally as female genital mutilation? BJOG 2012;119:389–392. 3 June 2017.

Kelly B, Foster C.
AcademicFemale genital mutilation provokes strong reactions internationally, with the practice being labelled a barbaric attack on women’s sexuality and autonomy. A growing number of Western women and girls are having their genitals altered through surgery and piercing. Often performed for non-medical reasons, parallels have been drawn between cosmetic female genital alteration procedures and FGM, not only in terms of anatomical modifications but also direct and indirect pressures that lead women to undergo genital modification. The legal formulations of the Act are very exact, giving rise to the question if such a law could be invoked to prevent or prosecute any person(s) carrying out cosmetic genital procedures. The author questions if the law can prohibit all forms of FGM, even in adult consenting women, at the same time being tolerant of cosmetic genital procedures.
The goose and the gander: the genital wars, Global Discourse, 3:2, 348-366.

Richard A. Shweder (2013)
AcademicRichard Shweder is the Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. In his article, Professor Shweder considers the issue of female genital alteration through the lens of three different perspectives: communities that proscribe both male and female genital alteration, communities that practice both male and female genital alteration, and lastly the United States, where male genital alteration is normalized and permitted while female genital alteration is considered abhorrent and illegal. Schweder considers the arguments put forth by these societies finding that efforts to eradicate all forms of female genital alteration are “highly polemical, uncontested, and insufficiently evidence-based” and pose a threat to the largely accepted cultural/religious practice of male circumcision. Schweder also comments on the Hastings Center Report “Seven Things to Know about Female Genital Surgeries in Africa” and its limited effect on balancing the one-sided discourse surrounding such practices.
The Unkindest Cut.

The Economist
AcademicThe article directly addresses the practice of ritual female circumcision as practiced in Indonesia and more broadly calls for a redrawing of lines to differentiate between what defines the procedure as harmless and atrocious. A strategy is suggested to deal with the problem of the ill effects of FGM discussed – “focusing on the types that cause long-term harm and permitting the rest, if carried out by medical personnel.” Four instances of the attempted implementation of this strategy are cited (two of which took place in the U.S.), all of which were unsuccessful. Reference in made to a recently published article calling for a categorization of FGA that groups procedures by effect and not by process.
(http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2016/02/21/medethics-2014-102375)
Western Media Coverage of Female Genital Surgeries in Africa is “Hyperbolic” and “One-Sided,”

The Hastings Center
AcademicWhile the Network has no position on whether it believes the practice should continue, it aims to "move the topic from an overheated, ideologically charged, and one-sided story to a real, evidence-based policy debate governed by the standards of critical reason and fact checking."
The Network gives 7 facts which give a better understanding of the cultural complexities underlying FGS (female genital surgery) and hope to change the scope of media coverage.
The Network also gives 7 policy implications to the media to lessen misunderstanding, hyperbole of the practice and its effects, and encourage thoughtful and respectful speech with regards to the topic.
3 commentaries (Ruth Macklin, Nikola Biller-Andorno, and Dr. Nawal. M. Nour) agree with the policies but disagree with the Network's statement.
“Circumcision for Women.” Playgirl 1.5 (October, 1973). 76, 124-125

Kellison, Cathrine. “$100 Surgery for a Million-Dollar Sex Life.” Playgirl 2.12 (May, 1975). 52-55.

Kellison, Cathrine
AcademicIn both articles Cathrine Kellison talks about the advantages of female circumcision, and that “Female circumcision is strictly done for pleasure.” The foreskin is removed so that the clitoris is exposed to stimuli. She then explains the entire experience of the surgery and how minor it was. Post circumcision, she describes how much easier it was to achieve an orgasm.
"Medicine, Morals, and Female Genital Cutting - The Hastings Center."N.p., 15 Nov. 2017. Web. 6 Dec. 2017.

The Hastings Center
Academic"There is a dire need for a reasoned dialogue and open debate over female genital cutting and the ethical responsibilities of physicians. As a society, we need to understand the issues at stake, carefully weigh the harms to individuals and communities, and then use law and policy to regulate the boundaries of this practice.
Thus, like others before us, we believe that the term female genital mutilation, or FGM, should be discarded in favor of more neutral terminology. No doctor willfully seeks to mutilate. As we ask others to reexamine their rituals, we should reevaluate our use of language. For the terminology we use might reveal our unconscious biases, and a neutral stance is needed to allow the voices of those who engage in the practice to be heard."
Judging the other: Responding to traditional female genital surgeries, Hastings Cent Report. 1996

Lane SD, Rubinstein RA,
Academic"Western feminists, physicians, and ethicists condemn traditional genital surgeries performed on women in some non-Western cultures. But coming to moral judgment is not the end of the story; we must also decide what to do about our judgments. We must learn to work respectfully with, not independently of local resources for cultural self-examination and change.

Enormous damage can be done by inappropriate choice of language. For this reason, although many concerned individuals call the procedure "female genital mutilation" we prefer less inflammatory language. The extreme language used by Western authors to describe female circumcision is perceived by Arab and African people as a continued devaluation of themselves and their entire cultures. To put the matter quite bluntly, if we care about the genitals of the women in those cultures, we need also to care about their feelings.”

“These procedures have been compared to torture and child abuse. We argue that they are not torture, but are arranged and paid for by loving parents who deeply believe the surgeries are for their daughters' welfare. Parents fear, with much justification, that leaving their daughters uncircumcised will make them unmarriageable. Parents worry about their daughters during the procedures and care for their wounds afterward to help them recover. Even if we disagree with the practice of female circumcision, we must remember that the parents who do this are not monsters, but are ordinary, decent, caring persons.”

“When Western authors call for the practice to be eradicated in Africa or Asia, it is too often perceived by members of the involved societies as cultural imperialism."
Seatle Compromise

DORIANE LAMBELET COLEMAN
Academic"This Article demonstrates the continued relevance of the doctrine of ordered liberty in the context of our contemporary pluralism.

These immigrants sought to have their daughters symbolically circumcised by a state hospital; the procedure would have involved no tissue removal or subsequent scarring, and, according to those concerned, would have prevented the immigrants from seeking to have their daughters cut in the traditional way. The Article is also about the extraordinary sensitivity some members of the Seattle community displayed in addressing the immigrants’ cultural and religious concerns, the sometimes predictable and sometimes surprising ways others inside and outside of the community reacted, and the lessons, both large and small, that can be derived from the episode."
Where is the Harm

Juliet Rogers
AcademicJuliet Rogers considers a female circumcision case tried in Australian courts in which no physical evidence of any genital alteration was found. Nevertheless, the defendants in the case were judged to have participated in female genital mutilation.
The author argues that perceptions of injury and harm are culturally determined, and it was on the basis of these ’imagined’ harms triggered by the loaded term of ‘mutilation’ and spurious ideas of Islamic social norms that the defendants were found guilty. The author finds that claims positing female circumcision is mutilation, especially in the Australian case, are not supported by scientific evidence, reasonable argument, and ultimately legal scrutiny.
A Muslim perspective on female circumcision.

E. Winkel

Women Health. 1995
AcademicEric Winkel stresses that there needs to be a new discourse around female circumcision that is not dominated by Western opinion and by local countries to ensure the correct practice is carried out safely. He disagrees with the notion that khafd is carried out to “make sex unpleasant as a way of maintaining control over unmarried girls' sexuality” because it goes against the teachings of the hadith. He says, “muslim communities should not become dependent on and indentured to western agencies and their own nation-states to solve the problems they face, including the tragic consequences of widely practiced infibulation and clitoridectomy; we need to apply our own traditional practices and to support an indigenous Islamic legal discourse.”
Female Circumcision in Indonesia: To “Islamize" in Ceremony or Secrecy.

FEILLARD, A. and MARCOES
Academic“The aim of this paper is to follow up on Dutch studies in the 1920s to find out what evolution the practice has experienced this century. Is female circumcision a pre-Islamic practice as is proven for male incision? Has it spread together with Islamization ? Is the operation different from what it used to be? Which population group is most concerned with this practice? Has the age of practice changed? How is it perceived at the end of the 20th century?
Khitan Perempuan: Who Speaks for the Indonesian Female Circumcision?

Vesna Bočko
AcademicThroughout the paper the author focuses on the ritual of female circumcision in Indonesian Java, more specifically in the city of Yogyakarta. By the help of fieldwork and academic literature she examines this not merely taboo but also legally forbidden practice in the biggest Muslim country in the world. The author puts to the foreground the form of circumcision performed in Yogyakarta and its classification as a symbolic and less invasive one. She explains the history of this ritual in the archipelago, national and international regulations and guidelines, analyzes the role of different authorities (state, religious leaders and NGO’s) on the persistence/abundance of FC and as a consequence its ‘globalized’ form (medicalization of FC). For such research a careful approach is of key importance and the author frequently utilizes the help of cultural relativism, reductionism and the use of narrative. The author concludes with the following statement: “it's the women here who have to do something. If it's just a ritual, it's not necessarily a horrible thing just because the genitals are touched.” The time has come to consider the perspective, from which we observe and research a topic, especially a controversial one like circumcision.
Hukm Khitaan al-Nisaa, Tanta, Misr : Dar al-Sahabah lil-Turath, 1993

Majdi Fathi al-Sayyid
AcademicMajdi Fathi al-Sayyid, and Egyptian scholar, published a detailed work in Arabic on the practice of female circumcision in Islam. He discusses the authenticity of the narrations surrounding the practice and the position of the different schools of Islam - confirming female circumcision to be an Islamic practice. He offers his opinions of the possible health benefits of female circumcision and his disagreement with those who demand a ban on the practice.
Reflecting on the Language We Use

Rosie Duivenbode
Academic In this article Rosie Duivenbode advocates against using the loaded term "FGM". She also challenges the slogan that "Islam has nothing to do with FGM”. She stresses the need for honest and open intra-community dialogue and systematic research into the practice of female circumcision. To do this, "we must use neutral terminology so as not to alienate and marginalize anyone".
…'And He Was Born Circumcised ...', Some Notes on Circumcision in Ḥadīth

M. J. Kister
AcademicMeir Jacob Kister (16 January 1914 – 16 August 2010) was professor of Arabic in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This paper provides extensive citations on the authority of narrations pertaining to male and female circumcision. It cites counter arguments in favour of female circumcision. M.J. Kister states: “Circumcision was unanimously agreed upon by Muslim scholars as a reli- gious practice concerning males and females. There were, however, differences on whether it is an obligatory practice, wajib -considered even by some of the scholars as an injunction, fard-or merely a sunna, a customary religious practice which should be followed.”
Just one millimetre. Just One Millimetre

Southeast Asia Globe Magazine
AcademicThis articles highlights on female circumcision amoung Malaysian Muslim communities: Their Islamic obligation and justification, no evidence of harm in their Type IV female circumcision, carrying out the practice under medical supervision (University of Malaya’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine), and the problem of western hegemony.
When cultures collide; which rights? Whose tradition of values? A critique of the global Anti-FGM campaign

Richard A Shweder
AcademicAuthor states factually about global campaign against genital modification being aimed exclusively against the female half of the practice - describes how international norm define it as either,(1) An intolerable harmful cultural practice, or (2) a violation of human rights. This definition has been used without substantiation by rich nations and activists, who revel in lurid accounts of how it has maimed and killed countless, and is used to exercise patriarchal control over the sexual behaviour of women. Portrays African parents as murderers,oppressed or imbeciles in need of rehabilitation.

Author writes about a 1920`s account of a missionary who admitted that, although the practice without painkillers hurt, it did not cause any serious infections or hinder sexual pleasure, however it offended the christian sensibility. Author sees the need for first world countries to practise tolerance and neoliberalism; it is not reason enough to eradicate someone`s way of life simply because one finds it offensive and is rich enough to do so.

Meanders off, about globalisation making poor countries poorer, rich nations imposing cultural correctness on the rest of the world, activists ignoring the democratic voice of majority populations while pandering to the few third world elite, questioning if we truly are postcolonial?

Also the first world`s supposed fight for human rights, when it is in fact violating quite a few; right to family life, right to self determination, in its quest to eradicate a prized cultural practice. It zealously guards these rights for itself but has no qualms about denying them to others.

The author seeks to address the 2 criticisms separately alluding to the fact that when the harm principle stands unsubstantiated, activists jump on the human rights band wagon citing non-consensual violation of bodily integrity. Both arguments are factually debated by the author and found weak.

Comprehensive investigations regarding health consequences of genital modifications is ignored by media, while lurid activist literature is well publicised. Certain researchers like Carla Obermayer, Shell-Duncan and Hernlund are widely cited by the author.
Fantasies of 'female genital mutilation' : flesh, law and freedom through psychoanalysis

Juliet Rogers
AcademicIn 1996 the Crimes (Female Genital Mutilation) Act was passed in Victoria, Australia. The consultation with migrant communities, affected by the practices, was almost non-existent. The methods of the consultation, the implementation of the legislation and the use of the term "female genital mutilation" were objected to by the migrant communities. This objection and implementation mirrored similar legislative initiatives and similar methods of implementation in the United States, Canada, Scotland, England and Egypt. This thesis is an analysis of the speech on, and against, female genital mutilation. The analysis explores the texture of this speech, understood as a particular and invested arrangement of fantasy. This fantasy concerns the relation between the liberal subject and the sovereign. The relation is parsed in terms of the economic, the psychoanalytic and the political. These are the three idioms through which fantasies, of female genital mutilation emerge in contemporary times as a fantasy of flesh cut and the possibility of free speech. The thesis has four parts. In the first part it explores fantasies of subjectivity understood as the constitution of a mutilated woman against a fantasy of a non-mutilated liberal subject (as a postcolonial concern). In Part B the thesis explores economies of flesh. First and foremost the economy is staged as a relation between the subject and the sovereign. This relation is figured as a tension between a fantasy of circumcision and a fantasy of mutilation. In Part C the thesis discusses the politics of freedom articulated in sovereign democratic politics. Here the thesis moves from its focus on female genital mutilation legislation and places it in the contemporary politics of the `war on terror', evocations of national community and the problematics of a cultural pluralism. Mourning is the concern of Part D. In doing so the thesis returns to the speech on and against female genital mutilation and their invocations of human rights. The limits is figured in this part by reference to the protest of an African woman who says `I am not mutilated.'
Law's Cut on the Body of Human Rights : Female Circumcision, Torture and Scared Flesh

Juliet Rogers
AcademicIn Australia, the US, England, Scotland, Italy, France and in Egypt there have been repetitive calls to legislate against the practices of female circumcision described as female genital mutilation. But in western countries where anti-female genital mutilation legislation has been passed there has been little or no consultation with the communities in which the practices occur: documents are published only in English, and community responses are ignored or simply deemed biased or irrelevant. Opportunities for dialogue quickly turn into opportunities for education and legislation about the unacceptability of the practices. But why are communities denied their capacity to speak and influence political opinion and legal decision making? Why in an era of human rights, which heralds the importance of self-determination, freedom of expression and women's participation in political arenas, are women from these communities unable to engage in dialogue on this practice? Law's Cut on the Body of Human Rights considers how such assertive legislative responses, and this lack of curiosity and consultation with communities, points to a particular liberal investment the practices called female genital mutilation and what they signify. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory, Juliet Rogers examines the language of recent statutes and, where relevant, some of the accompanying policies and broader media debates, Female genital mutilation, she argues, elicits such a singular legal response insofar as it embodies that subjectivity against which the very subject of liberal law is imagined - and only imagined - to exist: in a state of non-mutilation, non-prohibition or, in a psychoanalytic idiom, non-castration.
Genital autonomy and sexual well-being

Brian D. Earp
AcademicWestern societies, if they wish to be consistent, may soon face a choice between two courses of action. Either they must consider tolerating at least some relatively mild forms of “culturally motivated” nontherapeutic female genital cutting (FGC) performed on minors—so long as they do not cross an arbitrary threshold of presumed harmfulness—or they must consider a less tolerant attitude toward “cosmetic” female and intersex surgeries as well as medically unnecessary male circumcision performed before an age of consent. Although each approach has advantages and disadvantages, a benefit of the latter approach is that it would prioritize the genital autonomy of all vulnerable children, regardless of their race, religion, sex, or gender, thus eliminating concerns about fair treatment and equal protection
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the UK Challenging the Inconsistencies

Moira Dustin
AcademicDebates about female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) have polarized opinion between those who see it as an abuse of women’s health and human rights, to be ‘eradicated’, and those who may or may not oppose the practice, but see a double standard on the part of western campaigners who fail to challenge other unnecessary surgical interventions — such as male circumcision or cosmetic surgery — in their own communities and cultures. This article interrogates these debates about FGM/C in the context of measures to reduce it in the UK over recent decades. It does not suggest that FGM/C is a legitimate practice, seeing it, rather, as an abuse of women’s and children’s rights that should be combated using a combination of measures. However, it argues that reduction strategies are undermined by inconsistencies in the law and the failure to back up the law with research and education.
The association between female genital cutting and correlates
of sexual and gynaecological morbidity in Edo State, Nigeria


F.E. Okonofua
AcademicForty-five percent were circumcised and 71% had type 1, while 24% had type 2 female genital cutting. No significant differences between cut and uncut women were observed in the frequency of reports of sexual intercourse in the preceding week or month, the frequency of reports of early arousal during intercourse and the proportions reporting experience of orgasm during intercourse. There was also no difference between cut and uncut women in their reported ages of menarche, first intercourse or first marriage in the multivariate models controlling for the effects of socio-economic factors. In contrast, cut women were 1.25 times more likely to get pregnant at a given age than uncut women.
Alan Dershowitz: Report He Will Help Defense in Female Genital Mutilation Case ‘Fake News by New York Times’

Breitbart News
MediaAlan Dershowitz emphasizes his role as a consultant on the Nagarwala female genital mutilation case and not as a representative of the accused. He states that Dawoodi Bohras reject FGM and try to be law abiding citizens. The practice, he says, is not FGM but "merely a symbolic pin prick, not even of the clitoris, but just of the clitoral hood, which is the equivalent of the foreskin." His main goal is to create a world wide alternative to FGM that will help resolve the conflict between religious freedom and the state's role in preventing child abuse.
Clitoralunhooding.comMediaThe site gives precise information on the procedure of a hoodectomy and its benefits. There is a list of surgeons who perform the procedure.
Khatna has been given a bad name, say Bohra women from around the world

Shelar, Jyoti - The Hindu
2017, April 26
MediaArticle written with reference​ to the Detroit female circumcision case. It comprises interviews of three Bohra women who denounce the negative media surrounding circumcision citing their experience of circumcision: no trauma and enhancement of their sex lives.
VIDEO - Tariq Ramadan Attacks Critics of FGM Advocate

Tariq Ramadan
MediaTariq Ramadan reacts to the condemnation of the Virginia Imam Shaker Elsayed's comments on female circumcision. In Ramadan's video he says one "cannot deny the fact that some scholars at the highest levels of their institutional position are supporting the fact that it is possible to perform excision without attempting mutilation and infibulation as it is known to be done in African countries. This should be part of an internal discussion that we need to have. Any one with six months of any basic Islamic training cannot say it's not part of our tradition." He also terms those who internally and externally oppose the practice as "Islamaphobes."
Dawoodi Bohra community takes offence with term ‘FGM’ Not meant to curb sexuality – Community member Challenges aspects in WHO FGM classificationMediaFemale circumcision is not FGM. It is an Islamic practice done by many communities. The practice is intended to enhance sexuality, not curb it. The WHO has presented no evidence of harm in regards to the practice.
Swiss Islamic Council Justifies Female Genital MutilationMediaThe Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (IZRS) has defended the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), claiming that Islamic law justifies the practice.
Why is Circumcision Celebrated for Boys but rules Illegal for Girls

MediaMale circumcision is widely performed, and indeed accepted and embraced, by Jewish, Muslim, and non-religious families around the world, including in the United States. Yet, a female doctor may go to prison in the U.S. for allegedly performing a significantly less invasive procedure on girls, a symbolic, harmless rite embraced by Dawoodi Bohra women for centuries.
Mother compares child ear piercings to FGMMediaA mother has sparked a furore online after she compared child ear piercings to female genital mutilation on ITV's This Morning.

Debating the issue of whether children should be getting ear piercings at a young age, journalist and presenter Alley Einstein vehemently argued that the practice is abhorrent and that parents should wait until their children are at least 10 years old before considering piercings.
Female Circumcision Awareness Week – Dr. Fuambai Sia Ahmadu speaksMediaThis weeklong – first in history event – coincides with the 15th International Day of Zero Tolerance on Tuesday, February 6, a UN sponsored day of awareness for the eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Female Genital Cutting (FGC) that proponents say is discrimination and absolute violation of the human rights of women and girls – will bring together the masses of affected women who will speak boldly about the World Health Organization’s FGM/FGC categorizations, exaggerated claims of harm as well as one-sided media representations of FGM in Sierra Leone and globally.
Mumbai: Khafz isn't khatna, and it is good, says Bohra women's bodyMediaVoicing support for the practice of khafz, which, DBWRF says, is not the same as female genital mutilation (FGM), it has questioned the study's authenticity, claiming "the majority" is for the practice. DBWRF secretary Samina Kanchawala said, "We have been quiet about this issue for a long time, but now, I feel that we need to come out be heard. We are the majority and represent the women of the Bohra community. The Dawoodi Bohra faith does not support mutilation of any kind, nor do we support any kind of female genital mutilation (FGM). We support khafz, which is an age-old and harmless religious practice that we have been taking up as a community for the last 1,400 years now."
Female Genital Mutilation versus Female Circumcision battle rages on across citiesMediaDBWRF, a trust that claims to represent the majority of Bohra women across the country, has 65,000 members. Speaking about the campaign, DBWRF secretary Samina Kanchwala said, "The Dawoodi Bohra community has been unequivocal in stating that we are completely against FGM and its proponents. We condemn any practice that aims to oppress or subjugate women. We have joined hands not only to spread awareness about FGM, but also to help establish the fact that khafz, which is an age-old harmless cultural and religious practice of the Dawoodi Bohra community, is entirely different from FGM."
More Teenage Girls Seeking Genital Cosmetic Surgery

Roni Caryn Rabin The New York Times dated 25/4/2016
MediaArticle discusses that teenagers have always been vulnerable about their body image, and with the internet and airbrushed images, they feel their genitals are deformed and need cosmetic surgery. Parents are being counselled by doctors to reassure their teens that surgery is not the only alternative, also screening for psychiatric disorder advised. ACOG says procedure has not been proven safe or effective and could lead to serious complications. Vaginal rejuvenation was mainly marketed to older and postpartum women. However cosmetologists argue that the girls they operate on, are screened for mental disorders, have their parents` consent and some actually need it for a functional purpose other than aesthetics.
Circumcised Women Fight BackMediaCircumcised women are beginning to challenge the definition of their bodies as "mutilated" especially vis a vis male circumcision and the increasing popularity of female genital cosmetic surgeries in western countries. Why the hypocrisy?
Khatna: ‘To Increase the Radiance on the Face of the Woman’

The Hindu.
BlogsThis article provides an explanation of the religious and social opinion of the Dawoodi Bohras on female circumcision.
Khitan – Circumcision Is Healthy For Muslim Sexuality

Green Prophet
Sep 18 2011, by zaufishan
BlogsZaufishan explains why the procedure is done for both males and females. He explains the medical procedure for males, its roots from Prophet Ibrahim, how there is no fixed age nor condition for conversion, the health benefits, and how it can brings about pleasurable sex.
The author clarifies that female circumcision exists in Islam only as type 1a and accordingly all other types are against Islamic practice. The author argues that anything that harms the human body is haraam in Islam and therefore any practice that hinders a woman's ability to enjoy sex is also haraam.
Zero Tolerance for FGM: Winning battles but losing wars

Bríd Hehir
BlogsMany agree that criminalisation is not the best way of stopping ‘FGM’ and would prefer community-led educational information and more opportunities for dialogue within practising communities.

This is challenging work, but if people’s hearts and minds are to be engaged, and persuaded to abandon or modify the practice voluntarily, intolerant and interventionists’ tactics must be rethought. They might well heed Edna Adan’s warning to aid agencies, that they should speak directly to practising communities or risk ‘winning battles but losing the war’. Lets hope they all take note. But what women voluntarily chose to do with their bodies should be their business.
Dawoodi Bohra Woman Slams Female Genital MutilationBlogsTalking about Mutilation and circumcision and its difference, Samina Kanchwala, secretary of DBWRF says, “Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Female Circumcision (FC) – also known as Khafz are entirely different from each other. Khafz is a harmless cultural/religious practice of the Dawoodi Bohra community. It does not in any way damage the female genitalia. The procedure does not cause any psychological, physiological or biological problems. In fact, there is not a single clinical study to show that Khafz leads to any harm whatsoever.”

She reiterates that Circumcision (khitaan), is a cultural and religious practice of the Dawoodi Bohra community. Kanchwala calls circumcision as an act of gender equality. “It includes khafz (female circumcision) and khatna (male circumcision). Both are practised in the community and therefore we see it as an act of gender parity, rather than discriminative.”
Empowered Circumcised Women - Yes, "crazy as we want to be"! Five good reasons to read SiA Magazine

Fuambai Sia Ahmadu
BlogsFuambai recommends reading her SiA magazine about FC because 1) To know the “other side” of the debate on female circumcision. 2) To understand that different women experience different forms of female circumcision in different ways. 3) To know the real origins of female circumcision and how it relates to male circumcision in our African religious and cultural contexts. 4) To be able to hold your own and maintain your self-esteem in the midst of anti-FGM hate campaigns and negative media stereotypes. 5) To appreciate that there are so many options that stop short of “zero-tolerance to FGM” slogans and anti-FGM hate campaigns.
Defective sexuality and female circumcision: The cause and the possible management

Saeed Mohamad Ahmad Thabet
AcademicSexuality was not affected in minorly circumcised cases. However, sexuality was markedly affected in the mutilated cases. The scores for sex desire and arousal and for orgasm were especially affected in such cases.
DETERMINANTS OF COITAL FREQUENCY AMONG MARRIED WOMEN IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: THE ROLE OF FEMALE GENITAL CUTTING

HOLLEY STEWART, LINDA MORISON and RICHARD WHITE
AcademicThe extent to which women can control coital frequency in this culture is not known and fertility desires may override any negative effects of circumcision on sexual pleasure. It was therefore not possible to draw conclusions about how female genital cutting affects a woman’s desire for sexual intercourse and consequently there is a need to develop research methods further to investigate this question.
Female circumcision does not reduce sexual activity

Emma Young
MediaCircumcised women experience sexual arousal and orgasm as frequently as uncircumcised women, according to a study in Nigeria. The researchers also found no difference in the frequency of intercourse or age of first sexual experience between the two groups of women.
Between moral relativism and moral hypocrisy: reframing the debate on FGM

Brian D. Earp
AcademicThe spectrum of practices termed “Female Genital Mutilation” (or FGM) by the World Health Organization is sometimes held up as a counterexample to moral relativism. Those who advance this line of thought suggest the practices are so harmful in terms of their physical and emotional consequences, as well as so problematic in terms of their sexist or oppressive implications, that they provide sufficient, rational grounds for the assertion of a universal moral claim—namely, that all forms of FGM are wrong, regardless of the cultural context. However, others point to cultural bias and moral double standards on the part of those who espouse this argument, and have begun to question the received interpretation of the relevant empirical data on FGM as well.
Male and Female Genital Alteration: A Collision Course with the Law?AcademicRecommendations are that the federal and state laws should be rewritten to allow the sort of minor genital nick, with proper pain control and in hygienic circumstances. There should be more data collected on MGA, and the practice should be carried out by certified physicians focusing on hygiene and pain control.
There is significant overlap between some forms of FGA and the common practice of MGA in America. But one practice is illegal, while the other is not even the object of governmental oversight or record-keeping. Analysis of the motives behind the two practices -religious, medical, cultural, social- do not support such a disparity. The rhetoric of the activists, and the language of the federal and state laws against FGA, all suggest that this disparity is driven at least in part by a deep lack of respect for motivations that drive parents to perform FGA, as contrasted with the respect given the motivations behind MGA. Because laws criminalizing FGA burden the free exercise of religion, and because they appear to target only one type of religious practice while ignoring other like practices, they must be narrowly tailored to meet a substantial government interest. However, the crude sweep of the current laws criminalizing FGA does not meet that standard.
The campaign against Female Genital Cutting: empowering women or reinforcing global inequity?AcademicThis paper explores the issue of Female Genital Cutting (FGC), starting with the story of how the practice changed and was permanently abandoned in a single generation in a rural Iranian town in the 1950s. Two striking features of this example—its direction by religious men, and the shift to less severe forms of FGC before total abandonment—challenge contemporary orthodoxy on ending FGC. Further, the minimal impact that this FGC abandonment had on the lives of girls and women raises the question of whether the attention and resources currently spent on FGC abandonment programmes might provide a greater benefit to communities if spent differently. In the context of most FGC practicing communities facing multiple significant challenges to their well-being, including food shortages, extreme poverty and poor health and education infrastructure, this paper asks whether ending FGC is as high a priority for practicing communities as it is for the international donors who largely fund abandonment programmes.
FGM Campaign under scrutinyBlogsFGM activism in a nutshell: Insufficient Data | Briefcase Organizations | Misappropriation of Funds | Deceptive Strategies.
1. Does the Anti-FGM Board have the requisite capacity?
2. Do donors carry out audits and due diligence before dispatching funds?
3. Are campaigners really committed to ending FGM?
Moral Hypocrisy or Intellectual Inconsistency? A Historical Perspective on Our Habit of Placing Male and Female Genital Cutting in Separate Ethical Boxes - Robert DarbyAcademicThe prevailing discourses on female genital cutting (FGC) have sought to quarantine the practice from male genital cutting (MGC), and fur- ther demonstrates that none of the various features that are supposed to fully distinguish one set of procedures from the other can logically hold water. The fundamental problem seems to be that the voluntary and official bodies campaigning against FGC, and especially the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO), show unjustified discrimination and hence inconsistency with respect to gender and culture, but fail to make justified and morally relevant discriminations with respect to age and degrees of harm.
The Practice of Female Circumcision among Muslims in Kelantan, Malaysia AcademicThis paper describes the practice of female circumcision among Muslims in Kelantan, Malaysia. Although all the women had undergone circumcision as infants, there was no clinical evidence of injury to the clitoris or the labia and no physical sign of excised tissue. In the interviews, the majority of women described the procedure as a nicking of the tip of the clitoris or prepuce with a pen-knife or similar, only drawing a drop of blood and causing brief pain. All of them considered the practice desirable and could not see any harm in it. We decided to use the term 'female circumcision' as we believe 'female genital mutilation' would be a misnomer in the Malaysian context.
The normal and the aberrant in female genital cuttingAcademicThis paper aim is not to trivialize FGM/C, but to detrivialize and expose as equally political—equally subordinating and equally worthy of critique—practices of Western femininity such as FGCS. If Western women and men resist placing their cultural practices in the same light as those of Sudanese and other African groups, and insist on seeing in the latter a form of violence absent from their own, this is because Africa remains for them a locus of the aberrant and exotic, in terms of which they are oppositionally defined.
“We Did It for Pleasure Only”: Hearing Alternative Tales of Female CircumcisionAcademicThis article is based on fieldwork conducted in southern Chad on the recent adoption of female circumcision. In Myabé, a village with a population of about 1,000, girls were first circumcised around 1980. Residents describe female circumcision and their experiences of it in ways that contrast sharply with popular notions of what female circumcision means and how it is practiced, and with the descriptions and interpretations available in the medical, public health, and anthropological literatures. In making sense of these findings, the author questions the reasons for the hegemony of the “standard tale” and argues for the need to allow a plurality of stories and experiences of female circumcision to emerge.
FGM: Zero tolerance to what?BlogsTo make the discourse more inclusive of and relevant to different women in different spaces, we need an honest reflection on the underlying assumptions of the discourse and on how these assumptions influence efforts to end the practice. Central to this reflection are questions about who can and who cannot make informed choices about their bodies. And most probably, the answer to this question should not be based on skin colour, cultural background, or geographical location.
A Rose by Any Other Name?AcademicIn this article, we offer a critical examination of the tendency to segregate discussion of surgical alterations to the male and female genitals into separate compartments; the first known as circumcision, the second as genital mutilation. We argue that this fundamental problem of definition underlies the considerable controversy surrounding these procedures when carried out on minors, and that it hinders objective discussion of the alleged benefits, harms, and risks. We explore the variable effects of male and female genital surgeries, and we propose a scale of damage for male circumcision to complement the World Health Organization’s categorization of female genital mutilation. The origins of the double standard identified are placed in historical perspective, and in a brief conclusion we make a plea for greater gender neutrality in the approach to this contentious issue.
Genital Cutting and Western Discourses on SexualityAcademicThis article explores dominant discourses surrounding male and female genital cutting. Over a similar period of time, these genital operations have separately been subjected to scrutiny and criticism. However, although critiques of female circumcision have been widely taken up, general public opinion toward male circumcision remains indifferent. This difference cannot merely be explained by the natural attributes and effects of these practices. Rather, attitudes toward genital cutting reflect historically and culturally specific understandings of the human body. In particular, I suggest that certain problematic understandings of male and female sexuality are deeply implicated in the dominant Western discourses on genital surgery.
#9 Reasons why we could be losing the fight against #FGMBlogsMany reasons why Anti-FGM Movements do not work, the biggest one being that every practicing community has its own reasons for upholding the practice and would therefore not welcome any other divergent views, even from one of their own. Having stated this, organizations that get through to communities imagining that they know best what the community should do lose terribly. What works for community A might not work for community B. Imposing change on communities only brings forth backlash.
FGM horrid, but MGM beneficial? Not so fast!AcademicThe general perception that FGM is universally worse than MGM is mistaken. To say otherwise is sexist. American society, especially in this era of gender equity, can no longer cast a blind eye to the harm it is doing to our boys and men, especially after having already protected our girls and women from genital violations
A Reflection on the Cultural Meanings of Female CircumcisionAcademicThe men don’t know how to come to a decision. They used to say that a girl must be circumcised in order to approach the mosque, to be able to pray. But now they say circumcision is archaic and that uncircum­cised women are more pleasurable, more ‘tasty’. Men are only thinking of masumam (‘taste’)/ It’s the only reason that they are against excision and, really, that is nothing
What About "Female Genital Mutilation"? And Why Understanding Culture Matters in the First PlaceAcademicThe controversy over female circumcision in Africa is not an open-and-shut case. Given the high stakes involved, I believe it is a responsibility of cultural pluralists both men and women who are knowledgeable about African circumcision practices to step forward, speak out, and educate the public about this practice.
Genitals and ethnicity: the politics of genital modificationsAcademicThe discrepancy in societal attitudes toward female genital cosmetic surgery for European women and female genital cutting in primarily African girl children and women raises the following fundamental question. How can it be that extensive genital modifications, including reduction of labial and clitoral tissue, are considered acceptable and perfectly legal in many European countries,while those same societies have legislation making female genital cutting illegal, and the World Health Organization bans even the “pricking”of the female genitals?
Evaluation of Body Image and Sexual Satisfaction in Women Undergoing Female Genital Plastic/Cosmetic SurgeryAcademicIncreasing numbers of men and women are choosing to electively alter body morphology. Women in increasing numbers are choosing to alter their genital anatomy to gain greater self-esteem, diminish functional discomforts and difficulties, and improve sexual pleasure. The data here appear to suggest that there is a form of genital centric body dissatisfaction that is surgically responsive, and that sexual self-image and “satisfaction” are improved with genital aesthetic and functionally related surgery.
Motivations, Expectations, and Experiences of Labiaplasty: A Qualitative StudyAcademicWomen are also generally very satisfied with the results of their labiaplasty and this usually translates to improvements in their psychological and sexual well-being. However, women's expectations were not always fulfilled, particularly concerning the effects on their sexual relationships. The results presented here will potentially allow clinicians to communicate more effectively with women who are seeking labiaplasty.
Strawman Fallacy: FGM vs. MGMMediaThis is a response to anyone who has misunderstood the point of discussing MGM when less severe types of FGM are mentioned.
Female & Male CircumcisionMediaA breakdown of various Types of Male and Female Circumcision
Female Circumcision as Sexual Therapy: The Past and Future of Plastic Surgery?BlogUnderstanding the sexual nature of the clitoris and its importance to female sexual pleasure, some physicians have, for well over a century, diagnosed a condition of the clitoris as the physiological cause for a woman’s failure to have an orgasm with her husband. These physicians thus treated the lack of an orgasm in the marital bed as a sexual disorder treatable through surgery. Physicians performed female circumcision to help married women who wanted—or whose husbands wanted their wives to have—orgasms during martial sex.
Harm or benefit? Hate or affection? Is parental consent to female genital ritual ever defensible?AcademicFGR does not exist in a vacuum. As rigorously illuminated in the next two sections, the practice holds a number of powerful benefits for practitioners, explaining its survival for centuries, even as eradication forces have proven unrelenting in their mobilization of resources for its extirpation. (26) By adopting less invasive forms of FGR, progressive practitioners retain the benefits and yet are spared adverse consequences that could possibly have resulted from the more severe types. (27) This surely is a legitimately defensible position.
Muslim groups call for female circumcision to be medicalisedBlogJoint Spokesperson Noor Hazeema Haris said that although Muslims wholeheartedly support the abolition of traditional practices harmful to women and children such as FGM, in case it is shown to exist in Sri Lanka, the Islamic practice of female circumcision is vastly different. She pointed out that this religious obligation practiced by the Muslims of the country for centuries in keeping with the requirements of the Islamic faith is not FGM.