P.Z. Myers posted recently on Pharyngula that Female Genital Mutilation has medical benefits, according to some wing nut Egyptian doctor, and an equally enlightened Egyptian female gynecologist. The justifications are remarkably similar to what we’ve all heard for Infant Male Circumcision, and one poor sap decided to bring that to the attention of the thread. Now, the thing I’ve learned is that when a thread is about FGM, a man better not step in and say ANYTHING about male circumcision, not even if it pertains to the post. If he does, he’s going to be be slapped down with great gusto.
The comment: danielrudolphsays:
10 January 2012 at 6:09 pm
The first part is startlingly close to the justification for male circumcision.
Which is 100% true and too obvious to be worth more than that one line. But the reaction… wow. Over the top or what?
Aaaaaaaaaand in this corner, the 2nd idiot weighs in, with no visible reading comprehension and with a complete inability to discuss the topic at hand, because it deals with that most unimportant of subjects, womeeeeeeeen!
Can’t discuss women unless it is somehow tied into the ever more important subject matter of…men!
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And then it all got worse. I did not join in. I have my own blog where I can state my opinions and few enough readers that I don’t generally have to argue with anybody. So here’s the point I’d like to make:
IT’S THE SAME THING
Got that? I’m against gender segregation. It is wrong to talk about male circumcision without referencing FGM. It’s just as wrong to talk about FGM and flame the poor guy who makes one short and to the point comment that references male circumcision. IT’S THE SAME THING. It’s about taking a knife to a helpless child for no good reason. Can we get over the fact that some of those children are boys and some are girls?
Yes, I’ve read the Waris Dirie Story. It blew my mind and infuriated me. She’s one of my heroes for coming out as a spokesperson for this issue. That took real courage. And yes, FGM is often far worse than anything done to a male penis. Also yes, FGM is about controlling and dominating women whereas male circumcision is rooted in anti-sexuality in general plus the hysterical medical fad to combat masturbation.
But, and you knew there had to be a but here someplace, FGM is often not nearly as bad as male circumcision. There’s as much ignorance about FGM as there is about Infant Male Circumcision. People who have only been exposed to the Waris Dirie story assume it is always like that, and it isn’t. The Waris Dirie experience is beyond horrible, and involves not just removal of the clitoris and labia but also restricting the vaginal entrance to a tiny hole, causing endless pain with menstruation and urination. It is a brutal attempt to desexualize a woman completely and the male equivalent would be removal of the whole penis. But for some Muslims cultures only the labia, all or part, is removed and that is virtually equivalent to male circumcision. For many other Muslims it’s a ceremonial “nick” on the clitoral hood, a pinprick. Some forms of that ceremony, known as Sunat, leave the woman virtually unchanged as an adult. Whatever the level of inflicted horror, most forms are perpetuated by women and accompanied by the same denial of loss we find with male circumcision victims. Of course it’s still wrong and stupid and, most of all, illegal in America.
My point is that FGM is the same thing as male circumcision in that it’s a violation of the bodily integrity of an infant or a young person without consent. It should be illegal in ALL forms, male or female.
Let’s cut the gender segregation here and stop flaming people who mention male circumcision on an FGM thread. Once again: IT’S THE SAME THING.