Friday, April 15, 2005

Circumcision and Female Genital Mutilation not Comparable

Note: this post may be a little graphic, but I can't imagine that it is anything you couldn't read in a newspaper. Don't read it if the topic of ritual female genital mutilation (a practice common in Africa) bothers you.

This article on VDARE by Marcus Epstein brought up one of those important thoughts that I have from time to time.

In the US, it should be imperative that we stop referring to all female genital cutting as "female circumcision." Moreover, we ought not to talk about banning "female circumcision."

Circumcision, or the removal of the clitoral prepuce, is being used here as a euphemism for removing the clitoris and a large portion of the labia. The former case is comparable to circumcision in males, the latter case is more like cutting off the penis and to removing a large portion of the scrotumand stitching it together to make it tighter.

The danger if we do not distinguish the two is that opposition to female genital mutilation will used to ban male circumcision.

My feeling is that actual circumcision (removal of the prepuce of either the penis or the clitoris) should not illegal, but clitorectomy or labectomy should. (If anyone knows why the former procedure would be more damaging to the female, please let me know).

That is all.

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