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I don't want to sound like I'm advocating circumcision: I just want people to be aware that there are concrete disease-prevention reasons that people might choose to circumcise. The scientists in the study I linked above had to stop the
I don't want to sound like I'm advocating circumcision: I just want people to be aware that there are concrete disease-prevention reasons that people might choose to circumcise. The scientists in the study I linked above had to stop the study months early because the results were so overwhelmingly clear: they could not ethically continue the study without offering every single participant circumcision because it was so effective at preventing HIV transmission. In a perfect world, no one would have to worry about HIV transmission. As it stands, parents should not be demonized or made to feel ashamed of their decision if they have their son circumcised to prevent infection (this holds especially for people in Africa since infection rates are so high). Obviously, the lower the individual infection rate, the less the community needs to worry. It's a herd phenomenon and I think it's perfectly reasonable justification. People will make whatever decision they make, but they should have all the facts.
I do take issue, however with saying that make circumcision and FGM are even related: they are similar in that both involve genital regions. The similarities end there. The motivations are completely different: male circumcision is often motivated by tradition, aesthetics, and health concerns. It does not (when not botched) result in long-term crippling of sexual function. FGM is motivated by a desire to control the sexuality of the victim, to make it impossible for that victim to have sexual agency, and to express ownership over that victim. It's apples and oranges.
I will agree that the situation in Africa is DEFINITELY different to the situation here.
In the western world, the 'benefits' of circumcision compared to the risks are negligible. So why do it?
And listen, I don't want to offend you, but I TOTALLY disagree with you on the subject of FGM and you'll find I'm not alone. Certainly, male circumcision isn't nearly as severe, but even WHO workers in Africa acknowledge that they're related.
This is the transcript of a radio interview with Dr. Nahid Toubia, physician and director of Research Arction Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women:
Maureen Primerana asked: "I understand that in the communities where female genital mutilation occurs, it is often referred to as female circumcision, however, this term implies an analogy with male circumcision, which is not the case. Could you explain the difference?"
Dr NahidToubia replied: "Well, I disagree with you that it's not the case. I think the people who say that there are no similarities are people who don't want to address male circumcision basically. Number one, they're done as a ritual. It's not done to mutilate anybody. It's done as a positive cultural ritual even though it creates damage. But the intent of it is something to keep the child part of the community, part of their peer group, part of an ancestral ritual that's based on culture, sometimes in a misperception, sometimes some people feel it's based on religion. So in that sense, it's not that different from male circumcision. And many of the societies that do female circumcision actually do male circumcision around the same time. They don't see this difference. The other similarity, I think, is the fact that it's done on a child without the child's consent. Now, regardless of the degree of damage, I think any physical cutting of a child, to our understanding today in the 1990s is a human rights violation of that child.