Thanks to Julie for drawing my attention to this piece by Jill Stanek. I must say I don’t understand why the American Association of Pediatrics would worry more about cultural sensitivity than, say, the health of girls. And not just physical health, either. For there is something deeply more troubling about female genital mutilation than “just” removing body parts; it’s the idea that girls and women are not supposed to experience sexual pleasure – that they are somehow dirty, or impure, if they do. It’s not just a “cultural practice”. It’s butchery, pure and simple – and if you don’t believe me, I challenge you to watch one (ditto with an abortion). So why would we put up with it, and try to minimize it instead of just saying “No way, we’re not going to tolerate that sort of butchery on American soil”? As Jill Stanek points out:
Traditionally, feminists have strongly opposed FGM, along with all of Western civilization.
But in this new age of cultural sensitivity, attempts are being made to bridge the divide, not necessarily end the barbaric practice of FGM.
For instance, there is a call to stop using the offensive term “mutilation” in favor of “female genital cutting” or “female circumcision,” both utterly inaccurate.
There is also the recent suggestion by the American Academy of Pediatrics to barter a compromise, recommending that pediatricians offer the gentler, kinder form of FGM, Type 4: pricking, piercing, or incising. In a new policy statement on April 26, AAP recommended:
“Some physicians … advocate only pricking or incising the clitoral skin as sufficient to satisfy cultural requirements. This is no more of an alteration than ear piercing. …[T]he ritual nick suggested by some pediatricians is not physically harmful and is much less extensive than routine newborn male genital cutting. There is reason to believe that offering such a compromise may build trust between hospitals and immigrant communities, save some girls from undergoing disfiguring and life-threatening procedures in their native countries and play a role in the eventual eradication of FGC.”
I should note this recommendation is currently illegal in the U.S.
It’s also a pretty stupid idea.by