The problem with FGM

Over the past decade, the term female circumcision has been replaced by the term FGM – female genital mutilation.

It’s almost certainly a more accurate term. FGM is entirely unpalatable, the cutting out of a young girl’s genitals (you could say “before she is too young to consent” but that would be meaningless as almost nobody would ever give their consent for such an act, certainly nobody in the right state of mind) no for no reason than depriving her of one of the most basic human pleasures is a beyond-abominable act.

But such a change, without it’s male counterpart, has one drawback.

At the launch of Pro Life Through Pro Choice campaign, a pro choice group which advocated such a stance was also pro life, Norm innocently used the term “female circumcision”, only to be hounded for the rest of the meeting for having the nerve to accidentally use what some people in the room considered the wrong term.

But, when we used the term male circumcision, no such outcry was heard. Even though we now know such a procedure is just as unjustified as its female equivalent, the voices remain oddly silent.

This is a real problem because it creates a double standard – female circumcision gets upgraded to FGM because it’s so heinous, yet male circumcision is allowed to keep its name because it isn’t as wrong. That, as far as I can see, is the only message you can take away from such a change.

It creates at atmosphere where circumcision remains an acceptable term because we have a whole different term of something that is wrong. This gives the term circumcision a free pass – and it shouldn’t have one. It’s a betrayal of the young boys in our society to grant it one.

That isn’t to say that we should rename FGM back – we could simply rename its male equivalent to male gentile mutilation. But either way, we shouldn’t grant any more credence to the idea that it is more acceptable to mutilate a boy’s genitals, than it is a girls.

EDIT: Since originally penning this article, a friend pointed me to a news story on The Guardian in which some campaigners were quite open about the fact that thought millions of males should suffer in case it jeopardised their own position in some unknown way.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 5th, 2012 at 12:38 pm and is filed under Religion & Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.