Female Genital Mutilation and Legal Battle
A look at the controversial topic of female genital mutilation and the legal battle surrounding it.
This essay examines the continued existence of female genital mutilation and the arguments presented in favor of discontinuing the practice and for enforcing legislation against it.
“There are two things that female genital mutilation (FGM) is not. It is neither an African problem, nor is it a third world problem. This infringement of women’s rights has occurred all over the world, including here in Canada. Female genital mutilation is therefore a global problem, which can no longer be ignored, postponed, or buried in the international community’s agenda. Secondly, it is not a debate on morality. Instead the debate should be posed as a question of a woman’s individual right to be free of circumcision versus the tribal groups’ right to maintain its tribal identity through the practice of female circumcision, without state interference. Debating the morality of another culture is an unfair judgment due to the difficulty of shedding ones western values and taking on another. Analyzing cultural values of people through different cultural filters creates misinterpretations and inaccurate assumptions that take away from the seriousness of the issue. With two million girls between the age of eight days and young adulthood at risk of having to endure this practice in primarily unsanitary conditions with no anesthetic, or antibiotics, this topic could not be more severe (Dorkenoo 294). These practicing cultures have the potential to change this tradition, as the Chinese chose to do with their custom of foot-binding (Mackie). Not only does this practice go against all international conventions put into place to protect women and children, but also there is no enforcement by the respective states. Also proponents of FGM point to arguments such as religion and tradition to support the continuation of this custom, it is obvious that those defenses are no longer sufficient to combat global human rights grievances.”