October 16th, 2013 Readings: Bell and the Benatars
Overview of the readings Some more penetrating views Bits and bobs about the penis Womb as oasis
Beginning standpoints: Critiques of female circumcision exist but public opinion about male circumcision remains largely indifferent This difference can NOT be explained by the natural attributes and effects of these practices Rather, attitudes towards genital cutting reflect historically and culturally specific understandings of the human body and human sexuality
Collapsing All of the different female operations = mutilation Reducing Various forms of male genital cutting can only be considered alongside FGM if it involves castration Hesitant recognition Some students see how forms of MC could be equated with FGM BUT, they always divorced sexuality from MC and always linked it with FGM
Male-surgery=intact sexuality=culture Women-mutilation=removal of sexuality=violation of the natural body The main comparative discourses around male and female circumcision Our old friend, dualism Here, it is connected with gender: M-F as Culture is to Nature These procedures are often spoken of in general terms Little attention to the diversity of procedures, and related medical harms, associated with different regions or cultures
Is some critical reflection on the meanings placed on FGM and the problems with Western responses BUT, overwhelming focus is on women to the exclusion of MC practices Those who do comparative work is mainly from activists who are against MC Very little attempt to really examine whyinternational opinion remains hostile to FGM and indifferent to MC In this way, the reactions of her students reflect the dominant discourses regarding these procedures
There is anti- MC information on the Internet but it is sidelined, not well known, and not taken seriously Why does this occur? This is compounded by controversial and non-conclusive results within MC research, which hasn’t always been conducted with scientific rigour Is the silence about the health-related outcomes of MC curious?
FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons; 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide live with the consequences of FGM and In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually; The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women; Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths; It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three