No, There Is No ‘Balanced Look’ at Female Genital Mutilation

No, There Is No ‘Balanced Look’ at Female Genital Mutilation December 14, 2012

I was emailed a link to this appalling article on female genital mutilation by a sociologist named Lisa Wade, which is mostly just a bunch of cultural relativism bullshit. I thought about writing a response to it, but Zinnia Jones has already written one that says most of what I would have said. So I’ll just link to her.

For instance, the report criticizes a New York Times columnist for describing the mutilation as “the sewing or pinning together of both sides of the vulva, by catgut or thorns, and the obliteration of the vaginal entrance except for a tiny passage”. They contend that this “is not factually correct”. The report goes on to explain how three subtypes of mutilation are performed.

Type I is ”restricted to procedures involving reduction of either the clitoral hood (the prepuce) or the external or protruding elements of clitoral tissue, or both.” Type II “involves partial or complete labial reductions and partial or complete reductions of the external or protruding elements of clitoral tissue.” In type III, infibulation, “the operation is concluded by shielding and narrowing the vaginal opening with stitches or other techniques of sealing, which forms a smooth surface of joined tissue that is opened at the time of first sexual intercourse.”

The authors then point out that “infibulations amount to approximately 10 percent of cases across the continent” and are sometimes performed using sutures under hygienic conditions in hospitals or clinics. Yes, what a relief that only one in 10 girls subjected to FGM have their vaginal opening sewn shut before later being torn open, whereas the other nine in 10 must only endure having their labia or the visible portion of their clitoris cut off.

Yeah, those other 90% should just stop their whining, amirite? Jesus, this is infuriating. And it would be so easy to write exactly the same thing about other monstrous evils, like slavery or the holocaust, and the only ones who would find that anything but appalling are apologists for those things.


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