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Friday, May 20, 2005


Over at Ideonexus Ryan is almost to the end of his 6 part exploration of sexual reproduction. With no offense to Ryan but this seems to have gone on for much longer than the 5 parts he is supposedly up to. No matter, it is good reading.

Anyay, the latest installment, which discusses female circumcision, got me to thinking:
There are limits to Multiculturalism's mandate of tolerance. No one suggests cannibalism or genocide requires respect and protection as a cultural practice. So the question orbits the issue of human rights and whether these women are being oppressed.
Clearly a balance must be struck between accepting and promoting multiculturalism and certain rights that many of us believe we hold as human beings.
But where is the line drawn?
Who decides?
What implications might it have for practices in our 'own' culture?

Go and read Ryan's post and see what you think. It asks an interesting question at the end, something I had never thought about but in fact is a very good point. Let me know what you think.
And Ryan, how about a little something for Cabal?


Shinobi said...

It was my understanding that women who have been circumsized are then completely unable to enjoy the act of sex. (That is to reach orgasm, as if it wasn't hard enough for most women WITH a clitoris) Which is not really true for men.

Also, I recall reading a peice on a female circumcision after which the girls labia were sewn shut. So that when she married her husband would have to break through this in order to consummate the marriage. (vomits under her desk)

It is one thing to remember and cherish a heritage, it is another thing to let practices of mutilation continue because they are part of that heritage.

Kav said...

I am firmly of the position that it must stop. I am less firm against male circumcision though. Is this because it is less of mutilation - it is still a mutilation though. What is your view on that?

Clearly I think there is a line (or at least a fuzzy grey area) but why do I/we place that line there?

ebird said...

I have used the term mutilation to describe male circumcism, but I agree with Shinobi that is is far less severe than for females. It seems as though for males it is customary rather than religious or cultural which are somewhat easier to defend. Parents opt for it without really thinking about it. Education I believe would reduce participation in this involuntary, unnecessary procedure.

I do believe that female circumcism is horrible.

Ryan Somma said...

Thanks for the plug Kav!

I knew a middle-eastern woman who was circumsized and was very proud of it. I also find the practice appaling, but only because it is practiced on minors without their consent. This is the reason I have also come to object to male circumcision. It was not my choice to be circumcized and my mother has told me, if she had to do it over again, she would have let me decide for myself.

As for sexual pleasure. Shinobi is correct that the clitoris is the focus of the female orgasm; although, I do not know if all circumcized women cannot have orgasms. There is much more variety in women's sexual faculties.

As for male circumcision, there is a great deal of reduced sensitivity in males lacking foreskin. Women I have spoken to who have been with both circumcized and uncircumcized men say the uncircumcized make better lovers. The increased sensitivity apparently makes them wield the tool better. (Sorry, that was about as delicately as I could put that.)