Even after my second read I can't believe that anyone, especially a woman would defend FGM or FC. I've never heard it described as anything but barbaric, painful and misogynous. I also can't find any emphirical scientific data to support her claim that FC will in any way reduce the likelihood of HIV. In the interest of fairness it's good that she's offering a difference of opinion on the subject, but I can't say I in any way agree with this article.
I notice the article defends FC in the exact same way the burqa is defended: it's racist and culturally imperialist to be against it. This shows how cultural relativism can be used to defend just about anything. (And anyone can label themselves a feminist to gain instant relevance.) Actually, cultural relativism means different treatments for different people based on their ethnicity, and I think that's the very definition of racism.
Other cultural and religious traditions: foot binding, child brides, arranged marriage, tying up and force-feeding women (Ugandan practice), praying for your deathly ill kid instead of giving him/her life saving medicine, stoning to death, honor killing. Under 100% cultural relativism, everything's fine. I say most cultures have good and bad aspects, including our own, but we shouldn't have to pretend that all aspects of all cultures are equal.
She talked about "the positive experiences most women have with female circumcision" but other than vague, emotionally charged language, doesn't say anything specific about what these positive experiences are. (Do the little girls who just got it feel positive, or does it take a few decades of indoctrination?) I'm also doubtful that it isn't used to stunt female sexuality, or at least that it's never used for that purpose. And I don't know about the more minor forms of FC--maybe they're similar to MC in that some people feel mutilated, others don't--but I don't see how cutting off the clitoris and labia and sewing the skin together can not be harmful to health and sexuality.
If they really were "free to choose", they would have the choice when they are adults, with no coercion from their family or community. Then I would say it's still ridiculous, but so are a lot of things. That's the difference between FGM and getting "vaginal reconstruction surgery" (which as far as I know, is done pretty rarely).
I'd be interested in knowing the culture, location, and upbringing of those defending FGM, particularly if they were raised in a culture where this was a generally accepted practice or not. I would bet my shirt on the former and likely win a laundry! These people are immersed in a tradition so deeply that they cannot separate themselves from it or the social inertia it represents. As a result, their "objectivity" regarding FGM must be suspect.
Regardless, we're still talking about the cutting and excision of healthy tissue for no other reason than to satisfy some holy man ... and it's still MUTILATION.
Any physical altering of children's bodies should be illegal and looked down upon by anyone with the ability to think rationally. What's next mom doesn't like her 5 year old child's face? Plastic surgery time! And of course the child will 'want' it cause they want mom's love. It would not be racist to condemn the western world for doing such things. The only way FGM would not be sexist would be if BOTH men and women in a given society we're doing it. If the males are also cutting off their organs of orgasm, the entire penis (the foreskin is not the organ of orgasm), then perhaps the western world's view could be seen as racist but we all know this is NOT the case. Certainly anyone who would defame FGM and have had their sons circumcised could very well be viewed as racist for condemning a similar practice, though at least with true circumcision the ability to orgasm is not lost.
Both practices should be abandoned like all primitive superstitious practices. Adults should do whatever they like to their own bodies but we don't have the right to own children's futures. If you've never had an orgasm you're not capable of making a rational decision about FGM much less that decision for your daughter. Of course there are 'positives' associated with FGM just like it was positive you weren't a witch if you drown in the dunking chair. Certainly not drowning and being seen as a witch because of it would indeed cause more trouble than being DEAD. That anyone could argue it's not used to stunt female sexuality could only occur because 1. they have been FGM themselves and don't want to face the ugly truth that they are incomplete in one of (if not the most important!) the most major aspects of humanity (they have had their 'little brain' removed!) or they are insane- removing the female organ is the height of 'stunted' in a sexual context- seriously is there anyway to be MORE stunted in a literal sense than that? What else is LEFT to stunt??
I truly understand how our culture's physical destruction of women is disgusting (Heidi Montang anyone?) and that many women save up their money and go into massive debt in our own form of female mutilation but again that's adults and I'm pretty sure no feminist thinks that's a great option either. Another scary aspect begins to emerge when you research the discoveries scientists have found as to why it's important during conception for a woman to orgasm both for optimal implantation and protection against deformities among many other things- even intelligence has a positive correlation with sexual satisfaction between parents.
I have never actually seen what it looks like when a female is circumcised. I was trying to find it, which I didn't but I came across this person defending it:
As a muslim woman who has been circumcised, you are all wrong..
It makes things nice and neat and clean for the woman before she is married and makes anal sex all the more attractive.....
For thousands of years this has been the practice..
Just look at the faces of Muslim women today...
See how beautiful and femine we look......
All here must be lesbian woman,
all of you
Wow, that made no sense at all, but was pretty funny. Why does it make anal sex more attractive? Cause it hurts the same either way? Both holes look the same? No one wants to look at her vagina? Or does she mean having anal sex before marriage so she can stay a virgin? "All here must be lesbian woman, all of you", I think she's trying to say "You're just jealous!" But sorry lady, "lesbian" is not an insult!