Thursday, September 23, 2010

Medical Anthropologist Speaks on Abolishing Female Circumcision

I wished I could attend  this event; will buy her book though.

"I will examine the validity of Western arguments against female circumcision," said Gruenbaum, the author of The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective. "In doing so, I will explore both outsider and insider perspectives on the custom, concentrating on the complex attitudes of the individuals and groups who practice it and on indigenous efforts to end it."

In her book, The Female Circumcision Controversy, Gruenbaum points out that Western outrage and Western efforts to stop genital mutilation often provoke a strong backlash from people in the countries where the practice is common.

"The criticisms of outsiders are frequently simplistic and fail to appreciate the diversity of cultural contexts, the complex meanings and the conflicting responses to change," she observed.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cultural Relativism

"Another classmate, an Anthropologist, said that it is a woman's right to go to a physician and asked him/her to perform female circumcision, if that is an aspect of her culture she desires. If she does not get it done in the doctor's office, she may go home and have it done in an un-sterile environment with a razor blade. That may be a requirement of her culture... If she is not circumcised, even a little bit, she may not be able to find a husband, be accepted into the circles of adult women, etc. She would get it done no matter what, and it is preferable that it be a tiny cut by a skilled physician than a huge slice by an unskilled hand."

Female genital mutilation persists despite ban in Indonesia

"A lack of regulation since the ban makes it difficult to monitor, but medical practitioners say FGM/C remains commonplace for women of all ages in this emerging democracy of 240 million - the world’s largest Muslim nation.
Although not authorized by the Koran, the practice is growing in popularity."