Watching Dr. Nawal El Saadwawi on BBC’s HARDtalk in an interview with Zeinab Badawi, there are many questions than answers that she left me thinking about, especially on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Male Genital Mutilation (MGM). She said, FGM and MGM are performed based on monogamy, polygamy and sexual desires but, I am sure there are those who will say that this is not true basing on religious and social lines.
El Saadawi is an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, medical doctor, psychiatrist and an outspoken political critic. She is the founder and president of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights. She was banned from speaking in the Egyptian media and imprisoned under the government of President Anwar Sadat for her outspoken views.
I have come to know that there are many activists around the world who have equated male circumcision to FGM and some are fighting tooth and nail to abolish it. The staggering question is, can they win this battle that has stood for centuries both in the holy books and in communities where the practice is a norm? Your answer is good as mine but let us continue.
In 2013, Iceland’s children’s ombudsman of the Nordic countries met and agreed that male circumcision is a form of genital mutilation and they are fighting to ban the practice. Some representatives from Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Greenland who met in Norway with doctors and surgeons agreed on one thing: the fight for the right to keep the foreskin. The children’s hospital in Reykjavik has completely stopped circumcising boys.
The campaign concluded that the procedure is in conflict with the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which says, “Children should have the right to express their own views and be protected from traditional rituals which may be harmful to their health.”
A section of believers think that male circumcision reduces the risks of acquiring HIV /AIDS and transmitting cervical Human papillomavirus (HPV). Consequently, there are women who prefer circumcised males. They say that they are offered improved sexual pleasure since the circumcised genitalia is hygienic, increase penile-vaginal contact, stimulation, and marginally the males stay longer during sex and it can lead women to reach an orgasm.
There are some African and Asian tribes that symbolises circumcision as a rite of passage into manhood or warrior status just like some tribes in Africa who think FGM is a right to girls. What is your take on both of them (male circumcision and FGM)?