Anthropology – Is Female Circumcision a Human Rights Violation or a Treasured Cultural Tradition?

It is estimated that 130 million females in 28 countries worldwide have their hair trimmed at a rate of at least two million each year. The discovery has thereby provided a modern understanding, raising concerns that female circumcision could be more common than previously believed, necessitating the need to postpone its abolition. A new realization has been the understanding that immigrants from these countries moving to the western nations have continued to practice the cultural rite of passage despite the risks it is associated with and the physical harm to the subject. It thus creates a dilemma on the way forward for the industrialized nations that seek to ensure that there is respect for human rights, deference to cultural traditions, while ensuring hygienic processes in medical processes and especially surgery. Based on Shirley Fedorak’s text, it is recommended that the western world should be supportive of female circumcision for health and sanitation reasons and because opposing it will result in more incidence.
From the finding that the practice is increasingly being practiced in the western nations, it is suggested that we should support the populations because of the difference in perceptions that we have from what these communities consider. It is critical to acknowledge that trying to resist a cultural tradition that has been practiced for decades in other countries and that has strong social and societal bonds will result in futility. As Westerners we may find the practice of female circumcision to be mutilating and regardless of how we may perceive it, the societies that practice it tend to have a different definition of human rights (Fedorak 108). According to Fedorak, it is interesting that we tend to define the practice contrary to how the communities describe it. The western nations tend to consider it as a violation of human rights by making the females to undergo pain and physical deformation from the cut. However, for the communities that practice, it, the notion of differ net because it is considered to be a rite of passage and a definition of what makes a woman. For example, the Mandinga community of Guinea-Bissau believe that the ability of the women to withstand the pain with fortitude in a crucial rite of passage that make the girl and her family to receive an honor. Trying to oppose such communities would thus mean that we will be denying the communities their individual rights while thinking that we are providing them with access to human rights provision based on how we define it.
Furthermore, it is advisable that we support the communities that practice the vice in the US and other western nations because opposing it has resulted in adverse outcomes in the past. Some activists have promoted the idea of the criminalization of the act as the only feasible way of ending the vice. However, there have been adviser effects reported whenever such interventions are instituted. It has been found that by making the practice illegal, the challenge would be that social pressures will increase in an effort to counter it. For example, a law was passed in Sudan in 1994 with the intention of banning female circumcision (Fedorak 110). The result was a backlash and public furor that ended in more widespread new cut rates. In fact, the case of Kenya provides the apprehension of the extent of resistance whenever laws are passed to counter the cultural practices. In the country’s Meru district, a ban on the cut resulted in females excising each other to counter the supposedly oppressive law. Because of the support among the population that practice it, it will be challenging to counter female circumcision.
It is thus recommended that we provide the performing that practice it through proper training, with the necessary tools and medical equipment to ensure that the procedures are both hygienic and safe to the subjects. Women are usually not willing to seek care whether the practice is successful or not possibly because of the stigmatization that is associated with it particularly in the western nations. However, statistics have often cited that there are adverse health outcomes linked to female circumcision that can be avoided through investing in better training and equipment for those who practice it. Incidences of hemorrhaging, local and systemic infections, severe pain, shock and in some cases death underscore the fact that while it is perceived as a rite of passage, there needs to be more safety in practice. For example, UTI infection may result when female avoid urinating because of the fear of stinging. Other threats that are associated with not providing enough support are that there is a chance that sanitation and the quality of care will reduce when there are increased rates meant to counter oppressive laws (Fedorak 115). Thus, the idea needs to be supported as it is worth risking from the realization that those who have perceived it as a way of improving the health and saving the lives of those who engage in it.
However, it is important to acknowledge that while medicalization is thought to be lifesaving, there is resistance from both proponents and the cultural traditionalists. According to human rights activists who support it, it is thought that by approving and supporting the cut among women, there is a chance that efforts to counter the trend will suffer a huge blow (Fedorak 112). Others have noted that those who practice it may not respond positively to the idea of medicalization because they think that the process is not the same when it is done in the hospital setting. However, regardless of the effects of each of these concerns, it is recommended that we support nations and communities practicing female circumcision because of the health benefits and promotion of diversity that is associated with such measures.
In summary, it is important to emphasize that because the female cut is cultural issue that has been long practice, enacting laws and threats to ban the practice will be futile. The challenge usually results from the way the western world defines human rights and the subject of female mutilation because apparently, there is major clash in the way the topic is defined. Furthermore, there have been adverse outcomes whenever laws are passed to oppose the practice, implying that it will be difficult to change a tradition that the affected communities tend to support. It is recommended that surgical equipment and better training for the practitioners should be provided to increase the health benefits and save the lives of women who practice the perceived rite of passage. The suggestion comes amid the concerns that it would still be resisted and the fact that it would make it harder to overcome it in the long-term.

Work Cited
Fedorak, Shirley. “Is Female Circumcision a Violation of Human Rights or a Cherished Cultural Tradition?” Anthropology Matters. North York, Ontario: University of Toronto Press Incorporated, 2013. Print.

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