Female Circumcision

2965 WordsSep 7, 201412 Pages
1 Female Circumcision: A Sociological Perspective Aaron Robins Joe Pellegrino Prof. Romain Sociology 101 November 29, 2005 Female Circumcision: A Sociological Perspective Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or a less ethnocentric term Female Circumcision is a form of violence that is approved by the societies in which it is practiced. About 183 million women have undergone such mutilation. The geographic areas of practice include North-East Africa and parts of the Middle East. Although it is illegal in Canada, it is practiced by immigrants from those areas. For the most part, men do not involve themselves in the practice, and its greatest supporters are women in the communities affected. It…show more content…
While the operations are a central initiation trial and create a permanent physical mark of adulthood, initiation cannot be reduced to circumcision or excision alone. In many other societies, initiation does not involve circumcision at all(Hosken.) The purpose and meaning of female circumcision are related to specific cultural understandings of identity, personhood, morality, adulthood, gender, bodily aesthetics, and other important issues. In the Sudan, for instance, female circumcision is seen as enhancing a woman's purity, cleanliness, and beauty. For the Kikuyu people of Kenya, circumcision was the foundation of moral self-mastery for women and men alike, performed as part of initiation into adulthood(Hosken.) The age of those circumcised varies widely according through cultural understandings. In much of Mali and the Sudan, for example, girls are circumcised at six to eight years, while various communities in Kenya and Sierra Leone perform the operation in the early teens. For the Yoruba people of Nigeria, male circumcision and female excision are not related to adulthood initiation but rather to moral concepts of shame and fertility. They often circumcise their children at just a few days old, much like male circumcision in the United States and Europe(Hosken.) When female circumcision was performed on American and
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