Anthropologist defends the indefensible
An unimaginable, horrific, and traumatic procedure found its way into the news recently. For the first time since the 20-year law banning it has been in effect, two doctors were charged for performing the procedure on minor girls.
The procedure is female genital mutilation, and it's called that because that's what it is. As with calling out Islamic terrorism, it's imperative to call an evil what it is.
What is not so imperative is sensitivity to other cultures. One person who could stand to learn this is the health and science editor of the New York Times, Celia Dugger, who has her writers use the term "genital cutting," as she considers FGM "culturally loaded."
It's worth noting that the United Nations, for all of its failures, uses the FGM term. There can be no room for cultural sensitivity when young minor girls, who cannot give consent, are being physically, emotionally, and sexually scarred for life.
On the May 3 episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, anthropologist Fuambai Ahmadu, who underwent the procedure herself as an adult, came on to defend FGM. With a straight face, her apparent aim seemed to be to convince audiences that the procedure isn't as bad as many believe to be, and that only about ten percent of victims undergo the most severe type 3 procedure. Ahmadu missed that such a figure is still ten percent too many.
The victims of the doctors charged are certainly not the only ones. In the United States, 507,000 women and girls have gone through or are at risk for the procedure. What they had to endure should happen to no unconsenting minor, and certainly not in a civilized country, like what the United States is supposed to be.
Ahmadu sought to diminish that trauma, specifically in how she differentiated the different types, with type 1a, which these victims endured, involving a prick of the clitoris – not so bad, if you ask Ahmadu. It's not likely that you know a woman who wouldn't see a problem with having her clitoris pricked, or a man who wouldn't see a problem with a loved one having her clitoris pricked.
Amazingly enough, and again, with a straight face, Ahmadu argued that the practice and culture should be more accepted, and that it perhaps isn't so bad. She is not the only one who is seeking to make this barbarism become more accepted in our civilized society. Women in January were marching for abortion, a procedure that may be legal, but ends the life of a human preborn child and often wounds the mother. They were ironically doing so under the guise of a Women's March, which was in part led by Linda Sarsour, who attacked FGM victim Ayaan Hirsi Ali over Twitter.
On the episode of The Five that aired on the same night as Carlson's program, co-host Greg Gutfeld also brought FGM into the news. He wondered if groups such as the ACLU truly care about FGM practices, which are done for cultural and religious reasons. The ACLU threatened to sue President Trump over his religious freedom executive order, which was not even signed at the time of the ACLU's statement. A Google search of the ACLU on FGM brings up results to do with transgender rights.
In bringing up the issue as he did, Gutfeld hinted at a necessary honesty as to why the procedure is performed. Civilized people need to be honest about the reason why the procedure is performed and how it is done – namely, as one of the most sexist displays imaginable. Not only does FGM deny the pleasure of a sexual life, but it includes countless health risks, including death.
No aspect of this procedure can be worse than what these young girls have to endure. What is almost worse, however, is the complete false equivalency, as made by Ahmadu, with male circumcision. Baby boys are circumcised as a practice of the Jewish religion. The procedure is done quickly and humanely, as a sign of a covenant with God. A baby boy is capable of feeling pain, even while still inside the womb, late enough into pregnancy. But the procedure is done not to cause him pain or to have the opposite sex inflict control over him. Many non-Jewish boys are also circumcised, as the medical community believes that it has health benefits, of which FGM has none.
If I ever have a son, he will be circumcised, in part because he will be Jewish on his father's side, but also because I would have had him circumcised anyway. And I will not have such a medical decision questioned and equated with one of the worst human rights risks affecting young girls around the world and here at home.