Whether it’s a nick or full circumcision, female genital mutilation is about control: Paradkar 

Paradkar on FGM and the Dawoodi Bohras, a small sect of Ismaili Shia Muslims from India and Pakistan:

Circumcision of boys, a controversial and emotionally charged topic, is almost always by medical doctors (and not by a razor blade in a dark room), so you could say there is some comfort in a reduced risk of harm.

Science scrambled to catch up with that cultural practice and has thrown up contradictory results.

Female circumcision has no known medical benefits.

Then there is an added insult in the Bohra community. Circumcision of boys is openly celebrated. For girls, “it’s a very secretive practice,” says Doctor. “Often, the men don’t even know it’s happening to their daughters.”

So shrouded is it in secrecy that a celebration held after the cutting doesn’t even mention the girl has undergone khatna, the circumcision.

Get wounded, then hide in shame.

Like parents who circumcise their boys, women do this to their girls believing it to be in their interest.

In reality, in whose interest is it?

“It does damage to nerve endings,” says Doctor. “There’s psychological harm that makes them (women) afraid of sex. There’s pain during sex, risk of infections.”

Stories by affected women indicate it’s about male sexual insecurities.

“When a woman’s urge is moderated, many sins are eliminated from society,” says a young woman in A Pinch of Skin.

Urge to do what? To seek attention? To have sex? To have orgasms?

There’s no clarity on this, because talking about sex is taboo, as is talking about genitals.

The taboo allows for vagueness to conveniently mask what is essentially a caging of female desire.

Circumcision, whether it’s a symbolic nick, as some now claim, or a removal of the clitoral hood or clitoris, is a mark of sexual control over female bodies in this traditionally entrepreneurial culture where men travelled far as traders and were away from their wives and families for a long time.

It’s an interference that hoodwinks women into confining little girls in a chastity belt.

No such restraints for the travellers.

Source: Whether it’s a nick or full circumcision, female genital mutilation is about control: Paradkar | Toronto Star

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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