Circumcision Vs Female Genital Mutilation


Circumcision is a pain ritual. Pain ritual is universal in culture- It is very possible that pain ritual plays a part in human development that we dont yet fully comprehend. Tribal cultures perform rights of passage into adulthood that include some “ordeal” for the initiate to endure. This can take the form of a vision quest, a psychedelic experience or some other form of pain ritual. Pain rituals can include tattooing, ritualistic cutting as seen in Papua New Guineas KANINGARA tribe or the Native American sun dance in which people are suspended from vines by hooks through their chest.

Pain ritual is designed as a right of passage into adulthood. The intention of such a ritual is to induce a visonary/ ecstatic experience and to learn to endure pain. The endurance of such an ordeal may play a role in human maturation that we dont fully appreciate. Circumcision of babies may have been a tradition that prepared an infant for the ordeal of life before he is able to contemplate his own predicament.

Female Genital mutilation, on the contrary, is a surgery that leaves normal use of the genitals impossible

There is a difference between circumcision, which aside from it’s traditional cultural intention was primarily continued in the west for cleanliness, and female genital mutilation which can be as severe as completely removing the clitoris and in some cases even sewing up the vaginal canal- the intention of this procedure is to completely eliminate sexual functionality and pleasure.

Many anti-circumcision advocates will argue that both practices are forms of mutilation. Mutilation is defined as “The infliction of serious damage on something”. So is circumcision “mutilation” if it doesnt destroy sexual functionality? Would a cosmetic procedure be considered “mutilation”?

Its not surprising that the same people who argue that circumcision is mutilation are also advocates of sexual reassignment surgery, which I would argue, is in fact mutilation.

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