Why we should “Stamp … out FGM”

In “Stamping out FGM” http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2012/stamping-out-fgm/ Will Bordell writes about the ease with which we can “fall into … relativist quicksand” and mentions Dr Richard Shweder who “is convinced that ‘many African women view [the clitoris] as an unbidden, unwanted, ugly and vestigial male-like element that should be removed’. In the guise of ‘tolerance’ for the beliefs and practices of other cultures, what is revealed is a shameless double standard, a prescription for inaction and indifference in the face of the most horrendous cruelty, a blank cheque for tyrants and oppressors. We mustn’t let the wool be pulled over our eyes.” This is a courageous article that challenges cultural relativism on FGM, and I have made similar arguments. Putting ANTHR/APOLOGISTS into google brings you directly to my review of a “respected” volume on genital “cutting” which excuses perpetrators and abets the infliction of suffering. (Thanks to Sarah McCulloch for placing the review in the ACCM newsletter.) See http://www.accmuk.com/fgm_factsheet_1.pdf

See also, in a broader context, the Special Issue on FGM, Feminist Europa. Review of Books: http://www.ddv-verlag.de/issn_1570_0038_FE%2009_2010.pdf The critique has been carried as well by the Journal on Female Genital Mutilation and Other Harmful Traditional Practices. Scientific Organ of the IAC [Inter-African Committee]. University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. IAC 25th Anniversary Issue. 3/1, 2010 (& 2/2). pp. 52-61.


Finally, as I write, Khady and her political allies are at the U.N. striving to see the General Assembly “Ban FGM” worldwide.

High Level Side Event on Female Genital Mutilation highlights the need   for a Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, 25 September 2012

The campaign for a worldwide Ban on   FGM is approaching an   historical turning point, which could be a milestone in the protection of   fundamental rights of Girls and Women. The issue of FGM will be discussed at   the 67th Session of the Unted Nations General Assembly (UNGA) under the   agenda item “Advancement for Women”. On the eve of the opening of the UNGA   General Debate, the Missions of Burkina Faso and Benin to the United   Nations, with the support of No Peace Without Justice together with   its partners in the International NGO Coalition to Ban FGM Worldwide,   organised a High Level Side event called “Intensifying Global Efforts for   Eliminating FGM” to bring visibility on this issue.
The event, which was attended by over 150 participants, among whom First   Ladies, Ministers, Ambassadors and the representatives of UN Agencies and   civil society, underscored the importance given to combating FGM by an   ever-widening group of States. Emma Bonino, vice-president of the   Italian Senate and founder of No peace Without Justice, concluded the session   highlighting that FGM is a global issue that affects not only the daily lives   of women and girls on the African continent but the rights of women   worldwide, and that the response must be a holistic and comprehensive   Resolution that bans FGM worldwide, providing the political support to all   those who fight to put an end to the practice, and be a real tool for change.

Read more

Please visit the website www.banfgm.org for further information on the campaign as well as the complete list of   signatories to date.



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