My works cited page is elsewhere. Two of my sources are peer-reviewed/scholarly and one of my sources was for a definition
ps- if any of you are medical pros (which I know some of you are) it would be really nice for your input too. Just please dont make me re-write the paper since its due tomorrow
hmmmm...not allowed to attach a word file so im going to copy and paste it here:
English 102: Furst
19 October 2010
The Truth About Female Circumcision
When a baby boy is born, parents are given the choice of having this male child circumcised or not. Imagine now that when your daughter is born, your doctor asks you if you would like her to be circumcised as well. This question can seem completely inappropriate to the western family and even hurtful and offensive. In cultural anthropology, we are taught to look at every way of life and every culture with “cultural relativity” or, in other words, to not judge other cultures or other ways of life by the standards of our own. Female circumcision is not as barbaric as the Western world is taught to believe that it is. The research used to decide whether female circumcision is humane have been based not 100% on medical research but on questionnaires that are not always culturally relative to the subject being asked.
To begin, it is very important to clearly define a few different terms used to describe the genital cutting or circumcision of girls and what these types of circumcision are. Understanding that words carry connotations and feelings is very important when conducting research about female circumcision because when researchers from Western countries go to different places in Africa and in Asia where many females are circumcised, they use questions that have words like “pain” or “sexual pleasure” within them and depending on the culture of the woman, these words can mean different things. For example, as Carla Makhlouf Obermeyer stated in her article about the health and sexual consequences of female circumcision, undergoing pain during the circumcision procedure may be a necessary component to the entire process because in that particular culture, the pain is the right of passage (443-461). Also, pain is different for every person who goes through the process. While some women have a very high pain tolerance, some women do not. Words like “sexual pleasure” is another word that researchers incorrectly use to decide whether female circumcision is humane or not. Sexual pleasure differs entirely depending on the woman being asked. Not to mention, many cultures find discussing things like sexual pleasure very inappropriate and may not communicate openly about these intimate topics.
There are many different types of female circumcision that are practiced throughout the world. The World Health Organization defines them as Types I, II, and III. There is also a type IV but Type IV encompasses a few different types of procedures. Type I is the most common form of female circumcision. It is when the clitoris is amputated and gauze is then applied to stop the bleeding. Most medical practitioners may insert one or two stitches to reduce bleeding and quicken the healing process. Type II is similar to Type I in that the clitoris is amputated but in Type II, part of the labia minora are removed in the same stroke. Types I and II account for 80-85% of circumcised women. The last type of circumcision is what most Westerners imagine when they think of a circumcised woman: Type III, or insertion, is when the clitoris, labia minora and the inner layer of the labia majora are all removed entirely and the edges of the labia majora are then stitched back together leaving a small hole for urine and menstruational secretion. It must be clearly understood that Type III is rarely conducted compared to the other two forms of female circumcision.
As for Types I and II, there is some medical evidence provided to show that while there was an increase in infections in some areas, most clinical studies show that circumcised women and uncircumcised women do not differ as much in terms of medical complications in other areas. For example, in a table provided by Obermeyer comparing the medical complications in circumcised and uncircumcised women, there was no difference in candida, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and trichomeniasis infections; little to no difference in infertility rates, and stillbirths; and there was a very small difference in anatomical damage besides what is inevitable when the person performing your operation is not a medical professional--which is a possibility in many parts of the world where male and female circumcision is performed. When asking the circumcised women if they experience orgasm during sexual intercourse, 66% of circumcised women said yes while only 59% of uncircumcised women said yes. 33% of circumcised women experience arousal compared to the 35% of uncircumcised women who also experience arousal (443-461).
So why is female circumcision so looked down upon and viewed as dangerous? Since female circumcision is practiced in many countries that are not as medically advanced as the United States, there are hygienic factors and environmental, economical, and cultural factors that must be considered. A professional doctor using sterile tools and performing the surgery in a hospital will have a different outcome than a tribal member performing it with a piece of glass. Since female circumcision is illegal or taboo in many western countries, you will not see it being performed here. However, in Western countries, we have our own type of female genital cutting called Genital cosmetic surgery. Bergitta Essen and Sara Johnsdotter from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology define the procedure as “reduction of the labia minora and tightening of the vaginal opening” (612).
It is true to say that female circumcision, in all of its types, does increase the risk of infection in circumcised women. While medical statistics may show that Types I and II are not as dangerous as some people may think, it does not show that circumcision is entirely harmless, especially when more drastic procedures are being performed. However, while there may be an increased chance of infection, it should be understood that most of what we know about female circumcision comes from women who come from a culture that practices this surgery and must be looked at carefully before fingers are pointed at the practice as a whole. Consider environmental and hygienic factors, the health of the women pre-surgery, and the fact that many of the questions asked to these women were not culturally relative. There is still more to learn about female circumcision in terms of medical research but from the data provided, types I and II, when performed by a medical professional, may not be as serious as many fear it to be.