I'D RATHER HAVE A CLITORIS IN FRONT OF ME THAN A CLITORIDECTOMY
DON'T GET SNIPPY WITH ME, YOUNG LADY! OR ELSE!
I'LL SNIP YOU GOOD!
With A Snip-Snip Here, And A Snip-Snip There
As the Great Cul once proclaimed, in the full, unsnipped glory of his irrepressible manhood (I guess, I don't know, or is he Jewish? A New Yorker? A body modifier? Enquiring minds want to know!):
" 'No matter how you might frame it, both male and female circumcision done on a small child without any possible consensual input from the child, is purely abuse. Should the dictates of culture be enforced on those who do not have the capacity to refuse them? I say, "Absolutely not!"
Cultural continuity is a wonderful thing except where it serves to maintain oppression.
I don't see many folks concerned with maintenamce of cultural integrities clamoring for the long standing art of removing hearts from living victims to ensure a hefty corn crop.' "
Actually, I'm all for human sacrifice if it means more sweet corn for me. As long as I'm not nominated for the honor. But I digress.
Just one point: So-called "female circumcision," is in fact, no mere shortening, snipping, skinning or removal of just the clitoral hood. It is a radical clitoridectomy, complete removal of the entire organ, sometimes accompanied by a sewing together of the outer labia. More like female castration, really. All this in the name of purity, or "chastity." (Whatever happened to a locked belt? Oh, right --locksmiths!)
Usually, this is not done by a doctor or a nurse, or even a trained religious specialist like a moyel. (Lousy wages, lots of tips... ) In many third-world countries today, it is often the grandmother, the aunt, or the mother herself who performs the act of sexual butchery on her own daughter, as her own mother did to her. Without benefit of anaesthesia, antibiotics, surgical instruments or sterile conditions, the procedure amounts to sexual torture and bloody mutilation, by one's own mother, at a very tender age. Imagine the psychological trauma, the lifelong sexual dysfunction. Not to mention the risk of infection, disease, sepsis and death.
That we are now seeing these "traditional rituals" being perpetrated in the West presents us with a certain irony. What, really, is the excuse for male circumcision in our "advanced technological civilization"? All sorts of justifications have come and gone over the years. But the fact is, the practice was introduced by doctors who had inherited it not from medical, but religious personnel; clerics, not doctors. It goes back just as far in history here as it does in Africa or Asia. And with the same irrational bases.
The worst of it is that, as you rightly pointed out, Cul, the child's consent is not obtained. OK, the consent of children is never sought, in any medical procedure. A child cannot give informed consent, at least until the "age of reason," if then.
But we maintain a human being in this legally helpless state for ten years beyond that age, or more, if their competence is in question: Well beyond sexual maturity, right into early adulthood, we judge a "minor child," even a week before his or her eighteenth birthday, to be without rights.
Given the fact that, throughout most of human history, passage through puberty defined adulthood, and most people mated in their early teens, dying in their thirties; our contemporary standards seem artificial, arbitrary and capricious. In effect, we infantilize young adults so as to control them. You might call it socio-economic, or political circumcision, if not castration.
The sad fact is, many people never recover from this stunting of their adulthood. They never enter the estates of manhood and womanhood. They never fully mature. They never become full-fledged, effective members of society.
They don't read newspapers, they don't vote, they don't attend public meetings, they don't join political groups, they don't run for office, even when they reach legal maturity. They are never taught or encouraged to do so. In fact, they are suppressed and prevented from expressing themselves like free adult men and women: Even in the so-called "liberal democracies," like the U.S. They are, politically, eunuchs.
Not just political castrati, but emotional ones, too. Just look at the divorce rate. And the number of those who never marry is rising every year. More and more children are born out of wedlock; many never know their fathers. If mating is a sign of adulthood, what does that say about our process of maturation? What kind of society are we becoming? Just a bunch of immature, overgrown, selfish little children? Eternal adolescents? (Ironically, it is the so-called "never-maturing" gays and lesbians who are demanding the right to marry. But, as a powerless minority, we deny it to them, even as adults. Because we can. Even though we heterosexuals no longer really care about marriage ourselves.)
The fact is, those with power will always abuse those without power. It may take the form of endless, "well-meant" mind-control or infantilization by the "most caring" of parents and other authority figures. Or it may be incest, sexual mutilation or torture. Either way, the root cause is the classification of children and young adults as less than full citizens, somehow not quite fully human, almost private property, mere chattel. We may then do with them as we will, whatever we wish, without intervention on their behalf by any authority. They are non-persons.
OK, it's not 1760, or 1860. Or even 1960. Things have changed a little bit. But we still look away when we hear a child screaming in pain. We do not intervene when parents hit their children. We allow the schools, and the Courts to deny their students any rights at all. We give them no access to the instruments of government and media. We silence and stifle them, so that we may more easily control them.
So, we should not be so surprised, so aghast, so morally indignant when we hear about some Third-World abuses. We may be more refined. But we are no better. Khalid thinks he can get away with mutilating a baby because it is "his," and it is too young to speak. Who would propose moving our own age of male circumcision to say, five, or ten or fifteen? Or any age when they might protest, refuse, fight back, or scream as we mutilated them? And then look us in the eye with justifiable, unforgettable hurt, fear, rage and hatred? No, we deliberately take advantage of the unformed infant memory, and commit the deed before the child even knows who we are. Because we are just that civilized.
So here's to the infant-ery (or children, in French), we're senselessly mutilating in Iraq. As soldiers, they are without rights. We can do anything we want with them. They are "government property." We can even perform medical procedures on them, without their knowledge or consent, even against their will. And we have been doing this every day, for thousands of years. It's a sort of traditional ritual. We are just that civilized. And no more.
Human. Rights. Are. Rights. For. Human. Beings.
(accept no exceptions)
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