Female Circumcision: Derived from An Explicable Tradition

24 06 2011

“Yes Sir, you should know it is a compulsory for women to undergone female circumcision, because women have high libido,” said a taxi driver that drove us back from the hospital yesterday (06/20/11), after taking my 2 months old niece for regular immunisation shot. His statement that based on religious reasons on why female should have the circumcision procedure agitated me somehow, but I resisted commenting back, knowing that we’re not in best circumstances to argue about this issue. So I was just listening and observe where the conversations lead to and at some point it eventually end.

Reproductive health risks include a loss of sexual sensation, chronic urinary tract infections, and painful intercourse (Heise 1993). Women and girls are not informed of these health risks. There’s no clinically proven that female circumcision benefit women. And yet, in my strongest opinion, this rite of passage is merely a tradition.

Tra·di·tion (noun) 1. The transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way; 2. A long-established custom or belief that has been passed on in this way.

I was raised in Moslem family, and mind as well as the taxi driver; we’ve been told from generation to generation in his family that this is necessary to conduct in every female. But things have changed; unlike our predecessor, we now questioned why the reason behind.

However, female circumcision is not even mentioned in the Koran, and it is unknown in predominantly Muslim countries outside of Africa, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq. What seems likely is that when Islam came to Africa, its emphasis on purity became associated with the existing practice of female circumcision (Abusharaf 1998).

Symbolic interactionism argues that individuals and societies develop the meanings attached to symbols through social interactions. Individual’s interactions involve an exchange of information from individuals to other individuals (Andrea Nichols). And that’s merely how tradition is passing from time to time.

And yet again back to the taxi driver statement that saying female circumcision is to prevent women libido, it come to my consciousness that in society, not only traditions, but when it comes to social regulatory that might involving women as object, men are tend to put their object (women) as first to point the blame on for any misbehavior men might do with a justification to prevent women to misbehaving by limiting women.

In Indonesia itself, for example, Anti-Pornography Bill is cornering women for improper behavior and that immoral behavior are because women do not behave politely and do not cover themselves properly from the very eyes of men. This understanding puts woman as the victim. Women are also deemed responsible for sexual crimes.

And in most of Asian country, although women are mainly the decision maker in the family and largely to involve in most society or even regulatory governance, it’s undeniably that men are still in a huge control to every law and regulation that applicable in society; and sadly, women are still a minority.

Also read: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/female-circumcision-decree-must-be-revoked-ngos/448791



Nichols, Andrea “Female Circumcision” Senior Seminar Paper, Department of Sociology, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, http://www.siue.edu/~jfarley/nicho490.htm

Abusharaf, Rogaia Mustafa « Unmasking tradition: a Sudanese anthropologist confronts female « circumcision » and its terrible tenacity. » The Sciences, March-April 1998 v38 n2 p22(6).

Heise, Lori “Reproductive Freedom and Violence Against Women: Where are the Intersections?” Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 1993,21,2, summer 206-216.

Taflinger, Richard F. “Taking Advantage Social Basis of Human Behavior: Sex”, http://www.wsu.edu/~taflinge/socsex.html, 1996.




2 responses

26 06 2011

It’s so sad when women are always seen as object to male’s desire. Not only they are to be blame when male is driving his own temptations, but even any small thing that does not please the man is still a wrong doing.

I believe one of the reasons why men put women on blame on many things is because they are afraid to lose (men ego) and to be on the same level as women. (Work related, sexual pleasure, etc.)

In present time what we need is understanding and respect, I believe, in order to create balance between two parties. Of course, there are certain (natural) limitations that differentiate between one and another. But as we know, it’s what makes us unique and through our uniqueness here we are.

5 08 2011
A Jewish Male Opposing Circumcision

…… There is a movement of Jews who are questioning circumcision, and working to end this abuse of children. The movement ranges from the Orthodox to the secular, and includes mothers, fathers, scholars, historians, medical professionals, activists, and intellectuals.

Jewish Groups for Genital Integrity

Circumcision: A Jewish Feminist Perspective by Miriam Pollack

Jewish Intactivist Miriam Pollack has some great commentary on Foreskin Man in this recent interview.

Jews Speak Out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors

* Brit Shalom Celebrants by Mark D. Reiss, M.D. http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish-shalom.html

* Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective by Ron Goldman, Ph.D. http://www.jewishcircumcision.org

* The Current Judaic Movement to End Circumcision: Part 1
http://intactnews.org/node/105/1311886372/jewish-voices-current-judaic-movement-end-circumcision-part-1 ……..

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