Yearly, circumcision initiation rites happen all over Africa. Every year scores of men either die, or they lose their penises to gangrene, but for whatever reason, these deaths and loss of external genital organs in male initiates are overshadowed by female circumcision.
In a recent news article, the deaths of two initiates have been reported. (Link available here. Last accessed 6/22/2016) A list of articles in past years can be read here.
For whatever reason, human rights activists come down hard on female circumcision, but when it comes to male circumcision, there is a deafening silence.
In some newsreports, readers are supposed to take comfort in the fact that some very shoddy "studies" show that male circumcision "could" "reduce" HIV transmission by "as much as 60%."
So male circumcision should still happen, although it should be performed by medical professionals, although death and other complications still happen when medical professionals perform them.
I ask, would human rights groups stop decrying female circumcision if "research" could "prove" that female circumcision "could" reduce HIV transmission by some magical number like "60%?"
Or would they still be decrying it?
What if female circumcision could be made "quick and painless" with "no detriment to female sexuality?"
Would it still be viewed as a human rights violation?
A paper calling for a compromise procedure for females has recently been published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
The authors are actually coming out and admitting on a published journal that there are forms of female genital cutting that are less severe than male genital cutting as commonly practiced in the US and elsewhere.
There is a sexist, self-serving double-standard when it comes to publishing research on male and female circumcision. Whereas publishing "research" that claims that male circumcision is "harmless" if not "beneficial" is not a problem, publishing research that minimizes female circumcision or that it may even be beneficial, is.
Whereas "researchers" were eager to push the idea that "circumcision is a harmless intervention that could help prevent the spread of HIV," scholars discourage the publishing of research that would "play right into the hands of those who defend female genital cutting" and/or "encourage female genital mutilation."
It's not a problem if "research" gives the green light to tribal circumcisers of men to go ahead and perform circumcision on initiates, but it is a problem if research givesthe green light to tribal circumcisers of women.
Why is that?
MASS CIRCUMCISION CAMPAIGNS: The Emasculation and Harassment of Africa