In the world of feminist research there is an assortment of issues that can be studied, many of which are sensitive topics. An issue we chose to focus our research on is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). We have found that more research needs to be conducted on FGM, and it should be done in a way that respects the rights of the individuals and the culture in which it is rooted and practiced. Throughout this paper we will discuss the practice of FGM, how we plan to research it, theoretical considerations, methodological considerations, ethical considerations, as well as our anticipated results.
The use of the term mutilation, rather than possible substitutes (cutting, circumcision, ablation, etc.) has been a topic of debate for researchers and scholars alike. We decided to use mutilation, as we wanted to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition. The WHO defines female genital mutilation as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons” (World Health Organization, 2013). This broad definition encompasses four types of operations: circumcision, excision, infibulation and intermediate (Dorkenoo & Elworthy, 2006). It is common for FGM to be practiced most commonly on infant and adolescence girls; we find this to be problematic as the girls do not have the ability to choose to undergo in the ritual of FGM, it is family members and community pressure that decide. Literature has shown that FGM is most prevalent in African countries, and often in unsafe conditions. However, this act has become more of a global issue, mainly because of immigration to outside countries, including Canada (Dorkenoo & Elworthy, 2006). The newly globalized nature of FGM has encouraged researchers to increase their focus on both the health and human rights issues involved, which is what we intend to do.
In our literature review we found that FGM is a culturally rooted practice that has both human rights infractions and health complications, mostly affecting prepubescent girls. We believe this to be a violation of human rights but more specifically children’s rights, as it does not allow these young girls the opportunity to physically develop naturally, with the conditions of health, liberty, dignity and protection from all forms of cruelty (Braddy & Files, 2007). Wide ranging health concerns were found in the literature review: acute, long term, and obstetric health complications, varying degrees of complications from infections to still births and deaths (Braddy & Files, 2007). The complications of FGM are often treatable, however, all of these complications are preventable if the procedure was no longer practiced (Banks et al., 2006). Knowledge or lack thereof in relation to current scholarship we tend to flush out is whether it is ethical for western feminist to disapprove and disregard FGM as a practice and the...