Social Injustice: Female Genital Mutilation. Essay

1616 words - 6 pages

Sociology 15119 March 2003Social InjusticeTo define the word "social injustice" it is necessary to look at each word. Social means "of or relating to human society" and, injustice means "the violation of right or of the rights" (Merriam-Webster). So as one, the word would mean the violation of right or of the rights of or relating to human society. To put this into simpler terms, it is the wrongful harming of a human and/or their society.Identifying an aspect of society that fits this definition of a social injustice should be a simple task considering there are many around you and possibly directly affecting you. I have found an aspect that affects me somewhat indirectly. This aspect is female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision (FC) or female genital cutting (FGC).Why is female genital mutilation a social injustice? First you must understand what female genital mutilation is. "Female Circumcision or Female Genital Mutilation is the collective name given to several different traditional practices that involve the cutting of female genitals" (Rainbo 1). There are four different types of female genital mutilation and several justifications for it. These procedures are carried out at various ages. They can range from shortly after birth to sometime during the woman's first pregnancy. But most commonly, the operation occurs between the ages of 4 and 8. They are usually undergone as a group, such as a group of sisters (What 6).Female genital mutilation is practiced in many places, such as throughout Middle Eastern countries like Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Southern Algeria. Also in the majority of Africa including Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Mozambique, and Sudan (Sarkis 1). And in a few groups in Asia and among Arab and African immigrants in Europe and in Australia (Gelles/Levine 98). It was also practiced in the United States. In 1979, Dr. James E. Burt also known as the "Love Surgeon", practiced his "Love Surgery" in Ohio for nearly 10 years until he gave up his license after being exposed. He claimed that the operation didn't prevent sexual pleasure but enhanced it (Sarkis 16).The different types range in the severity of the operation. Type I is known as a "Sunna Circumcision" (Sarkis 4). The term "sunna" refers to tradition as taught by the prophet Muhammad (Sarkis 4). This consists of the removal of the prepuce, or foreskin, with or without excision of part of, or the entire clitoris. This is the mildest type of female genital mutilation.Type II is known as a "Clitoridectomy" (Sarkis 6). This involves partial or entire removal of the clitoris, also the scraping off of the labia majora and/or minora. This usually takes place in countries where the more extreme operations have been outlawed. It was invented by Sudanese midwives as a compromise when British legislation forbade the most extreme operations in 1946. This happened because in Sudan, The Ministry of Health launched a...

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