The Price Of Tradition: Female Genital Mutilation

1226 words - 5 pages

As a woman, imagine yourself lying down in front of some people, and you feel a cold metal object, a knife or some sort against your external genitals. All of a sudden you feel an unbearable pain, so painful that it is indescribable; words cannot even explain. You realized that the process of FGM started with the excision of your external genitals, and you somehow still have to bear the excruciating pain until your vaginal opening has been stitched, leaving space just for you to urine, and menstrual flow.

FGM otherwise known as Female Genital Mutilation, is not practiced through religion, belief, or required by some parts of the country; but it's a tradition that many people practice even to this day. FGM is a tradition that continues to exist in twenty-five African countries, four Arabian peninsulas and in two Asian countries (Young 1130). FGM is basically the process of cutting the female genitalia. There are four types of FGM and the classification is based on increasingly extensive excisions of the genitalia from types I to type III, with types I and II. Type I, or sunna, is female circumcision in which the clitoral hood is removed; type II, or clitoridectomy, is the removal of the entire clitoris with part or all of the labia minora. Type III, or infibulation, is the removal of all of the external genitalia with the remaining skins sewn together, leaving two openings for urine and menstrual flow (this is the most surgically extensive form of FGM). Lastly, type IV is the classification of variations of FGM that do not meet the criteria for the first three types (Young 1130).

According to the World Health Organization in 1995, Ninety-five percent of FGM is performed on girls between one day to 16 years old, particularly between the ages of four and 10 years. However, some cultures perform FGM into adulthood, such as at the time of marriage. There are many instances when a child may die within hours after undergoing FGM due to uncontrollable bleeding. FGM contributes to many health issues, and be detrimental to a woman's health.

Many people, even myself, wonder why people practice FGM; what is the reason behind all this pain? Some cultures believe that a daughter who does not undergo FGM will never be married off. Some cultures place gender roles in their society in which daughters are valued as investments. For instance, societies in different parts of the world value the tradition of arranged marriages. When parents are searching for the man to arrange their daughter to get married to, the father's main objection is not to find the man who will make his daughter happy for the rest of her life, but the man who will offer the most cattle, (or any particular good that is set at high value in their society) for her hand in marriage. In a sense, it's kind of like a trade off in the sense that the daughter is not seen as a human being with feelings, emotions, thoughts, and insights; but as an object or as a good to...

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