“Female Genital Mutilation” (FGM) is a term that is currently being used by UN agencies, including the WHO. The WHO defines it as “Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all the procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injuries to the female genital organs for non – medical reasons.”
“Female circumcision” was a term that was used in the past that implied that the surgery had some resemblance to male circumcision, which is a misleading comparison. Male circumcision is the removal of only part of the foreskin of the penis without any impairment in the sexual function.
The exact word that would describe FGM/Female genital cutting, would be “clitoridectomy”. It is the partial or complete removal of the clitoris (a female sexual organ) which has no health value. Rather, it poses many lifelong side effects and significant sexual impairment.
In a community, there are numerous cultural practices that have been going on for years. One of those cultural practices is the FGM. It leads to some serious lifelong health problems. It is illegal in many parts of the world. But why is it still going on? There are some reasons which I came across. One of the reasons is, that FGM is considered as a way of transitioning a girl into a woman and preparing her for adulthood and marriage. It is associated with some cultural ideals that include the notions that girls are clean and beautiful, and after those body parts make them unclean, unfeminine or male. Thus, removing these parts will make them clean and girly. Another reason would be conforming to social norms. It is the social pressure and fear of being rejected by the community, forces the parents, especially mothers to conform to the practice.
Most of the time, the practice is carried out by traditional circumcisers. They use blades, knives, and other types of equipment, which might not be even disinfected. This further increases the health problems. There are times when the girls die due to this practice. All of this shows that it is a violation of one’s human rights. The pain and suffering these girls go through are unimaginable. In my opinion, there might be some possibility of shifting cultural practices. Taking the example of “sati” that was prevalent in India, I think that if the people fight against FGM, it might reduce and eventually come to an end. However, it would take some time. The youth should come together and raise their voices against this practice. The governments should make laws and legislations to eradicate this practice by giving harsh punishments.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge