To see why this is the case, it is necessary to begin with a widely-accepted definition of FGM (if I may now revert to the conventional terminology for the sake of this discussion) so that we can understand what is at stake in such a procedure, followed by an analysis of male circumcision.
The World Health Organization gives us the following typology: FGM Type 1 – This refers to the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans (the part of the clitoris that is visible to the naked eye) and/or the clitoral prepuce (“hood”).
As an alternative, I propose an ethical framework for evaluating such alterations that is based upon considerations of bodily autonomy and informed consent, rather than sex or gender.
Keywords: FGM, circumcision, gender, sexuality, autonomy, consent of the child whose genitals are altered.
Accepted for publication Published 3 October 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 89—104 DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/MB.
On this sort of view, the sheer level of harm entailed by FGM passes a threshold of intolerability that is not passed by male circumcision.
FGM is also seen as lacking in any benefit (as the World Health Organization states: FGM has “no health benefits, [and] only [causes] harm”), In the first section of this essay, I call into question the claims upon which these distinctions are typically premised.