Free example essay on Female Circumcision :
Female circumcision is a common procedure in Arab countries, as it is an important part of their culture. The people still continue to practice it, even though it is widely ridiculed and is known to cause physical and psychological damage to the young girls that have to endure the painful procedure. Nawal El Saadawi’s desire to understand and educate women on the dangers of circumcision is admirable; however she is not very successful, because public belief, “that it is good for one’s health and conductive to cleanliness and purity” (109), outweighs the dangers of the procedure.
Performing circumcision, which minimizes sexual desire, on young girls actually poses great risks; supposedly it is done to preserve her virginity and is considered to be one of the greatest honors in the Arabic culture. A young girl “who has reached the dangerous age of puberty and adolescence” (108) undergoes the procedure to remove the clitoris. Circumcision is performed at the age of seven or eight, and is performed by the local midwife. “Two women members of the family grasp the child’s thighs on either side and pull them apart” (109). The midwife then takes a sharp razor and cuts off the clitoris. Serious complications can occur from the operation, which often jeopardize the life of the girls” (109), such as severe hemorrhaging, inflammatory conditions and even death. The physical damage is often accompanied by psychological damage.
The Arabic women endure a lifetime of mental anguish. Saadawi interviewed many women who had similar stories. One girl states, “I was scared and suffered such great pain that I lost consciousness at the flame that seared me through and through” (109). Her painful memories will never be forgotten. In recent years education seems to be the one tool that is helping to reduce the number of operations being performed. “Nevertheless a majority of families still impose on young children the barbaric and cruel operation” (108), even the families being educated.
During the many years of research Dr. Saadawi discovered without a doubt “that circumcision is the source of sexual and psychological shock in the life of the girl, and leads to a varying degree of sexual fidgety according to the woman and her circumstances” (114). I agree with Saadawi that female circumcision is cruel and tortuous, and her attempt to educate the people on the dangers of female circumcision is applauded. Also I support her when she says “there can be no true religion that aims at disease, mutilation of the bodies of female children, and amputation of an essential part of their reproductive organs” (117). If a person is a firm believer in God then they must ask themselves this question, “If religion comes from God how can it order man to cut off an organ created by Him?” (117) Mutilating these girls “ is a contradiction into which neither true religion nor the Creator could possibly fall” (117). God created women exactly as they should be, and He gave them the possibility to experience sexual pleasure just as He gave man the same possibility. “He considers such pleasure as normal and legitimate, and therefore as an integral part of mental health” (117).
So, how can religious parents, or any parents, subject their daughters to such an excruciatingly painful procedure? Simply they believe it to be a “safeguard” (118), a form of protection from “deviations into which they may be led” (118). The parents feel it gives their daughters great honor, so a good man will choose to marry them.
The Arabic culture is outdated and repressed. Possibly through education and a great deal of time, the men in these countries will understand that female circumcision doesn’t give the women honor and purity. Honor is found from within oneself, and can be maintained throughout life. Surely these women would be a lot happier if they did not have to be circumcised. One day their culture will change and allow women more rights
than they currently have, but just as it took a great deal of time before women in our
country had as many rights as they have, I feel it will take longer for them to bestow
the women with more rights. The majority of Arabic women do not want the same rights as men; they just want to have more control over their own bodies.
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