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Discussion: Female Genital Mutilation

Fauziya Kassindja, a Togolese lady, fled to the United States to avoid being subjected to genital mutilation practiced by her people. Her kind and guardian father passes away abruptly while she is only a little child. So, her evil aunt sends the girl’s mother packing and “sells” the 17-year-old to a guy three times her age so that he may make her his fourth bride. Her genitalia will be cut as a part of a traditional tribe initiation ceremony before the wedding (FGM). At last, Fauziya’s mother and sister come to her aid, allowing her to escape to safety in the United States. Instead of the U.S. authorities treating this girl with compassion and understanding, they stripped her nude, placed her in chains, locked her up, and forced her to go through the horror that is the U.S. immigration system. Because of her fear of female genital mutilation, Kassindja was the first to be granted political asylum in the United States, thanks to the efforts of her lawyer and a front-page story in The New York Times. This case demonstrates the need for concerted, systemic efforts to eradicate FGM. It must include local communities and place a premium on respect for human rights, equality of the sexes, sexual education, and the needs of women and girls affected by the practice.

Feminine genital mutilation (FGM) is morally neutral, according to moral relativists. This behavior is unacceptable in the West, yet it may be legal in certain non-Western cultures (Earp). Moral relativists would argue that those fighting to end FGM must recognize the danger of estrangement suffered by girls and women who reject the custom due to outside pressure. Moreover, they would argue that the moral norms held by Western societies are not shared by the cultures in which FGM is still commonplace. Moral relativists say that, depending on the culture to which an individual belongs, FGM is ethically justifiable. Since it is conducted to cleanse the vagina of girls and make them suitable for marriage, and since no culture can judge other cultural practices as moral, ethical, or legitimate, moral relativists are backing the continuation of the tradition.

The moral relativists have my disagreement. The rationale from my standpoint is that any surgery that results in the partial or complete dismemberment of the external female genitalia falls under the umbrella term of “Female genital mutilation” (FGM). This treatment has no advantage to young women’s health and may cause serious bleeding and other complications (Van Doorn). From the standpoint of freedom and the right to one’s identity, one may argue that it is a woman’s moral obligation to protect her person from harm and her life from invasion. Women attempting to avoid harmful practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) should be held to the highest standards of ethics and morality. As an alternative to morality, science should be taken into account. Given the negative outcomes of FGM and the process’s impact on the organ and the quality of a woman’s life, it is imperative that the practice be strongly opposed and, if feasible, completely outlawed in every country, regardless of cultural values and beliefs.

Works Cited

Earp, Brian D. “Between Moral Relativism and Moral Hypocrisy: Reframing the Debate on “FGM.” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, vol. 26, no. 2, 2016, pp. 105-144.

Van Doorn, Maarten. “Mind-Independent Values Don’t Exist, But Moral Truth Does.” Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, vol. 25, no. 1, 2017, pp. 5-24.


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