I started this blog to document my interest in the issue of genital mutilation legislation in the UK – it is currently illegal to cut a girl but legal to cut a boy.
In the UK, genital mutilation of children, has become an issue in the last thirty years or so. The majority of the media attention has been devoted to the ritual cutting of girls done in some Islamic cultures that have recently settled in the UK.
Parents who do this to their children genuinely believe that GM is a beneficial thing – usually for mainly religious reasons.
I became interested in this issue for several reasons. I’ve worked as a Teacher of “Looked after children”, young people who find themselves in the care of a local authority and are placed with a foster family or in a children’s home. Fortunately the issue never arose during my time as a Teacher. If I had suspected that a relative of a girl child wanted to take her to have GM done I would be legally obliged to inform her Social Worker and the Police. If a boy child was to be taken to be cut no such obligation would need to be observed.
I trained as a Teacher at a time when equality of all kinds was quite rightly being promoted, gender equality, sexual orientation equality, etc.
I see several levels of hypocrisy, double standards, and misinformation in the current legislation.
The Rights of the Child compared to the Parents’ right to “religious freedom”.
Gender Inequality – no protection for male children
No mention of inter-gender children and non-elective surgery
Cultural Discrimination combined with Gender Inequality – OK to be MGM male Muslim or Jewish parent but bad to be FGM Muslim Somali or Malaysian female parent.
My own view is that all forms of body modification should be adult only decisions taken by the person concerned.
FGM is only carried out in cultures where MGM takes place – FGM legislation has been a failure in the UK – might part of the reason be that some Muslim parents find it confusing that they can cut their son but not their daughter?
Where does FGM end and cosmetic surgery begin? I have heard several reports of Doctors being under suspicion of FGM who are doing cosmetic surgery on adult females.
Social Service records for women who have genital piercings – as if they are risky parents who might do it to their daughters. This seems unreasonable.