By Professor Ylva K Hernlund, Professor Bettina K Shell-Duncan
Lady ''circumcision'' or, extra accurately, girl genital slicing (FGC), is still an incredible cultural perform in lots of African nations, usually serving as a coming-of-age ritual. it's also a tradition that has generated foreign dispute and is still on the heart of debates over women's rights, the boundaries of cultural pluralism, the stability of energy among neighborhood cultures, overseas human rights, and feminist activism. In our more and more globalized international, those practices have additionally all started immigrating to different international locations, the place transnational complexities vex debates approximately easy methods to unravel the problem. Bringing jointly 13 essays, ''Transcultural Bodies'' offers an ethnographically wealthy exploration of FGC between African diasporas within the uk, Europe, and Australia. The individuals learn alterations in ideologies of gender and sexuality in immigrant groups, the common marginalization of African women's voices in debates over FGC, and controversies over laws proscribing the perform in immigrant populations.
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Extra info for Transcultural Bodies: Female Genital Cutting in Global Context
M. Abusharaf 2000 and the contributions to Oye˘wùmi 2003). As with discussions about the long-term health consequences of FGC, sexuality is an area in which it seems tempting for various stakeholders to resort to deceptively simple arguments about the “natural” body with its “intact” genitals. As for the actual effects that genital-cutting procedures have on sexuality, however, the data have—not surprisingly—tended to be incomplete, contradictory, and difﬁcult to interpret. We have previously pointed out (Shell-Duncan and Hernlund 2000) that diverse stakeholders in the practice variously claim that genital cutting has no effect on sexual drive or pleasure, that it tempers a woman’s sexuality or even suppresses it, that it ends up leading instead to more promiscuity because of women’s lack of satisfaction, or even that there is no explicit link between sexuality and FGC (see, for example, Hernlund 2003, Johnson 2000, Skramstad 1990).
However, transitional measures that may make the practice of FGC safer have been rejected in the international community, based on the belief that they undermine “the urgency that originally motivated the eradication of the practice” (Boyle 2002, 55). Shweder concurs, and argues that perhaps one good reason for separating the harmful practice claim from the violation of basic human rights is that those who want to eradicate the practice want to eradicate it even if genital surgeries already are, or could be made to be, medically safe.
Such a history has led African people to view outside interests in the surgeries as just another form of imperialism” (1991, 228). She further predicts that the problem is likely to plague even current attempts to enact legislation, despite the growing involvement of African feminists and indigenous activists. Yet the past decade has witnessed a proliferation of legislation speciﬁcally banning FGC in both African and Western nations. Boulware-Miller in 1985 predicted that the enactment of legislation in the West would not be met with the sort of reactance seen in colonial Africa: “European governments may ﬁnd it easier to prohibit a practice which is ‘new’28 to their culture rather than, as African countries must, condemn a tradition that has existed for centuries” (160).