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Shamis Dirir (Coordinator, London Black Womens Health Action Project, interviewed in NOHARMM Health & Human Rights Advocate/July, 1997 - full interview)
" (B)oth male and female circumcisions raise the same human rights questions. Our mutual fight is against ignorance. People like us, those who have the pain, are the best fighters, because we know the pain of circumcision. What happened to you, you cant change it, but you can help to stop it from happening to other children."
Germaine Greer (excerpt from p. 102 of "The Whole Woman" New York: A.A. Knopf, 1999)
"Looked at in its full context the criminalization of FGM can be seen to be what African nationalists since Jomo Kenyatta have been calling it, an attack on cultural identity. Any suggestion that male genital mutilation should be outlawed would be understood to be a frontal attack on the cultural identity of Jews and Muslims. Notwithstanding, the opinion that male circumcision might be bad for babies, bad for sex and bad for men is steadily gaining ground. In Denmark only 2 percent of non-Jewish and non-Muslim men are circumcised on strictly non-medical grounds; in Britain the proportion rises to between 6 percent and 7 percent, but in the U.S. between 60 percent and 70 percent of male babies will have their foreskins surgically removed. No UN agency has uttered a protocol condemning the widespread practice of male genital mutilation, which will not be challenged until doctors start to be sued in large numbers by men they mutilated as infants. Silence on the question of male circumcision is evidence of the political power both of the communities where a circumcised penis is considered an essential identifying mark and of the practitioners who continue to do it for no good reason. Silence about male mutilation in our own countries combines nicely with noisiness on female mutilation in other countries to reinforce our notions of cultural superiority."
Fran Hosken (Founder, Womens International Network, quoted in Circumcision: Medical or Human Rights Issue? in Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, 37 (March/April 1992) pp. 87S-96S:
"Human rights are indivisible, they apply to every society and culture and every continent. We cannot differentiate between black and white, rich and poor, or between male and female, if the concept of human rights is to mean anything at all."
Hanny Lightfoot-Klein (Author, Prisoners of Ritual: An Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa) on p.193 of her book:
"The reasons given for female circumcision in Africa and for routine male circumcision in the U.S. are essentially the same. Both falsely tout the positive health benefits of the procedures. Both promise cleanliness and the absence of "bad" genital odors, as well as greater attractiveness and acceptability of the sex organs. The affected individuals in both cultures have come to view these procedures as something that was done for them and not to them."
[She has also stated to NOHARMM that "Childhood genital mutilations are anachronistic rituals inflicted on the helpless bodies of non-consenting children of both sexes."]
Soraya Mire (Somali filmmaker, Fire Eyes) in her endorsement of the video Whose Body, Whose Rights?
"The painful cries of little boys being circumcised remind me of my own painful experience of female genital mutilation. It is the norm in my culture to mutilate girls, as it is in the U.S. for boys. It really terrifies me to know this. Hopefully this film will educate Americans about the harmful effects of male genital mutilation."
Gloria Steinem (Introductory remarks to panel discussion of FGM, part of the "About Women" series held by the 92nd Street Young Women & Mens Hebrew Association, New York City, 6 October 1997)
"I would like to remind us that we all share patriarchy, which is the pillar of almost every current political system, capitalist or socialist. And it has a rock bottom requirement, the control of womens bodies as the most basic means of production, the means of reproduction. This control is used to determine how many workers a family, group or nation has and who owns children These patriarchal controls limit mens sexuality too, but to a much, much lesser degree. Thats why men are asked symbolically to submit the sexual part of themselves and their sons to patriarchal authority, which seems to be the origin of male circumcision, a practice that, even as advocates admit, is medically unnecessary 90% of the time. Speaking for myself, I stand with many brothers in eliminating that practice too."
"...Yes, there is a difference in degree that we experience in our different patriarchal cultures, and also in suffering, but not in the kind of social control and not in its purpose."
"...There is even a similar religious justification for this control in all of our countries."
"...Let us together see what we can do to preserve the wholeness of our bodies, and our minds, and our emotions."
Nahid Toubia, M.D. (Sudanese physician, in FGM and Responsibility of Reproductive Health Professionals - Intl Journal Gynecology & Obstetrics, 46 (1994) pp. 127-135:
"The unnecessary removal of a functioning body organ in the name of tradition, custom or any other non-disease related cause should never be acceptable to the health profession. All childhood circumcisions are violations of human rights and a breach of the fundamental code of medical ethics. It is the moral duty of educated professionals to protect the health and rights of those with little or no social power to protect themselves." Additional Toubia excerpts relevant to male genital mutilation.
Alice Walker (Author, Possessing the Secret of Joy, and filmmaker, Warrior Marks) on "Talk of the Nation" National Public Radio, 11/9/93:
"I think it (male circumcision) is a mutilation. In working with FGM we often find that the battle is such an uphill one that we hope that the men who are working on this issue of male circumcision will carry that." And later in the interview: "In all of it we have to try to think about what is being done from the point of view of the person to whom it is happening, namely the children."
Male Genital Mutilation (Circumcision): A Feminist Study of a Muted Gender Issue
The Effect of Male Circumcision on the Sexual Enjoyment of the Female Partner
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