When Rights and Culture Collide Essay

1749 WordsMar 20, 20147 Pages
Culture is what identifies or is synonymous (to) a certain society or group of people like customs, ideas, practices and much more [Wikipedia Contributors, 2013]. Many countries still practice most of what had been practiced decades ago by their ancestors in order to preserve their identity and differentiate themselves from others. Although many practices seem acceptable in the modern world today, some have not as they are seen to be in violation of human rights whilst some have been viewed as risks to one’s health amongst other reasons, or in other words, these practices are deemed heinous and unjust. One such practice is female genital mutilation (FGM) and this is basically the circumcision of females or more specifically, it is the procedure that involves the removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or any non-therapeutic reasons [Wellerstein, 1999: 99-100]. This essay will argue that the practice of female genital mutilation is indeed heinous and unjust. Firstly it will discuss more in-depth about female genital mutilation. Then it will discuss the cultural relativist’s view and the human rights activists view respectively on the issue of female genital mutilation. Lastly, it will discuss my personal view on this issue. For many women, their sense of identity is a result of their experience as women living in a male dominated society. Too often they face discrimination from local groups and are subjected to biased practices and laws, rituals, customs and habits that reinscribe the secondary status of women within the hierarchy of their religious, ethnic or tribal identity [Coomaraswamy, 2002: 484]. One such practice that women are subjected to is female genital mutilation. It is traditionally practiced in most African countries, some Middle East and Asian countries, and increasingly (due to migration)

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