Seriously, what is wrong with people?

Found this on Pharyngula, under the heading “Female genital mutilation has medical benefits?” and my first thought was “Oh how cute, those sick girl-cutters are copying a page from the sick boy-cutters and claiming bullshit hygiene improvements”. And at first it seemed to be exactly that, it started with some bullshit about secretions that accumulate causing an odor that leads to infections (odors cause infections? What?), but then I read this:

Circumcision reduces excessive sensitivity of the clitoris which may cause it to increase in size to 3 centimeters when aroused, which is very annoying to the husband, especially at the time of intercourse.

At some point during the reading of that sentence, part of my brain started screaming and hasn’t fully stopped yet.

The site is called Islam Question and Answer, and is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a place to ask questions about Islam and have them answered by people who presumably know what they’re talking about.

Ok, first of all, listing the removal of an annoyance to her husband as a health benefit for her seems like a joke in very poor taste, considering the flimsy excuses abusive spouses use to justify their violence. Also it really suggests that the woman isn’t being considered a person in her own right, but rather a thing belonging to her husband, to be modified for his pleasure. My little fucktoy, or something. I want to emphasize that the part about considering a woman a person in her own right is more important than what follows, even though I’ll spend less time on it.

Second, I want a serious show of hands from any men in the audience who have ever been annoyed by a woman’s clit during sex. Seriously, as they say on Wikipedia, citation fucking needed! How is that even supposed to work?

“Oh baby, oh baby, oh wow what is that little hard spot I can barely feel? Is that your clitoris? Holy shit that must be like 3 centimeters, we gotta do something about that!”

For those of you unfamiliar with the metric system, 3 centimeters is a bit less than an inch and a quarter. Call it one and three-sixteenths.

That’s a mighty clit, sure, but annoying? How? I mean really, has any man ever actually complained about that? Men, if this has happened to you, I genuinely want you to comment. I won’t judge you, I’m just trying to understand this very alien concept.

Anyway, after breaking my mind with that statement, “Dr.” al-Ghawaabi goes on to bring us this:

Another benefit of circumcision is that it prevents stimulation of the clitoris which makes it grow large in such a manner that it causes pain.

Dude, those aren’t moans of pain.

Circumcision prevents spasms of the clitoris which are a kind of inflammation.

Did you seriously just call orgasm “a kind of inflammation”?

Circumcision reduces excessive sexual desire.

I don’t have a link handy here, and frankly I’m a little terrified to go searching for one just at the moment, but I’m pretty sure that this is simply false. See, sexual desire resides in the brain, not the genitals. (I suppose you could remove their ovaries to change their hormones and reduce their sex drive, but even that’s not 100%. Plus it’d leave them sterile which reduces their resale value.)

But even if it did work, what the hell is “excessive” desire? Chasing down strangers to drag them into an alley and screw them mercilessly? Wanting sex more often than her husband does? Having any interest in sex at all? I suspect it’s the same old bizarre idea that women shouldn’t enjoy or desire sex, as written it’s so vague it could mean anything. But really, what’s the benchmark for it?

He goes on to talk about frigidity and claims his preferred brand of FGM doesn’t cause it, which surprised me because if you wanted to cut bits off of my joy department I sure wouldn’t want to fuck you.

Let’s move on to the next part of this answer, which references a different article written by “female gynaecologist Sitt al-Banaat Khaalid”. I like how they establish her sex before giving her name, so you don’t accidentally give her professional opinion as much weight as the male Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi. She says something that strikes me as the most honest statement in here:

For us in the Muslim world female circumcision is, above all else, obedience to Islam

I think that’s what it really comes down to, obedience. The paragraph I clipped that from also contains something that I truly hate which appears in practically every religion: the blind faith that because the holy law commands it, it must be good. Even if we don’t understand how it can be good. Even if it’s something as batshit insane as cutting off bits of your babies like they’re little bonsai experiments.

She goes on to list some alleged benefits, rehashing the “excessive libido” cure and implying that she’s never heard of soap. I’m pretty much done here.

Look, circumcision or other genital mutilation of any kind, on any sex, is at best pointless cosmetic surgery. That in itself is enough for me to consider it unethical to do to children. (Some of the things done to girls in Africa are so horrifying that it seems monstrous to do it to anyone, even a consenting adult who asks for it of her own volition.) When you start talking about it having health benefits and you list such trivial advantages as having slightly less to wash when you bathe, and dubious claims of doubtful benefit like reduced libido, you’re clearly just making excuses. If God commands it then the matter is between the person owning the body and God, though I question the trustworthiness of a god who gives you a body part and then orders you to cut it off.

This is the final sentence in that Islam Q&A answer:

And Allaah knows best.

Perhaps, but we aren’t told what Allaah knows. Allaah is never quoted.

About Leo Tarvi

Mostly fictional.

Posted on January 11, 2012, in Daily Post and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “If God commands it then the matter is between the person owning the body and God, though I question the trustworthiness of a god who gives you a body part and then orders you to cut it off.”

    My sentiments exactly.

    I read most of that wondering what your take on male circumcision is, as many people speak out against female circumcision and then cower on the topic of cutting off bits of baby boys. At that point it’s cultural bias, not real outrage. So, thank you for clarifying at the end.

  2. Oh wait, going back and re-reading, I see you made this clear in the first little bit. My apologies.

  3. Rhi something I’ve seen on many posts about FGM, including some of the more horrifying types, is guys in the comments talking about foreskins. It wouldn’t bother me if they made an offhand reference to it in a larger comment that was relevant to the topic, but often it’s to the point of derailing the comment thread. Like “Yes, that’s horrible, but let’s talk about penises instead.” So I wanted to include it, but keep it well out of the way of the topic.

    Looking at the various justifications given for these… I’m going to say “procedures”, even when the actual cutting is pretty equivalent the culture around it is different. For boys it’s “God commands it, plus nebulous hygiene!”, while for girls it’s “God commands it, plus it cuts down excessive libido and reduces all that icky female sexuality! Oh, and nebulous hygiene, too.”

    That said, you do have a point that in the west this is popularly condemned while MGM is often simply accepted. Heck, according to that site it’s required for boys and only recommended for girls. But girls are much more likely to die from it.

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