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Female genital mutilation has medical benefits?

There is a very good question which I’m pleased to see that an expert Islamic cleric has finally seen fit to answer. Why mutilate female genitals at all? What purpose does it have? I confess to uncharitably assuming that it was all about controlling women’s sexual activity, but I was unfair. They have perfectly good reasons for chopping and hacking at little girls crotches with jagged sharp instruments.

Female circumcision has not been prescribed for no reason, rather there is wisdom behind it and it brings many benefits.

Mentioning some of these benefits, Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi says:

The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra. I have seen many cases of sickness caused by the lack of circumcision.

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.

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.

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

Man, that’s all so true. Don’t you just hate it when you’re having intercourse with a woman, and she starts getting aroused? I suppose snipping off the clitoris is one way of dealing with it (the ladies really do cool down fast when you start waving a knife around), but I’ve found it more humane to keep a bucket of cold water next to the bed. As a bonus, a good cold water splashing also flushes out the strange and repulsive slippery dampness that so unpleasantly oozes out of their vaginas.

Although, come to think of it, the guy giving all that advice probably doesn’t have to worry too much about aroused women.

Comments

  1. says

    Since being an “expert Islamic cleric” is slightly less impressive than being a “respected Spider-Man scholar”… well, no. That’s pretty much it, isn’t it?

  2. jontennant says

    Seriously, that is some of the worst misogynistic bullsh*t I’ve ever came across. How can anyone trust this man as a doctor?

    “Ah, I see you have a cold. Nothing hacking off your labia minora can’t cure..”

  3. says

    The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra. I have seen many cases of sickness caused by the lack of circumcision.

    So…regular washing is just too radical of an action.

    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.

    Annoying? Must be terrible when 3 centimeters is a challenge to someone’s manhood. Goodness.

  4. says

    Look, let’s be totally honest here. Let’s forget about accomodationism for a minute and just say out loud that this guy, Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi, clearly has serious mental health problems and so does anyone who accepts what he says.

    This guy is A grade delusional on medical and moral grounds…

  5. Thy Goddess says

    I read the title and the first thing I thought is “I don’t care, I’ll take the medical risks.”

    But still… If the odor and infection thing is true (I don’t think so…), it’s solved by regular cleaning. Like a man’s tip. It’s sorta something you learn in basic hygiene.

    “Hey your clit is annoying to the man!” is not a health issue. If it annoys him you’re liking the action then he’s got a problem. Normally guys are flattered. But 3cm? Wow. I can tell you mine isn’t that big.

    Oh and my clit isn’t inflammed. Thank you very much.

  6. says

    Gosh, no… I’m down with Spidey! I’m saying that Allah is just as fictional and not nearly as cool. After all, Spider-Man has webbing!

    But I wouldn’t go to an expert on either subject for medical opinion. That’s one of the negative things about religion that the accommodationists and the moderate theists seem to miss: the fact that someone can claim to be a cleric/priest/rabbi/holy whatever and people automatically extend their “authority” to any and every other possible subject. No one assumes English Lit professors can predict the stock market, or that a gourmet chef has special insight into politics, but someone puts on a funny religious costume and suddenly they are treated as an expert on everything.

  7. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    My god. I’m genuinely curious about whether he actually believes that an orgasm is an “inflammation” of the clitoris. . a pathology. We already know he’s a disgusting misogynist who thinks women are inert holes for their husbands, but does he actually believe this stuff or is he just willing to say it to give cover for his actions? Are these pathological beliefs common fare among female genital mutilation advocates?

  8. Chuck says

    A 3 centimeter clitoris annoys the hell out of me most of the time, but most especially during intercourse.

  9. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Look, let’s be totally honest here. Let’s forget about accomodationism for a minute and just say out loud that this guy, Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi, clearly has serious mental health problems and so does anyone who accepts what he says.

    This guy is A grade delusional on medical and moral grounds…

    No. Wrong. He is sane. That’s the thing about religion and similar false beliefs: you can be perfectly sane and still act insane.

    Please stop using mental health as a scapegoat for the problems caused by false beliefs.

  10. says

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

    All of this is fucking horrifying, but I can’t believe someone would describe orgasms as a kind of inflammation.

  11. mck9 says

    But what about teh menz? Circumcision prevents prepucial cancer.

    Likewise removal of the testes is a sure-fire way to prevent testicular cancer. Really, Dr al-Ghawaabi, you should try it.

    Headache? Use a guillotine. Works every time.

  12. ulgaa says

    Annoying? Must be terrible when 3 centimeters is a challenge to someone’s manhood. Goodness.

    Spit my drink out laughing at this. Thanks Caine.

  13. Irene Delse says

    Josh:

    We already know he’s a disgusting misogynist who thinks women are inert holes for their husbands, but does he actually believe this stuff or is he just willing to say it to give cover for his actions?

    In all probability, his knowledge of female anatomy and physiology is on a par with a YEC’s knowledge of evolution, i.e., abysmal.

  14. says

    slignot:

    I can’t believe someone would describe orgasms as a kind of inflammation.

    It’s the rationalization for “everyone knows you can’t trust a woman with a clitoris, those lead to orgasms and sexual excitment, which would lead to women having unapproved sex and cheating!”

  15. says

    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.

    what
    no seriously, what

  16. Loqi says

    Stimulation of the clitoris causes pain? I had no idea. It sure doesn’t seem like they’re in pain. Women sure have a strange way of expressing discomfort…

  17. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Women sure have a strange way of expressing discomfort…

    Yeah, that’s LadyPain, Loqi. As we know women are wholly other and not human in the way men are. While you might be tempted, say, to assume that if a woman is screaming and crying that she’s in distress, you’d be wrong. There are competing theories; some think that—like dogs—women are all just clockwork and they merely appear to be exhibiting symptoms of distress. Others believe that women’s affect is the reverse of normal humans; they express delight and satisfaction through tears and crying and when they appear to be in the throes of pleasure they’re actually suffering unspeakably.

    But whatever theory is correct, all agree that it’s mere anthropomorphizing to read human-like sentiments into sentience-mimicking behavior displayed by women.

  18. says

    But 3cm? Wow. I can tell you mine isn’t that big.

    You’ve taken meassurement while at it?
    Some people have strange bedroom habits! (I’m just kidding)

    ++++++
    On a serious note, yeah, sex can’t be half as much fun when your fuzzy little ego gets plastered by the mere thought of her having a bit of fun, too.

  19. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Shorter me: where’s the evidence that women are conscious? The fact is No One Knows.

  20. says

    @Caine, I admit, I expect them to be more honest when their goals are specifically to prevent women from ever enjoying sex, and not attempt to pretend there is something physiologically disordered involved. I expect it to be under the guise of moralistic aids: “we’re helping/protecting our daughters to be good in the eyes of men/god.”

    It would never have occurred to me that it would be couched thus. I suppose I really should stop being surprised by horrific things that religious oppressors say, but I find there’s always something more to stun and nauseate.

    Well, that didn’t take long.

    Indeed.

  21. says

    Maybe I’m being naive but this strikes me as being a bit poe-ish. Some of the arguments presented are awfully close to the arguments for unnecessary male circumcision.

  22. Jamie says

    mck9:

    Headache? Use a guillotine. Works every time.

    (I laughed out loud a lot more than I should have at this. Though my headaches do make me feel this way sometimes.)

    This is only logical given what passes as reason for them. Something giving you trouble? Cut it off!

  23. says

    Maybe I’m being naive but this strikes me as being a bit poe-ish. Some of the arguments presented are awfully close to the arguments for unnecessary male circumcision.

    Yep, they’re hacking off all those clits in Africa just to make sure that nobody ever discusses male circumsision.
    It’s not like they’re actually hurting people

  24. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’m glad, slignot, because I kinda made myself sick. It isn’t really satire, ya know?

  25. Louis says

    {To sounds of Barry White playing on the stereo, Louis enters, stage left, wearing tight leather trousers, a ruffled white silk shirt, unbuttoned to the waist, showing off his medallion and chest hair}

    When I’m with a lucky, little lady, I always keep a bucket of cold water by the bed. PZ’s modification of this Islamic genius’ method for cooling the fires of a lucky, little lady are right. If the lucky, little lady gets too excited she’ll pass out and ruin my mojo…

    …wait…have I missed something? And what the FUCK am I wearing?

    Louis

    P.S. a 3cm clitoris? Well at least the “hard to find” jokes would stop. And let’s be honest CLITORISES ARE NOT HARD TO FIND ANYWAY!!!!! There. I said it. Sorry comedy, but it’s true. I can’t live the lie any more. They’re right there. It’s not hard…well it is hard but that’s not what I meant…I meant….oh bugger.

    P.P.S. Yes this Islamic person is delusional in the colloquial sense. What he claims to believe is at odds with reality to a sufficient extent as to be deemed a delusion. But can we all really stop with the internet diagnosis of arseholes, even nasty, violent, misogynistic arseholes, with a variety of mental illnesses.

    Let’s be honest, such “diagnoses” stem purely from the stigma associated with mental illness. Bad person does stupid/wicked/nasty thing, quick! Damn them with a nasty disease! Claim they’re crazy, other them, distance them, demonstrate your disgust by claiming they are CRAYAYAYZY!

    I will cheerfully bet one of my testicles that none of these internet diagnoses would stand up to the scrutiny of a clinical psychologist. Now stop it before I get a rolled up newspaper. Don’t make me get the rolled up newspaper.

  26. NuMad says

    The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra.

    So. Tell me if I’ve got this straight, because that’s how this reads to me: a build up of secretions cause rancidness, which causes an odour, which is what causes infections?

    Bad air causes infection? Someone should tell him that when people call him medieval, it’s not a compliment.

  27. says

    *rolls eyes at talk of male circumcision*

    In non-Spidey talk, the description of female sexual response as an illness isn’t exactly a new thing, is it? We folks in non-Islamic countries have almost gotten to the point where female sexuality is just weird, rather than scary to the point of FGM. So can we expect the trend to hold and the Islamic world to remain hundreds of years behind the rest of the world, and this shit go on for another few centuries?

    Fuck.

  28. says

    male circumcision.

    Aaaaaaaaaand in this corner, the 2nd idiot weighs in, with no visible reading comprehension and with a complete inability to discuss the topic at hand, because it deals with that most unimportant of subjects, womeeeeeeeen!

    Can’t discuss women unless it is somehow tied into the ever more important subject matter of…men!

  29. phoenicianromans says

    Let’s have a bit of accuracy here. His article seems to be “only” talking about removal of the prepuce of the clitoris – however he doesn’t make it very clear and waffles on worringly about secretions from the labia as well.

    FGM in its more brutal forms, excision of the labia, removal of the clitoris, and infibulation, is practiced mainly in NE Africa, and is a cultural tradition – Islam is cited to justify it, but Islamic scholars have also spoken out against it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_on_female_genital_mutilation

    Of course, there’s no clear doctrine on it, which allows Muslims to either use religious demands as an analog to male circumcision by “just” going for the prepuce, or to act out against female sexuality by getting a bit more enthusiastic with the knife.

    Either way, cutting pieces off the genitals of babies, male or female, using religion as an excuse is barbaric, and it becomes more barbaric when it allows for more extensive mutilation of females.

  30. Luc says

    Yet again the religious try to hide behind science’s authority and good reputation to push their nasty traditions.

  31. Louis says

    Caine #22,

    Long? About 5.8 inches on average I’ve read….

    …ohhhh you meant…erm…forget I said anything.

    Louis

    P.S. YAY!!!! What about Teh Menz! Remember, MAN FEE-FEES = TEH IMPORTANT! Silly womenz with teh clitorissesss. No can has. NO! HURTS THE MAN FEE-FEES.

  32. says

    Islam is cited to justify it, but Islamic scholars have also spoken out against it.

    And others advertise it.
    Yes, you’re right, Islam doesn’t prescribe it. So, now since we’ve finished shedding our due tear for them being unjustly vilyfied, can we please get back?

    Well, I’ll actually go to bed.
    I have an appointment.

  33. Irene Delse says

    Whatever “Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi” is a doctor of, it’s not medicine! But it doesn’t stop him from using and abusing sciency words to try and bolster his misogyny. Perfect example of motivated reasoning: you start with the answer you want (like protecting male supremacy) and you make up shit to rationalise it all.

  34. says

    I’m glad, slignot, because I kinda made myself sick. It isn’t really satire, ya know?

    I do. Coping devices like sarcasm help sometimes, though.

  35. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Slignot – oh, of course. Which is why I indulge in it so often. Grim reality simply must be countered with humor.

  36. DaveL says

    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.

    I refuse to believe this man has ever paid any attention to a clitoris during sex.

  37. Louis says

    A vaguely serious point, because I cannot mock misogyny/misogynists all night,* I have never, EVER understood the “women’s sexuality is icky” stuff. Why on earth would your sexual partner enjoying themselves be bad? If they enjoy themselves they might come back for more! Ok, they might also go elsewhere, but that just means that you should make them enjoy it.

    If you take off and nuke the site from orbit don’t try to please your partner, or deny that your partner’s pleasure is even material or real or important, well it’s the only way to be sure they’ll go elsewhere.

    “Darling, your orgasm is unimportant.”

    “Well my beloved, I am off to find somewhere it is.”

    How is this difficult?

    Louis

  38. Irene Delse says

    @ DaveL #47:

    On the contrary, he seems pretty obsessed with teh clitorisses, here. Someone could tell him that the visible part is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg? That’d blow his mind for sure.

  39. Loqi says

    @Josh #24
    Thank you for explaining. It’s all so confusing. Perhaps I just haven’t spent enough time around Muslim fundamentalist “doctors” to understand the way this whole anatomy thing works.

  40. kelecable says

    If the clitoris is so bad, why did Allah create it in the first place? Do Muslim clerics have an answer for that?

  41. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Ah Louis, you are neglecting to consider that the women in this culture are taught that they don’t have orgasms, and if they do, it’s something to be ashamed of, and they certainly shouldn’t be seeking them out, whether in the marital bed or elsewhere, because that would be shameful and dirty and sinful. Just like women are anyway. And that a woman’s highest pleasure is pleasing her man, and so on and so forth and bllllaaaaaaarrrgghghhh

    Sorry, couldn’t help vomming for a bit there.

  42. says

    But, SMEGMA! Won’t someone think of all that icky, fishy SMEGMA?! Isn’t it just more hygienic and easier to be circumcised? I mean, who in their right mind would think of giving an uncircumcised woman oral sex, for a start?

    And don’t you know that it also prevents HIV? It’s TRUE – I saw it on YouTube! There’s science and everything: 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgqI0S1_uHk

    And it also reduces the risk of vaginal cancer, too, don’t you know?!

    And it doesn’t impede sexual satisfaction AT ALL. That is just a myth propagated by the stupid anti-circumcision brigade, who simply can’t swallow that circ could be a good thing, and want to interfere with our culture and religious freedom, and our discretion as parents to do as we wish with our kids’ genitals. 

    I mean, it’s just FLAPS OF SKIN, fer chrissakes! Anyone who thinks that’s a human rights issue needs to get their head checked. And abuse? It’s not like molestation. It’s not like we’re fondling our kids or something – just having a quick slice at them – as it is our religious freedom to do, and a choice we have the right as parents to make.

    But seriously though – check the science. Female circ doesn’t affect sexual pleasure. Do you read New Scientist? 

    http://www.newscientist.com/mobile/article/dn2837-female-circumcision-does-not-reduce-sexual-activity.html

    “Circumcised women experience sexual arousal and orgasm as frequently as uncircumcised women, according to a study in Nigeria.”

    It also means less places for sand to get stuck if you spend a lot of time at the beach – and nobody likes sand in the vagina, do they? And do you REALLY want to be rinsing sand out of your daughter’s flappy genitals because you decided to leave her uncircumcised?

    All it does is reduce the risk of disease, and make your vulva look better, taste better and smell better – without those unsightly flaps, or that smelly smegma. 

    And these days you can get it done by a doctor, with anaesthetic, anyway. My daughter didn’t even whimper during it, and now she’s thankful for it, and that she didn’t have to possibly face up to getting it done as an adult, if she got in infection – or the sand in the vagina was bugging her enough, or she had really bad smegma or something. 

    Clean, hygienic, tidy, healthy circumcised vulvas > dirty, smelly, smegmafied, bacteria-filled, ugly, flappy uncircumcised vulvas.

    TRUE FACTS!

  43. evader says

    Ah PZ…

    Don’t you just hate it when you’re having intercourse with a woman, and she starts getting aroused?

    Too funny.

    I’m glad I find the touch, taste and smell of an aroused woman, arousing.

    Islamic sex seems even more boring than Christian sex.
    I feel sorry for the ladies.

  44. Pteryxx says

    …I haven’t managed to actually read this far without choking. I guess my irony meter is inflamed to way more than 3 cm and it’s located somewhere in my respiratory tract.

  45. Irene Delse says

    Louis:

    A vaguely serious point, because I cannot mock misogyny/misogynists all night,* I have never, EVER understood the “women’s sexuality is icky” stuff. Why on earth would your sexual partner enjoying themselves be bad? If they enjoy themselves they might come back for more! Ok, they might also go elsewhere, but that just means that you should make them enjoy it.

    Well… We recently saw His Frothiness himself, Rick Santorum, explain that there’s no pleasure in heterosexual sex, no really. And he’s totally not gay either!

    Could Dr. Let’s-Cut-the-Clitoris be somehow deep, deep in a closet too?

  46. Gregory Greenwood says

    The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra. I have seen many cases of sickness caused by the lack of circumcision.

    Well, that is a new one to me, but even if it were true, regular washing seems a better solution than hacking away at girls genitals. It seems that one of the many, many things that al-Ghawaabi doesn’t understand is basic personal hygiene. It seems it never occured to him that women might clean themselves down there.

    A rather unpleasant thought has occured to me – perhaps he thinks women don’t wash their genitals because it is something that he would never do.*

    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.

    And here I was assuming that a woman becoming aroused during sexual intercourse was a good thing…

    Honestly, what kind of person finds the fact that their sexual partner is taking pleasure in their tryst annoying? This jerk really doesn’t see women as people at all.

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

    Wait, that can’t be right…

    *reads paragraph again*
    Surely al-Ghawaabi didn’t seriously just describe the female orgasm as clitoral ‘inflamation’? I share Josh, Official SpokesGay’s incomprehension here – in this day and age, such an attitude has to be born of the most staggering ignorance, a twisted asttempt to justify a horrifying level of misogyny, or out-and-out insanity.

    Or all three, as I think may be the case here.

    —————————————————————-

    * I apologise in advance for that mental image

  47. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    Louis,

    Well my beloved, I am off to find somewhere it is.

    Holy shit, you’ve just described my early relationships. :-/

  48. Gregory Greenwood says

    I still can’t imagine the kind of bloke who would be enjoying sexual intercourse with his significant other, only to stop and say; “Damnit, that thing is swelling again. And now it’s spasming, how disgusting! I have talked to you about this before. It’s annoying, just knock it off!”

    Saying ‘he’s doing it wrong’ just seems woefully inadequate. Sex among religious fundamentalists of any stripe must be a truly awful experience. As we know, Santorum clearly thinks so…

  49. mck9 says

    Louis:

    If they enjoy themselves they might come back for more! Ok, they might also go elsewhere, but that just means that you should make them enjoy it.

    Come back for more? For the woman, sex is not discretionary. Sex is entirely the prerogative of the man. The role of his property (or his plunder, when applicable) is not to choose, and certainly not to enjoy, but to submit.

    If you take off and nuke the site from orbit don’t try to please your partner, or deny that your partner’s pleasure is even material or real or important, well it’s the only way to be sure they’ll go elsewhere.

    They’re not likely to go elsewhere if (1) you surgically deprive them of the capacity for enjoying going elsewhere, and (2) make sure they understand that going elsewhere is punishable by painful death.

  50. phoenicianromans says

    So, now since we’ve finished shedding our due tear for them being unjustly vilyfied, can we please get back?

    In this particular case, you have one religious yo-yo (“hey, let’s go cutting off prepuces!…”) being vilified for a position which the piece explicitly spoke out against (“Hey, let’s go cutting off clitorises!…”).

    It’s irritating when religious nuts do it to atheists. Atheists should probably avoid doing it to religious nuts.

  51. jayarrrr says

    Soap and water (on both partners) makes for a most pleasurable experience.
    And I DIG a big clitoris. Seemed like the bigger the clitty, the bigger the orgasms.

  52. says

    How about the female gynecologist Sitt al-Banaat Khaalid on evidence for female circumcision?

    in the book on Traditions that affect the health of women and children, which was published by the World Health Organization in 1979 it says:

    With regard to the type of female circumcision which involves removal of the prepuce of the clitoris, which is similar to male circumcision, no harmful health effects have been noted.

    And Allaah knows best.

    That must make it OK. Praise AlleyOop!

  53. says

    #64: Hey, you know what’s irritating? People who try to defend the indefensible by complaining that the butchers aren’t chopping quite that deep.

  54. says

    I admit, as a mother of boys in the US my first thought was “damn, he’s spouting the same bullshit used to support male circumcision.” Which doesn’t mean I think male fee-fees are more important, but that it’s a stupid argument no matter which set of sexual parts you apply it to.

    Can we just lock guys like him up on a desert island somewhere? Preferably far, far away from everyone else? I promise I’ll respect his religious beliefs a lot more if he’s too far away to actually affect anyone by said beliefs.

  55. Irene Delse says

    PZ:

    #64: Hey, you know what’s irritating? People who try to defend the indefensible by complaining that the butchers aren’t chopping quite that deep.

    Plus, the way al-Ghawaabi’s opinion is worded seem sufficiently vague to encompass more extensive forms of FGM than “only” cutting the prepuce of the clitoris. Or he wouldn’t go on about how deleterious to male sexuality a 3 cm clitoris was. You can’t “fix” that by cutting just a flap of skin.

  56. says

    Gregory:

    Well, that is a new one to me, but even if it were true, regular washing seems a better solution than hacking away at girls genitals.

    Indeed. I find it interesting that the rationalization runs so deep, you have a doctor who seems to think that reducing or removing the clitoris will magically take care of all those icky, nasty, ever-so-unnatural vaginal secretions.

  57. says

    Irene:

    You can’t “fix” that by cutting just a flap of skin.

    You also can’t eliminate those terrible “inflammatory spasms” of the clitoris by leaving it intact.

  58. jimmauch says

    When the ladies find the penis to be uncomfortable do they the have the option to wield the meat cleaver? Maybe you sensitive guys will volunteer for your ladies.

  59. Azkyroth says

    Let’s forget about accomodationism for a minute and just say out loud that this guy, Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi, clearly has serious mental health problems and so does anyone who accepts what he says.

    Why are you trying to shift the blame from religion-fueled cultural misogyny to mentally ill people? I thought we were forgetting about accomodationism.

  60. says

    I admit, as a mother of boys in the US my first thought was “damn, he’s spouting the same bullshit used to support male circumcision.” Which doesn’t mean I think male fee-fees are more important, but that it’s a stupid argument no matter which set of sexual parts you apply it to.

    THIS.

    FGM does carry a lot of female-specific baggage with it – a lot of out-and-out misogyny – rather than the simple misanthropy and sex-negativity that religion dishes out generally… But when it comes to the cultural aspects of genital cutting – how the memes perpetuate – the rationales offered, the health benefits claimed, the fear-mongering ladled on, the excuses made, the culturally ingrained ignorance, and even the trivialisations and dismissals made – there’s more similarity across genders than there is between them.

  61. carlie says

    I admit, as a mother of boys in the US my first thought was “damn, he’s spouting the same bullshit used to support male circumcision.” Which doesn’t mean I think male fee-fees are more important, but that it’s a stupid argument no matter which set of sexual parts you apply it to.

    My first thought was that there was going to be a “gotcha” at the end and it was really about males after all. Because yeah, same bullshit. Stupid either way, but it’s a more serious mutilation in women. Now that we’ve said it, all the MRAs won’t claim that we’re ignoring it, right?

  62. tassilo says

    Water is precious in the desert. When you live in it, like Mohammed did, you need the water for drinking and not washing. Besides, I’m sure he must have realized that impure thoughts will rise in women who touch their genitals while washing. Mohammed’s solution, female circumcision, makes perfect sense. It saves water, prevents infections, and keeps women from getting aroused. Aroused women were a serious problem for desert dwellers.

  63. yellowsubmarine says

    So the best way to deal with the secretions of the labia minora “accumulating” is to cut off the labia minora? Do they know about this bathing thing?

  64. Irene Delse says

    Caine:

    You also can’t eliminate those terrible “inflammatory spasms” of the clitoris by leaving it intact.

    Well, no, but obviously, leaving it intact is not what al-Ghawaabi wants, right?

  65. Azkyroth says

    The first part is startlingly close to the justification for male circumcision.

    Yes, and the next time that’s actually the topic I intend to link back to this, not because the two procedures are actually equivalent in terms of practical impact on a person’s quality of life, but because the idiots who find this sort of reasoning compelling when it reinforces prejudices they grew up with may be marginally more likely to recognize it as bullshit when it’s used to support arguments that aren’t congruent to prejudices they grew up with.

  66. says

    tassilo:

    It saves water, prevents infections, and keeps women from getting aroused.

    Oh yes, can’t have such a radical action as washing, everyone knows that leads to the most horrible things and you certainly can’t trust women to wash, Allah knows! They are such evil creatures, gotta neuter them to keep them under control and make sure they don’t run away from home.

    Besides, water being so precious and all, it must be saved for the menz. They’re the only ones who can cope with its mighty power and manage to wash their genitals without going on a sexual rampage. Yep, perfectly sensible.

  67. Irene Delse says

    @ tassilo:

    It doesn’t make sense, even in the desert!

    For one thing, FGM is older than the prophet Muhammad. IIRC, historians think it already existed in Ancient Egypt. (There’s a reference to genital cutting of girls in Islamic scripture which shows that the practice was established in 7th Century Arabia. Muhammad only says that they shouldn’t cut “too much” of the clitoris, and leaves it at that.) It was inherited by Muslims, but in some part of Africa, non-Muslim populations also practice it.

    And anyway, you don’t need that much water to keep yourself clean. Desert people don’t stay all time in places without water, but go to oases and near wadis (streams). This is not the planet Dune we’re talking about…

    It’s also useful to remember that the modern concept of hygiene as a preventative against infections was not part of the mental panorama of Medieval people. Where we think in term of material cleanliness, the Qu’ran, like the Bible and the Torah before it, focuses on “ritual cleanliness”, the concept of being pure or impure in the eye of God. It has nothing to do with microbes.

  68. Louis says

    mck9, #63,

    Yeah, sadly, I am aware of the attitudes of a splendid variety of cross cultural misogynists. Apologies if my mockery and sarcasm failed to convey that unfortunate familiarity.

    They’re not likely to go elsewhere if (1) you surgically deprive them of the capacity for enjoying going elsewhere, and (2) make sure they understand that going elsewhere is punishable by painful death.

    E pur si muove E pur essi scopano

    The problem with any method for preventing women from “going elsewhere” is some of those tricky fuckers still do! So do some of those wicked men! I know, crazy right? The heart wants what the heart wants.

    I’d love it if sex were merely about technical wizardry and physical trickery, gamers would have a better time in the sack for starters, but I digress. Sometimes, genital mutilation aside*, people will want to have sex with, oh I don’t know, people that demonstrate they give a shit about them. No one’s found a perfect way to circumcise the brain yet, and that’s by far the largest sexual organ. Adultery happens. Even to Muslims.

    Louis

    *Now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d use.

  69. says

    Oddly enough, he doesn’t find the spasms of the male penis to be quite alarming enough to warrant cutting them off. Or the gooey secretions. Or the annoying heat and throbbing and “inflamation”… excuse me, I’ll be in my bunk.

  70. Koshka says

    tassilo,

    You do realise that there is water in the desert? It is not just 100 metre high sand dunes.

    You also realise that women’s genitals are made up of more than just a clitoris? A woman without a clitoris cannot get an infection?

    Make all the excuses you want. This is about controlling women.

  71. kerfluffle says

    @ tassilo

    Aroused women were a serious problem for desert dwellers.

    I just have to know – In what specific way are aroused women a serious problem for desert dwellers? There’s no need to cite references. Your mere opinion will slack my curiosity.

  72. says

    Besides, water being so precious and all, it must be saved for the menz. They’re the only ones who can cope with its mighty power and manage to wash their genitals without going on a sexual rampage.

    Oh no, fear not. Allah likes his men to have hygienic genitals that won’t get diseased or get sand in them during their travels through the desert, too. And who knows, the lessened irritation caused by male secretions under the foreskin might make them less likely to go on sexual rampages, too. Although, that might be purely incidental, since Allah isn’t generally too fussed about men fulfilling their sexual needs with the sluts who were asking for it. The Jews and Christians did fancy that aspect of a bit of minor alteration of the men, though.

  73. says

    IIRC A report about women in Sudan with this condition reveals that for many the whole “prevents arousal” thing doesn’t work here. Neuroplasticity+sex drive seems to mean that for many people their body will try to compensate. It’s just stupid all around

  74. phoenicianromans says

    #64: Hey, you know what’s irritating? People who try to defend the indefensible by complaining that the butchers aren’t chopping quite that deep.

    #67: In what world is referring to something as “barbaric” a defense?

    The guy is supporting something which is indefensible. He is not, however, supporting everything that he is being accused of on this thread and, indeed, explicitly excludes some of it. Pointing out that people are railing against him inaccurately is NOT defending him.

    If someone accused you as worshipping Satan because you’re an atheist, I’d also be pointing out the problem with their logic – and that wouldn’t be a defense of atheism.

  75. tassilo says

    kerfluffle: let me slack your curiosity. At the time of Mohammed, there were still legends of Amazons circulating throughout the Middle East. Rumor had it they were formidable warriors when aroused, and also that they were not circumcised. Any right thinking sheik who had more than one wive was deathly afraid of what they might to do him should they become inflamed with passion. They might turn into Amazons, take over his desert empire, and subjugate his camels. But what was even more frightening, they might enslave him to satisfy their every want and need. Circumcision solved that problem.

  76. says

    Phoenicianromans:

    He is not, however, supporting everything that he is being accused of on this thread

    And it’s obvious your reading comprehension isn’t too grand. You have been busy attempting to defend the indefensible. As it has been pointed out to you, repeatedly, you don’t do away with those awful “inflammation caused spasms” by leaving the clitoris intact, frinst., so no matter what the doctor is being vague about, it’s clear he thinks that a woman walking about with a clitoris is a bad thing.

    Also, when PZ stops by to give you a light smack on the head, you might want to pay attention to what you’re doing instead of just tossing out a “no I’m not!”

  77. says

    tassilo:

    But what was even more frightening, they might enslave him to satisfy their every want and need.

    Oh yes, that would be so wrong. Everyone knows it’s the rightful place of a man to be the one to stomp all over those lesser beings, women, and make sure they are dutifully satisfying every want and need of men, right?

  78. anuran says

    Our asshole political religious hacks say menstruation is an “infection”. Theirs say orgasm is an “inflammation”.

    Both are invited to perform the Jewish mitzvah of metzitzah b’peh on me. Repeatedly.

  79. Irene Delse says

    @ tassilo #93:

    *snort* *cough*

    Hahaha! Sorry, I seem to have choked while laughing!

    Amazons? This is a just-so-story to make even the wildest of evo-psych proponents blush. Too bad it doesn’t explain why people didn’t stop to cut female genitals when the legend of the Amazons stop being a widespread belief! (If it was ever one, and not just a fairy tale.) The gender power imbalance in traditional Muslim societies (and others in Africa and the Middle East, btw, even before Islam) have nothing to do with that, no, of course…

    Doesn’t explain either why the Ancient Greeks, who also believed in the Amazons, didn’t practice similar mutilations. What, different cultures need no factual basis for their beliefs and practices? In-cred-ible.

    Oh, and what about your previous story about desert people needing to cut a woman’s clitoris to prevent infection? Did the Amazons also refrain to wash themselves? Strange, that.

  80. gragra says

    “which may cause it to increase in size to 3 centimeters when aroused, which is very annoying to the husband”

    No it’s not, it’s fucking GREAT!

  81. anuran says

    Now, concerning hacking little girls’ clits off, you do have to cut most Muslims some slack. In parts of Africa South of the Sahara where it’s common it’s also found among Christians and animists. In the Arab world it’s only really found among Egyptians, and the custom there goes back to Pharaonic times. It’s not found in Central Asia, the sub-continent or the Malay world.

    The only reference in Islam is an “unreliable” hadith – i.e. al-Islami pulled it out of his ass – which says “If you must cut do not cut deeply.”

  82. says

    Irene:

    Did the Amazons also refrain to wash themselves? Strange, that.

    In tassilo’s little fairy tale of nonsense, I found this bit interestin':

    they were formidable warriors when aroused

    So, the great, mighty and feared Amazons were weak, bad warriors when not aroused?

  83. says

    anuran:

    you do have to cut most Muslims some slack.

    No, I don’t have to cut them any slack at all. Ever read Hirsi Ali’s account of her and her sister’s circumcision when they were young girls? Absolutely horrifying.

  84. anuran says

    Concerning the bullshit argument that washing uses too much precious water….

    Muslims pray five times a day. Before they pray they’re supposed to wash their hands, feet, faces and heads. They’re supposed to have a complete bath at least once a week – not bad for seventh century hygiene. Rinsing off the Holy of Holies takes no water at all compared to all that. You could even re-use some of what you washed your hands and face with.

  85. Irene Delse says

    anuran:

    In parts of Africa South of the Sahara where it’s common it’s also found among Christians and animists. In the Arab world it’s only really found among Egyptians, and the custom there goes back to Pharaonic times. It’s not found in Central Asia, the sub-continent or the Malay world.

    True, and I think I’ve posted something about this upthread. But since it’s not a canonical, straight-from-the-mouth-of-the-prophet prescription, it makes it even worse for a “respected” Muslim scholar to defend this kind of practice! (Even if, for the sake of the argument, we set aside the horrific trauma it can be and the health problems it causes. It makes no sense for clerics to defend it, or worse to spin pseudo-scientific justifications for it.)

  86. anuran says

    Sorry, Fleur de Mal. You’re absolutely right. You only have to cut them some slack if you have even the tiniest bit of intellectual honesty.

    Since you lack that, and since your blind hatred – like that of most fanatic fuck-sticks – completely trumps the facts you deserve to have your own private little delusions. Don’t let nasty things like truth get in the way. Feel free to ignore the fact that it’s absolutely reprehensible to the overwhelming majority of all Muslim societies.

    And they say atheists can’t be as stupid and bigoted as religious assholes….

  87. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Couldn’t we all agree to err on the side of cutting no slack for any FGM proponents, whether Muslim, Christian, or animist?

    Anyway, that Amazon story was enormously entertaining. A complete fabrication, obviously, but enormously entertaining. Especially the “aroused” bit. Did they have special armor for their 3 cm clitorii?

  88. Mattir says

    First of all, if the good doctor is so troubled by the 3 cm clit problem, he should probably stop employing the nifty suction cup device with his lady friends, at least when they’re planning on following the suction cup with PIV sex.

    I’m having some google-fu issues at the moment, but I have definitely read African women discussing how even the most extreme pharonic nightmare fgm does not mean no-sexual-pleasure-or-orgasm and how they dislike the western emphasis on sexual pleasure when they’re dealing with the realities of fistula, scarring, infection, infertility and the like. And much as I like me some sexual pleasure and am glad I haven’t had to deploy amazing neuroplasticity to have me some, I think it’s at least as important that fgm kills women and children. This doctor is advocating a procedure that kills people in order not to have to deal with squicky yucko ladyspasms, even though his procedure does not prevent said ladyspasms.

    Go figure.

  89. anuran says

    As my favorite Turkish Muslim scholar says on the subject

    “Remember you can have children with just a centimeter of penis,” followed by chopping motions.

  90. says

    anuran:

    since your blind hatred

    There’s no hatred involved. I’m not going to cut anyone slack as long as they defend FGM, regardless of their particular belief system.

    What you’re saying is not any different from those who defend moderate/liberal Christians, because, ya know, they aren’t nasty like those fundamentalist Christians over there. They still uphold the basic beliefs and enable the nastier elements to keep on going.

  91. allencdexter says

    Stupid religions saddle human beings with stupid bronze age customs invented by ignorant bronze age shamans and passed on to formalized religions that cross fertilized each other. They demand that we respect their stupidity and I refuse to do so, even though I have to let them practice it out of deference for their miguided religious beliefs.

    Sand in sensitive parts, indeed. I’ve had problems with sand in my eyes but never with sand down there. Should it happen, it’s easily taken care of.

    Smegma a problem? Not if you have access to water and soap. Any mother worthy of the name knows how to teach her sons and daughters basic hygiene. I think most women are very conscious of being “clean” down there.

    Do parents have the right to make irrevocable decisions in such matters? In this society, they do have a legal right. That does not mean it is really “right” in moral actuality. I consider it child abuse and will do all in my power to condemn and lobby against it. Their religion is a manifestation of human gullibility and ignorance. As such it must be challenged and educated against.

  92. says

    Sally Strange:

    Did they have special armor for their 3 cm clitorii?

    Oh, I’m sure. Probably terribly flashy clitoripieces, enough to scare the codpieces right off the men.

  93. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I’ve gotten sand in my nethers, but only when swimming on the beach.

  94. anuran says

    Flowers of Evil, you’ve already shown conclusively that your prejudices are unaffected by facts. That’s all anyone needs to know about you. You’re just another sad, sick little bundle of hatreds not unlike the “Doctor” in the main article.

  95. says

    Holy shit, how does someone who earned a medical degree manage to say something that utterly stupid. You’d think he would fucking know better.

    I’d love to see this “doctor” explain why, in places like the US where informed consent is required for medical procedures, FGM is not a widespread practice if there are such amazing health benefits from doing it. You’d think that MORE women would be getting it done if it were so damn good for health. I wonder why that isn’t happening….

    “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.”

    Of course, THAT is the only reason it’s done in muslim countries where women are nothing but property. But then again the good “doctor” can’t just come out and say that without demonstrating to the world that his culture really does turn people into barbaric thugs who mutilate girls for nothing more than their own fucking convenience.

    Oh, and to anyone who brings up male circumcision, STFU and take your battle elsewhere. Yes, circumcision is a useless procedure done for asinine reasons. And yes, there is a legitimate battle to be fought against it; but bringing it up in threads about female genital mutilation which is ten times worse will do nothing but make you look like a jackass. There is a time and place for everything.

  96. Mattir says

    Wow. Further on in the linked article, there’s this:

    The female gynaecologist Sitt al-Banaat Khaalid says in an article entitled Khitaan al-Banaat Ru’yah Sihhiyyah (Female circumcision from a health point of view):

    For us in the Muslim world female circumcision is, above all else, obedience to Islam, which means acting in accordance with the fitrah and following the Sunnah which encourages it. We all know the dimensions of Islam, and that everything in it must be good in all aspects, including health aspects. If the benefits are not apparent now, they will become known in the future, as has happened with regard to male circumcision – the world now knows its benefits and it has become widespread among all nations despite the opposition of some groups.

    Then she mentioned some of the health benefits of female circumcision and said:

    It takes away excessive libido from women

    It prevents unpleasant odours which result from foul secretions beneath the prepuce.

    It reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections

    It reduces the incidence of infections of the reproductive system.

    Just….wow.

  97. Irene Delse says

    @ Mattir:

    I’m having some google-fu issues at the moment, but I have definitely read African women discussing how even the most extreme pharonic nightmare fgm does not mean no-sexual-pleasure-or-orgasm and how they dislike the western emphasis on sexual pleasure when they’re dealing with the realities of fistula, scarring, infection, infertility and the like.

    Interesting. Although from what I see in the link given by PZ, the kind of Arabic scholars who defend “moderate” (in their eyes) female circumcision seem also very preoccupied by considerations of arousal and libido.

    @ anuran:

    From what I’ve seen with a quick Googling, Dr. Al-Ghawaabi is a scholar from the prestigious Al-Azhar university in Egypt. He was quoted on Islam Q&A, a well-known multilingual website published by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajid, a cleric and TV personality from Saudi Arabia. Not only these authors don’t go out of their way to warn the faithful against FGM, but they even recommend it.

  98. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    For goodness’ sake, anuran, dial it down. Your extreme outrage at Caine is out of proportion to your disagreement.

  99. Loqi says

    @anuran
    Other people do it to, so we shouldn’t denounce Muslims so much for doing it? Is that really your argument?

  100. Mattir says

    @Irene #118 –

    Yes, the advocates for fgm harp on sexual arousal. But many African women activists opposing fgm would rather deemphasize the sexual arousal issue in favor of the it kills people problem. (And given the inelasticity of scar tissue, I’d suspect that even the “moderate” forms of fgm would contribute to serious health problems in sexual intercourse and childbirth.)

  101. says

    Mattir:

    For us in the Muslim world female circumcision is, above all else, obedience to Islam, which means acting in accordance with the fitrah and following the Sunnah which encourages it. We all know the dimensions of Islam, and that everything in it must be good in all aspects, including health aspects. If the benefits are not apparent now, they will become known in the future, as has happened with regard to male circumcision – the world now knows its benefits and it has become widespread among all nations despite the opposition of some groups.

    I find it particularly disheartening to see women advocating this practice. It’s bad enough that male circumcision is so common and routinely done, it’s a terrible thought that some people might want FGM to become as routine.

  102. Azkyroth says

    Any mother worthy of the name knows how to teach her sons and daughters basic hygiene.

    Or father.

  103. says

    Oh, shoot, I get these weird inflammations and spasms during intercourse, as well. If only there were an analogous part of the male anatomy we could cut off to prevent this! I’m sure this guy, concerned as he is about this, would be on board with that, right? Right?

  104. Irene Delse says

    @ Mattir:

    Urgh. That Dr. Sitt al-Banaat Khaalid (a gynaecologist? for shame!) is un-fuckin’-believable. The disturbing thing is that she, with other “respected” Islamic authorities like al-Ghawaabi, is used by Ulemas to promote circumcision of little girls in other parts of the world.

    @anuran:

    About the situation in Indonesia, the country with the most numerous Muslim population in the world: contrary to what you may think, 96% of girls have undergone some sort of circumcision by the time they reach 14:

    http://www.indonesiamatters.com/648/female-circumcision/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/magazine/20circumcision-t.html

    It shows that at least important parts of the modern Muslim world have embraced female genital cutting as “necessary” for ritual reasons (being “clean” while praying) and for imaginary health reasons. Not a comforting thought.

  105. anuran says

    Irene,

    Thanks for looking into it.

    Yep, an Egyptian. Just like I thought. They spend more time trying to rationalize this crap than the rest of the Muslims in the world combined.

    And it’s not just a Muslim thing. The Coptic community practices FGM despite an official religious position that it’s a pagan practice.

  106. Irene Delse says

    Mattir:

    But many African women activists opposing fgm would rather deemphasize the sexual arousal issue in favor of the it kills people problem. (And given the inelasticity of scar tissue, I’d suspect that even the “moderate” forms of fgm would contribute to serious health problems in sexual intercourse and childbirth.)

    That’s true! And even “little” cuts can lead to nasty infections, and serious risks for the girls involved, from infertility to death.

  107. jentokulano says

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

    Makes sense I guess. Cutting off the left arm prevents inflammation of the left arm, too. I also have a can of giraffe repellent. Works great.

  108. says

    Irene:

    It shows that at least important parts of the modern Muslim world have embraced female genital cutting as “necessary” for ritual reasons (being “clean” while praying) and for imaginary health reasons. Not a comforting thought.

    Careful, you’ll be branded as a sad, sick little hater, Irene.

  109. Mattir says

    Ooooh, can I be a sad sick little hater like Caine too? Plz?

    I really don’t care (or think) that fgm is a partly a Muslim practice in the 21st century. What astonishes me is how part of an extinct pagan religion has been absorbed into later religions so as to endure and spread. That’s how powerful religion is – the cruelty of ancient Egyptian religion is still killing people today.

  110. Heliantus says

    @ Irene

    It’s also useful to remember that the modern concept of hygiene as a preventative against infections was not part of the mental panorama of Medieval people. Where we think in term of material cleanliness, the Qu’ran, like the Bible and the Torah before it, focuses on “ritual cleanliness”, the concept of being pure or impure in the eye of God. It has nothing to do with microbes.

    I would agree with the last part – the medieval Catholic church disliked public baths because of all these occasions for promiscuity between naked people (and let’s say it, medieval public baths doubled as bordello, or at least dating places). By the 16th-17th centuries, public baths will be outlawed.

    However, I would question the first part. In a back-country village, yes. In the big cities, not so sure. Ancient civilizations like Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Egyptians did have baths – in the form of pools, steam baths, tubs – and soap, and for a purpose more secular than religious. Medieval European countries did have public baths, relatively similar to ancient Roman therms, with a special day for “impure” customers – Jews one day, prostitutes another day. Muslims countries had – and still have – public baths, too. Or they should know about it, through the Thousand Nights stories.
    Medieval people may have been fuzzy on what causes infections, but I’m sure that a number of them did make some relation between all this soap and water and the lessening of their body smells. including genital smells.
    In one letter to the Queen Margot, Henri IV asked her not to wash her pubic area during the time they will be apart, so he can enjoy her natural fragrances all the more once they were reunited.
    In short, and contrary to our doctor-cleric in the OP, a number of Medieval or more ancient civilizations did seem to have found ways to deal with body smells, without cutting bits away.

  111. F says

    Oh, bull-fucking-shit.

    Scooping out the brains of some Muslim clerics and doctors seems like a better way of promoting hygiene.

    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.

    What. The. Fuck. So, the man feels like his penis is too small by comparison then, or what? What, I ask you!

  112. elisabetht. says

    Religions claim to be the ultimate bearers of morality. If they fail to act century after century against what some apologists allege is a mere “cultural” crime, then at some point it is the same as overt approval. Islam had the political power and ‘moral’ authority to abolish FGM over time if it were indeed not compatible with Islam. Compare the Islamic non-response on FGM to the forceful prohibition of Chinese republicans and communists against foot binding.

    Yet to the best of my knowledge, there is no recorded counter-movement on FGM within Islam until after contact with modern Europe (post-1800). It was further European suffragettes/first-wave feminist that raised the initial cry. If anyone has any evidence of a pre-colonial, intra-Islamic movement against FGM, please post it.

    Frankly I wish we would just criminalise all child genital cutting in Europe. It is sick that banning religious clothing (a move I support in the name of laïcité) is easier than banning bodily amputations.

  113. Koshka says

    anuran,

    You want us to cut most muslims some slack and blame the Egyptians.

    Pyramid loving fuckwits!

  114. julian says

    You want us to cut most muslims some slack and blame the Egyptians.

    Pyramid loving fuckwits!

    Those evil death cultists!

  115. spyro says

    …they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra.

    There may be a good point here – smells cause infections.

    I present as evidence the case of what happens to someone clearly sufferring from one too many brain farts. There is obviously only one good solution to this, too. Not that he’d notice.

  116. DLC says

    It should not be possible to carry this sort of mutilation out in this day and age, without facing criminal sanction.

  117. says

    Koshka:

    You want us to cut most muslims some slack and blame the Egyptians.

    Yes, it’s those damn Egyptians! It has nothing to do with muslims at all. The evidence which says otherwise is meaningless.

    I’m with Mattir @ 130. I have a problem with those who practice and promote FGM and all the religions which support it, both indirectly and directly.

  118. F says

    Mattir

    What astonishes me is how part of an extinct pagan religion has been absorbed into later religions so as to endure and spread.

    Well, the aims frightened little boys haven’t changed much.

  119. RealityEnforcer, Roaming Bear, terror of the Boy Scouts says

    Soooo… This guy want to have sex with plastic? Not pesky arousal, no icky secretions, no smell. Nothing annoying or distracting.

    Mattir and Caine:
    Can I be a sad sick little hater too? I like Cohen.

  120. michaelpowers says

    Sooo, mutilation as opposed to regular hygiene? That’s just wrong on so many levels. As to everything else the “doctor” stated, I’ve always considered that feedback as to whether or not I’m doing it correctly.

    As my dear wife said early on in our marriage, “Honey, it’s not necessarily the size of the ship. It’s the ability to remain in port until ALL the passengers have disembarked.”

    I do love that woman.

  121. shouldbeworking says

    Ooooh, can I be a sick little hater too? Pleeeease? I don’t like Cohen, but I have chocolate chip cookies my daughter baked tonight.

  122. says

    Koshka:

    Pretty low standards in your hate club.

    All you have to do is not cut some slack.

    Yes, I know. I briefly considered a “must kill a baby for the potluck” requirement, but decided it was too much trouble.

  123. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Caine, I say you let in anyone who can maintain the Femi-Sheep in their corral. The Flockmind is a powerful weapon, but with it comes great responsibility.

  124. shouldbeworking says

    Do you want the milk chocolate or the dark chocolate chip cookies. The dark chocolate are going fast…

  125. says

    Janine:

    Am I a sick little hater by association?

    Naturally. You are one with the flockmind *listen to the hypnofemisheep*

    Josh:

    Caine, I say you let in anyone who can maintain the Femi-Sheep in their corral. The Flockmind is a powerful weapon, but with it comes great responsibility.

    Oh yes, which is why that responsibility shall be shared, in a terrifyingly pink, femisheep way. Me, I just want to be in charge of the music and drinks until the orgy of non-bias starts.

  126. blairo says

    I like how the same people who brought up the fallacy used by Dawkins with regards to the elevator gate are committing the same fallacy with MGM. It isn’t as bad as FGM so stfu! How cute.

  127. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Me, I just want to be in charge of the music and drinks until the orgy of non-bias starts.

    Yes, my liege. I shall prepare my mind for brutal and focused acts of compassion.

    (kneels Land-o-Lakes Indian princess style)

    On behalf of my people please accept this gift of traditional feminist attire and hair dye. We make it from corn.

  128. says

    Josh:

    I shall prepare my mind for brutal and focused acts of compassion.

    Oooh, such sweet talk. :melts:

    On behalf of my people please accept this gift of traditional feminist attire and hair dye. We make it from corn.

    Mmmmm, lovely and all properly fluffy and pink.

  129. says

    blairo:

    I like how the same people who brought up the fallacy used by Dawkins with regards to the elevator gate are committing the same fallacy with MGM. It isn’t as bad as FGM so stfu! How cute.

    Wrong, Cupcake. If you had a clue, you’d know there is a history of the menz™ showing up in every single thread specifically about female genital mutilation and insisting on making it all about male circumcision.

    There have been posts and threads about male circumcision, where, amazingly enough, the women participating in the discussion managed to stay on topic and talk about male circumcision. It’s always interesting that certain men have a very difficult time staying on topic when the topic is women.

  130. Loqi says

    @blairo
    Nobody is saying to shut up about MGM. This thread is about FGM. MGM gets denounced in MGM threads. What people object to is that every time there is a thread about FGM, someone comes along at tries to make it about MGM.

  131. says

    I like how the same people who brought up the fallacy used by Dawkins with regards to the elevator gate are committing the same fallacy with MGM. It isn’t as bad as FGM so stfu! How cute.

    rebecca watson interrupted and derailed a conversation about muslim women with complaints about elevator guy? well, that’s news to me

  132. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    *this episode of racism brought to you from the land o’ lakes*

    Tethys, I was mocking the trope of the “Indian princess” from central casting. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear. I’m not nearly so stupid as to be unaware of how offensive the Land O Lakes image is.

  133. says

    Tethys:

    *this episode of racism brought to you from the land o’ lakes*

    And they excel at racism, too. I don’t buy their products. Of course, if one wants to do the whole Indian Princess shtick, they provide a fine model.

  134. says

    “I suppose snipping off the clitoris is one way of dealing with it”

    But the page you took the quote from says

    “With regard to the type of female circumcision which involves removal of the prepuce of the clitoris, which is similar to male circumcision, no harmful health effects have been noted.”

    I assume you were counting on your readers not checking out the source of the quote?

  135. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I thought it was a special joke for me, being a haffer and all. :D

    Well, it was a little of that, too. Don’t make me start singing Cher.

  136. says

    I assume you were counting on your readers not checking out the source of the quote?

    no, he assumed we had the reading comprehension to understand that in order to prevent clitoral swelling and the “inflammation” the way the cleric describes, you kinda have to get rid of a wee bit more than just the prepuce

    plus, “similar to male circumcision” is not synonymous with harmless; far from it.

  137. says

    Crap I wanted to add this to my above comment as well.

    “Pharaonic circumcision which is where the clitoris is excised completely. This does in fact lead to frigidity but it is contrary to the kind of circumcision enjoined by the Prophet of mercy (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he said: “Do not destroy” i.e., do not uproot or excise. This alone is evidence that speaks for itself, because medicine at that time knew very little about this sensitive organ (the clitoris) and its nerves. “

  138. Tethys says

    @Josh

    I was mocking it too after laughing semi-deliriously at the image of you in an Indian princess outfit kneeling at Caine’s feet.

    I also happen to live in the Land o’ Lakes.

    I’m now searching for the commercial where the Indian princess said “We call it maize”.

  139. Holms says

    I liked the way the guy managed to turn a list of female medical benefits into a husband-no-longer-has-a-reason-to-be-annoyed-at-his-property benefit. Very revealing, I found it.

  140. Tethys says

    Ah, Jadehawk beat me to it. I am restraining myself from derailing further by posting Cher singing “I’m Red, White, and Blue”

  141. says

    This alone is evidence that speaks for itself, because medicine at that time knew very little about this sensitive organ (the clitoris) and its nerves. “

    Going to tell us a pretty fairy tale about precious water and Amazons next?

  142. Azuma Hazuki says

    The fact that his list changed very quickly from medical benefits to “oh noez, don’t scare the huzz-bin~!” shows what this is really about: yet another way of demonizing and subjugating women.

    Someone ought to tell him that what you see out front is only the smallest part of a system that branches and wraps around deep inside. And that in total it’s a lot bigger than his :)

  143. says

    Going to tell us a pretty fairy tale about precious water and Amazons next?

    Duh. Anyone with a brain knows that several thousand years ago people didn’t know what water was. Because of this lack of knowledge our glorious gods commanded everyone to remove part of their children’s genitals. Of course this is not applicable today (or ever really) but we will conveniently ignore that fact so we can justify our perverse desire to mutilate children’s genitals.

  144. says

    Am I the only one who thought the Amazon story/”Aroused women were a serious problem for desert dwellers.” was a parody? Because I laughed my head off.

    Also, Louis, you win all the awards in my book. This entire thread places second.

  145. says

    Am I the only one who thought the Amazon story/”Aroused women were a serious problem for desert dwellers.” was a parody? Because I laughed my head off.

    no, I thought so, too, actually. but then, I already figured we were dealing with a poe at “Aroused women were a serious problem for desert dwellers”

  146. Tethys says

    though, isn’t “red white and blue” by someone else

    It’s by Loretta Lynn, but I seem to remember Cher singing it on the Sonny and Cher show when I was just a wee child.

  147. chigau (同じ) says

    I like PZ’s tags
    Religion,Stupidity
    As soon as I stop crying, I’ll read the comments.

  148. Agent Smith says

    “Attack of The 3cm Clitoris.”. I don’t see that catching on as a classic B-grade title. Except with Dr Haamid, perhaps.

    Who has totally laserfucked his credibility, in medical matters and pretty much anything else, for justifying FGM. You can’t defend a procedure which would be fighting footbinding for gold at the Misery Olympics without looking like a complete shit.

    It’s typical of religion to hate the good, honest things in life; to declare them as problems and propose grotesque “solutions’. The last thing those wretched enough to perform FGM need is a ‘respectable doctor’ giving them support. Here’s hoping he gets rebutted hard.

  149. elisabetht. says

    I noticed these ignorant, demonstrably false comments from anuran:

    It’s not found in Central Asia, the sub-continent or the Malay world.

    Painfully wrong. Look what a few seconds on google can illuminate:

    Pakistan: Low awareness of hidden FGM/C practices

    Indonesia: Female genital mutilation persists despite ban

    FGM: It happens in Malaysia too

    Feel free to ignore the fact that it’s absolutely reprehensible to the overwhelming majority of all Muslim societies.

    Actually it would appear that the vast majority of countries with a historical Muslim population have some prevalence of FGM. But please compare a comprehensive list of countries that practice FGM from a reputable NGO with the list of the OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference). Then report back with a list of OIC states that do NOT practice FGM.

    As we see above you can already strike off the largest Muslim nations, Indonesia and Pakistan. And you already agreed the largest Arab state, Egypt, practises it. In fact you can go ahead and cross of every single African nation with a Muslim populace except perhaps Morocco, Algeria and Libya. Countries with Kurds (Turkey, Iraq, Iran) are out. I’ll give you Albania, Bosnia and the ex-USSR states, but not any others.

    Please hurry back with the results.

  150. says

    Has anyone else ever noticed that noses constantly get stuffed up with runny snot that can dry into a crusty mess? Germs, tons of them, and sometimes if you try to remove this crust you can end up with an open bloody wound. A nightmare, infection waiting to happen.

    I have an idea…

  151. says

    “With regard to the type of female circumcision which involves removal of the prepuce of the clitoris, which is similar to male circumcision, no harmful health effects have been noted.”

    I assume you were counting on your readers not checking out the source of the quote?

    More likely he was counting on his readers to not be stupid dimwits. The only thing a removal of the clitoral prepuce may not do, is cause urinary retention. Arousal and the ability to feel sexual pleasure is still affected, infections and bleeding do occur, and mental trauma is caused by being held down with spread legs while someone hacks away at your crotch.

  152. says

    If these asshats are that freaked out by the scent of aroused women the answer is simple. They should cut their noses off and fill the holes with concrete. Problem solved.

  153. Harry Organs says

    The verbal secretion of this guy’s brain is extremely rancid and must’ve caused great many cases of sickness. He should therefeore consider the medical benefits of cutting his own head off.

  154. Marcus Hill says

    I hate everyone in Caine’s little haters club. Does that make me a hater? Does it mean I can join the club so I can hate myself?

    Also, what about the menz?

    (No, I don’t have anything constructive to say. Thanks for noticing.)

  155. Marcus Hill says

    Why not just leave then ?

    Because, like all FGM threads, all the sensible stuff has already been said and it’s degenerated into people talking rubbish for shits and giggles.

  156. says

    Really, people, you need to cut some slack
    How dare you talk about the fact that actual muslim scholars, doctors, whatever, want to hack off at clitorii in the name of Allah so the huband has greater pleasure while she is inhibited from having any.
    I mean, you need to put those things into perspective!
    You need to spend a lot of time explaining that indeed FGM is older than Islam. Then a lot more time explaining that not all muslim clegry prescribe it, some more actually oppose it and that it is not actually in the Koran.
    When you’re done with that, elaborate on the wonderfull stories as to why desert-dwelling people in the Middleages really had good reasons to cut off clitorii and their hood.
    After that, make sure that everybody understands that it’s not that bad because some forms are less severe than others.
    Finally, switch to male circumcision.

  157. says

    Perhaps I should clarify my position: Hitchens in a debate famously challenged a Rabbi on his trivializing of religiously based male circumcision by saying “what if an Imam claimed that his daughter cried more at her first haircut than she did at her clitoridectomy”. His point: Genital mutilation of children is wrong and just because it seems to be acceptable in the West to circumcise boys does not make it right.

    Female genital mutilation is accepted nowhere in the West (outside of enclaves of barbaric cultures that have been imported from those regions in which this disgusting practice is common) and for this reason I am unused to anyone trying to justify it by stupid references to “hygiene”. It looked like somebody was using reference to something considered in my culture to be wholly abhorrent in order to challenge something which up until a generation ago was considered to be the norm.

  158. says

    To further clarify, perhaps incredulity is an obvious response to something so totally at odds to reality as to claim that female genital mutilation is beneficial in any way.

  159. Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare says

    180 — Azuma says…Someone ought to tell him that what you see out front is only the smallest part of a system that branches and wraps around deep inside. And that in total it’s a lot bigger than his :)

    No, NO! Telling that barbaric idiot such information would give him more reason to cut deeper.

  160. fabracioferreira says

    So, let me get all this information about Islam:

    * In Islam, men go outside holding hands if they are friends;
    * In Islam, men kiss each other as greeting gesture;
    * In Islam, men don’t like clitorises or female orgasm.

    NO HOMO! Those are real men indeed.

  161. Marak says

    This is the second post I’ve read on this site in as many weeks that has left me with a pit in my chest (the second is the murder of the 15? year old “witch”). This is coming from someone who visits 4chan.
    It isn’t just the content that is the problem for me, but the calm matter of fact way they put forwards these crazy ideas. Just the absolute brainless following of a path which is so easily recognizable as bad wrong, more terrifying than the idea of actual Zombies, at least their monstrous activities can be explained by a base desire (hunger). Not some twisted complex reasoning that could be shot down with a tiny amount of critical thinking.
    Enough cannot be said about the horror I feel, when I’m reminded that I share a planet with people so uncritical of themselves and dangerous to others.

  162. Doc Dish says

    If the good doctor* is suggesting that a build up of microbes in the vagina can be caused by vaginal secretions being trapped in the folds of (intact) skin, what does he think replacing said folds with open wounds is going to do apart from give said microbes a direct route to the bloodstream.

    Is this an example of DoubleThink or Cognitive Dissonance?

    *Please read “evil murdering scumbag” here.

  163. phoenicianromans says

    And it’s obvious your reading comprehension isn’t too grand. You have been busy attempting to defend the indefensible. As it has been pointed out to you, repeatedly, you don’t do away with those awful “inflammation caused spasms” by leaving the clitoris intact,

    Uh-huh. Speaking about poor reading comprehension, you might wanna, you know, go and read the piece Myers pointed at.

    —-
    Frigidity has many causes, and this claim is not based on any sound statistics comparing circumcised women with uncircumcised women, except in the case of Pharaonic circumcision which is where the clitoris is excised completely. This does in fact lead to frigidity but it is contrary to the kind of circumcision enjoined by the Prophet of mercy (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he said: “Do not destroy” i.e., do not uproot or excise. This alone is evidence that speaks for itself, because medicine at that time knew very little about this sensitive organ (the clitoris) and its nerves.
    —-

    Now, I repeat again since you seem to have problems comprehending it – I am not defending this bozo or am I supporting attacking the genitals of babies in any way. Nor am I responsible for his ravings on female sexuality. Do you get that yet?

    The sequence is this:

    i, Myers points at a piece by this Al-Munajjid cretin in which he supports Reprehensible Practice A as “Islamic”, but states that Reprehensible Practice B is against Islam.

    ii, Commentators start conflating Reprehensible Practice B with Reprehensible Practice A and whaling on Al-Munajjid for both.

    iii, I point out that Al-Munajjid was supporting one but not the other, believing he should be taken to task for what he actually said.

    iv, And then people such as yourself start accusing me of defending Reprehensible Practice A while bleating about “reading comprehension”.

    Also, when PZ stops by to give you a light smack on the head, you might want to pay attention to what you’re doing instead of just tossing out a “no I’m not!”

    I wasn’t aware Myers had claimed infallibility. Who died and made him Pope?

  164. Louis says

    Good afternoon all,

    1) Allieclark, #182,

    Thank you, you’re far too kind. I shall blush prettily but no pinching my arse. I’m not that kind of boy on a first date. Second date, basically anything goes. I have standards, they’re just impressively low. ;-)

    2) Re: The Caine Club for Sick Little Haters,

    I admire Caine. I like Caine. I respect Caine. But before anyone lumps me in someone’s sick little haters club I wish to make one point very clear: I am an individual sick little hater. A special little snowflake of hate and bile.

    Just like everybody else. :-)

    I am prefacing my next comment of “hate” with that for good reason.

    3) Religious people, accomodationists, assorted fuckwads, lend me your genitals. I promise not to put sand and/or centipedes into them, or unnecessarily inflame them. Let me break this down for you into the simplest of terms:

    If someone believes that a magic man in the sky wants us to chop off bits of other humans, be they female or male, and especially if those are the sexy bits (because we allllll know humans are fucked up about the sexy bits), then they have to do one thing.

    PRODUCE THE FUCKING MAGIC MAN IN THE SKY.

    If someone is coming at your junk, or a child’s junk with a knife or a sharp rock or whatever, the say so of some priest, rabbi, mullah, imam or big hairy fucker is insufficient. Special words written in a book of spells and woowoo do not cut the mustard. Tradition is no excuse. Cultural relativism cannot save your sorry arse. Get the chief on the phone. I want to see the boss and I want to see him/her/it NOW.

    No magic man, no choppy choppy.

    Why? Because we are precisely six hairs away from chimps, that’s why. “Top chimp said magic man likes teh choppy choppy? Me do what top chimp say!” Top chimp is full of shit*! I want the Magic Man down here right now and you bet I am looking up HIS toga to check for appropriate choppage.

    So please, take your apologetics, take your excuses, take your moderate cover for extreme prejudices and place them very delicately…ever so delicately…in a region where visible radiation from our local star finds it hard to penetrate. It’s easy to find. It’s slap bang next to the porcupine.

    I’ll respect your sensitive feelings and beliefs at precisely the same time you let me “respect” YOUR genitals with sharp objects in the manner just {ahem} “revealed” to me by my all new personal Magic Man in the sky. Watch out though, my all new Magic Man is a right sick bastard. By your own lack of epistemological standards shall you be hung. And the word “hung” just gave my Magic Man some wicked ideas. We’re on first name terms, we’re playing racketball this weekend.

    4) Fabracioferreira, #201:

    So, let me get all this information about Islam:

    * In Islam, men go outside holding hands if they are friends;
    * In Islam, men kiss each other as greeting gesture;
    * In Islam, men don’t like clitorises or female orgasm.

    NO HOMO! Those are real men indeed.

    So men who hold hands and kiss each other and don’t like clitorises are not REAL men? I sincerely hope you don’t mean that as it comes across. I mean, apart from the last point about clitorises and orgasms which is unparsably bonkers as per the subject of the OP, it seems that you are saying that homosexual men are not real men.

    Please tell me you’re not. Please let me be wrong about that.

    But just in case, here’s Steve Hughes to set you straight. I mean gay…I mean straight. Damn.

    5) If I have offended anyone, well Steve Hughes can help here too.

    He’s quite funny.

    Louis

    *Not you Rev BDC, not you! Different chimp.

  165. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Fabracioferreira #201, either you’ve expressed yourself extremely poorly or you’re a homophobic douchebag and/or too stupid to notice that it is possible to despise Haamid al-Ghawaabi’s misogyny without being a bloody homophobe.

    Which is it?

  166. says

    So, let me get all this information about Islam:

    * In Islam, men go outside holding hands if they are friends;
    * In Islam, men kiss each other as greeting gesture;
    * In Islam, men don’t like clitorises or female orgasm.

    NO HOMO! Those are real men who embody the stereotype of heterocentric patriarchal society’s “manly man” indeed.

    Fixed it. Now we can all laugh at the irony.

  167. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Tethys – Oh my, I’d forgotten all about that margarine commercial. Horrifying and hilarious! Thanks for clarifying.

  168. saguhh00 says

    Female circumcision has not been prescribed for no reason, rather there is wisdom behind it and it brings many benefits.

    Mentioning some of these benefits, Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi says:

    The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra. I have seen many cases of sickness caused by the lack of circumcision.

    [THAT can be solved with washing.]

    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.

    [If 3 centimeters make a man uncomfortable, the only person he can blame is his Dad, cuz dick-size genes come from Daddy.]

    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.

    [See my previous answer. Also, painful swelling is caused by disease, which can be treated with MEDICINE. Hacking off the clit to prevent the remote possibility of painful swelling that cannot be treated is like hacking a guy’s ballz off to prevent the possibility of testicular cancer.]

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

    [You mean orgasm? You don’t prevent that, you help cause it.]

  169. says

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

    [You mean orgasm? You don’t prevent that, you help cause it.]

    Well… he doesn’t, obviously.

  170. Fleegman says

    @Caine

    male circumcision

    Well, that didn’t take long.

    I understand why comments that complain that male circumcision is worse, or just as bad, or should be being discussed instead, get harsh treatment when discussing FGM. But just the mention of it?

    Clearly, several people were thinking the same thing about the supposed medical justification in the OP, in that part of the explanation is also used to justify male circumcision. I don’t see any “what about the menz!” in this; it’s just an interesting point, isn’t it?

  171. pacal says

    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. (Emphasis added)

    I’m speechless. Talk about an open admission that this practice is designed to suit men / husbands.

  172. ixolite says

    Re: anuran

    Others already have posted some sources, I just like to add this one:

    http://www.stopfgmkurdistan.org/

    Re: phoenicianromans

    I think you need to re-read that again, he speaks about the clitoris not being “excised completely”, however this does not mean he wants to leave it intact. Cutting off a part of it would be perfectly ok with him, as is indicated in his other comments, i.e. the clitoris being too big.

    P.S. I wonder where the “doctor” gets his “knowlegde” from regarding intact (adult) women, since he’s from a country where nearly 100% of women are mutilated. But then again, we already know where those “facts” come from, from the same source his religious “facts” come from, pulled out of the ass.

  173. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du Mal @ 70;

    Indeed. I find it interesting that the rationalization runs so deep, you have a doctor who seems to think that reducing or removing the clitoris will magically take care of all those icky, nasty, ever-so-unnatural vaginal secretions.

    I know, it is especially mystifying that an alleged (one assumes medical) doctor would think this way.

    Not wishing to be indelicate, but as a bloke I can say that vaginal secretions don’t bother me in the least. As for all this spasming clitoris business, I would take that as positive encouragement that I was doing something right.

    While I suppose it is possible that al-Ghawaabi is genuinely phobic with regard to women’s genital organs, and suffers from an irrational fear of naturally occuring vaginal lubricants and the like, I think it far more likely that it is all merely an excuse – this is about controlling women by seeking to destroy their capacity to experience sexual pleasure, predicated in part upon the belief that FGM will also reduce the ‘willfulness’ of women.

    Yup, geniuses like this cretin think that they have discovered mind-control by means of hacking away at crotches. Somedays I just hate people…

    Which brings me to my next point.

    Can I be the gender-traitor willing man-slave of your sick hater flockmind? As MRAs everywhere so love telling us, every monstrous, castration-fantasising femisheep needs a few male lackeys to mindlessly enact her evil will.

    To sweeten the deal, I should tell you that I also do fine line in polishing 3cm clitoris armour.

    @ 93 tassilo wrote;

    They might turn into Amazons, take over his desert empire, and subjugate his camels. But what was even more frightening, they might enslave him to satisfy their every want and need.

    (Emphasis added)

    Now, I don’t see the problem here. I would consider that a perk of the job…

    ;-)

  174. Louis says

    They might turn into Amazons, take over his desert empire, and subjugate his camels. But what was even more frightening, they might enslave him to satisfy their every want and need.

    Snoo-snoo?

    Me like!

    Louis

  175. says

    Personally, I am waiting for the, “Removing those bits of useless folds reduces infection rates X%.”

    Yeah, yeah. Don’t bring that up, right? Well, strictly speaking I am only indirectly, since, if you leave out removal of the clitoris as part of the procedure, the argument for “reducing risk” wouldn’t be that different, and logically, the risk for women might even be “higher”. Still makes it fucking insane, and, in the case, outright immoral, not just of questionable value. So, no, I am not making the comparison. Just saying that its bound to be the next idiot argument for the procedure, if they bother to think about it at all.

  176. says

    Louis:

    I am an individual sick little hater. A special little snowflake of hate and bile.

    You certainly are and your post @ 205 deserves a standing ovation!

    Gregory:

    Can I be the gender-traitor willing man-slave of your sick hater flockmind? As MRAs everywhere so love telling us, every monstrous, castration-fantasising femisheep needs a few male lackeys to mindlessly enact her evil will.

    To sweeten the deal, I should tell you that I also do fine line in polishing 3cm clitoris armour.

    You has skillz! Yes, of course you’re part of the flockmind hater’s club. As Koshka noted, the bar is notably low, it’s just a matter of not cutting slack. Easy peasy.

    Marcus:

    Does it mean I can join the club so I can hate myself?

    Sure, but you have to stop hating yourself to take part in the orgy of non-bias.

    Ms. Daisy:

    Everybody knows.

    Aaaaaaah. :)

  177. tgriehl says

    Unless I missed something, in 200+ posts, no one pointed out that a supposed medical doctor has confused inflammation with arousal. I mean, I know there are bad doctors and fake doctors, but damn, I knew that difference when I was 10. Yes, your penis/clitoris can be inflamed, but if it is, you’re prolly not thinking about sex…

    OR

    If he was serious and correct in calling it inflammation, just look at wiki:

    Inflammation (Latin, īnflammō, “I ignite, set alight”) is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants.[1] Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process.

    So 1) he’s implying that men (or even thoughts about men) are harmful, pathogenic, damaging, and irritating to women, and 2) sexual arousal in women is an attempt to repel said man and heal themselves.

    My Allah, al-Grabby is a genius! That reasoning even seems internally consistent!

  178. says

    So 1) he’s implying that men (or even thoughts about men) are harmful, pathogenic, damaging, and irritating to women

    Actually considering the evolution of menstruation thread and other stuff, I wouldn’t be surprised if from the immune systems POV this is indeed the case.

  179. drummer25 says

    As a little light relief from the intensity of the debate and as a counter-blast to Dr Haamid al Ghawaabi’s distaste for ‘lady bits’, here’s a hymn of praise to the female pudendum illustrating any thinking man’s reverence for said organ ( allegedly penned by A P Herbert):

    That part of woman’s body which appeals to man’s depravity
    Is constructed with considerable care.
    And what at first appears to be a superficial cavity
    Is really and elaborate affair.

    The doctors who examined all these womanly phenomena,
    By numerous experiments on dames,
    Have listed the components of the feminine abnomina
    And given them delightful Latin names.

    There’s the vulva, the vagina and the good old perineum
    And the hymen that is sometimes found in brides.
    And a host of little gadgets which you’d love if you could see ‘em,
    Like the clitoris, and god-knows-what besides.

    The erudite authorities who study the geography
    Of this obscure but entertaining land,
    Are able to indulge a whim for intricate topography
    And view the tasty details close at hand.

    But ordinary people, though aware of their existence
    As complexities beneath the public ‘know’,
    Are normally contented to observe them at a distance
    And treat them, roughly speaking, as a show.

    Now isn’t it a pity when we common people chatter
    Of the mysteries to which I’ve just referred
    That we give to such a delicate and complicated matter
    Such a short and unimaginative word.

    So when uncultured men discuss the secrets of virginity
    The language that they use is more than blunt
    THEY don’t cloud the issue with meticulous Latinity
    But simply call this wondrous place a c—!

  180. unclefrogy says

    one of the main aspects of the religions from the middle east that really turned me against all three was their perverse view of sex.
    I would submit that they would have been far more brutal with male circumcision but for the fact that it would have reduced birth rate far below a sustainable level.
    The view of sex by all three is entirely negative. Their whole view point is really against life and life’s impulses. Even if they do not physically mutilate their believers they psychologically cripple them (each other) it is no wonder that the sex scandals are so common.
    a big part of religion is sexual perversion!
    uncle frogy

  181. says

    This kind of nonsense isn’t limited to Muslims. I once read a medical description by a doctor which stated that there were no secretions from a healthy vagina. I ranted to my father, who probably didn’t want to know, that we were talking about a lubricated system with the opening at the bottom. How could the author think there would be no secretions? It was clear that the doctor was thinking with his prejudices–his women weren’t allowed to be juicy.

  182. says

    I did see something about one of the more ritual-happy Jewish settlements — Essenes, perhaps? — being chronically ill and eventually dying out because of the germs being passed around in their lukewarm ritual-purification baths.

    FGM, especially in the more extreme forms that cut off the labia and sew the raw edges together, leaving a matchstick in place to provide a hole for urine and menstrual fluid, and cut the hole bigger for sex, are much more dangerous to health than to pleasure.

  183. blairo says

    Wrong, Cupcake. If you had a clue, you’d know there is a history of the menz™ showing up in every single thread specifically about female genital mutilation and insisting on making it all about male circumcision.

    There have been posts and threads about male circumcision, where, amazingly enough, the women participating in the discussion managed to stay on topic and talk about male circumcision. It’s always interesting that certain men have a very difficult time staying on topic when the topic is women.

    If you took the time to read my post more thoroughly I wasn’t speaking to those who wanted to keep MGM and FGM discussion segregated [Although, why is that? What’s wrong with considering both MGM and FGM at the same time? That I don’t understand].

    I was speaking to those who specifically said that MGM isn’t as bad as FGM (and therefore should more or less stfu)… Like @ 77 and 115. Oh, let’s not forget PZ Myers said as much in responses to criticisms that he doesn’t cover MGM as much:

    Also, in the context of the original post, I consider it a prime example of selfish privilege to invade discussions of female genital mutilation, which does cause serious sexual and medical problems, with demands that we pay more attention to the lesser concerns of males getting lightly scarred penises.

    However, FGM is a much more serious problem that causes great pain, destroys most of the capacity for sexual response, and is a tool used to control and oppress women. There is no comparison between FGM and circumcision, and it is annoying to see boys intruding on a thread about a serious political and social issue to insist that everyone look at their little boo-boo.

    Yes, I am belittling your loss, because compared to what mutilated women have lost, it’s goddamned trivial.

    And you think FGM isn’t brought up in every MGM article? Try looking at the last MGM article, Ritualized child abuse, without seeing it get brought up. Again, I said it earlier, why does it need to be segregated? I know of no outrage whenever FGM is brought up in an MGM thread.

    Really people, this thread exploded in a fit because one person mentions the article is also applicable to MGM? Seriously? They didn’t even demean the plight of those women in anyway… But as I’ve pointed out in this post, posters will constantly dismiss the plight of circumcised men… because it isn’t as bad as FGM? If this were a dick measuring contest, how about one practice is practiced worldwide by millions, in the West included? No, that’s a stupid game to play.

    I would have thought this board, in particular, would recognize that particular fallacy. And again, I want to further reiterate, it is absurd that people get offended if MGM is brought up in a discussion about FGM. No sense of outrage comes up if FGM is brought up in a discussion of MGM, and, with respect to the West, FGM is thoroughly condemned with respect to MGM.

    In the end, anyone who tries to dismiss the plight of either sex on a synonymous issue has some warped philosophies. The idea that both men and women can be victims of the same thing bothering some people?

  184. Irene Delse says

    @ Gregory Greewood, @ tgriehl:

    No, not a medical doctor. Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi is a doctor of Islamic scripture. (Although the article linked by PZ also references a pro-FGM book written by a woman who is a gynaecologist. Ick.)

    @ blairo:

    If you took the time to read my post more thoroughly I wasn’t speaking to those who wanted to keep MGM and FGM discussion segregated [Although, why is that? What’s wrong with considering both MGM and FGM at the same time? That I don’t understand].

    As others already told you: no derailing please! Do you think you are the first to come here and blithely start with “it happen to men too”?

    (P.S. Is your nickname a reference to Tony Blair, or to a badger?)

    @ Marak:

    This is the second post I’ve read on this site in as many weeks that has left me with a pit in my chest (the second is the murder of the 15? year old “witch”). This is coming from someone who visits 4chan.
    It isn’t just the content that is the problem for me, but the calm matter of fact way they put forwards these crazy ideas.

    Yes. The inhumanity of the fanatics is even more horrible when it comes not from the wild-eyed, unhinged ranters, but from apparently reasonable, thoughtful human beings who just happen to look past you as if you were a piece of meat. Monsters among us. They don’t think they can be evil, as long as they follow the prescriptions of their invisible master in the sky, or the writings of the ancient sages in their Holy Book.

  185. says

    @ #213 Fleegman

    @Caine

    male circumcision

    Well, that didn’t take long.

    I understand why comments that complain that male circumcision is worse, or just as bad, or should be being discussed instead, get harsh treatment when discussing FGM. But just the mention of it?

    Clearly, several people were thinking the same thing about the supposed medical justification in the OP, in that part of the explanation is also used to justify male circumcision. I don’t see any “what about the menz!” in this; it’s just an interesting point, isn’t it?

    To those of us who work against all involuntary genital cutting (including that of intersexed babies), this is all too familiar, just 150 years later. The reasons given by those who cut girls are just as varied and irrational as those for cutting boys. This hatred of “inflamation” (=arousal) was used heavily by the likes of J H Kellogg in the 19th century, and he was an equal-opportunity torturer:

    A remedy [for “self-abuse” which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, … The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anæsthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. (p 295)

    In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement, and preventing the recurrence of the practice in those whose will-power has become so weakened that the patient is unable to exercise entire self-control. (p 297)

    Circumcision in the Female: Its Necessity and How to Perform It

    “The same category of diseases having their origin in nerve-waste, caused by a pathological foreskin in the male, may be duplicated in the female, from practically the same cause, and in addition, other diseases peculiar to females.”

    Benjamin E. Dawson, MD, Kansas City, MO
    American Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 22, no. 6, June 1915, pp.520-523

    He claimed to have cured colic in a 3 week old baby, masturbation in a 7 year old, nocturnal enuresis in a 16 year old, nymphomania in a 46 year old, among other “cures”.

    Circumcision of the Female

    “If the male needs circumcision for cleanliness and hygiene, why not the female? The procedure is easy. The same reasons that apply for the circumcision of males are generally valid when considered for the female.”

    C.F. McDonald, MD, Milwaukee, WI
    GP, vol.XVIII, no. 3, pp. 98-99
    September 1958

    Female Circumcisions, Indications and a New Technique

    “Redundance or phimosis of the female prepuce can prevent proper enjoyment of sexual relations; yet some modern physicians overlook indications for circumcision. Properly carried out, circumcision should bring improvement to 85-90% of cases – with resulting cure of psychosomatic illness and prevention of divorces.”

    W.G. Rathmann, MD, Los Angeles, CA
    GP, vol.XX, no.3, pp.115-120
    September 1959
    His new technique was a device with a shield to spare the clitoris.

    Female “circumcision” continued in the USA through the 20th century, covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield until 1977, legal until 1996.

    You can be sure that Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi endorses genital cutting without discrimination, in fact there is only one small region of Africa where they cut females only (and that for a curious historicl reason). In Kenya, people recently went on a “frenzy” of female cutting, and one of the reasons they gave was

    “The government allowed us to circumcise the men, which we did, but then we later wondered: now that we have taken men through the initiation, must we not create a pool of women from where they can marry?”

    If we were not immersed in a culture where one variety of involuntary genital cutting was acceptable, it would be more obvious that genital cutting is no more gendered than slavery. It is all evil, and it all must end.

  186. Gregory Greenwood says

    blairo @ 229;

    If you took the time to read my post more thoroughly I wasn’t speaking to those who wanted to keep MGM and FGM discussion segregated [Although, why is that? What’s wrong with considering both MGM and FGM at the same time? That I don’t understand].

    No one is contesting the idea that male circumcision is a harmful and pointless practice, but the problem here is that every single FGM thread has to deal with the same pattern – a discussion about FGM starts in the comments section, only to be derailed by people who insist on posting about male circumcision, often to such a degree that it completely disrupts the existing discussion with a lengthy rant that amounts to little more than repeatedly demanding ‘what about teh menz?’

    I am not talking about rare or isolated incidents here, it is so depressingly inevitable that it really needs to be codified into a recognised internet law. The reason why any attempt to bring up male circumcision in a FGM thread is met with suspicion is due to bitter experience. Some of the most offensively misogynist trolls in Pharyngula history started out by complaining that male circumcision was not being taken seriously enough on a thread about FGM.

    I was speaking to those who specifically said that MGM isn’t as bad as FGM (and therefore should more or less stfu)… Like @ 77 and 115. Oh, let’s not forget PZ Myers said as much in responses to criticisms that he doesn’t cover MGM as much

    Frankly, the commonly performed version of male circumcision isn’t as serious as many of the widely performed FGM practices. Yes, removal of the foreskin causes harm and, despite claims to the contrary, has no detectable medical benefits, but FGM often goes far further. Leaving aside the horrible pain that the severe mutilation of a structure as sensitive as the clitoris causes (to have anything approaching a point of comparison, don’t think of removal of the foreskin, think instead of someone cutting a chunk out of your glans) The scarring of the woman’s genital tract can easily result in Obstetric fistula and complications in pregnancy or birth, assuming that the victim does not die soon after the initial mutilation occurs due to blood-loss or secondary infection.

    In some forms of FGM, the entire clitoris and most of the labia are excised in their entirety, and the vaginal opening sewn shut except for a small aperture left for urine and other bodily secretion, until the victims wedding night, when the stitching is either cut or ripped open. The level of physical and emotional trauma the victims suffer is hard to imagine.

    The there is the social context of the respective behaviours. Removal of the male prepuce, while painful, disturbing and entirely unnecessary, is viewed primarily as a form of rite of passage – a means of identifying the victim as part of the in group. While these elements also feature in FGM, the symbolism goes far further. The labia and clitoris are removed in a bid to destroy the victim’s ability to experience sexual pleasure, as an expression of the utter contempt that the cultures and religions that perform this horrific abuse hold women and female sexuality in. It is believed that by removing these structures, women will not be ‘tempted’ to take charge of their own sexuality. Further, some cultures believe that by excising the seat of female sexual pleasure you also remove a component of the woman’s free will, thus rendering her more biddable. It is a twisted attempt at sympathetic-magic-based mind-control.

    Finally, there is in some ways the most horrific and repugnantly misogynist component of all – in no small degree FGM is performed in pursuit of the aesthetic preferences and perceived convenience of the men of these cultures. It is a concrete expression of the idea within these societies that women aren’t actual people at all – that they exist as mere chattel for men, to be used for the pleasure and gratification of men and discarded at the whim of men.

    Given all these factors, comparing male circumcision and FGM as somehow equivalent is highly inappropriate, and may easily be interpreted as an attempt to dismiss the suffering, and silence the voices, of women by means of a wilfully facile comparison to a superficially similar cultural rite that doesn’t cause anything approaching the same level of physical harm or carry the same toxic social baggage.

    And you think FGM isn’t brought up in every MGM article? Try looking at the last MGM article, Ritualized child abuse, without seeing it get brought up. Again, I said it earlier, why does it need to be segregated? I know of no outrage whenever FGM is brought up in an MGM thread.

    How often is FGM brought up in a male circumcision thread with the express purpose of derailing the thread to silence the voices of men? Not merely mentioned in passing, but used as a means of trying to turn the entire discussion away from male circumcision and onto FGM? Because that is what almost always happens in FGM threads when the ‘what about teh menz?’ brigade show up.

    Really people, this thread exploded in a fit because one person mentions the article is also applicable to MGM? Seriously? They didn’t even demean the plight of those women in anyway… But as I’ve pointed out in this post, posters will constantly dismiss the plight of circumcised men… because it isn’t as bad as FGM? If this were a dick measuring contest, how about one practice is practiced worldwide by millions, in the West included? No, that’s a stupid game to play.

    I don’t recall many commenters here suggesting that male circumcision was to be applauded, or that it was anything other than harmful and offensive. Would you care to point out a post that did? Of course, some commenters have expressed frustration that male circumcision has once again been brought up on an FGM thread as if the two things are equivalent, but that is hardly unreasonable given the history of threads on this topic here.

    I would have thought this board, in particular, would recognize that particular fallacy. And again, I want to further reiterate, it is absurd that people get offended if MGM is brought up in a discussion about FGM. No sense of outrage comes up if FGM is brought up in a discussion of MGM, and, with respect to the West, FGM is thoroughly condemned with respect to MGM.

    You don’t seem to grasp that no one here is saying that male circumcision should not be opposed, rather people are saying that it is unreasonable to claim that it is equivalent to FGM, and that harping on about male circumcision on an FGM thread amounts to little more than a silencing tactic, and one we have seen all too often before.

    In the end, anyone who tries to dismiss the plight of either sex on a synonymous issue has some warped philosophies. The idea that both men and women can be victims of the same thing bothering some people?

    Once again, these are not in point of fact ‘synonymous issues’, they are not the ‘same thing’ any more than cutting some branches off a shrub is the same as ripping it up at the roots. There are clear differences in degree of injury, degree of degradation of sexual function, degree of likelihood that death may occur as a result of the ritual, and the degree of oppressive and discriminatory social memes associated with the practice. This kind of false equivalency is what is riling people here. You will find few supporters of the primitive barbarism of male circumcision on Pharyngula, but even less of us will stand for an attempt to deflect attention away from the objectively worse abuses of FGM by waving male circumcision in our faces on a thread about FGM.

    I hope that helps clarify matters for you.

  187. says

    @ #232 Gregory Greenwood

    There are clear differences in degree of injury,

    Only if you compare African tribal FGC with western surgical MGC. Compare tribal with tribal and surgical with surgical and the differences greatly diminish.

    degree of degradation of sexual function,

    Some scores of boys in Eastern Cape province alone lose their penises each year – who knows how many across Africa?

    degree of likelihood that death may occur as a result of the ritual,

    … and scores of boys die.

    and the degree of oppressive and discriminatory social memes associated with the practice.

    It’s not discriminatory that intact men are routinely badmouthed on US TV in a way that would never be tolerated for race or sex or even orientation? Not oppressive that men in Kenya found to be intact are publicly humiliated and railroaded to clinics to be forcibly circumcised? (And another) That a Malawi Bishop was forcibly circumcised for preaching salvation by faith?

    …on a thread about FGM.

    A thread about a claimed medical benefit of FGM, when one of the distinguishing differences of the two, incessantly repeated, is that “FGC has no medical benefits (but MGC does)”.

    I’m sure “what about the mehnz?” does happen, but if you strike out the ones answering “female cutting bad, male cutting good” (which seems almost a gratuitious reflex in many anti-FGC articles), it doesn’t happen that often.

  188. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    “female cutting bad, male cutting good” (which seems almost a gratuitious reflex in many anti-FGC articles)

    Such utter bullshit.

    Really, have you no shame?

  189. Fleegman says

    @Gregory Greenwood

    How often is FGM brought up in a male circumcision thread with the express purpose of derailing the thread to silence the voices of men?

    Can I ask you something? Do you think that this:

    The first part is startlingly close to the justicification for male circumcision.

    was said with the express purpose of derailing the thread to silence the voices of women?

  190. says

    @ #232 SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says:

    “female cutting bad, male cutting good” (which seems almost a gratuitious reflex in many anti-FGC articles)

    Such utter bullshit.

    Really, have you no shame?

    Unlike male circumcision, this procedure has no health benefits.
    Unlike male circumcision, female genital cutting offers no health benefits…

    Unlike FGM, there is strong evidence of health benefits to MC.”
    Unlike male circumcision, the practice bears no health benefits for women and there are serious physical and psychological risks.

  191. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    A thread about a claimed medical benefit of FGM, when one of the distinguishing differences of the two, incessantly repeated, is that “FGC has no medical benefits (but MGC does)”.

    It is not “incessantly repeated” in this thread or on this site,
    hughintactive, you are being disingenuous to put it very politely indeed. Effectively nobody here – on Pharyngula, where we are talking about FGM at the moment – has ever espoused MGM or would argue that its medical benefits outweigh the harm (other than in very exceptional cases of genuine medical problems). Of course if you look at the entire internet you can find people espousing anything you care to search for. There may be some people out there who think “FGM bad, MGM good” as you put it – but you’re not talking to any of them here.

    And yes, if you trawl through the entire history of posting on Pharyngula you will certainly be able to come up with a few posts in favour of MGM – from occasional visitors, the genuinely uninformed and possibly the odd troll, but mainly from people who have themselves been circumcised and have an understandable deep-seated need to convince themselves either that they weren’t damaged or that the damage was worth it somehow. Which is a whole separate issue. We agree that MGM is dangerous, unwarranted, damaging, unacceptable.

    So what. This is not the point. We happen to be discussing FGM. There have been, and probably will be, other threads in which we talk about MGM or even GM in general. This is not one of those threads.

    Now please stop derailing.

    @ Fleegman, the specific question you ask has already been answered up-thread; yes, just that one particular comment – it has been noted – was not a derailment per se, but was met initially with heightened awareness of that possibility because derailment happens every damn time. Maybe if you had actually read the conversation up-thread you would have noticed that.

  192. says

    hughintactive
    Stop it, please.
    You’re engaging exactly in the kind of behaviour that people are complaining about and that enrages them.
    You’re trying to make it all about the menz.
    I actually believe that you’re doing it because you really care about them, unlike others who just want to harm women, but intent isn’t magic.
    FGM and male circumcision are comparable in aspects of bodily autonomy, some of the arguments made in favour of them and the general anatomical area it’s performed on.
    They are not comparable in terms of risks, damage and especially power-dynamics involved.
    We’re talking here about an asshole misogynist who wants to damage and remove the part that gives most women the most pleasure for the admitted purpose of benefiting the man.

    So, either stay on topic or STFU.

  193. Gregory Greenwood says

    hughintactive @ 233;

    Only if you compare African tribal FGC with western surgical MGC. Compare tribal with tribal and surgical with surgical and the differences greatly diminish.

    Diminish, yes, but the differences don’t disappear entirely. Even most forms of tribal male circumcision do not amount to the horror show of commonly practiced forms of FGM. How many male circumcision rituals involve the complete removal of the glans and the crude stitching of the wound almost entirely closed?

    If you are seriously trying to argue that there is any parity between the level of physical injury caused by the most widely practiced tribal forms of male circumcison and the most widely practiced tribal forms of FGM, then you really do have a mountain to climb.

    Some scores of boys in Eastern Cape province alone lose their penises each year – who knows how many across Africa?

    And I am not arguing that this is anything less than horrifying, but it is still a poor comparison to FGM. Loss of the penis may well occur due to poor hygiene and incompetant butchery, but is it the intended outcome of the ritual? In many forms of FGM, excising the clitoris and labia is not something that happens unintentionally due to secondary infection – it is the entire point of the rite. The whole idea and purpose of these forms of FGM is to intentionally induce female sexual dysfunction based on the idea that any female enjoyment of sexuality is somehow morally offensive.

    … and scores of boys die.

    Which just goes to show how hideously dangerous any genital mutilation of a person is, especially if the victim is a child and proper medical facilities and aftercare are unavailable. However, the fact remains that FGM, in the vast majority of cases, inflicts more serious wounds with greater blood-loss and a a greater likelihood of potentially lethal infection. That boys die due to circumcision is a terrible tragedy, but it doesn’t make FGM a non-issue, nor does it mean that the level of risk of death is equivalent for both procedures.

    It’s not discriminatory that intact men are routinely badmouthed on US TV in a way that would never be tolerated for race or sex or even orientation? Not oppressive that men in Kenya found to be intact are publicly humiliated and railroaded to clinics to be forcibly circumcised? (And another) That a Malawi Bishop was forcibly circumcised for preaching salvation by faith?

    Again, such behaviour is monstrous and I condemn it without reservation, but it is hardly equivalent to the toxic gender based power dynamics represented by FGM. In societies where women often have little to no real status, are routinely treated as subhuman and indeed often have no rights at all at law, still being classed as chattel, FGM reinforces the idea that women exist for the convenience of men, that their bodies may be modified at the whim of the patriarchy. That male circumcision has toxic components of in group/out group dynamics is undeniable, but it doesn’t carry the same symbolism of dehumanisation as FGM in many cultures. Remember, in the societies we are discussing, a very sharp gradient of power exists in favour of men over women, and this must be taken into account when discussing the relative social significance of male circumcision and FGM.

    A thread about a claimed medical benefit of FGM, when one of the distinguishing differences of the two, incessantly repeated, is that “FGC has no medical benefits (but MGC does)”.

    Leaving aside a couple of acknowledgements that a very few rare medical conditions may necessitate surgical circumcision in some men, who here has been ‘incessantly repeating’ that male circumcision has medical benefits? Here are a selection of my words from 232;

    No one is contesting the idea that male circumcision is a harmful and pointless practice…

    and;

    Yes, removal of the foreskin causes harm and, despite claims to the contrary, has no detectable medical benefits…

    and;

    Removal of the male prepuce, while painful, disturbing and entirely unnecessary, is viewed primarily as a form of rite of passage…

    (Emphasis added)

    and finally;

    You will find few supporters of the primitive barbarism of male circumcision on Pharyngula…

    I think I have made it reasonably clear that I condemn male circumcision, and that I do not believe for one second the nebulous claims of supposed medical benefits for the practice, as have many other commenters here. Indeed, active support for male circumcision is hard to find here on Pharyngula. While this may not be true in the broader internet, we are after all discussing attitudes here, on this blog, are we not? And here the overwhelming majority consider the practice barbarous, but that still doesn’t mean that we are going to allow FGM discussions to be derailed into discussions about male circumcision every time the topic comes up for discussion.

    I’m sure “what about the mehnz?” does happen, but if you strike out the ones answering “female cutting bad, male cutting good” (which seems almost a gratuitious reflex in many anti-FGC articles), it doesn’t happen that often.

    This simply isn’t true. Several Pharyngula threads on FGM have been entirely derailed and consistently disrupted by people who semingly can’t bear the iodea of a discussion about FGM that doesn’t focus almost entirely on male circumcision. The problem is so severe that PZ himself has noted it several times.

    As for; “female cutting bad, male cutting good” (which seems almost a gratuitious reflex in many anti-FGC articles)”, this is a gross misrepresentation of the position adopted by the vast majority of commenters here. If you think that there is some knee-jerk endorsement of male circumcision at Pharyngula, you either havn’t read the threads in question or your confirmation bias is getting the better of you. The people critiquing the constant raising of male circumcision on FGM threads aren’t in favour of male circumcision, they are against the incessant attempt to divert every FGM thread into a discussion about male circumcision, in no small part because it is such a common silencing tactic.

    @ 235;

    Can I ask you something? Do you think that this:

    The first part is startlingly close to the justicification for male circumcision.

    was said with the express purpose of derailing the thread to silence the voices of women?

    In and of itself, probably not, but all too many attempts to silence the voices of women start out as a seemingly innocent attempt to broaden the discussion to male circumcision, only to turn nasty when people try to keep the thread on topic. The disruption of FGM threads is a very well known pattern here, and it always starts with people trying to smuggle male circumcision into the discussion.

    This is, afterall, a thread about FGM. In a thread about male circumcision or a general thread about genital cutting, then of course reasonable discussion about male circumcision is essential, and indeed trying to shut down discussion about it would be unacceptable – but this is not a thread about male circumcision or genital cutting in general, it is a thread specifically about FGM, and people like myself do not want to see discussion on that topic drowned out yet again by an avalanche of comments about male circumcision.

  194. fabracioferreira says

    Sorry, but if Google can’t get my name from my account id correctly, why should I bother explaining whatever to you?

    Also, I forgot two things: a) not everybody watches Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series to understand some jokes; and b) I was posting into a nest of raving lunatics who were blastering about some people mentioning male circumcision in this thread, because it is about female circumcision.

    I mean, surely in all Western countries the so-called “female circumcision” (that most people would prefer to call it by its real name – genital mutilation) is abhorrent and strictly forbidden, while “male circumcision” not only is perfectly legal but a common practice among lots of people; and the only reason those imbeciles call genital mutilation a “circumcision” is precisely to try to sugar-coat horrible procedures in a more acceptable term, and maybe use this association to turn it legal on Western countries. But its not like those things are related!

    Sure, a joke can turn somebody into a homophobe, whatever. I’ll humbly take a baseball bat and start a fag-basher organization soon enough to show those queers some manners with my strong, muscular and handsome (and totally NO HOMO) fratboy-friends here in town. I mean, if Eminem can be homophobe while engaging in a bromance with Dr. Dre, why shouldn’t us?

  195. janine says

    Also, I forgot two things: a) not everybody watches Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series to understand some jokes; and b) I was posting into a nest of raving lunatics who were blastering about some people mentioning male circumcision in this thread, because it is about female circumcision.

    Translation: I have no idea what debates have happened in the past but I am fully entitled repeat the same shit over again.

    I mean, surely in all Western countries the so-called “female circumcision” (that most people would prefer to call it by its real name – genital mutilation) is abhorrent and strictly forbidden, while “male circumcision” not only is perfectly legal but a common practice among lots of people; and the only reason those imbeciles call genital mutilation a “circumcision” is precisely to try to sugar-coat horrible procedures in a more acceptable term, and maybe use this association to turn it legal on Western countries. But its not like those things are related!

    We call it FMG here, Female Genital Mutilation. It is a concern in western society because there are immigrants and children of immigrant who try to justify the practice under the canard of religious freedom.

    Most of the people here are also against the practice of male circumcision. But the fact is this, as bad as male circumcision is, FMG does more damage. And yet, every time the subject of FMG comes up, there is a chorus of menz who show up to state that the subject of FMG should not come up until male circumcision comes to an end.

    It gets fucking tiring and many of us will gladly verbally rip into anyone who looks like they are pushing this line.

    Sure, a joke can turn somebody into a homophobe, whatever. I’ll humbly take a baseball bat and start a fag-basher organization soon enough to show those queers some manners with my strong, muscular and handsome (and totally NO HOMO) fratboy-friends here in town. I mean, if Eminem can be homophobe while engaging in a bromance with Dr. Dre, why shouldn’t us?

    Great. I now feel free to make jokes about taking a sharp knike to your balls. It is so funny!

  196. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    @ fabracioferreira,

    a) no idea what you’re wittering on about wrt google and your name; never mind.
    b) wrt what you actually wrote, well if you’re not a homophobe you should be glad of the warning that you’re certainly coming off like one: so how about “thanks for the heads-up that my attempt at a joke doesn’t work, I’ll express my point differently” instead of getting your knickers in a twist? And instead of continuing to come off like a homophobe, as you do in this latest comment?
    c) wrt MGM (again. FFS.) did you actually bother to read any of the other comments on precisely why – serious problem though MGM undoubtedly is – derailing is not popular on this point? Or were you just too busy getting indignant about how nobody gets your hilarious and not-in-the-least-bit homophobic sense of humour?

  197. Irene Delse says

    @ hughintactive #237:

    When you post four links and not one is to Pharyngula, it should be a hint that you’re barking up the wrong tree. Want to talk about MGM? Here’s the thread for you:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/10/19/ritualized-child-abuse-circumcision/

    How many times do you need it repeated?

    @ fabracioferreira:

    Gee, thanks for forgetting all non-US Western countries! Here in Europe, circumcision of boys isn’t common except in Jewish and Muslim communities. But hey, it’s never too late to start learning! Just try reading a little what we actually post here instead of jumping in with pre-formed opinions. That should help.

  198. says

    Also, I forgot two things: a) not everybody watches Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series to understand some jokes;

    STUFF! I missed a YTAS joke?

  199. says

    My apologies. I didn’t realise we could talk only about what is on Pharyngula and specifically what is on this thread. Since I think we are agreeed that Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi is wrong and FGC has no medical benefits, then this thread is pretty much over before it started. I am not interested in playing an endless game of “Aint it Awful?”

    But isn’t it interesting that he is saying exactly the same things about “inflammation” (arousal) as were said by Kellogg in 1877 of both boys and girls, following the likes of English surgeon Isaac Baker Brown in 1861 in On Some Diseases of Women Admitting of Surgical Treatment, about “hypertrophy and irritation” of the clitoris leading to masturbation and recommending clitoridectomy as treatment?

    Clitoridectomy is neither more nor less than circumcision of the female; and as certainly as that no man who has been circumcised has been injured in his natural functions, so it is equally certain that no woman who has undergone the operation … has lost one particle of the natural function of her organs.

    Baker Brown was repudiated (largely based on indignant denials that females masturbate) and expelled from the London Obstetrical Society in 1867 (but continued to have his defenders in the USA). Apart from that, history is repeating, and it would be useful to learn from it.

    Perhaps Dr. al-Ghawaabi’s claim is a sign that we will see FGC medicalised in Africa, as it already has been in Malaysia and Indonesia, and perhaps tokenised? Should that be encouraged as a lesser evil and a step towards abolition, or should we try (imperialistically?) to stamp it out, as we stamped on the AAP’s proposal in 2010 to allow a token ritual nick of girls (“much less extensive than neonatal male genital cutting”) in the USA?

    FGC is not a clear example of male oppression of women, when women are the chief perpetrators and among its most vocal defenders.

    As I pointed out, in Kenya they started cutting girls because they had started to cut boys. They call us hypocrites for wanting to stop them cutting girls while we cut boys. Cutting girls without cutting boys is almost unknown. Cutting off clitorides because they are too “masculine” parallels cutting boys (because foreskins are too much like labia) “to make men of them”. The two are inextricably linked. It is actually more productive to discuss them in tandem than separately.

  200. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    yourmatesmate: killfiled for being terminally stupid on almost too many levels to count. At least hughintactive actually has something to say, even if he gets some things deeply wrong (such as the assumption that if some women collude in their own oppression this automatically divorces the issue from the male-female power gradient).

  201. says

    @ #249 opposable

    the assumption that if some women collude in their own oppression this automatically divorces the issue from the male-female power gradient).

    I don’t assume that – that’s why I said “not a clear example”. The question arises, when everyone in a certain group colludes in their own oppression – and so totally as this, that the men hardly have to say anything or do anything – are they still being oppressed? (That’s not a rhetorical quesiton, I don’t have a ready answer.)
    In the case of genital cutting, when women are cutting girls and men are virtually always also cutting boys, for very much the same reasons, the identification of the cutting as gender-based oppression is much less clear. (Pace the MRAs who try, and largely succeed, in derailing the MGC thread on Pharnygula by insisting that it is a mysandric feminazi plot against teh mehnz.)

    A factor that applies to genital cutting unlike other oppressions, is how the age-structured and sequential nature of the act helps it to continue. Women cut girls and men cut boys, who grow up to be women and men who believe in the power of genital cutting to do whatever they think it does, and hence endorse what was done to them and do it to the next generation.

    What else do I get deeply wrong?

  202. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I don’t assume that – that’s why I said “not a clear example”. The question arises, when everyone in a certain group colludes in their own oppression – and so totally as this, that the men hardly have to say anything or do anything – are they still being oppressed? (That’s not a rhetorical quesiton, I don’t have a ready answer.)

    Well, let’s see. Can they go to school? Can they go to college? Can they vote? Can they drive? Can they decide who (or whether) to marry? Can they decide whether or not to have children? Can they own and start businesses? Can they run for office? Can they decline a harmful and unnecessary procedure with lots of risks and no medical benefits without being excluded from their society?

    Herp derp

  203. says

    @ #251 Sally Strange:

    That’s a lot of questions, multiplied by a wide variety of diverse cultures that have little in common except practicing FGC. I don’t have all the answers, and I bet you don’t either, but I doubt very much that they are all uniformly “No”.

    Of course I agree with you that FGC has no medical benefits (that doesn’t distinguish it from MGC) but as the OP indicates, those who do it think it has. (It is interesting that benefits are now being claimed for FGC in medical terms. Does that mean the other reasons are failing, I wonder? Again, the history of MGC may be a guide.)

    As I indicated, your last question is different from the others: they can’t decline it not (only) because they are female, but because they are children. Do women stop women from going to school? Do women stop women from going to college? etc. Can boys decline MGC? Does that mean MGC is gender oppression of males? I waste energy debating with MRAs who think it is.

    I put it to you that GC is generational oppression of children, internalised and carried forward to the next generation. This is not to deny that gender oppression is opportunistically incorporated into it. Since the genitals are involved, it could hardly be otherwise.

    I think the herp is on the other derp.

  204. says

    Kenyans circumcise girls in Tanzania to evade law – report

    17 Jan 2012

    By Katy Migiro

    NAIROBI (TrustLaw) – Kenyan parents determined to circumcise their daughters, despite the outlawing of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), are taking them across the border to Tanzania, the African Woman and Child Feature Service reported.

    Traditional circumcisers from Kenya’s Kuria community crossed into Tanzania to cut a number of girls aged between seven and 15 during last month’s circumcision season, the report said.

    FGM is prohibited in Tanzania but the law is not effectively enforced.

    “Nobody will marry my daughter in the community if she is not circumcised,” one father, Wario Chacha, said in the report.

    “I do not want my family to be a laughing stock. My girl will have to be cut no matter how long it takes.”

    His 10-year-old daughter was one of 400 girls taken by local non-governmental organisations to rescue centres to protect them from being cut.

    One in three Kenyan women is circumcised, despite the practice being criminalised in the 2001 Children’s Act.

    In September 2011, Kenya passed the FGM Act into law providing for up to seven years in jail for anyone who commits FGM.

    Fear of ridicule is a powerful thing. Perhaps education that two out of three girls are no longer cut might move him (he sounds reluctant) – it depends on what he means by “the community”.