Gender inequalities have fueled several debates in history, from women having the right to vote to women in the workplace. While researching gender inequalities in different countries, I came across the controversial practice of female circumcision in Africa. This painful practice is perpetuated in Africa because of male domination embedded in the social and cultural structures.
Female circumcision is the process of cutting female genitals, specifically the clitoris. There are several different types of female circumcision, which we will let you look up on your own- the details can be gruesome.
This procedure is often disguised as a celebration to young girls that are about to have it done. To her surprise, she is having an invasive operation instead. This procedure, practiced in over 25 African countries, is a clear violation of girls’ rights to their own bodies. Not only is the process itself extremely dangerous, but there is proof that girls are more vulnerable to infections and complications during childbirth after.
So why would anyone enforce the practice of female circumcision? The traditionally male dominated African culture uses this procedure to justify what they consider to be a pure marriage. They feel that female circumcision ensures that a woman is a virgin, a requirement to get married. It is believed that without a clitoris, you are less likely to engage in sexual behavior before marriage. You have to wonder, where does male virginity come into play? Male circumcision is a much less invasive procedure that does not affect their sexual enjoyment. Men are not forced to undergo this painful operation to prove themselves, so why do women?
In addition, cultural beliefs about female sexuality add to the persistence of female circumcision. There are widespread views that when females are not circumcised, their husbands and potential children are in danger. These unjustifiable worries force women to undergo a painful and dangerous procedure.
The practice of female circumcision perpetuates the idea that males and females have different rights when it comes to sexuality and marriage. Women are forced to undergo this invasive procedure for no reason other than contrived cultural beliefs.