‘Why did I circumcise him?’ Unexpected comparisons...

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    • ‘Why did I circumcise him?’ Unexpected comparisons...

      Based on fieldwork that aimed to gather more knowledge on female genital cutting among Kurdish–Norwegians, in this article we report on how research participants would often talk about male circumcision instead. Informed by current scholarship and public discourse on female genital cutting and male circumcision, we identified three themes when analysing how and why the participants would talk about male circumcision rather than female genital cutting: (1) the condemnation of female genital cutting; (2) the acceptability of male circumcision and (3) the questioning of the acceptability of male circumcision. We do not attempt to provide solutions to whether some forms of male circumcision are less, equally or more harmful than some forms of female genital cutting, or whether they are comparable and both should thus either be legitimized or banned. Rather we aim to provide insights into these dilemmas by the use of the concept of ‘mapping controversies’ associated with actor–network theory. We further make use of the slippery slope argument to explore how the research participants’ views shed light on political reluctance to treat female genital cutting and male circumcision in the same way in the Norwegian context. While we are not in a position to say that the views shared are the same in other social groups, or in other countries, we argue that the Norwegian government’s different treatment of female genital cutting and male circumcision changes the meaning of ritual boy circumcision and that this may result in parents deciding not to circumcise their sons.

      Das wollen wir mal hoffen! Besser wäre legislative Gleichbehandlung.

      Indeed, as the history of female circumcision suggests, if male circumcision were confined to developing nations, it would by now have emerged as an international cause celebre, stirring passionate opposition from feminists, physicians, politicians, and the global human rights community.
      If routine medical circumcision didn't exist today, no one would dare to invent it.

      David Gollaher