Female circumcision has been an object of multiple debates among human rights activists and scholars for a long time. There are few perceptions on this topic, and in this paper, it will be viewed from the ethnocentric and cultural relativistic points of view. This work aims to observe both theories and express my personal opinion on the most reasonable approach.
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Since the topic is debatable and contradictory, it can be tough to decide what theory to favor because both have solid arguments for and against female circumcision. Cultural relativism, for example, states that people from some cultures have the full right to stick to their traditions and ceremonies despite how other cultures might react to it. Although female circumcision can be seen as something wild for modern society, communities who have been following it for many years keep practicing it as something completely usual. Moreover, as Korkmaz (2021) states, “the major complication in the morality of female circumcision is that a large group of females believe, advocate, and practice this phenomenon” (p.70). Therefore, from their perspective, there is no danger, harm, or violation.
Ethnocentrism, on the opposite, insists on the unacceptability of such actions. I prefer to stick to the ethnocentrism theory, and I am convinced that due to the lack of knowledge and experience, women can not realize that they are being harmed. According to Korkmaz (2021), “it can cause significant medical harm to women and may produce complications, for instance, widespread infection, infertility, and increase chances of propagation of disease such as HIV-Aids” (p.70), which can be an apparent reason for the public judgment. Ethnocentrism views other cultures from the perspective of that one culture the person is a part of. In other cases, I would prefer cultural relativism because each culture has its right to exist and express itself, and honor history. Still, it does not apply to the occasions when human bodies are treated in abusive and harmful ways when there is a danger to their health and overall well-being.
In conclusion, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism have their points on the topic of female circumcision, and both of them seem reasonable. I find the perspective of ethnocentrism more relatable in that particular situation and agree that this tradition is unacceptable. Therefore, in different circumstances, cultural relativism would be more applicable to my beliefs.
Korkmaz, A., H. (2021). Female Circumcision in Africa Controversy: Anthropological Perspective. Kadim Akademi SBD, 5(1), 69-82.