Contemporary society is focused on cultivating tolerance and an equal attitude to all people regardless of their age, sex, social status, and race. For this reason, there are multiple attempts to improve the position of vulnerable groups and provide their representatives with assistance. For instance, for the bigger part of history, women have been vulnerable to various unethical practices presupposing their discrimination and depression. Female circumcision can be viewed as one of the traditions that are unacceptable for the modern world. It involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia of women or injuring them for non-medical purposes (Svoboda et al. 263). For numerous nations, it is a part of their cultural past and is still practiced. However, female circumcision should be prohibited as it is a dangerous, painful, humiliating procedure that contradicts the code of ethics as it violates major human rights, damages females’ health, and the quality of their lives.
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Most people today emphasize the necessity to eliminate this archaic practice. One of the main arguments is the principle of no harm. It means that customs and traditions can be accepted till they do not cause damage to people, their health, or their well-being. Female circumcision has no health benefits for girls; moreover, it might cause severe bleeding, infections, problems with urination, and inflammation (Svoboda et al. 263). Statistics show that about 200 million girls have experienced this procedure and suffer from its complications (WHO). Moreover, treatment of complications demands about $1.4 billion per year (WHO). Another argument against circumcision is that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a rude violation of human rights as girls have no right to refuse and are deprived of a chance to control their own bodies (Svoboda et al. 263). For this reason, the practice is unethical and should be prohibited.
Nevertheless, there is another perspective on the problem. The opponents of female circumcision’s prohibition state that it is one of the old traditions peculiar to the countries of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Being a part of their culture, the procedure cannot be viewed as a sort of punishment or discrimination as males in these regions are also circumcised (Svoboda et al. 270). Instead, it is a sort of aesthetic enhancement and a way to prepare a girl for future life. In such a way, FGM should not be viewed as a discriminative procedure peculiar to patriarchal societies.
However, these arguments can be viewed as not relevant. First, the ethical dilemma still remains as young women are not asked whether they want to be cut or not. It means that their right to control their bodies is violated. Second, the existing body of research states that there are multiple medical complications caused by FGM, and women might suffer from a decreased quality of their lives, including the sexual aspect, because of the surgery (Svoboda et al. 269). In such a way, the opposing arguments are refuted by ethical reasons and credible statistics.
Altogether, female circumcision is an unethical, harmful, and humiliating practice that causes severe damage to the health of girls. It violates major human rights and cannot be viewed as a part of cultural heritage that should be saved and exercised. For this reason, FGM should be prohibited in all regions where it is still performed to protect girls from potential damage caused to them and ensure that they have equal chances for a happy life and well-being.
Svoboda, J. Steven, et al. “Circumcision Is Unethical and Unlawful.” The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, vol. 44, no. 2, 2016, pp. 263–282, Web.
World Health Organization (WHO). “Female Genital Mutilation.” WHO. n.d. Web.
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