Tag Archives: Circumcision/Male

Excision of the prepuce of the penis (FORESKIN) or part of it.

Between Moral Relativism and Moral Hypocrisy: Reframing the Debate on “FGM”

Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2016 Jun;26(2):105-44. doi: 10.1353/ken.2016.0009.

Between Moral Relativism and Moral Hypocrisy: Reframing the Debate on “FGM”

Earp BD

ABSTRACT

The spectrum of practices termed “Female Genital Mutilation” (or FGM) by the World Health Organization is sometimes held up as a counterexample to moral relativism. Those who advance this line of thought suggest the practices are so harmful in terms of their physical and emotional consequences, as well as so problematic in terms of their sexist or oppressive implications, that they provide sufficient, rational grounds for the assertion of a universal moral claim–namely, that all forms of FGM are wrong, regardless of the cultural context. However, others point to cultural bias and moral double standards on the part of those who espouse this argument, and have begun to question the received interpretation of the relevant empirical data on FGM as well. In this article I assess the merits of these competing perspectives. I argue that each of them involves valid moral concerns that should be taken seriously in order to move the discussion forward. In doing so, I draw on the biomedical “enhancement” literature in order to develop a novel ethical framework for evaluating FGM (and related interventions–such as female genital “cosmetic” surgery and nontherapeutic male circumcision) that takes into account the genuine harms that are at stake in these procedures, but which does not suffer from being based on cultural or moral double standards.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Do the Benefits of Male Circumcision Outweigh the Risks? A Critique of the Proposed CDC Guidelines

Front Pediatr. 2015 Mar 18;3:18. doi: 10.3389/fped.2015.00018. eCollection 2015. FREE

Do the Benefits of Male Circumcision Outweigh the Risks? A Critique of the Proposed CDC Guidelines

Earp BD

ABSTRACT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced a set of provisional guidelines concerning male circumcision, in which they suggest that the benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks. I offer a critique of the CDC position. Among other concerns, I suggest that the CDC relies more heavily than is warranted on studies from Sub-Saharan Africa that neither translate well to North American populations nor to circumcisions performed before an age of sexual debut; that it employs an inadequate conception of risk in its benefit vs. risk analysis; that it fails to consider the anatomy and functions of the penile prepuce (i.e., the part of the penis that is removed by circumcision); that it underestimates the adverse consequences associated with circumcision by focusing on short-term surgical complications rather than long-term harms; that it portrays both the risks and benefits of circumcision in a misleading manner, thereby undermining the possibility of obtaining informed consent; that it evinces a superficial and selective analysis of the literature on sexual outcomes associated with circumcision; and that it gives less attention than is desirable to ethical issues surrounding autonomy and bodily integrity. I conclude that circumcision before an age of consent is not an appropriate health-promotion strategy.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Towards a gender perspective in qualitative research on voluntary medical male circumcision in east and southern Africa

Glob Public Health. 2015 Mar 2:1-13. [Epub ahead of print]

Towards a gender perspective in qualitative research on voluntary medical male circumcision in east and southern Africa

Martínez Pérez G, Triviño Durán L, Gasch A, Desmond N

ABSTRACT

The World Health Organization endorsed voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in 2007 as an effective method to provide partial protection against heterosexual female-to-male transmission of HIV in regions with high rates of such transmission, and where uptake of VMMC is low. Qualitative research conducted in east and southern Africa has focused on assessing acceptability, barriers to uptake of VMMC and the likelihood of VMMC increasing men’s adoption of risky sexual behaviours. Less researched, however, have been the perceptions of women and sexual minorities towards VMMC, even though they are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS transmission than are heterosexual men. The purpose of this paper is to identify core areas in which a gendered perspective in qualitative research might improve the understanding and framing of VMMC in east and southern Africa. Issues explored in this analysis are risk compensation, the post-circumcision appearance of the penis, inclusion of men who have sex with men as study respondents and the antagonistic relation between VMMC and female genital cutting. If biomedical and social science researchers explore these issues in future qualitative inquiry utilising a gendered perspective, a more thorough understanding of VMMC can be achieved, which could ultimately inform policy and implementation.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

(Im)perishable Pleasure, (In)destructible Desire: Sexual Themes in U.S. and English News Coverage of Male Circumcision and Female Genital Cutting.

J Sex Res. 2014 Sep 25:1-16. [Epub ahead of print]

(Im)perishable Pleasure, (In)destructible Desire: Sexual Themes in U.S. and English News Coverage of Male Circumcision and Female Genital Cutting.

Carpenter LM, Kettrey HH.

ABSTRACT

Under what conditions do sexual pleasure and desire get addressed in news coverage of sexual health issues like female genital cutting (FGC) and male circumcision (MC)? In this study we employed an embodied ethnosexuality approach to analyze sexual themes in 1,902 items published from 1985 to 2009 in 13 U.S. and 8 English newspapers and news magazines. Journalists’ discussions of sexual pleasure, desire, control, problems, and practices differed in quantity and quality depending on the practice and nation to which they pertained. News coverage in both nations presented FGC as impeding female sexual pleasure, desire, and activity in ways that reinforce (hetero)sexist understandings of sexuality. The English press depicted MC as diminishing male sexuality, whereas U.S. papers showed it as enhancing male sexuality. These patterns are influenced by, and serve to reinforce, cultural norms of embodiment and ethnosexual boundaries based on gender, race, and nationality. They may, in turn, shape public understandings of FGC and MC as social problems.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Genital Cutting and Western Discourses on Sexuality

Med Anthropol Q. June 2005 June; 19(2): 125-148.

Genital Cutting and Western Discourses on Sexuality

Bell K

ABSTRACT

This article explores dominant discourses surrounding male and female genital cutting. Over a similar period of time, these genital operations have separately been subjected to scrutiny and criticism. However, although critiques of female circumcision have been widely taken up, general public opinion toward male circumcision remains indifferent. This difference cannot merely be explained by the natural attributes and effects of these practices. Rather, attitudes toward genital cutting reflect historically and culturally specific understandings of the human body. In particular, I suggest that certain problematic understandings of male and female sexuality are deeply implicated in the dominant Western discourses on genital surgery.

This article can be purchased in this LINK.