Tag Archives: Cross-Cultural comparison

Comparison of various psychological, sociological, or cultural factors in order to assess the similarities or diversities occurring in two or more different cultures or societies.

Female circumcision among Egyptian women.

Womens Health. 1995 Winter;1(4):309-28.

Female circumcision among Egyptian women.

Ericksen KP.

Department of Psychology, University of California at Davis 95616, USA. kpericksen@ucdavis.edu

Although a remarkable degree of consensus has been reached among international agencies, policymakers, and women’s health advocates that the practice of female circumcision should be eliminated, such consensus is not necessarily shared by those who perform the operation or the families responsible for having girls excised. The surgical procedure is nested in a complex set of beliefs about identity, moral behavior, and the working of the female body. This article describes the dominant themes produced in 85 extensive interviews with mother and operators representing the broad spectrum of Egyptian society. The interviews detailed the operation itself, women’s emotional response to the operation, and the rationales put forth in support of the practice. Although institutional efforts to eliminate the practice will meet with resistance, significant demographic shifts already taking place are producing changes in family systems and the opportunity structure that coincide with the abandonment of excision in key sectors of the urban population.

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Obstetric care at the intersection of science and culture: Swedish doctors’ perspectives on obstetric care of women who have undergone female genital cutting

Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2010, Vol. 30, No. 6 , Pages 553-558

Obstetric care at the intersection of science and culture: Swedish doctors’ perspectives on obstetric care of women who have undergone female genital cutting

Widmark C, Leval A, Tishelman C, Ahlberg BM


Providing healthcare for women having undergone female genital cutting can present challenges. The women might require special obstetric care, including an anterior episiotomy (defibulation) for infibulated women. This paper explores how Swedish doctors caring for these women describe, explain and reason about their care and relevant policies in a Swedish context. A qualitative study was carried out with 13 chief/senior obstetricians and seven senior house officers. There was little consensus among the interviewed doctors on what constitutes good obstetric care for women with FGC or how care should be provided. Major problems include: inconsistent policy and praxis; uncoordinated care trajectories; diffuse professional role responsibilities; difficulties in monitoring labour and fetal status; and inhibited communication. The data highlight the need for increased awareness and reflective praxis both on the part of individual practitioners, and on an organisational level, which takes account of the special needs of different users.

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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


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.

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A cross cultural study of vaginal practices and sexuality: Implications for sexual health

Soc Sci Med. 2010 Feb;70(3):392-400. Epub 2009 Nov 10.LME

A cross cultural study of vaginal practices and sexuality: Implications for sexual health

Martin Hilber A, Hull TH, Preston-Whyte E, Bagnol B, Smit J, Wacharasin C, Widyantoro N; WHO GSVP Study Group

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Burn, Finkenhubelweg 11, 3012 Bern, Switzerland. amartinhilber@ispm.unibe.ch


Between 2005 and 2006, we investigated vaginal practices in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Tete, Mozambique; KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; and Bangkok and Chonburi, Thailand. We sought to understand women’s practices, their motivations for use and the role vaginal practices play in women’s health, sexuality and sense of wellbeing. The study was carried out among adult women and men who were identified as using, having knowledge or being involved in trade in products. Further contacts were made using snowball sampling. Across the sites, individual interviews were conducted with 229 people and 265 others participated in focus group discussions. We found that women in all four countries have a variety of reasons for carrying out vaginal practices whose aim is to not simply ‘dry’ the vagina but rather decrease moisture that may have other associated meanings, and that they are exclusively “intravaginal” in operation. Practices, products and frequency vary. Motivations generally relate to personal hygiene, genital health or sexuality. Hygiene practices involve external washing and intravaginal cleansing or douching and ingestion of substances. Health practices include intravaginal cleansing, traditional cutting, insertion of herbal preparations, and application of substances to soothe irritated vaginal tissue. Practices related to sexuality can involve any of these practices with specific products that warm, dry, and/or tighten the vagina to increase pleasure for the man and sometimes for the woman. Hygiene and health are expressions of femininity connected to sexuality even if not always explicitly expressed as such. We found their effects may have unexpected and even undesired consequences. This study demonstrates that women in the four countries actively use a variety of practices to achieve a desired vaginal state. The results provide the basis for a classification framework that can be used for future study of this complex topic.

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