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Genitals and ethnicity: the politics of genital modifications.

Johnsdotter, Sara and Essén, Birgitta LU (2010) In Reproductive Health Matters 18(35). p.29-37
Abstract
The discrepancy in societal attitudes toward female genital cosmetic surgery for European women and female genital cutting in primarily African girl children and women raises the following fundamental question. How can it be that extensive genital modifications, including reduction of labial and clitoral tissue, are considered acceptable and perfectly legal in many European countries, while those same societies have legislation making female genital cutting illegal, and the World Health Organization bans even the "pricking" of the female genitals? At present, tensions are obvious as regards the modification of female genitalia, and current legislation and medical practice show inconsistencies in relation to women of different ethnic... (More)
The discrepancy in societal attitudes toward female genital cosmetic surgery for European women and female genital cutting in primarily African girl children and women raises the following fundamental question. How can it be that extensive genital modifications, including reduction of labial and clitoral tissue, are considered acceptable and perfectly legal in many European countries, while those same societies have legislation making female genital cutting illegal, and the World Health Organization bans even the "pricking" of the female genitals? At present, tensions are obvious as regards the modification of female genitalia, and current legislation and medical practice show inconsistencies in relation to women of different ethnic backgrounds. As regards the right to health, it is questionable both whether genital cosmetic surgery is always free of complications and whether female genital cutting always leads to them. Activists, national policymakers and other stakeholders, including cosmetic genital surgeons, need to be aware of these inconsistencies and find ways to resolve them and adopt non-discriminatory policies. This is not necessarily an issue of either permitting or banning all forms of genital cutting, but about identifying a consistent and coherent stance in which key social values - including protection of children, bodily integrity, bodily autonomy, and equality before the law - are upheld. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Reproductive Health Matters
volume
18
issue
35
pages
29 - 37
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • pmid:20541081
  • scopus:77953720819
ISSN
1460-9576
DOI
10.1016/S0968-8080(10)35495-4
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2dc1e431-bf3e-424b-950d-f897cde02de5 (old id 1626173)
alternative location
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20541081?dopt=Abstract
date added to LUP
2010-07-05 10:47:50
date last changed
2018-06-24 04:48:13
@article{2dc1e431-bf3e-424b-950d-f897cde02de5,
  abstract     = {The discrepancy in societal attitudes toward female genital cosmetic surgery for European women and female genital cutting in primarily African girl children and women raises the following fundamental question. How can it be that extensive genital modifications, including reduction of labial and clitoral tissue, are considered acceptable and perfectly legal in many European countries, while those same societies have legislation making female genital cutting illegal, and the World Health Organization bans even the "pricking" of the female genitals? At present, tensions are obvious as regards the modification of female genitalia, and current legislation and medical practice show inconsistencies in relation to women of different ethnic backgrounds. As regards the right to health, it is questionable both whether genital cosmetic surgery is always free of complications and whether female genital cutting always leads to them. Activists, national policymakers and other stakeholders, including cosmetic genital surgeons, need to be aware of these inconsistencies and find ways to resolve them and adopt non-discriminatory policies. This is not necessarily an issue of either permitting or banning all forms of genital cutting, but about identifying a consistent and coherent stance in which key social values - including protection of children, bodily integrity, bodily autonomy, and equality before the law - are upheld.},
  author       = {Johnsdotter, Sara and Essén, Birgitta},
  issn         = {1460-9576},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {35},
  pages        = {29--37},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Reproductive Health Matters},
  title        = {Genitals and ethnicity: the politics of genital modifications.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(10)35495-4},
  volume       = {18},
  year         = {2010},
}