Obviously, the more extreme types of FGA will Angelique scoreland model contribute to good health on balance, but neither will the spearheads-and-dirty-knives versions of MGA performed on boys. Global Public Health. North American medicine is not free of cultural Jew woman circumcision, and FG[A] practices are not bound by culture — at least not in the uniform way imagined by opponents. Reproductive Health Matters. Are breast implants better than female genital mutilation? Male genital mutilation: beyond the tolerable? They do pose a very small risk of damaging the lips, which might plausibly be considered erogenous tissue, but, in contrast to circumcision in which the removal of dozens of square centimeters of erogenous tissue is a necessary component of the intervention itselfthis would be an accidental side-effect, and one that is probably so rare as to be able to be discounted. Indeed, they led the way in referring to it as mutilation; from the Kenya Missionary Council called it the "sexual mutilation of women", following the lead of Marion Scott Stevensona Church of Scotland missionary. Female genital Jew woman circumcision the known, the unknown, and the unknowable. University of Oxford.
Fat bbw cumshot movies. About the Book
Part of a series on. September 12, Vintage denim vest Article Reply. Such cases have been known to occur. Beverly Kurtin October 26, The importance Jew woman circumcision peri'ah is emphasized in the early rabbinic period and supportive midrashic readings were constructed in Jew woman circumcision to base it in Torah e. Beverly, you live in Houston, and I don't know why you were shocked at that response. Baumgarten, Mothers and Circumcisoon ; S. The knife, sometimes double-edged, is then taken in the right hand and the foreskin is amputated with one sweep along the shield. More Sites Today is Mon. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Jews Against Circumcision. Beautiful and inspiring Thank you for writing this beautiful article.
Why aren't Jewish women circumcised?
- Each morning at dawn, the Germans would lead us out of the camp for a day of hard labor that ended only at nightfall.
- The brit milah is followed by a celebratory meal seudat mitzvah.
- Shalom DovBer was a young chassidic prodigy, a scion of the illustrious Schneersohn family, who would eventually become the fifth rebbe of Chabad.
- Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis.
Forgot password? Don't have an account? This chapter discusses female circumcision and analyses whether it was practiced in Jewish communities. Some cultures of the world practice female circumcision or female genital mutilation. The circumcision of women is first attested in Egypt in the Hellenistic period. The earliest evidence is a papyrus document from bce , a petition written in Greek by an Egyptian monk at the temple of Serapis in Memphis. The document shows that the circumcision of women just before marriage was an established custom, at least in Memphis middle Egypt , not later than the middle of the second century bce.
However, female circumcision was unknown in the ancient Near East in general and unknown to ancient Israel in particular. There is no evidence anywhere that any Jewish community has ever practiced female circumcision. The Jewish philosopher Philo describes it saying that men need to be circumcised because they need to have both their lust checked and their pride diminished, and these desirable goals are achieved through circumcision.
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Find in Worldcat. Print Save Cite Email Share. Search within book. Email Address. Library Card. Were Jewish Women Ever Circumcised? Chapter: p. Author s : Shaye J. If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian. Title Pages The S. All rights reserved. Powered by: Safari Books Online.
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Keywords: FGM, circumcision, gender, sexuality, autonomy, consent. Why such divergent treatment? And neither involves the treatment of disease, nor the correction of an acknowledged deformity. Yet this is not the predominant opinion expressed in Western popular discourse, nor in much of the scholarly literature. In these domains, as well as in many others, the two types of intervention are rarely discussed in the same context.
How dare I compare the innocuous and beneficial removal of the foreskin with the extreme mutilations enacted against females in other societies!
On this sort of view, the sheer level of harm entailed by FGM passes a threshold of intolerability that is not passed by male circumcision. In the first section of this essay, I call into question the claims upon which these distinctions are typically premised. Specifically, I show that at least certain forms of FGM or female genital alteration [FGA] , 21 including forms that are legally prohibited in Western societies, are demonstrably less harmful than the most prevalent forms of male circumcision.
I also show that certain forms of male circumcision or male genital alteration [MGA] , including forms that are common in parts of Africa and elsewhere, can be at least as harmful as the most extreme forms of FGA as practiced in any context. I will also question the claims that have been made on the point of health benefits, with respect to both types of genital alteration. The harm-based argument, then, does not turn out to be sufficient to draw a strict moral distinction between male and female forms of genital cutting practices.
The consequence of this conclusion can be stated as a conditional: if the degree of harm vs benefit commonly attributed to male circumcision is seen as being compatible with its permissibility in Western societies, then forms of female genital cutting that result in a similar degree of harm vs benefit must also be considered permissible on these grounds. Granting this view for now although it is not uncontroversial , 11 , 21 perhaps we can find some other moral basis on which to ground a gender or sex-based distinction.
The philosopher Joseph Mazor has recently advanced an intuitive-sounding possibility:. There is an important moral difference [between male and female forms of genital alteration] that does not have to do with the physical effects of the operation[s].
Namely, in some … of the cultures in which female genital cutting is practiced, the practice reflects deeply-rooted attitudes about the lower status of women. Thus, even if male and female genital cutting were perfectly identical in terms of net health benefits and effects on sexual pleasure, the relationship in some cultures between female genital cutting and a failure to respect women as moral equals would give an additional reason to object to female circumcision. First, as Mazor himself concedes, male and female forms of genital alteration are carried out for different reasons, and reflect different norms and attitudes, in different cultural contexts.
Indeed, contrary to common wisdom, non-therapeutic FGA is not always associated with, nor a reflection of, sexist and patriarchal norms; nor are the norms associated with male genital cutting always as morally innocent as is typically assumed. Apart from the practical difficulties that would be incurred by such a task, there are a number of epistemological difficulties as well. As I conclude, therefore, the Western habit of drawing a stark moral distinction between male and female forms of non-therapeutic, non-consensual genital alteration may be impossible to maintain on principled grounds — or if not impossible, certainly much more difficult than is commonly assumed.
In the final section of this paper, I provide a very brief sketch of an ethical framework that could be used to evaluate such alterations in a more consistent and principled way. Instead of being based on considerations of sex or gender, my proposed framework will be based on considerations of bodily autonomy and informed consent. This is the harm-based argument to which I alluded earlier, and I have already suggested that it cannot succeed. To see why this is the case, it is necessary to begin with a widely-accepted definition of FGM if I may now revert to the conventional terminology for the sake of this discussion so that we can understand what is at stake in such a procedure, followed by an analysis of male circumcision.
The World Health Organization gives us the following typology: Type 1 a is the partial or total removal of just the clitoral prepuce ie, the fold of skin that covers the clitoral glans, much as the penile prepuce covers the penile glans in boys; in fact, the two structures are embryonically homologous. Note that two-thirds or more of the entire clitoris including most of its erectile tissue is internal to the body envelope, 35 and is therefore not removed by this type, or any type, of FGM.
Several points can now be emphasized. It is rarely pointed out that the frequency and severity of complications are a function of the extent and circumstances of the operation, and it is not usually recognized that much of [our] information comes from studies of the Sudan, where most women, [in contrast to the majority of other contexts] are infibulated. What about effects on sexuality?
Therefore FGM and other forms of genital modification will affect different people differently. On the other side of the ledger, there is a great deal of evidence f that FGM can be harmful to sexual function and experience, especially when one considers the more extreme forms.
Many of them are learning about how other cultures and societies regard the innervation and functions of the clitoris. In the final analysis, it is clear that FGM, and especially its more invasive forms, poses a distinct risk of causing sexual harm, even if this harm may not be experienced in the same way, or to the same degree, by every woman who has been subjected to genital surgery.
Moreover, in at least some cases, the harm is quite clearly catastrophic. These same considerations apply to male circumcision. Box 1 — What are the effects of male circumcision on sexual function, satisfaction, and sensation?
Just as with FGA, male genital cutting can take many different forms. In Pakistan, traditional Muslim circumcisions are done while the boy is fully conscious, usually between the ages of 3 and 7. Just as with female genital altering rites performed under comparable conditions and often by the very same groups , these kinds of operations frequently cause hemorrhage, infection, mangling, and loss of the sexual organ.
By now it should be clear, as Debra DeLaet among others has argued, 81 , i that both male and female forms of genital alteration fall on a wide spectrum, and that the harms they may entail substantially overlap.
By collapsing all of the many different types of procedures performed into a single set for each sex, categories are created that do not accurately describe any situation that actually occurs anywhere in the world. So far, I have discussed the potential harms of male and female genital alterations, but I have not yet considered the question of benefits. MGA, but not FGA, is believed by some medical professionals to confer a number of possible health benefits j — most notably, a small reduction in the absolute risk of female-to-male, heterosexually transmitted HIV in areas with high base rates of such infection 16 — 19 , 84 — although the likelihood and the magnitude of such benefits outside of sub-Saharan Africa is the subject of considerable dispute.
If these authorities are correct, then the benefits of circumcision might conceivably offset the drawbacks and risks in a way that is not the case for FGA, thereby preserving the moral distinction between them. An important qualification is in order. From an ethical perspective, few people would argue that fully-informed adult males should not be permitted to undergo elective surgeries on their own genitals, whether in an attempt to achieve partial prophylaxis against disease or for other reasons.
This issue of informed consent will feature prominently in our discussion later on. With respect to neonatal or childhood circumcision, by contrast, the primary health benefit that has been attributed to this version of the surgery is a slight reduction in the absolute risk of urinary tract infections. This is just what we do for girls, who get UTIs after the age of 1 about 10 times more frequently than boys do, with no pre-emptive surgery recommended.
But what if such surgery were recommended? The question cannot be left unanswered. The point here is that we do not actually know whether some minor form of FGA might confer health benefits, because it is illegal — and would be unethical 23 , 43 — to conduct a study to find this out.
Obviously, the more extreme types of FGA will not contribute to good health on balance, but neither will the spearheads-and-dirty-knives versions of MGA performed on boys. What about more mild forms of FGA? Yet as the medical anthropologist Kirsten Bell has noted personal communication, January 16, :. Indeed, the topic is self-evidently a non-starter. Regardless of any evidence that might suggest an association, it is impossible to imagine a parallel research agenda [to the one on male circumcision] solidifying around the procedure, irrespective of whether the surgery was conducted in a medical context and [irrespective of] the extent of cutting involved.
The thought experiment can be taken a step further. With respect to causal plausibility, it is often argued that the biological mechanism through which the foreskin in males becomes a vector for HIV transmission although the details are somewhat contentious , is the presence of Langerhans cells in the inner mucosa of the foreskin. What is rarely mentioned in these discussions, however, is that the external female genitalia are also richly endowed with Langerhans cells.
The point here is not to suggest that there is in fact good evidence that certain forms of FGA could definitely reduce the risk of male-to-female transmission of HIV; as it stands, that is not the case.
Instead, the point is that regardless of any evidence for such a possibility, serious research into the question is unlikely ever to be considered, simply because such procedures are unacceptable to Western ethical and cultural norms. The analysis in the preceding section suggests that a benefit vs harm analysis cannot rule out, in a principled fashion, all forms of FGA, while simultaneously tolerating, much less promoting, the most common forms of MGA. This is because the health benefits that have been attributed to male circumcision, at least in a Western context, are relatively minor in terms of absolute risk reduction ; they apply mostly after an age of sexual debut; they can be achieved in much less harmful ways such as by the adoption of safe sex practices ; and — crucially for the sake of the present analysis — we do not actually know that certain minor forms of FGA would not confer the same degree of prophylaxis against disease.
With respect to harms, on the other hand, I have tried to show that the adverse effects of both MGA and FGA overlap substantially, and that it is only by focusing on the least harmful forms of the former, and the most harmful forms of the latter, that this fact is not more widely understood. This is the view suggested by the philosopher Joseph Mazor, as indicated in the introduction, and it is one that has been advanced by Martha Nussbaum, among many others.
Let me begin with the latter case. As is increasingly being emphasized by scholars in this area, female genital cutting is performed for different reasons in different social contexts, and is not always associated with a lower status for women and girls, nor with the aim of reducing their sexual pleasure.
Of course, popular opinion has only limited value as a guide to the moral status of a given practice. It is quite possible that those women who approve of FGA in their societies possess a comparatively narrow degree of awareness of the key issues, such as the relevant genital anatomy, the ethical controversies surrounding the practice, the way it is perceived in other societies, and so on.
If so, then they would not be altogether different, in this respect, from circumcised men in the United States — including many members of the medical profession — who typically know little to nothing about the anatomy and functions of the foreskin, and who may be unaware that circumcision is rare in other developed nations outside of religious communities.
As most people are not [inclined to be] norm-questioning … and are hard-wired to rationalize irreparable harm done to them, or harm they caused to another, it is both unsurprising and un-compelling to note that the majority of people from cutting cultures do not object to having been cut [or see the practice as being unproblematic]. People should be encouraged to look to dissenting minorities, not to the masses, to take their cues about what is ethically problematic.
In most other African contexts, by contrast, both FGA and MGA are least superficially egalitarian: they are carried out regardless of the sex or gender of the child, and are intended as a means of conferring adult status within the group.
North American medicine is not free of cultural influence, and FG[A] practices are not bound by culture — at least not in the uniform way imagined by opponents. What about the other side of things? The usual claim is that male circumcision is not associated with a lowered status for women, but in Judaism, at least, this is not obviously the case.
Jewish women were Jewish by birth, but their Jewishness was assumed to be inferior to that of Jewish men. One would have thought that egalitarians would want to rectify this oversight. It is on the body of his son that Abraham writes his own beliefs. In a religion marked by the ritual exclusion of women, such a marking not only enables Isaac to be included within the community of men … but he can also lay claim to all the privileges to which being a Jewish male now entitles him.
Male circumcision may be related to other problematic norms as well. Both promise cleanliness and the absence of odors as well as greater attractiveness and acceptability. Nevertheless, male genital cutting has indeed been used as a form of sexual control, and even punishment, for a very long time. Here, too, it could be argued that these apparent associations with problematic norms are superficial, outdated, or only apply to a limited number of cases.
But this is exactly the point. Yet if these interventions are meant to be distinguishable in terms of their permissibility on account of the differing norms that they are taken to reflect, then they will be very hard to distinguish indeed.