Fran Hosken's 1979 Report

1266 Words 6 Pages
Hindered the Struggle to End FGM:

International efforts to eradicate FGM, are often done with the intention of helping to abolish this harmful practice, but have instead hindered the struggle to end FGM. FGM gained international attention after Fran Hosken’s 1979 report, however this report created a victim-savior dichotomy that hindered the struggle to end FGM. Within Hosken’s report the women in communities that practiced FGM were characterized as ignorant or helpless (Wade, 2009,1). In her report she claimed the victims of FGM were “wholly ignorant of biology and unconscious of their own oppression” (Shannon,2012,290). This characterization of the people who practiced FGM was intolerant and insensitive (Lane & Rubinstein, 1996,35). They
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However, this legitimized the practice and ultimately hindered the fights against FGM. The medical framing of FGM focused on the negative health implications of the practice, and the lack of sterile conditions and instruments. Additionally, FGM procedures were often not performed by medically trained professionals (Shannon,2012,293). The response to this problem was to seek out medical professionals to perform the procedures on these young girls (Shannon,2012,295). Health agencies like WHO believe that getting medical professionals involved in FGM, legitimized the practice as medically sound or beneficial to women’s health (WHO,2010,9). Many Arab and African feminists strongly condemn the medicalization of FGM, because they believe it will promote its continuation and not its abandonment (Lane & Rubinstein, 1996,38). Having FGM performed by a medical professional does not negate the fact that it is another form of women’s oppression. FGM still has the social purpose of using “sex as a means of subjecting women and depriving them of their chance to participate in society as equals” (Tamir,2006). It is a manifestation of deeply entrenched gender inequality (WHO,2010,9). Moreover, the long-term problems such as sexual, psychological and obstetrical complications can still occur even if FGM is performed by a medical professional (WHO,2010,9). By the early 1990’s very little had changed in ending FGM through a medical framework (Shannon, 2012,295). The danger of legitimizing FGM is that it could contribute to the institutionalization of the practice and establish it as a routine procedure (WHO,2010,9). Not to mention it could propagate FGM into cultural communities who do not currently practice it (WHO,2010,9). Ultimately, the medical framework of FGM did not get to the root of the problem, it just

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