February the sixth is the day the United Nations has chosen to promote its campaign to protect females from genital mutilation. There is only one thing wrong with this excellent campaign and that is the word female. To discriminate on the grounds of gender in any other area of life would not be tolerated, so why are males discriminated against when it comes to genital mutilation? The answer is that the myths surrounding the cutting of boys’ genitals are still not seen for the myths that they are.
The current excuse for circumcising children is that the circumcision of males will slow the spread of HIV. Circumcision may be partially effective (the science is not universally accepted) but there is still no reason to circumcise healthy non-consenting children as they are not sexually active and therefore need no protection from sexually transmitted diseases; circumcision can wait until the child in question can give his proper informed consent to this irreversible surgery.
There is a myth that cutting the genitals of healthy boys is somehow acceptable and the cutting of girl’s genitals is unacceptable. There may be differences between the sexes but the violation starts the moment someone takes hold of a shard of glass, razor blade or scalpel and uses it to cut a healthy child’s genitals. This is not an issue of competitive suffering. Some girls lose less than some boys and vice versa, that is the not the point. Just like the crime of rape the violation is the lack of consent. It makes little difference whether it is a man or a woman who is raped it is that the person in question has not consented. The U.N. should promote equal treatment and protection for males and females, the U.N. should not discriminate against anyone in any area of life on the grounds of their gender.