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Female Genital Mutilation

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Also commonly referred to as FGM, Female Genital Mutilation is a cultural practice that involves cutting of some parts of a female’s genital like the clitoris, labia minora and labia majora. It is practiced mostly in African and Islamic countries as a way of trying to control a woman’s sexual urges. Over the past few years, the governments of these countries, human rights activists as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) have been trying to stop this practice.


According to the feminist theory, practices like FGM are human rights violation. First of all, it is a step towards gender inequality and oppression. This is not practiced on men since they are allowed to have sex before marriage unlike women. Karl Marx argued that employees are exploited due to the capitalist mode of production and feminists apply this to gender as well. That is why women are commonly oppressed in society according to race and cultural beliefs (Crossman, 2012).

Another sociologist, Emile Durkheim argued that a society is united by two sources. One of them is the mechanic solidarity that refers to those values, religious and cultural beliefs that unite a society (Tanwani and Sanoopkk, 2012). In light of this theory, trying to do away with a people’s culture will make them loose an identity in society as they will be disunited from those who hold on to their cultural practices. Nobody really wants to be an outcast and lead a difficult, lonely social and economic life (UNICEF, 2010).

Even though it is painful, may cause very bad infections, brings complications during birth, hemorrhage, death and psychological damage to women, but is still practiced (Kluge, 2010). This can be explained by the social convention theory that is supported by the game theory. It argues that in a society, people do what others do. In this case, if a family chooses to have its daughter’s circumcised; several will follow the lead and eventually the whole society will do (UNICEF, 2010).

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With this knowledge, FGM can be fought with the help of the social convention theory. The situation is that women and girls are unable to reject the practice even though they know the outcomes. Nowadays people are educated, thus making it easier to convince such societies to drop FGM. The fact that some men do not support it anymore makes it even easier to get over. So, with the help of sociology we can use the society to fight against its own cultural practices such as FGM.

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