A futile attempt to enlighten a feminist about MGM and FGM

On International Men’s Day (2015) we held an anti-MGM protest in Parliament Square, the video (6:30) is here. This afternoon I received some comments on YouTube in response to that video, from ‘Sarah R’, and reproduce them (and my responses) here.

She wrote:

Male circumcision isn’t mutilation. [Yes, it is.] In fgm, the entire clitoris is removed. [No, it isn’t.] In males, that would be the equivalent to cutting of the head of the penis. [No, it wouldn’t be.] The foreskin is a tiny thin membrane that covers the penis [No, it’s not, it’s a substantial and extremely nerve-rich piece of skin which covers the tip of the glans, and has important functions about which you’re evidently ignorant] and in females it would be equivalent to the hymen. [No, it wouldn’t.] It’s not the same and most people who get it done do not want their son to contract STDs and expose other people to them. [That’s very rarely their motivation.] Uncircumcised males are more likely to contract and spread disease. [Where’s your evidence for this?] It’s only logical. [No, it’s not.]

I wrote:

Sarah, I am only publishing your comment because you’re clearly deeply ignorant about both FGM and MGM. The Wiki entry on FGM should help you to start improving your understanding:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation

The following should help you to start improving your understanding of MGM, and why we oppose it (in addition to the fact it’s illegal in the UK):

http://mra-uk.co.uk/?p=519

The foreskin is a biological equivalent to the clitoral hood, not the hymen.

I’ll be happy to have an exchange when you’ve at least read and absorbed those materials.

I added:

Sarah, another thought. Very few people who have their male offspring circumcised do it for the reasons you state. Which is just as well, because those reasons don’t bear critical examination.

She wrote:

I read your links but I simply cannot equate this mutilation to the mutilation suffered by females as the many females undergo the the destruction and removal of the whole genital area or at least all areas susceptible to great sensitivity. Some girls even have their vaginal opening sowed up and thus will either die due to menstruation or childbirth and will experience infertility and horrendous pain or discomfort in the area for the rest of their lives. I’m not saying male mutilation is not bad because I agree with you that this should not be carried out without the man’s consent. However equating fgm with mgm is quite frankly dishonest.

Uncircumcised men are more susceptible to STDs. You can say that it’s called soap and water but no offence but many men aren’t hugely in favour of frequent cleanliness.

I understand if you wish to campaign for these rights, but why diminish women’s rights in the process. It makes your intentions seem ingenuine like there is an ulterior motive. I’ve watched many of you interviews and you fail to discuss any of these problems without taking a hit of feminism. Campaigning to criminalise fgm and standing for the women who are against this practise shouldn’t feel like a threat nor should you feel it undermines your campaign. That’s why I don’t take you seriously a lot of the times as many of your arguments seem to be driven by your evident dislike of the female population.

I wrote:

Sarah, you could not have read and absorbed the content of both links in 18 minutes, let alone reflected on them properly, and proof of this is that your second contribution is even more ill-informed and ridiculous than the first. Rather than waste any more time on you, I’ll publish a blog post instead.

I’m sorry you don’t take me seriously ‘a lot of the times’, but hopefully I’ll survive the emotional trauma of knowing that.

Have a nice day.

She wrote:

I admit that I didn’t read your Wikipedia article on fgm as it has been well publicised what happens to the body when attacked in this manner. However I did read the other article you gave me thoroughly. I’m a fast reader. I just did not agree with many of the points you made [The article was written by William Collins, not me] as many of them were subjective with little exploration of opposing views. In addition, many of your points were little more than a moan and whine about how terrible women are and how this problem can be attributed to female power. Your movement is a farce and your sincerity is false. But don’t worry, I tend not to take cry babies too seriously.

I wrote:

Thanks for that, just received it in time to include it in my blog piece.

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About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • William Gruff

    Mike, can you delete this and the following comment? I’ll rewrite it and submit again.

  • Pingback: Sarah R – the feminist who keeps on giving | Justice for Men & Boys()

  • William Gruff

    I read your links but I simply cannot equate this mutilation to the mutilation suffered by females …

    If I were sniping back I’d say, sarcastically, that’s because ‘it’s always worse for girls and women’ and anyway, it’s a man’s role to suffer so that women shouldn’t so stop whining men, so there!

    However, I think she’s sincere and really doesn’t see any equivalence, party because she believes the age old female lie that men should be able to bear much more pain than women, so that women don’t have to bear any at all, and she simply does not see men and boys as human beings of equal worth to women and girls. That isn’t her fault; she’s been fed a lot of misandrous hate by her teachers, the media, advertising and perhaps even her parent(s). However, if she’s as clever as she thinks she is, she may, when she grows up, come to see that what she has been taught is evil.

    The bogus justifications for MGM she’s reiterated are what she’s been taught. Ultimately, the decision isn’t hers and her opinions on it are irrelevant.

    This is interesting as it follows the form of her type:

    I understand if you wish to campaign for these rights, but why diminish women’s rights in the process. It makes your intentions seem ingenuine (sic) like there is an ulterior motive. I’ve watched many of you (sic) interviews and you fail to discuss any of these problems without taking a hit of (sic) feminism. Campaigning to criminalise fgm and standing for the women who are against this practise (sic) shouldn’t feel like a threat nor should you feel it undermines your campaign. That’s why I don’t take you seriously a lot of the times (sic) as many of your arguments seem to be driven by your evident dislike of the female population.

    As almost always with women, criticism is seen as dislike and a determination to stop legal, social, cultural and physical assaults on men and boys is seen as an attack on the rights of women, suggesting that most women see their rights as dependent upon the subjugation of men, whether by convention and custom. as with chivalry, or by law. They clearly believe that women will be worse off if men are not kept in a position of severe disadvantage, either surreptitiously or by force. Her resort to what she cannot but think are cuttingly mocking taunts, with ‘many of your points were little more than a moan and whine about how terrible women are and how this problem can be attributed to female power. Your movement is a farce and your sincerity is false. But don’t worry, I tend not to take cry babies too seriously‘, is evidence of an attempt at that.

    I just did not agree with many of the points you made … as many of them were subjective with little exploration of opposing views‘ is a typically female response. How can one disagree with what are actually objective facts, and how can they sensibly be condemned as subjective? I think the young lady meant that she was displeased by your statement of facts and not that she disagreed with them. A fact is not a point of view that can be argued over and that she needs to be told so is a telling indictment of her education, her intellect and her maturity.

    As an aside, I was amused to the point of laughter at her observation that you included ‘little exploration of opposing views’. I can’t find any ‘exploration’ of opposing views and it’s laughable that she believes that in offering your objections to them you are under any obligation to represent them in the way their proponents may wish. That’s your opponents’ job. That little snowflake needs to grow up and acquaint herself with the rules of intelligent adult debate if she’s going to engage in intellectual rough and tumble.

    Most entertaining Mike, thank you for the laugh.

  • Sarah is such a fast reader! She can look over something, ignore its contents, apply her feminist indoctrination, and come up with nonsense like “why diminish women’s rights in the process” when no-one I’ve ever read on the topic of genital mutilation – even in Al Jazeera – has ever proposed diminishing women’s rights. (Al Jazeera have published letters from women arguing against introducing what they see as restrictions on the choice a woman can make about her body. This applies only in those places that do not outlaw FGM.)

    On the point of similarities, there is something to the common argument that removal of the foreskin (which is the most mild definition of ‘circumcision’ – a word without precise medical or legal limitations as to the genital hacking/modification undertaken) is similar to removal of the clitoral hood. However, this is down-playing matters as the foreskin is an erotically sensitive organ in itself, but the clitoral hood is simply skin covering the highly sensitive clitoris. In gender reassignment surgery, the foreskin is used to form the inner wall of a ‘vagina’ and to this extent, removal of the foreskin can be equated with the desensitising of the entire vagina, as has been done (thankfully only a few times) with fire, acid, or in one case with a cactus the mother wielded.