The practice of genital mutilation is still evident in various African cultures. The clitoris is removed and with that comes the possibility of ever experiencing sex in its fullest glory. The clitoris is packed with nerve endings and one could just imagine how painful it would be for a little girl to have this cut off. Female genital mutilation is considered barbaric in inhumane by almost all countries who subscribe to the idea of human rights.
Ironically, the male version of this procedure is not nearly as controversial. Male circumcision is done to babies as young as a few days old in hospitals despite the obvious lack of consent of the people involved. Much of the reasons set forth for circumcision are religious in nature. Later on though, there seemingly was an apparent increase in medical evidence to prove that circumcision had some benefits to it. Societies that mostly had circumcised males also tend to force uncircumcised males to make choices regarding their bodily integrity under duress.
While there are studies that prove that one’s likelihood of getting HIV and penile cancer are reduced; circumcision is still not the biggest factor in the likelihood of getting these devastating illnesses. It still lies in the person’s sexual practices and his ability to observe safe sex and/or abstinence and self-control. Circumcision is for the most part (pardon the pun), circumstantial as a factor. Hygiene could also be a factor, but with proper education and sufficient attention to detail; that problem could also be circumvented – no need for some radical surgery that would modify a child’s body forever before he even realizes what he lost!
Almost all Filipino men are circumcised. A handful probably had their foreskins removed as infants while a few had surgery when they were approaching puberty. Most boys probably got it over with to prove a point or be at the same state as their other circumcised friends are. To a certain extent, being circumcised or “tuli” makes one more of a man than an uncircumcised chap or “supot”.
The bottom line is everyone should have the ability to be in control of their body’s. Removing a body part – even just an inconsequential fold of skin (that by the way, is packed with nerve endings that could be great for sex) – should be a decision of the person and nobody else’s. Making the choice due to social pressures, fear of ridicule and other circumstances that could put one under duress is a blow to the autonomy of a person that should have when it comes to dealing with issues of body integrity.