Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A rose by any other name?

As the Instructor of the “Sexuality and Health” class in our school, this paper by Robert Darby and J.steven Svoboda (2007) strongly triggered my attention. Following most of the other sex educators, I will definitely introduce the circumcision surgery to my students from both the culture and medical perspective. Very seldom, I talked about the female genital mutilation and explain it as very negative tradition in some isolated tribes. And as a medical person, my opinion used to be very straight forward that the circumcision already been taken as a normal medical procedure because it has obvious benefits: especially for the patients who have long foreskin and defect their sex behavior.

This paper triggered some other thinking of me under culture:

(1) Human rights under tradition: People claim that genital mutilation to the infants before they can make consent decision defects their right, so their parents should not have this right. But how about the baby shower and other church related activities that children was involved by their parents? Should we also claim that the new born children have the right to choose their own religion to become either a Christine, catholic or Muslim? Should we challenge certain things people do under their culture or religion? Or furthermore, the “normal behaviors” under social norms?

(2) Besides the physical and sexual damages caused by the surgery, the reason that people do this since they want to manipulate people’s sexual behavior which could refer to masturbation. The whole story is behind people’s sexual attitudes. 50 years ago, the main culture of American society thought that any other orgasms outside of the marriage between a man and a woman are immoral. Which bring out my problem that no matter how we talk about this two surgery and their concepts, should we think about the cultural influence of people? What’ their attitudes to sex behavior? To me, it is more important to change people’s sexual attitudes than accuse their behavior that were highly concerned and discussed. Last, how can we as an outsider influence other culture and value? Should we show the respect by sealing the mouth?

At the end, where should a message deliver like me stand on this topic?

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