, 9 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Fascinating talk by @CCPallitto (WHO) at international expert meeting on #FGM. Swiss scholar asked re: mixed messages, with WHO fighting to end female genital cutting while simultaneously promoting male genital cutting in the same communities (i.e., that practice both). [THREAD]
Response by @CCPallitto: "Male circ has health benefits, there's evidence for that. FGM has no health benefits, so they need to be kept separate." Appeared to begin to say MC is "voluntary" but stopped mid-word ... perhaps because WHO moving to non-voluntary MC on infants?
Questions for @CCPallitto, (1) if 'minor' forms of *non-consensual* FGM had health benefits, would the WHO support it? Or would it argue that girls have a human right to give *consent* to alteration of their genitals (if desired) when of age? (2) is the WHO creating an incentive
for communities that practice what they call "female circumcision" to do studies looking for "health benefits" of, say, removing labia (fewer folds of tissue to become infected)? The WHO does not have the same research groups
looking at both female and male cutting in communities that practice both (virtually all that practice FGC also do MGC), hence they have myopic view of both: cutting is often seen as parallel practice in boys/girls, with shared symbolic meanings. By quoting the "health benefits"
faction at the WHO studying MGC, and failing to apply the same *human rights* arguments that the FGC policy-makers rely on, the WHO has a fractured, inconsistent approach that reflects clear Western bias: MGC is, after all, a popular US cultural practice, and the funders of the
WHO anti-FGC policy are largely Western/US based, with "eliminationist" agenda for FGC of any type (even forms less invasive than MGC, e.g. Type IV nicking), arguing that without consent it's a human rights violation; while drivers of MGC policy at @WHO are @JohnsHopkins pro-circ
researchers (among others) who have built careers pushing the US cultural practice of male circumcision as a medicalized procedure. I argue that @WHO is backing itself into a corner and will lose all credibility unless it adopts a gender-neutral human-rights approach, based on
consent as the ethical criterion for genital cutting. "Why saying 'FGM has no health benefits' will backfire on the @WHO: the risks of 'medicalizing' morality" blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2017/08/does-f…
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