28 May 2010

Three cheers for the RANZCOG!

It’s encouraging to know that Aussie doctors unequivocally oppose the horrible practice of female genital mutilation – euphemistically referred to as ‘ritual nicking’ in this case – despite the knee-jerk objections of cultural relativists. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists appears to possess a moral backbone evidently lacking in their American counterparts, who actually considered a less drastic form of clitoral cutting as a compromise between religious ‘requirements’ and adherence to human rights. To their credit though, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has since outrightly rejected this policy.

PodBlack Cat’s blog write-up on this topic has additional content and links, including a couple of videos, one of which is an interview with author and human rights activist Waris Dirie, who underwent genital mutilation when she was a child. Rant & Reason also has a post that expounds on the issue in more depth.

If there is one lesson that we should take away from all this, it is that there is demonstrably little value in holding on to traditions from a bygone age that are not only irrelevant to today’s reality, but also proven to be harmful, whether physically or psychologically. Modernity isn’t exactly the hell-on-earth disgruntled nostalgics believe it to be, despite having bequeathed us the nuclear bomb, big box stores, e-mail spam and Justin Bieber. Cultural practices whose origins lie in a nomadic, patriarchal, tribal past are indefensible if their current exercise flouts every single bit of progress humanity has since made in our understanding of what contributes to people’s welfare. Whatever their gender.


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