Female Circumcision In Malaysia: Do Women Actually Go Through Circumcision?

by Katricia Lum

Circumcision has been a hot topic of debate throughout the decade. The very definition is off-putting, almost sinister. Imagine a world where cutting off the foreskin of a young male’s penis (or even a baby’s!) is socially acceptable. Well, surprise, surprise! We do live in that world.

However this medieval practice seems to be widely accepted based on the religious beliefs backing it – as always, everything is fine in the name of God, yes? This ritualistic act of circumcision is a compulsory rite of passage for every young Muslim & Jewish male. Just try searching up videos on Youtube, there’s dozens.

Even in a modernized Western country like America, neonatal circumcision (circumcising a newborn baby) is a norm in medical establishments. Six out of 10 male babies born in America will be discharged from the hospital without a foreskin. A far cry from other westernized parts of the world like Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe.

The question is, why in the world would performing such an intrusive & body-altering surgery (especially to a child) ever be okay? Because circumcision has been found to be medically beneficial. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have both stated the benefits outweigh the risks. Cited evidence have shown that circumcision lowers a man’s risk for HIV, urinary-tract infections and penile cancer.

This is why even in Malaysia, you’d see a trend of non-Muslim men undergoing the procedure. But the consensus is those men are of an age where they are able to make their own decisions and give their consent. Something that requires lesser debate compared to a child or a baby being forced into it.

A more barbaric version that Woke wants to talk about today is the female equivalent of it. But due to its more horrific nature, it’s not known as female circumcision but Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

What is Female Genital Mutilation? (FGM)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines FGM as “all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the external parts of the female genitalia which includes any injury to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons.”

The organization also classifies FGM into 4 main types:

Source: R.AGE

i.                The partial or total removal of the clitoral glans and/or the clitoral hood

ii.              The partial or total removal of the clitoral glans, the labia minora and the labia majora

iii.             The narrowing of the vaginal opening either through cutting & repositioning the labia or by stitching it together while also removing the clitoral glans & hood

iv.             Other methods of harm to the female genitalia (for non-medical purposes) like pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and burning

I cannot help but to clench my own vagina in imaginary pain. Imagine dozens if not thousands of other victims who were helpless in facing these various types of mutilation.

Why should FGM be stopped?

Unlike male circumcision that has its multitude of benefits, female genital mutilation does not consist of any. In fact it causes various health diseases & damages to those who undergo the procedure.

(And also for you sex positive people out there: really??? No clit???)

The various complications FGM can cause are:

·       Urinary problems

·       Severe pain

·       Excessive bleeding

·       Sexual problems

·       Increased risk of childbirth problems

·       A need for later surgeries: for example, the sealing or narrowing of the vaginal opening (Type 3) may lead to the practice of cutting open the sealed vagina later to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth (deinfibulation)

It makes sense, unnecessarily removing a part of your body will definitely interfere with the body’s natural functions. The risks are highly severe and with no benefits, you start to question why this practice is still going on in modern times.

It’s pretty obvious female genital mutilation still occurs because of a very misogynistic worldview. FGM is prevalent in African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries which typically have a less contemporary view on women. When asked about this tradition, many cited it as a way to preserve premarital virginity. Clearly, no girl’s gonna have sex with a stitched up vagina, not only due to the pain but because once the stiches are open and every Tom, Dick & Harry in your neighbourhood’s gonna know and then what? Get killed?

Even just writing that down clearly shows that it’s a way of controlling these young girls. Of course come her wedding night, I’m sure her husband’s gonna rip it apart, happy his bride’s a faithful virgin.

Some western countries also carry FGM out. So it’s an issue plaguing the world.

And yes, Malaysia too.

Female Genital Mutilation in Malaysia

Its prevalence in our country is only because Muslims in the country view FGM as a religious obligation. Doesn’t help that religious authorities also actively encourage it.

National Council of Religious Affairs (JAKIM) introduced a fatwa (religious ruling) in 2009 stating the practice is compulsory as long as a medical professional deems it as harmless.

But we all know how rulings get misinterpreted or wrongly enforced…

Although Malaysia tends to perform the least invasive type of FGM (fourth on the list) which involves a needle prick to female babies’ clitoral hoods, we have to take in account that nowhere in the Quran states anything about the practice.

However FGM gets linked to Islam because of the Arabic word khitaan or khataan found in the religious text. But many opposers of the practice argue those words refer to male circumcision and not female.

But the science world has proven that FGM brings nothing but complications to the female who undergo it. Not to be a religion-basher but we must also remember these texts were written hundreds of years ago where science & research wasn’t a thing yet.

I commend those who follow their religion rules & practices with no doubt but if it’s shown time after time by modern society the dangers that come with following things like this with no regard then it’s time to sit down and critically think of how to infuse religious beliefs in the modern world.

Thought this piece was disrespectful and need to let some steam off? Comment below your opinion! Woke would love an open discussion about this topic.

You or someone else went through a FGM procedure before? Let us know more about your experiences! 

Wanna read more taboo topics like this story? Read one about the beauty standards of Malaysia women or one where 4 men shared their biggest insecurities. 

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