NSW Community Services Minister Pru Goward makes a compelling case against the barbaric and abhorrent practice of female genital mutilation in Australia in her opinion piece ‘‘Female genital mutilation needs to stop’’ (Herald 3/1).
However, in pointing out that some foreign cultural traditions are crimes in this country while ignoring some of our own cultural traditions, I fear she may be ignoring the elephant in the room.
Calling unnecessary genital surgery on a girl ‘‘mutilation’’, but on a boy ‘‘circumcision’’, shows just how far we still have to go in recognising that not all traditions are harmless and without consequence.
Most parents who have their sons circumcised will claim that it is for hygiene reasons, but this excuse has now been thoroughly debunked by the medical profession.
Some do it for religious reasons, although I fail to see why God would be so obsessed with foreskins if he created them in the first place.
The majority, I believe, do it simply out of family tradition.
The procedure isn’t without risks and complications and can affect sexual function later in life, yet it remains perfectly legal in this country, and I wonder why we have such different attitudes and laws based purely on gender?
Lemon Tree Passage