A campaign against female genital mutilation – a road sign near Kapchorwa, Uganda. Photo credit Amnon Shavit. (September 2004)
By JD Allen
Assistant News Editor
Gents, you need to simmer down — you all know who I am talking to.
It is a woman’s world, too.
There are accusations made by men’s rights activists, such as members of the National Coalition for Men, or NCFM, that are absolutely absurd. Men, there are issues out there that need to be addressed, namely accepting male rape victims as a traumatic identity and tackling barriers against fathers having custody of their children in a divorced-family situation.
However, some issues go way too far.
Male privilege does not exist.
We still live in a world of male privilege: We do not have to endure cat calls or an everyday body image crisis from advertisements. Yes, women are flocking to jobs in the STEM subjects because, for the first time in history, they are being accepted as equals who in some cases do not even receive equal pay. We cannot look at the rise of female employment as a reduction of men in the workplace. Dual-income families help our children, and ourselves, afford greater opportunities together.
We live in a world propelled in masculinity, where men are afraid to feel feminine — my title alone probably made you stir in your seat from childhood insecurities telling you to “man-up.”
Women cause domestic violence.
Some NCFM members believe that women are responsible for domestic violence because battered women could have chosen not to marry violent men. Women have the ability to leave their husbands, as they have the power in all relationships.
Give me a break, guys. This is ridiculous. Yes, women have the ability to leave their husbands, but so do men. On a larger note, the person, man or woman, that walks out of a relationship with bruises and broken bones is not the assailant, they are the victim — a survivor.
The education of boys is in crisis.
The argument is that boys receive less educational achievement and motivation in comparison to girls. Advocates blame the influence of feminism on education for discrimination against and systematic oppression of boys in the education system.
False. This is a 1970s argument for an older brother who lost the science fair because of his sister’s volcano project.
Boys and girls are in the same classes with the same opportunities under the law. Title IX has banned sex discrimination in schools since 1972. Yes, there are a few infractions. But whether it comes to sports or studying science or math, men and women have an equal footing in today’s school systems.
Female genital mutilation trumps male circumcision.
Because it does.
Here is a quick lesson in circumcision: Female circumcision was a phrase used early by anthropologists to describe the act as a right of passage, similar to male circumcisions.
The procedure is physically different. Infibulation/pharaonic surgeries are more drastic — removing nearly all of the female genitalia, including clitoris and labia. Afterwards the wound is sewed up to leave a pencil-sized hole for bodily functions. Women that were circumcised were considered to be pure, and in an excruciating amount of pain.
As medical groups and women’s health groups got involved in the ceremonial procedure, the surgery evolved into a clitoridectemy, or the removal of the clitoris.
Other less-dramatic procedures from a simple nicking of the flesh to more severe lacerations ensued for cultural initiations of coming-of-age practices, but females are continued to be controlled sexually to demonstrate virginity.
Folks, gents and ladies, play nice with each other. Many of today’s issues need a gender comradery in order to overcome more pressing matters. Has anyone noticed the rising tides due to climate change or rising poverty margins?