Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the name commonly used for an ensemble of ritual practices affecting the sexual organs of girls ranging in ages from a few weeks old to puberty. FGM is practiced in twenty-eight countries of sub-Saharan Africa: its incidence varies widely, from 98 percent of women in Somalia and Egypt, to 50 percent in Benin and Kenya, and 5 percent in Congo and Uganda, according to the Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project. Though commonly used, the label FGM is nevertheless disputed because it implies a negative evaluation of the practice. From the point of view of some people who use these practices, they do not consist of mutilation. For many, this label is an expression of Western prejudice and its lack of respect for and paternalism toward other cultures. Among African populations, the most common term is female circumcision; in the international literature, the female ...