Circumcision Case Study

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Case Study: “A Question of Compromise” This is a case study regarding a family in Senegal that follows the Muslim culture. However, unlike most Muslims, they practice the form of female circumcision. The tradition is to have all girls coming of age to be circumcised; otherwise they would be shunned and would never be able to get a husband. The family’s tradition believes that if a girl does not have this procedure done, they will be considered deformed and their clitoris will hang down to their knees. Awa is concerned because she and her husband, Joseph, have two daughters who are coming of age and her mother-in-law is demanding to know why they have not made the arrangements for the girls’ circumcision. Awa’s dilemma is whether or…show more content…
Awa’s father took her to a doctor, where anesthesia was used so there was no pain and only the small skin over the clitoris was removed. She is living a normal life, with sexual desires and able to give birth to children. Unfortunately, her husband is being pressured at work and being threatened to lose his job if the procedures are not being done their girls. Joseph feels that if they talk to people they know to discuss the process of the smaller procedure and they all agree to this procedure with their own daughters, this would be considered acceptable. He would be able to keep his job, his mother would not harass Awa and they would be able to say that their girls have been circumcised. An Islamic…show more content…
Mary Gendler believes that the case study illustrates numerous dialectics and tensions that come from most societies and religions. She had put them in five categories, individual rights vs. group norms, innovation/change vs. tradition, individual conscience vs. submission to religious authority, science vs. superstition and finally, normative tradition vs. local customs (p. 34-5). Gendler mentions that Awa believes the custom is based on superstitions, by the story being told that “the genital will grow long and deformed; that she will have parts of a man; that she will not be able to bear sons; and that girl babies die from touching their male parts at birth” (p. 35). However, Joseph’s mother is following custom and local authority. She also feels that the girls do not need to know the position of the circumciser. And then, Joseph wants to compromise by getting the interest of others in their community to follow the partial circumcision
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