Morality: Gender and Violence

I want to add a thought to last night’s post on whether or not male genital mutilation is morally equivalent to female genital mutilation. (It is.)

Is domestic violence perpetrated by a woman against a man morally equivalent to domestic violence perpetrated by a man against a woman?

The latter occurs far more frequently. Men are generally stronger than women. These do not matter in judging the immorality of the violence because the attack violates the individual. The outcome informs the decision on punishment, but it does not change the original fact that a crime occurred.

What’s the difference with male genital mutilation, if not gender and tradition? Neither are effective counter-arguments against facts and individual – human, not just female – rights. Each person owns his or her body from birth. We must permit proxy consent to maximize liberty. Liberty isn’t much good if the child dies. But the possibility of future medical problems is not the existence of a medical problem warranting the exercise of proxy consent to surgical intervention.

Any claim that current and future religious/cultural problems may result from normal human genitalia fails the test for permitting the exercise of proxy consent to surgical intervention. Fails it miserably.

One thought on “Morality: Gender and Violence”

  1. Hi Tony
    Thanks for being a voice of sanity on this subject. The piece on male circumcision (like the piece to which it referred) was a truly awful example of the denialism of intelligent people when confronted with the moral and medical issues around male circ. And this post was on a website dedicated to fighting pseudo science and flimsy thought….
    I find it actually frightening that so many intelligent young North Americans are so dedicated to promoting forced genital cutting. The precendent this sets is monstrous – if males don’t have a right to integrity we might as well rip up the whole declaration of human rights. Without the right to own the body you inhabit all other human rights become meaningless …

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