Male circumcision has escaped legal scrutiny in Anglo-American law simply because the child lacks an effective champion. American law is awaiting a chance to defend male children from unnecessary genital cutting — as it has already protected females. All varieties of nontherapeutic, unnecessary, religious, ritual or cosmetic genital cutting imposed on children, regardless of motive, are legally indistinguishable. Each poses inarguable physical injury and psychological harm for the child.
Sudanese couples tend to bond quite strongly, by and large, in spite of the trauma the woman undergoes. Most women give the appearance of being very proud of their husbands. They often express great satisfaction with their marriages and their lives. Nonetheless, when they are asked whether they would have preferred to have been men, rather than women, they say without any exception that if only Allah had willed it, they would very much have preferred to have been created men.
I pointed out that there was not nearly the same animated attention given to male circumcision. I made the (I thought) unremarkable point that male genital mutilation (MGM) should be opposed as vigorously as FGM. However, my attempt to place male and female genital mutilation on the same footing was not enthusiastically received. I found this puzzling. Male circumcision invariably occurs without the consent of the infant upon whom it is imposed. I asked why our justified moral outrage at FGM was not replicated when boys had part of their genitals forcibly removed for religious reasons. I found none of the answers remotely satisfactory. Why MGM and FGM are not considered equally reprehensible defies compassionate reason.