I wrote last week about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ support for Female Genital Mutilation-lite – a “ritual nick.” In return, I received a remarkable number of letters asserting I’d invented the whole thing. Not so. You can find chapter and verse and here.
One reason why readers think we right-wing madmen are just making this stuff up is because of the shameful silence (and worse) of western feminists, who implicitly accept a two-tier sisterhood, in which some women get to lead the lives they choose while others, in the interests of “cultural sensitivity,” get a literally rawer deal that begins with FGM and, if they’re really unlucky, ends with “honor killing.”
So I’m happy to salute the great Tina Brown, a fully paid-up Clinto-Blairite but not one prepared to descend into barbarism. Over at her Daily Beast, Ms. Brown has published a tough and unsparing column by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on what the AAP’s “nick” really means – and where it leads. I have one tiny quibble with the e-mail alert Tina sent out:
Do read the extraordinary piece by Ayaan Hirsi Ali this morning on The Daily Beast on the outrageous proposal from the American Academy of Pediatrics to “nick” little girls, a slippery slope to tolerating genital cutting in the U.S. — Tina Brown
“Genital cutting” is itself a euphemism. In its 1998 policy position, the AAP used the phrase “female genital mutilation.” A decade on, they prefer to call it “female genital cutting” – “mutilation” being regarded by cultural accommodationists as too judgmental. At the rate this slippery slope is greased, you can guess where we’ll be in another decade.