Female genital mutilation in the West: traditional circumcision versus genital cosmetic surgery

Authors

  • Birgitta Essén,

    Corresponding author
    1. From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital MAS, Lund University, Malmö and
      *Birgitta Essén
      Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
      University Hospital MAS
      SE-205 02 Malmoe
      Sweden
      e-mail: birgitta.essen@obst.mas.lu.se
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  • Sara Johnsdotter

    1. Department of Social Anthropology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
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*Birgitta Essén
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University Hospital MAS
SE-205 02 Malmoe
Sweden
e-mail: birgitta.essen@obst.mas.lu.se

Abstract

This article intends to present the Scandinavian legislation on female genital mutilation and explore the implications of the laws. Juxtaposing trends of plastic genital surgery in the West with claims that female circumcision may be a practice generally abandoned in Scandinavia, we highlight the double morality inherent in current public discussions. Finally, we pose the question: Is the legal principle of equality before the law regarded when it comes to alterations of the female genitals?

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