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


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


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?