As a brief intro, I will include the abstract from my research here. I will be posting my introductory section within the next two weeks, followed, hopefully, by a section per week.
Abstract: To cut, or not to cut? That is the question. The arguments for circumcision, both male and female, while often coming from religious or ethical groups, state medical benefits that arise from removing the foreskin, clitoris, or labia. For many years, however, arguments have been made against circumcision denying those same benefits. Opponents of male circumcision often cite its barbaric nature and argue that the medical benefits are largely overstated. A common argument is that while the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated in 2012 that a decline in male circumcision could result in higher rates of urinary tract infections, HIV, and HPV in men, the AAP neglects to account for the lower overall rates of such issues in European and Asian countries with larger populations of uncircumcised men. Regardless of such arguments, the cultural and religious views of many individuals in the United States and many third world countries, particularly those with significant Abrahamic religious influence, continue to result in traditional infant male circumcisions. At the same time, in the United States, female circumcision and clitoridectomy are rare and may be considered by many to be heinous acts. This begs the question, then: what is the difference between male and female genital mutilation and why is one considered to be more cultural acceptable than the other? Additionally, what are the cultural beliefs that allow one group to not only largely accept genital mutilation but encourage it? The controversy surrounds the notion that genital circumcision, both male and female, particularly when concerning children and infants, is a human rights issue. This notion, however, is deeply divided along gender lines, along with economic, social, and religious lines.