Female Circumcision: Rite of Passage or Violation of Human Rights?.
The culturally mandated practice of cutting a girl's genitals is no longer a legal practice in Kenya, but is still permissible elsewhere. In Africa, female circumcision has been an integral part of society for centuries. It has not only stood generally as one element of a rite of passage preparing young girls for womanhood but also for marriage. Female circumcision has stood as part of their cultural and ethnic identity; and some perceive it as a religious obligation. In response to the new law imposed in Kenya, a local, and chief imposer of the practice Mrs. Kemunto states, "We"re losing our culture". She is right. Placing laws on a practice that clearly causes minimal to no long-term harm is a violation of cultural rights. However, the country's attempt to westernize must be respected assuming that the law was made as a conscious effort to tend to its peoples wishes.
The impact of westernization on a culture and the impact of culture on westernization merit discussion. The homogenizing influences of westernization (or globalization) that are most often condemned are actually positive; globalization promotes integration and the removal not only of cultural barriers, but also of many of the negative dimensions of that culture. Globalization is also a vital step toward both a more stable world and better lives for the people within. However, in order to ensure the compliance of the culture being imposed upon, there must be a general consensus that one is ready for change. When women rights activists flock to Africa with a mission to successfully convince African women of the harm and violation behind the procedure and falsify common cultural myths such that "uncut clitorises would grow branches" and prevent pregnancy, then and only then is the call for change rational. One must recognize that without support it is impossible to carry on a !.