Nicking The Rose Bud

Okay, I am pushing it this time. This post, I am pretty sure, will incur the wrath of so many people. But, as a true Arian, I will  do this post head on and wait for those words to come this way with an open umbrella 😉

Female circumcision is simply put by the quick-lookup Wikipedia as Female genital cutting (FGC), female genital mutilation (FGM), or female circumcision (FC), is the excision or tissue removal of any part of the female genitalia for cultural, religious or other non-medical reasons.

It has been said that this procedure should be done so as to reduce the “evilness” in a woman and to disallow herself to experience sexual pleasure or to reduce lust. 

In my post today, I would like to address this issue from the Malay cultural and religious reasons in Malaysia (putting up my shield now) following a heated discussion with a friend, JS, recently.

Female circumcision in whatever forms it comes by, is by no means originated from Islamic tradition. The act itself had never been mentioned directly, indirecly or mandated in the Holy Quran or any Hadith. However, having established this fact, one Hadith did infact appears to accept it

In Malaysia, it is a misnomer to label female circumcision as FGC or FGM in its truest context as there are no evidence of any injury of physical deformation on the organ itself. Unlike what has been practised in other countries such as Middle Eastern nations and in particular North East Africa, the act of female circumcision here are done based on ritual such as performing a “cutting ceremony” by nicking the tip of clitoris and drawing some blood to symbolise the actual “cutting” act itself. There was no history that I read so far that may described it being done otherwise. It is said the best time to perform this ritual is when the baby is between 44 days old and before she reaches puberty which is about 11 years old.

Cultural Point Of View

It is very important to reflect the FC prevailent in Malay society from its cultural point of view. 

Many Malays have long viewed that the female circumcision as a desirable and an acceptable form of practice from cultural and as well as religious point of view (although now we know that it is not required in the religion). The cultural aspect comes in a form of “acceptance” as being part of being a Malay itself and is seen as a rite of passage.

This non-genital mutilation circumcision are usually observed by the Malays in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. I have yet chanced any other reading materials from any other Asian countries such as from Philipines or even Thailand on this topic so if any of you readers have anywhere to point me to these sources, do let me know.


14 Replies to “Nicking The Rose Bud”

  1. Jen: I am still doing plenty of readings and cross references on circumcisions both for boys and girls. Ive also looked up your site. Havent done all the posts yet. I believe the decision made for circumcisions in every part of the world is based on a few factors – tradition/culture, religion, health and aesthetic reason.

  2. Hanie,

    I agree, those are the reasons for both male and female circumcision but in most cases the potential health benefits are myth; there are potential health benefits to removing virtually any healthy part of the human body. For instance, if I removed both of my child’s pinky fingers at birth I’d reduce their risk of hangnails by 20%, right? And hangnails can result in serious complications like staph infection, and it’s possible to die from staph if it gets into your bloodstream.

    Amputating fingers from my child at birth because I perceive it as healthier or because of a personal aesthetic preference wouldn’t justify the surgery or make it any more ethical. Children are people too. They are deserving of basic, human rights.

    In my view, any genital cutting for non-therapeutic (medically indicated) reasons is mutilation, regardless of gender or severity.

    Male & female children deserve to be protected equally.

    I understand you’re saying that merely nicking the clitoris (and not removing any parts) is less traumatic and damaging than some of the more severe forms of FGM, but I think it all fits under the same umbrella and violates the rights of the child. Children aren’t possessions, they’re people; ritual blood sacrifices should be consensual.

    Peace & Happy Holidays,


  3. Hi Jen, arguement heard, although I think it would be a long uphill battle for all concerns. Coming from this part of the world, I do understand the intricacies of weaving modern facts and what is wanted in religion, tradition and rituals.

    I personally would go on the side of the fence where the general Malay tradition goes (ritual with least or no contact at all) as it is part of the culture, and acceptable. I do not condone FGM though, as “this” is definitely going against basic human rights.

  4. Thank you for this thread. I have been doing some research on circumcision as a means of looking at the power of indoctrination. It is mind boggling to me, to see what lengths a human being will go to in the process of maintaining their place in their group. I have seen videos of female circumcisions in Malaysia and they did indeed remove a part of the genitals. It was a very small part, but a baby’s genitals at that age are very small. If you think about the difference in size and take that same percentage of tissue off of an adult female it would be much larger, of course. I have also heard many people from Malaysia say it is “just a little prick” and that the baby “doesn’t feel a thing” and such. And I have also heard women say they still experience pleasure. Well, there has to be nerve damage to some extent. And being there is nerve damage, a circumcised woman would never know if she was experiencing full pleasure or not if she hadn’t possessed that piece of tissue since infancy. It is similar to the woman who thinks she’s having wonderful orgasms until she and her partner learn to work the clitoris and she has a real, full blown, clitoral/vaginal orgasm. Then she suddenly realizes what she’s been missing. Had she never had the full tissue she was born with she would never reach that “aha!” moment.

    Still, the amazing part is that we accept things like this. Culture and belief is a fascinating thing. Human beings are definitely herd animals! LOL

  5. Caroline: thanks for dropping by! Yes, I agree that people could actually go the distance to earn their place in a group and it takes a lot of understanding without being judgemental on this process.

    I posted this piece as a means for some sort of information after a talk with a friend, who ironically, is a Jewish! We were so at odds with each other about this particular issue that I felt I had to post it here!

    Are you doing some sort of reseach for your work or studies?

  6. Hanie,

    I recently discovered this gruesome act on young girls. As a mother, I had my son circumcised at two days old. If I had it to do again I would have it done. I don’t believe that having the foreskin cut off of my son’s penis is going to cause him any physical or emotional distress now or as an adult. It is disturbing to me that women have allowed this and perfomed these mutilations on their daughters. I don’t understand how mothers could think it is in their best interest when the potential outcome is death. Now I am still researching these acts trying to uncover more information about it. The woman I met who had been infibulated was so emotionally distraught, she claimed that she would never marry a man.

  7. Steph: in my somewhat limited discussion with my male friends about them retaining or losing their foreskin either by choice or from birth, this is what I can deduce – that not having the foreskin is more of a choice when it comes to health reasons. They recited that its easier to take care of their yahoo and “feels” cleaner. As for the female form of genital mutilation, now, thats an entirely different story. This is definitely another way of female oppression and does not relate at all to any health reason.

  8. Western doctors had been doing clitoral surgeries for decades and it’s getting more popular dan ever now.

    The surgery is called ‘hoodectomy’ or ‘clitoral unhooding’

    (if u want to know more, just google it. U can even find before-after pic)

    Technically speaking, it’s very similar to male circumcision. It’s removing the extra skin covering the glans clitoris called the clitoral hood or prepuce.

    The purpose is to expose the glans clitoris so it’s more easily stimulated for sexual pleasure and it’s also cleaner.

    I think this is how female circumcision should be done, as a mean of enhancement instead of destruction

  9. Yunita

    Thank you for dropping by! I looked around on the net about this hoodectomy and seems that its getting popular too. One article refers to that some of the gyne are refusing to perform this procedure due to beliefs or based on societal ground. Do you know anyone who has had this procedure?

  10. My wife had it done. It did enhance her sexual pleasure. Stimulating her clit is much easier as well. It costs me a pretty penny too, for such a simple surgery.

    Yes, there are some doctors who refuse to do such operation. The reason is they can’t afford the risk of losing their lincense, due to the misunderstanding between hoodectomy procedure and FGC.

    Remember a few years back? A guy who did clitoral piercing and other genital modification in LA was caught by the police. The FBI trapped him by sending a’ fake’ Egyptian couple and asked him to perform circumcision on their 8 year old daughter.

    The doctor who did my wife’s operation had her signed an agreement that stated that the operation was done at her own request and risk and would release the doctor of any liablilities as a result of the operation.

  11. Thanks for your observations, Terry.

    Here’s another research paper that suggests female circumcision increases sexual pleasure in women. A recent study Orgasmic Dysfunction Among Women at a Primary Care Setting in Malaysia. Hatta Sidi, and Marhani Midin, and Sharifah Ezat Wan Puteh, and Norni Abdullah, (2008) Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 20 (4) accessible shows that being Non-Malay is a higher risk factor for Orgasmic Sexual Dysfunction in women, implying that Malay women experience less problems in achieving orgasm than non-Malay women. As you know almost all Malay women in Malaysia are circumcised (undergo hoodectomy) in contrast to non-Malay women who are not. This would suggest that hoodectomy does in fact contribute to a better sex life in women.

  12. Here’s another interesting news item that may support the need for a hoodectomy (Islamic female circumcision):

    Oral sex linked to cancer risk

    US scientists said Sunday there is strong evidence linking oral sex to cancer, and urged more study of how human papillomaviruses may be to blame for a rise in oral cancer among white men.

    In the United States, oral cancer due to HPV infection is now more common than oral cancer from tobacco use, which remains the leading cause of such cancers in the rest of the world.

    Researchers have found a 225-percent increase in oral cancer cases in the United States from 1974 to 2007, mainly among white men, said Maura Gillison of Ohio State University. “The rise in oral cancer in the US is predominantly among young white males and we do not know the answer as to why.”

    It is obvious that the only way men can acquire the HPV virus is through the oral stimulation of one’s partner’s clitoris which allows the virus to enter the mouth. The virus no doubt is harboured in the prepuce of the clitoris just as it has been found that HPV also resides in the foreskins of males, through the transmission of which cervical cancer occurs in females. Thus a hoodectomy could, by removing the area which habours the virus, significantly reduce or eliminate the risk of women transmitting the virus to their male partners.

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