The Ethnocentric Law:
Double standards in Western approaches to Female Genital Mutilation and Male Circumcision
by Scarlett Stock
In the UK, female genital mutilation is viewed as unacceptable, and this is enshrined within the law, whereas male circumcision is widely practiced. This article sheds light on the similarities of the practices, how they both infringe upon fundamental human rights (especially for children who cannot consent), whilst focusing on the origins of these opinions. By investigating why these polarised opinions have come into existence, the ethnocentric views of cultural superiority shall be scrutinised in order to point out these blatant double standards. It will also outline how these practices need to be re-framed in the law and society’s mind to allow for a more objective, culturally-sensitive, and human rights-focused approach. Why the double standards between female genital mutilation (FGM) and male circumcision (MC) are present shall be explored, whilst simultaneously analysing whether they should exist.