Moral Issues in Multiculturalism
A critical issue for proponents of multiculturalism is the practice of female genital mutilation that is claimed as a cultural tradition in some parts of the world. These practices are brought by immigrants to Western countries, causing the dominant cultures do find solutions to these new moral challenges, as reported in The New York Times by Liriel Higa (May 22, 2015).
Minority Culture Justifications
The purported reason for female genital mutilation is that it inhibits the sexual sensations of the woman and thus making her a better companion for her husband. Men might not be willing to marry an “uncut” woman, fearing her sexuality, reducing her chances of marriage within the society. In such groups, “cut” women are seen as more chaste and pure. They follow the tradition and as such are accepted wholly into society as women who are wives and mothers. And, as Susan Okin (1999) adds, women in these cultures do not have a viable economic options outside of marriage.
Majority Culture Objections
There are several arguments against the procedure. To begin with, the procedure is medically unnecessary, with no health benefits and several possible negative side effects. This procedure puts the women in unnecessary risk. It is thus only a cultural matter, and as such, the purpose is to keep women under the control of men by physically taking away their natural sexuality. The women no longer have control of their own bodies and are taken as objects for a man, as a wife, as a bearer of his children.
These practices are often described even by it's proponents as a means of controlling the women and their sexuality. Women are not here in any way equal with men, rather they are subservient to a man, which goes, extremely in this case, against the principles of an equal and free society.
Let us look at a central argument for the practice, namely that women who have been “cut” are more accepted socially. Indeed, women might take the practice as not just acceptable but desirable if it would enhance their social standing, and this would even be beyond being a desirable wife, but their status might rise in the group as a whole. This aspect would be less problematic if we were discussing an isolated group on its own. But as we are discussing this practice within contact with a majority group, the argument for social acceptance becomes more problematic. It might be acceptable, even desirable, in the smaller group, but not so outside in the majority group. The social benefits of this status are confined and, I would argue, might turn to obstacles in the majority culture. While “cut” women are more desirable in the smaller group, this can't be said to be the case in the majority group, at least there is no preference of one over the other. Thus the argument of social acceptance loses much of its force for minority groups in Western societies.
Individual choice in the matter, either to conform to the …