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Panel - Genital Cutting is Normal, Festival of Dangerous Ideas (Ideas at the House)

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Published on Jun 25, 2013

Body modification is nothing new and people throughout history have used piercing, cutting and scarring to demonstrate identity. but as cultural practices shift over time, one person's 'normal' can become another person's 'mutilation'. Male circumcision is part of Jewish and Muslim religious practice, but has moved in and out of favour with other groups although research indicates that there are strong health reasons in favour.

For women, traditional practices in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East are described by the World Health Organization as Female Genital Mutilation,(FGM) and seen as a 'violation of the rights of girls and women'. Is cosmetic surgery the new normal, or the new FGM? These very different interventions tamper with nature for different reasons. Are health issues the only real justification for cutting? What place for religion, culture and aesthetics?

Speakers - Brian Morris, Germaine Greer, Meredith Jones

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