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All girls have the right

Over on Google Plus today I saw this image relating to some kind of #GirlSummit in the ‘What’s Hot’ section:

live free

Here we go again, I thought.

Now, remember – I’m an egalitarian, a believer in equality. And I get all riled up when I see unequal commentary being presented as if it’s all that matters. So I wrote the following on the G+ post, which I decided I’d put into a blog post as well.

Stop presenting this rubbish as if it’s only girls or women who are subject to this. It should read:

“All PEOPLE have the right to live free from violence and coercion, without being forced into marriage or the lifelong physical and psychological effects of genital mutilation.”

More men are affected by genital mutilation than women, it’s called ‘male circumcision’. 30% of men around the world are affected by circumcision, with 70% of them within the Muslim community.

‘Female genital mutilation’ was once known as female circumcision, just like male circumcision is still known as that today.

Female genital mutilation affects about 125 million women in Africa and the Middle East. By my counts, that’s less than 2% of the global population. Think about that when understanding ‘male genital mutilation’ affects 1.05 BILLION MEN (30% of the male population of this world).

My point is not to diminish any hardship women experience resulting from genital mutilation, but to show that almost 10 times more men experience the same thing.

And then we get onto the subject of living free from violence. Wouldn’t that be nice. It would also be nice for men to be free from violence, especially since men make up the significant majority of victims of violence in the world. But let’s not talk about that, shall we? Only female victims of violence are worth talking about, right?

And then we get onto the subject of forced marriage. I agree that in many developing countries of the world, arranged marriages (commonly called ‘forced marriages’ by privileged white women outside those countries) still occur. It’s because they don’t have the same free and open society that we do in the western world. If you want to stop forced marriages, you need to change the entire social and legal structure of the country in question, so that women have the same rights and opportunities as the men. It’s not just marriages that have to be ‘outlawed’, because those arranged marriages exist to benefit the women within such societies, as much as they benefit men.

But here’s something else for you to consider. Our own social structure within western society could be seen as ‘forced marriages’ because of the social pressures facing both women and men to get married. At least they believe they have choices, but they’re still ‘forced’ to get married in order to be more accepted amongst family and peers.

PEOPLE are affected by injustices, not just women.

What are your own thoughts on this?

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