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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/33918

Title: Male Circumcision: Sharpening the Phallus, Constructing Masculinities, Some Implications for Men & Women
Authors: Sev'er, Aysan
Issue Date: Dec-2012
Publisher: UTSC Printing Services, University of Toronto Scarborough
Citation: Women's Health and Urban Life, Vol 11 (2), pg 64-87.
Abstract: Historically, justifications for male circumcision (MC) has widely varied. Some of the purported justifications for MC include religious obligation, spiritual enlightenment, mastery over sciences, avoidance of masturbation and fornification, cleanliness and avoidance of STDs. In the current paper, I go beyond the discussion of the historical reasons given for MC. Instead, I emphasize the gendered aspects of MC rituals as they contribute to masculinity and hypermasculinity. The theoretical lens I use in my analysis is informed by Bourdieu (1992; 2001), and other feminist thought. I emphasize the rank ordering, male power and supremacy aspects embedded in most ritualized practices of MC, regardless of the historical or the geographical location they may have been practiced at. I also emphasize the near universal practice of women’s symbolical or physical segregation from the rituals. In terms of the hypermasculinization aspects of some MC practices, the differentiating component is the cyclical presence of violence, often before, during and following MC. Violence aspects are discussed in relation to examples from pre- monotheistic as well as some early monotheistic cultural practices. I also provide recent examples from the Xhosa practices, and explore the negative consequences of hypermasculinization aspects of MC rituals for men and for women.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/33918
Appears in Collections:Social Sciences

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