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AUT Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences
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24 Feb 2020 396 Respondents
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By Amanda Lees
Mega Mind (40766 XP)
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BEING CRUEL TO BE KIND (Links to PPE Week 5)

BEING CRUEL TO BE KIND (Links to PPE Week 5)

Recently we have been thinking about cultural relativism. This is a theory about the nature of morality and holds that different societies have different moral codes. Each culture's code then determines what is 'right' within that society.

If we agree that there is no one standard that can be used to evaluate these codes, then cultural relativism dictates that the code of 'my' culture can not be judged as being 'better' than the code of someone else's culture. This then requires us to accept and be tolerant of all other cultures.

But given that every ethical theory has its limitations, is it possible to argue that we should not be tolerant of everything?

Please use the links provided to explore the very sensitive issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) and then respond to the case proposal. You may also want to undertake some independant study on the topic.

As with some previous Vx activities, this one has been rolled over from previous semesters. Now, at Week 4, it's a good time to learn from others as you cement your theoretical learning about cultural relativism.

Here's a very brief background:

Female circumcision is illegal in many countries, including Australia and NZ, however for cultural reasons it is known that the procedure continues to be carried out. Doctors in the US and also Australia recently proposed a mild form of female genital cutting referred to as a 'ritual nick' for young girls born into migrant families whose culture dictates such circumcision. Their rationale was to prevent 'back-street' procedures taking place or families taking their daughters back to their home lands for more severe procedures, often performed by untrained people. The doctors involved in the proposal say they do not condone female circumcision, or FGM but see their actions as helping to prevent harm.
Read More
www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
www.abc.net.au/news/2010-05-28/doctors-consider-less-severe-female-circumcision/844726
www.economist.com/node/16329452
works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=robert_darby
www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1988434,00.html

It is proposed that Western doctors should be allowed to give 'ritual nicks' to female genitalia for cultural reasons.

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Gender

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