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Female Genital Surgery, Terminology and Critiques of

It is estimated that at least 2 to 3 million girls and women worldwide undergo some form of female genital surgery on an annual basis, although the exact number is difficult to determine due to underreporting. Female genital surgeries may be performed for a variety of cultural, religious, social, aesthetic, and cosmetic reasons. Surgeries typically involve the cutting, scarring, piercing, burning, or removal of external female genitalia, although the specific type and extent of procedures vary significantly. In recent years, increased attention by scholars, activists, healthcare providers, and politicians has generated much debate about female genital surgeries. One of the key aspects of this debate has been the terminology that is used to describe such procedures-including “female genital mutilation,” “female circumcision,” “female genital ...

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