Functionalism can best be used to describe Female Genital Mutilation due to the role each group plays in their society. Functionalism is “a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as composed of various parts, each with a function that, when fulfilled, contributes to society’s equilibrium” (Henslin 366). This practice works in a pattern or function that generally begins with the elder women within the culture. Within the cultures that practice FGM, there are different groups of people that contribute.
First off, FGM is highly encouraged by the grandmothers and mothers of the daughters being mutilated. They are usually the head to the beast since they want to keep there daughters/nieces/etc. pure until marriage. The decision to undergo the FGM process does not come from the girl herself but from their guardian or women in charge. This works alongside the family and in some cases tribes; this highly unsanitary, illegal, and unorthodox act is generally accepted and encouraged within the community.
This function of the whole is also an important one; since it is acceptable in a lot of the tribes that puts a hinder on the effort to stop it. Lastly any officials in these societies are also a contributor because they aren’t doing anything to stop it from happening. All of these groups are different but work together to make this practice widely accepted and common. To label the Americans views on FGM as ethnocentrism isn’t completely accurate, but the intervention to discourage this practice would be considered ethnocentric.
FGM can be viewed as a horrific practice in our eyes, while other cultures like theirs consider it to be normal. A similarity can be made with us in the U. S. also as birth control can be seen as just as wrong in their eyes. While we believe it is ok to stop the female body from producing life forms by implementing various types of methods, they just try to prevent the whole baby making process from happening in the first place; in this case using a very graphic and unethical.
Everyone’s perspectives are shaped depending on the society we are born into. If society exposes us to only one set of moral values in life, the morals of another society will seem abnormal. If other countries were to come into the U. S. and tell us the practices used here are the wrong ones, that wouldn’t sit well with lots of citizens. So the same reaction can be expected from them. The most professional way to handle any interaction from the U. S. is to practice cultural relativism within both our cultures. The U.
S. could take a step back and realize that this is part of their culture and has been around for many centuries. They could suggest better options but not put the pressure on the cultures that carry it out to change their ways. If it were to happen on the U. S. homeland then they would be able to carry out any discipline necessary since we have laws here but if not then the U. S. would need to put on the cultures shoes and see it how they see it. In order for a society to function efficiently, its members must concur.
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