Human Rights Review
One popular strategy of opposition to practices of female genital cutting (FCG) is rooted in the global feminist movement. Arguing that women’s rights are human rights, global feminists contend that practices of FGC are a culturally specific manifestation of gender-based oppression that violates a number of rights. Many African feminists resist a women’s rights approach. They argue that by focusing on gender as the primary axis of oppression affecting the African communities where FGC occurs, a women’s rights approach has misrepresented African women as passive victims who need to be rescued from African men and has obscured the role of certain international institutions that have perpetuated the oppression of African women. In this paper, I defend these critiques by arguing that the use of a women’s rights framework to combat practices of female genital cutting among African communities has often been practically ineffective and morally inappropriate.