40 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 71 (2005)
Intersex Surgery, Female Genital Cutting, and the Selective Condemnation of Cultural Practices

handle is hein.journals/hcrcl40 and id is 77 raw text is: Intersex Surgery, Female Genital Cutting, and
the Selective Condemnation of
Cultural Practices
Nancy Ehrenreich*
with Mark Barr**
Western feminism has represented African genital cutting as
primitive, irrational, harmful, and deserving of condemnation. The
Western medical community has represented its genital cutting
as modern, scientific, healing, and above reproach. When will
Western feminists realize that their failure to examine either of
these claims others African women and allows the violent medi-
cal oppression of intersex people to continue unimpeded?'
Professor of Law, University of Denver College of Law. I would like to thank the fol-
lowing individuals for their comments on previous drafts of this Article: Cheryl Chase,
Emi Koyama, G. Kristian Miccio, Laura Rovner, Natsu Saito, Ann Scales, Rickie Solinger,
Shelley Tremain, and Leti Volpp. I received helpful feedback as well from the audience
and fellow panelists at each of several events where parts of this analysis were presented:
Edward W. Clyde Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture, University of Utah College of
Law, Sept. 2003; 2003-04 University of Denver College of Law Work in Progress Series;
2004 Law, Culture and Humanities Conference; 2004 LatCrit IX Conference. Thanks are
also due to the staff of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and in par-
ticular Rebecca Ingber, Allison Elgart, and Anne Fleming for valuable editing suggestions.
For able research assistance, I thank librarian Diane Burkhardt and the following research
assistants: Elizabeth Getches, Katherine Lovelace, Holly Panetta, Stacy Porto, Elizabeth
Titus, Alyssa Yatsko, and Kari Zabel. This research was funded by a grant from the Univer-
sity of Denver College of Law. A directed research project by Keith Anderson, J.D., Uni-
versity of Denver, 2001, and conversations with him about the topic first piqued my inter-
est in intersex issues. Finally, I owe a special debt to Mark Barr, who researched and wrote
Part III.A and parts of Part IV, and whose sharp and subtle mind contributed in numerous
ways to the information and analysis presented here.
This Article may be reproduced and distributed, in whole or in part, by nonprofit insti-
tutions for educational purposes including distribution to students, provided that the copies
are distributed at or below cost and identify the author, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil
Liberties Law Review, the volume, the number of the first page, and the year of the Arti-
cle's publication.
J.D., University of Denver College of Law, 2004.
I Cheryl Chase, Cultural Practice or Reconstructive Surgery? U.S. Genital Cut-
ting, the Intersex Movement, and Medical Double Standards, in GENITAL CUTTING &
TRANSNATIONAL SISTERHOOD 126, 145-46 (Stanlie M. James & Claire C. Robertson eds.,
2002). Chase's insightful article inspired much of the analysis presented here.

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