In the advent of a wide range of different surgeries, the circumcision firmly holds the leading positions among them and remains one of the most common procedures in the world. Male circumcision has a long history: the procedure first occurred thousands of years ago and is still performed in many countries (Cox & Morris, 2012). Despite its wide popularity, this surgery seems to be one of the most controversial. It is usually associated with ethical (circumcision of children without their consent) and human (deprivation of rights based on religious and personal aspects) problems, making people ask themselves whether circumcision should be treated as a medical right or a human rights issue.
Circumcision is often discussed from the point of human issues. It is not prohibited in the majority of countries. However, in 2012 it has been proclaimed illegal in Germany, uniting Jews and Muslims in their disbelief and anger (Evans, 2012). Since such bans usually refer to the newborn circumcision, parents find themselves unable to allow doctors to circumcise their children. In other words, people are deprived of their religious or personal rights, which is likely to be a human issue.
At the same time, the circumcision is widely discussed in terms of ethical problem. While the adult circumcision is not such a controversial procedure, the newborn circumcision seems to be the one. Activists claim that newly-born children should not be the subjects of the operation for non-therapeutic reasons because they are not able to decide for themselves. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that “elective circumcision should be performed only if the infant’s condition is stable and healthy,” and parents should be completely aware of the possible benefits and risks of the procedure (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012, p. 757). This is an example of the ethical issue of the circumcision procedure.
The main question arising in the course of the continuous discussions is whether circumcision is a medical right or a human rights issue. As for the medical side of the problem, one should know that AAP has recently published a Circumcision Policy Statement, where it stated that “preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012, p. 585). To the benefits list experts usually include prevention of diseases: urinary infections, sexually transmitted infections, penile cancer and so on. This evidence seems to be enough to refer the circumcision to a medical right issue.
Nevertheless, the procedure can also be referred to as a human rights issue. The statistics results show that “complications are infrequent; most are minor, and severe complications are rare” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012, p. 585). However, this very statement also indicates that complications are possible. Consequently, by depriving children of the possibility to decide whether they want this operation, parents deprive their children of their human rights. This fact proves that circumcision is also a human rights issue.
As for me, I believe that such a debatable issue as the circumcision cannot and should not be referred to as a medical right or human rights issue solely. It is the point where one should find the balance and take into account many factors at the same time: medical indications, religious and personal aspects, and so on.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012). Circumcision policy statement. Pediatrics, 130(3), 585-586.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012). Male circumcision. Pediatrics, 130(3), 756-785.
Cox, G., & Morris, B. J. (2012). Why circumcision: from prehistory to the twenty-first century. Surgical Guide To Circumcision, 243-259.
Evans, S. (2012) German circumcision ban: Is it a parent’s right to choose? Web.
Gender Conflict In “Sweat” By Zora Neale Hurston
It is worth noting that the work of Zora Neale Hurston called “Sweat” brought up a gender conflict as the main subject for discussion. In particular, this short story reveals aggression and sexist oppression against black women by black men. In this story, the husband attempts to kill his wife by placing a rattlesnake in a basket full of dirty laundry (Hurston 6). As a result, the snake creeps onto the bed and bites the man who prays to his wife for help, but the heroine decided not to do anything.
The details that were most interesting to me center around the fact that the author provided an open discussion of the oppression of African-American women by men. Given the time this story was written; it can be assumed that such an image of women was not approved. In particular, it is possible to state that the publishers did not want to see stories on the pages of their publications depicting the depressing, albeit truthful, realities of the life of black women. The main heroine, after years of oppression, decides that she has had enough. The author writes that “she could hear Sykes calling in a most despairing tone as one who expected no answer” (Hurston 9). It becomes clear that the life-changing decision not to help her husband was a difficult one, but the woman had to make it. After reading this story and additional literature on the topic, I realized that I need to learn more about this time through the writings of African American writers. I suppose that they have had great cultural significance as literary answers to the problems of race and gender, filtered through their artistic consciousness.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Sweat. 1926. Web.
Social Problems Assignment: Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency or illegal behaviors committed by underage children is a significant social problem in the United States and worldwide. To design the most effective way to reduce crime among those younger than eighteen, it is essential to study the problem’s origins and the key factors contributing to it. One way to better understand the issue is to analyze it by using the functionalist perspective on society.
Juvenile Delinquency in Its Social Context
In the United States, the selected problem is correlated with child-parent relationships and the quality of life. It is positively associated with living in high-risk and low-income neighborhoods, which involves limited educational and employment opportunities (Bendezú, Pinderhughes, Hurley, McMahon, & Racz, 2016; Sullivan, 2015). Other factors correlated with juvenile delinquency include exposure to child abuse, insufficient parental control, the absence of trust-based relationships between children and parents, and so on (Bendezú et al., 2016).
Juvenile Delinquency and the Influence of Society
From my perspective, juvenile delinquency can be regarded as the result of society’s ineffective attempts to support children and prevent them from growing up in an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty, and hostility. For example, bullying and poor student engagement are among the common issues that children and adolescents face at school, and society has not managed to deal with the resulting aggression yet. The absence of well-paid jobs often encourages parents to work long hours, thus reducing their ability to control their children’s free-time activities.
Sociological problems can be analyzed and viewed through the prism of three theoretical perspectives that present different ways of looking at society. In this paper, the selected social problem is analyzed with reference to the functionalist perspective. The selected problem can be explained using this perspective since it is not something that has to deal only with individual-level factors. Importantly, it is clear that the incidence of juvenile delinquency is predicted by factors pertaining to different institutions, such as family and school, and the combinations of different risk factors only increase the risks of engaging in delinquent behaviors. The functionalist perspective allows looking at society as an entire system, which makes it specifically important and relevant to the problem being discussed.
Functionalism and Juvenile Delinquency
The problem of delinquent behaviors is based on some children’s inability to follow the universally accepted social and moral standards, and it has to deal with poor links between social institutions. For instance, as an institution, the economy is needed to distribute resources in a way that would be just. The existence of low-income neighborhoods, however, displays the failure to do so (Bendezú et al., 2016). Despite having limited access to resources, children from financially disadvantaged families are still influenced by the commonly used notions of success in life, such as financial prosperity. To achieve it without violating any social norms, they may need high-quality education that would make them competitive and proper moral guidance from families. However, educational opportunities in poor neighborhoods are not the best, whereas family problems, including both violence and poor parental control, are common (Bendezú et al., 2016). All these functional problems make the violations of norms for one’s benefit more attractive and acceptable, thus perpetuating the problem.
To sum up, juvenile delinquency presents a serious social problem that can be analyzed using the functionalist perspective. According to this framework, society presents a system of institutions with different functions that should work together to create harmony and are closely interconnected. The issue of crime and other unacceptable behaviors among underage people emerges as the result of the main social institutions’ failure to fulfill their intended functions, thus making non-conformity more attractive.
Bendezú, J. J., Pinderhughes, E. E., Hurley, S. M., McMahon, R. J., & Racz, S. J. (2016). Longitudinal relations among parental monitoring strategies, knowledge, and adolescent delinquency in a racially diverse at-risk sample. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 1–14.
Sullivan, T. J. (2015). Introduction to social problems (10th ed). New York, NY: Pearson.