EDEB8 - Ultimate Online Debating
About Us   Debate    Judge   Forum

That women should reject practices that alter the appearance of their genitalia

0 points
0 points
PovskiPovski (PRO)
Explaining the resolution - form and content

It is important, first, to distinguish 2 definitions for the word practice. Taken from the online Cambridge Dictionary:

practice = 1) action rather than thought or ideas
or 2something that is usually or regularly done, often as a habit, tradition, or custom

Based on this distinction, the resolution here is twofold: 
1) that women should reject any intended procedure which has the effect of altering  the appearance of their genitalia; that is, to refuse the act of modifying the looks of their very own genitalia.
2) that women should reject those customs which impose a procedure of the kind that is described in 1)

The meaning of the phrase "women should..." is "it is in the best interest of each woman to...".
The meaning of the verb reject here is intentionally choosing not to allow such practices to occur and striving to fight against any tendency for this to happen.  

The final form of the resolution is then - in other words:

It is in the best interest of each woman to
 not have the aspect of her genitalia altered and to 
fight against those customs which would impose such a predisposition.

Genitalia refers to the external reproductive organs. Methods of altering them can be non-medical, such as tattooing, piercing, elongating/stretching certain parts of the genitalia (not shaving because hair does not count as an organ) or medical, such as circumcision, "sex assigning or reassigning" surgery (which is the artificial modification of genitalia so as to imitate that of one sex), plastic surgery. 


dangers and risks with little or no reward: The procedures themselves are unhealthy. Removing some of the outer organs (as in circumcision) or creating cavities (as in piercing) lead to exposure taking away protection from viruses, bacteria etc causing infections or facilitating the transmission of sex diseases. 
Moreover, each of these external organs play a role in the reproductive system so tampering with any would have bad health consequences on reproductive capabilities. 
importance of having children for the health of a woman: Having children has health benefits for women such as reducing the risk of breast cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide, and can also,  and can also help heal or prevent some other conditions of the reproductive system. (check source here)
importance of good health: The health of a woman is important as it means less suffering and more ability to enjoy life and do her job well - whether that is an actual job or any other action that she attempts in her search for happiness.

In summary, the modification of genitalia for women would unnecessarily increase the risk of diseases around that part of the body, and would also interfere with the ability of bearing children having more bad health consequences on health. 
A woman who tries to live a good life should take care of her whole body, and making decisions which do not bring substantial rewards for her or the people around hear but only risks of bad health would not be in her best interest. In accordance to this, she should refuse to accept practices which alter the appearance of her genitalia.

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-01-23 08:11:53
| Speak Round
E271E271 (CON)

Firstly, I would like to challenge the definition of the PRO side. In this, two definitions were taken from the Cambridge dictionary. However, in the definition of the resolution, information was lost by only extracting the second definition, which does not exhaust what the resolution states.

Noting this, I propose the following definition:

·  It is in the best interest of any women to not alter the physical appearance of their genitalia and to reject all actions which would cause this to occur.

I will now give reasons why this is not true.

Confidence and Opportunity

Many people have medical conditions which already cause their genitalia to appear abnormal, which can cause inconfidence and shame in the person if they believe it is ugly. This can lead to mental problems such as social anxiety and depression, which can significantly hinder a person’s happiness, productivity and even morality. With current medical technology, this can be easily fixed at minimal risk, and significantly boost confidence in people who had abnormalities.

Additionally, there are many cultural barrier and biases towards gender-stereotypes, and transgender alterations can be used as a method to overcome these and more authentically enjoy practices which were culturally regarded as ‘male.’ This can allow inclusion and reduce ridicule, where in many situations the person may not have been treated as seriously or have been rejected due to their gender. This can even apply to jobs and work life. For example, in 2014 the average female wage was only 87% of the average wage (source), and sometimes gender operations can be used in order to solve occupational biases, improving the subjects quality of life.

Medical Importance

Some people also have medical conditions at their genitalia which may decay their physical health, including cancer and infections. Treatment of these may noticeably alter the genitalia appearance, however the result of not performing treatment can be much more severe, and can lead to permanent damage or death. Here, I believe it is clear that the appearance alterations are not the highest priority, and it is ok to accept operations to improve health.


The PRO argument claims genitalia altering practices are unhealthy. However, many of these practices are not unhealthy, and with our current level of medical knowledge exposure or removal of organs can be safely done with many methods such as antibiotics/sterilisers to reliably prevent infection.

Also, not all women should or are able to have children, and having a child has much more significant consequences for the child itself, so it is not reasonable to force women who may be suffering from depression or drug abuse to have children that they cannot properly look after, just due to circumstantial health effects.

Finally, mental health is just as important as physical health, and can just as easily affect the overall happiness of a person. As mentioned above, genitalia alterations may be used to help boost confidence, which can overcome mental health problems in underconfident people.

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-01-23 16:33:16
| Speak Round
PovskiPovski (PRO)

I've intentionally formulated the resolution to include both definitions and arranged it in page by 3 lines (as viewed on a laptop screen at least).

The second line encompasses the first definition of "practice"(action, rather than thought) and the second line covers the second meaning of the noun (habit or custom). Your formulation of the resolution, on the other hand, leaves out the second sense of the noun. So I don't really see what your objection is here. We can work with your alternative as this requires less from me to justify (leaving out the cultural aspect of the debate, namely customs which impose genitalia alteration).


"The PRO argument claims genitalia altering practices are unhealthy. However, many of these practices are not unhealthy, and with our current level of medical knowledge exposure or removal of organs can be safely done with many methods such as antibiotics/sterilisers to reliably prevent infection."

While it is true that the operation of removing parts of the genitalia can be conducted in a clean way by using sterilizers to prevent infection, this does not rebut my argument which was actually that the removal takes away from the protective functions of the genitalia. Take for example circumcision. This involves removing a great part of the labia majora which encloses and protects all other external reproductive organs. Why would having to take special care and medication instead of using the inherent protective qualities of this organ be of best interest for a woman? It is not, but preserving the natural biological structure is because it saves time, effort, money etc.

"Also, not all women should or are able to have children, and having a child has much more significant consequences for the child itself, so it is not reasonable to force women who may be suffering from depression or drug abuse to have children that they cannot properly look after, just due to circumstantial health effects."

First of all, there is no intention of forcing anybody to do anything. My arguments are formulated more like "you should try to do this because it will bring you more good overall". The point i'm trying to get across is that it is best for women to look after their reproductive capabilities, to be mature and cautious about this. And I think you underestimate women's will to have children. Starting a family is desirable because it also brings meaning and stability. I think you agree with me that it is better for a woman to have a mentally healthy, drug-free life and be able to have children at the right time. If, however, being in a state of depression or struggling with drugs means it is not the right time to have children, this does not justify genital modification still because there exists a favorable possibility of overcoming these difficulties and having children later in life.

Confidence and Opportunity

Here I argue that the best way to "boost confidence" is to accept thyself as you are. Also, being loved by a partner even with abnormal genitalia is probably rewarding enough to heal depression or shame.

When talking about gender wage, I assume you point out an element of discrimination when you say that female wage is less than average wage. So the problem here is discrimination, not actual gender itself. There is nothing bad with the female gender. So trying to change the appearance of a woman's genitalia in order to become more "male"-ish means conceding with this erroneous view and is a sign of approval of discrimination.

Medical Importance-refining the resolution

Here I argue that removing cancerous tumors from an organ does not qualify as altering the organ itself, much like my note about shaving (in the first round when I explained the resolution). Its changes that are permanent and affect the organ itself that count here. Otherwise we cold say that the cancer tumor itself is a practice of genitalia alterations, so the best way to go is not to have cancer in the first place. But this is misleading. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-01-25 16:31:31
| Speak Round

View As PDF

Enjoyed this debate? Please share it!

You need to be logged in to be able to comment
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

There are no judgements yet on this debate.

Rules of the debate

  • Text debate
  • Individual debate
  • 3 rounds
  • 8000 characters per round
  • Reply speeches
  • No cross-examination
  • Permissive Judging Standard (notes)
  • Forfeiting rounds means forfeiting the debate
  • Images allowed
  • HTML formatting allowed
  • Rated debate
  • Time to post: 2 days
  • Time to vote: 2 weeks
  • Time to prepare: 1 day
This is a random challenge. See the general rules for random challenges at http://www.edeb8.com/resources/General+rules+for+random+debates+%28version+2%29