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Call the affirmative what it is a geopolitical strategy to secure the United

States as the moral hegemon. Their rhetorical choice to foreground
human rights within their advocacy spatializes gendered violence onto
the Global South to position the U.S. at the helm of the worlds global moral
McKinnon, 16 Sara L. McKinnon, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Gender Violence as
Global Phenomenon Refugees, Genital Surgeries, and Neocolonial Projects of the United
States, April 21, 2016, Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies, Vol 16, Issue 4, 2016, SAGE
Feminist human rights discourse of the last few decades, in the Global North, and the
United States in particular, while offering important attention to the experiences of
women around the world, has also been used to spatialize particular forms of gender
violence onto particular geographies and particular womens bodies. For example, in
imagining militarized sexual violence and femicide, one now conjures Central America,
social castigation for nonconformity to gendered norms link up to the Middle East,
invasive population control practices to China and, as this essay has demonstrated,
genital cutting to Africa. This spatializing essentializes these places and these nations as volatile to women. As I have
demonstrated in this essay, it is increasingly important to pay attention to what political projects
this spatializing of gender violence animates, especially as U.S. geopolitical strategies of
defense, diplomacy, and development consolidate around maintaining global moral
authority in matters of human rights. Looking to the future, we must keep an eye on how
the United States uses rhetoric of gender violence as a global phenomenon to maintain
what it figures as its position at the helm as the worlds global moral authority . These
newest appropriations of gender violence and circumcision rhetoric shed important light
on the motivations and interests of the United States, both at home and abroad. U.S.
neocolonial projects are action oriented. As if animated by the adage, actions speak louder than words, the
United States shows to itself and the rest of the world that the project is working when it
acts elsewhere on behalf of some identified abuse or cause. Neocolonial projects
performatively materialize when absences elsewherehuman rights abuses, the
squelching of democratic freedomare named as abuses and then acted against. Female
circumcision is a likely subject to organize around. The United States cannot say it has rid itself of intimate
abuse, rape, and sexual assault, gay-bashing, infant mortality, or many other indicators where vulnerable subjects may be used to
illustrate that the states modern projects are working. Yet, through circumcision discourse, it can offer evidence that the state cares
Once this protection has
for and protects vulnerable populations of the citizenry (women and children, immigrants, etc.).
been secured at home, female circumcision rhetoric then becomes a vehicle to pave the
way for U.S. neocolonial projects abroad. Armed with the discourse that the United States
has guarded itself through legal prohibitions from the (seeming) possibility of genital
cutting within its borders, the state can now focus its attention on acting to help
those Others elsewhere to do similar eradication work.As we see through the U.S.
political discourse regarding genital surgeries, this happens by financially supporting
nongovernmental, advocacy, and human rights groups in other countries to do the work
of combatting circumcision. This organizing around genital surgeries then legitimizes
U.S. power in that it both demonstrates that the United States is free of the taint of
ancient ritual and cultural torture, and enacts the projects action and aid orientation
by bringing this freedom elsewhere. The unstated outcome of this appropriation of
circumcision discourse is that in bringing this freedom elsewhere through the support
of NGO and advocacy groups doing work to end female circumcision, the U.S. state is
also building an infrastructure elsewhere of people, organizations, communication
channels, relationships, and resources that it can utilize when needed. When needed,
there is then an architecture of U.S.-funded nongovernmental and advocacy groups to
pave the way to resourcespartnerships, land, labor, oil, and other raw materialswhen
U.S. state power seeks out a new way to secure itself.