Friday, 30 July 2010

Female Circumcision: a Polite Term For Cutting a Girl's Genitals


I found it shocking that the mutilation of a girl's genitals occurs in such vast swathes of the world, it is a profoundly disturbing left over of ancient, anti-female violence, carried out by men as a device to repress, control and, to a certain extent, destroy femininity.

I will not go into the depraved details of female genital cutting, plenty of information can be found on the practice, needless to say in most cases it involves the removal of the clitoris, to strip the female of an organ that enables sexual pleasure and of course orgasm.

This is no doubt rooted in perverse, phallocentric thinking; to brutally destroy female pleasure in sexual intercourse, to win back sex from the sullied mewling of the feminine. I do wonder who thought up this act of uber-violence, of inter-gender warfare, what it stemmed from. One can guess, we are all familiar with the clumsy, ill-thought out desires of man and the ease at which he turns to violence in order to force his will.

Ancient man can perhaps be forgiven for this base, backward error but what alarms me more is that it is still practised.

Precise figures are hard to come by, a conservative estimate is that some 130 million women are effected around the world, with 3 million girls vulnerable to genital mutilation each and every year; a raft of fresh victims.

Sadly, Africa is the continent most blighted with the evil practice, in a band that stretches east to west across the continent. Imagine if you will this band peaks at its extremities: on the east that gives us Egypt, Somalia et al and on the west hand side we have Mauritania, Mali and Sierra Leone. The band thins but is still present in Chad, Nigeria, Ghana etc.

Nations at the extremities have a figure of over 80% of the female population having experienced genital mutilation, which is bewildering in its scope. Even those in the slimmer sections of this awful band have rates between 20 and 40%. When one thinks the device used to carry out this practice is usually a razor blade or broken glass, with battery acid used to staunch the heavy bleeding, the speed with which this barbaric act must come to an end becomes even clearer.

15 comments:

  1. I can only concur with your words - even Saudi Arabia (to the best of my knowledge) doesn't indulge in such barbarity.

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  2. From my research it does go on in Saudi Arabia but not on the scale as occurs in Africa, because a lot of African workers ply their trade and thus cultural mores there. It is Egypt that surprises me the most though, it was allegedly invented there many thousands of years ago.

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  3. I just dont understand how anybody can justify the practice.The Ultimate Symbol Of Powerlessness.

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  4. At the prelude to the Iraq War, issues like female circumcision were discussed more; for the wrong reasons.

    OT: I closed comments on the Stone thread. I was unhappy with that thread the minute Stone became the subject. I have no interest one or another in defending or opposing him. He is all over the place. His W movie, was sympathetic to Bush.

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  5. Daniel, I'd be interested in reading some of your sources for myself - can you point me at them? Seems I need to read some more.

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  6. The reason this is done in Africa and seems to be moving into the Muslim world, is purely to remove any enjoyment of the act away from the woman. It is just the same as rape as a crime - it is about power. Also, it proves all the men are really bad lovers in that part of the world - for if you remove the thing that recieves the enjoyment each one of this mediaeval throwbacks can utter in the middle of coitus - "This is the best you is gonna get, ma baby".

    But seriously, I remember "World in Action" - remember that? And there was a whole 30 minutes dedicated to the process in a show broadcast in about 1983. It was quite shocking at the time, but that was over 20 years ago and not a lot has changed. There's education and a move to stop the practice, but like beheading and stoning and other barbaric practices done in the name of an outdated belief system: it will never be eradicated.

    Let's be honest, we live in dark times and total world annhilation is the only way forward. We need to start this project again, no?

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  7. wow, really interesting post. I think its amazing that such practices continue to happen. It is unthinkable to comprehend what these womens lives must be subjected to. And why? for simple power, or does that now turn into pride? its just plain stupid and these acts need to stop.

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  8. http://current.com/shows/vanguard/76362762_female-genital-cutting.htm

    Check out this mini-doc on it if you haven't seen it already. I've read about it a lot but this really drove it home.

    Out of interest, where do you stand on male circumcision? I find it interesting that one is hugely condemned while the other is generally encouraged

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  9. Ren:

    In total agreement with you closing the thread over at yours, circular, pointless stuff.

    Chris:

    My main source is The Economist which is subscribers only, so cannot link I am afraid but they have some great articles and facts on the latest data.

    Darren:

    Agreed, it is all about power. Not agreed that we need apocalypse, we can pull it back from the brink.

    Liz Wilks:

    Nice to have you by Liz, I will read your blog on a regular basis now I know it exists.

    Tom:

    Excellent question with regards to male circumcision, I should have put my stance on that in at the end but felt like it would just be a tag on.

    I am against male circumcision also, I see it as genital mutilation and although claims are made with regards to hygiene, the foreskin is the male clitoris, full of nerve endings and is a crucial part of the male's sexual experience.

    You are right, it is not often challenged.

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  10. Thanks Daniel, you have very interesting posts great to read! My blog is designed to combine research and practice so be great if you can check it out.

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  11. It is an interesting concept how people look at these 'Barbaric acts'. Whilst i do not condone them in any way, there is a lot of miss representative information on why this happens. Everyone has a theory. Has anyone asked the people why they do this, or do they just say power?..In actual fact, It has nothing to do with power if you relate to the people who actually do it the most. Africans. Why do they do it? Live among them and ask. I have. Long ago, tribal warriors were always away from home, looking for food or fighting wars for sadistic kings. While they were away, other tribes often raided their camps and stole their women for themselves. Many tribes adapted many ways to combat this. Some made their women ugly for other tribesmen to look at, and grew to appreciate their own distorted looks, like the long elongated neck rings...stacked on each other over the years until the neck looked much longer than normal women. And the larger than life ear rings. Even the large lip plates to distort the look of the lips. This too is really a barbaric act in its own way, but served a purpose in its time to a people who were ready to accept that. If the women were ugly, who would want them? If the women could not appreciate pleasure, who would want them. Contrary to most of the beliefs here, the men actually appreciated their woman as more than just Pleasure. They saw more in being together.
    I am not clear how they react to this in these days, but not many complained about tradition. Much like the mutilation of male penises at birth, due simply to religious concept or mothers who want baby to be like daddy? Who is complaining there. That deserves a thread of its own for the women who are branding men as sadistic pervs for their beliefs. It is not only men who do this. It is whoever is qualified. Male or female. How many of these women actually had there own sons circumcised. Lets fix our own back yard also before we worry about the neighbors? It is all barbaric and primitive. Even in our educated society.
    Now the middle east I have not asked, lol. Maybe someone should, but it is evident that the practice must stop as there is a consensus among the women of that region that they do not want that this day and age.
    Personally, I have not found any reason to believe it is about power. It was more from a primitive unfounded belief in protection of ones own. If any power at all...it was power over an enemy that worked effectively.
    What woman would consider circumcision of a male today about power, or would give any credit to Africans or Arab countries making this statement. This could be why they do not take our cries for stopping this practice seriously.
    It is simple, it is just an outdated, misguided practice that needs to be considered as inhumane in this day and age. Lets try and express our concerns this way without the attacks on manhood or beliefs in custom. We all know you cant fight a short war over religion.

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  12. Ricky:

    I'm not interested in concepts, I'm interested in human rights.

    The reasons you put down for this happening strike me as desperate excuses by people trying to justify backward behaviour and like much ancient thinking it is phallo-centric and male created.

    Your explanation is all about power to me.

    I also despise male circumcision but I refute that because some people practice it, it makes cries that female circumcision is vile fall on deaf ears. The acts are very different in their level of disfigurement

    Odd comment indeed.

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  13. i now i was circumscized and they ruined my life i have t get a surgwery next week to fix it thank good i come to america other i would have been the women with no orgasm.

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  14. OMG! I can't believe such a repulsive, inhumane act is allowed and reasoned!
    They should like, kill all the worthless pieces if shit!!!!!!!!!!! >< :'(

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