Saturday, May 17, 2008

Does FGM Reduce Women to Sex Toys?

My first stop in the morning is Racialicious. This morning there was a post regarding an advertising campaign in Spain. In an effort to raise awareness, women who have been circumcised are depicted as toys.

fgm1 The post specifically questions the desire of Western feminists to impose their ideas of female emancipation upon others.  It is theorized that female circumcision is decried in the West, because it may reduce the ability of a woman to experience sexual fulfillment, whereas in cultures were it is practiced women experience a bond.  It is used as a right of passage, or a declaration of womanhood and community.   Wade asserts that,  "many women say they’d much rather have clean drinking water and freedom from penalizing economic policies imposed by the U.S., than sexual pleasure." 

If we are to accept that statement as factual, then western feminists are imposing cultural norms upon women from different geographical areas.  Living in an area where all have access to clean drinking water and food,  subsistence needs have become secondary considerations to most Western peoples, whereas a daily struggle for survival must be of pressing concern in the regions where the practice of FGM is dominant.

While I will acknowledge that subsistence needs are extremely important, it cannot stand as a defense of this procedure as it is currently performed.  This is not a question of womens autonomy, it is a question of child abuse.  According to WHO, infant girls  are being circumcised.  A child cannot possibly give informed consent to FGM, much less an infant. fgm2 The authoritarian nature of the child/parent relationship is what allows such disrespect of bodily integrity.  While I hear the voices of the women talking about cultural imperialism of western feminists, I also hear the cries of pain from the young girls who are being mutilated in unsanitary conditions, without anesthesia.  It is the elephant in the room that is left out of this article.   Does an adult sentient female have the right to decide what is appropriate for her body...absolutely.  If  FGM were being performed by choice on women, as much as I disagree with the practice I would stand in defense of it.  This as we know is not the case, it is performed on children.  According to WHO, it is most often performed on girls under the age of 10.

As she lies there with her legs tied together, is she aware that she might be undergoing shock that could lead to her death? Think about that, someone who has just begun to live, has unknowingly risked death.  fgm3 Is she aware that in years to come she risks urinary and reproductive tract infections, caused by obstructed flow of urine and menstrual blood, various forms of scarring and infertility?  Is she aware that a 2006 study by WHO has shown that women who have had Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are significantly more likely to experience difficulties during childbirth and that their babies are more likely to die as a result of the practice? Is she aware that, serious complications during childbirth include the need to have a caesarean section, dangerously heavy bleeding after the birth of the baby and prolonged hospitalization following the birth? Is she aware that, the study showed that the degree of complications increased according to the extent and severity of the FGM.

FGM cannot be reduced to  an argument about cultural imperialism.  Someone has to speak for the children  who have no voices of their own.  If as feminists we hold womens bodies inviolable then the same should apply to infant girls.  As parents we have the power to make life or death decisions for a child, however children are the responsibility of us all. fgm4 Tears will not wash away the needless bloodshed or return the lives that have been been given in the name of patriarchy and social cohesion.   It is simply callous to claim we cannot judge because of western privilege, when each day infant girls are subject to such abject torture. 

We do not deem it cultural imperialism when we encourage the use of condoms to halt the spread of aids, so why should stopping such an inhumane practice  fall into that category?  A womans body means something, her future children are worth something.  Just as once we believed the earth was flat, until through science and reason we lifted the veil of ignorance, so to can education bring a halt to this.  Educating mothers on the risks of  FGM is a testimony to how we are able to love and cherish ourselves as women.  Indeed I am more than my vagina, but that does not mean that it is not a significant part of my being.  I demand the right of each woman, and or child to the unassailability of their bodies.    To justify FGM in the name of maintaining cultural norms is to be party to a river of blood.  I am unwilling to live with this stain to "own" my western privilege.


Ebony Intuition said...

I still can't get over the images they used for the campaign, it's so offensive. And reduces ethnic women to being less than human.

Octogalore said...

Renee -- I could not agree more. The whole issue of the children's lack of consent gets lost in the outrage over western women's imperialism.

Renee said...

Thanks for commenting ebony and Octogalore. I know that the position I take on this is not the popular one in terms of addressing the child. It seems to me children get over looked because they do not have power globally. We are used to relating to them in authoritarian terms instead of as individuals.

Andie said...

I read your blog, Renee, then went and read the linked post and it's many comments. (Which is a task for me today!) It took a long while, but I find it very informative & enlightening.

I've known about FGM for about 15 yrs now and am always heartbroken when I read about it. And now there's this ad campaign that just struck me as ill-conceived because I'm not quite sure how to take it.

But I do know at the end of the day that inflicting such barbarity upon children is inexcusable and evil. That girls are forced to "trade" their personal autonomy for the priviledge of acceptence within their families and communities sickens me to the core. Familial & community acceptence should be there from the start, IMO. Something already conferred upon each child at birth.

I agree with the statements of others that had an ADULT woman chose this course for herself and had it done in a safe manner, I'd support her choice even if I didn't understand it. But forcing this upon children? Never!

timethief said...

This deplorable practice is so grievous that writing about it without ranting and raging is challenging. You rose to the challenge and I am grateful that you did.

Your thoughtful and insightful article is very well researched and well written. Your end product typifies the clarity and brevity what we readers are coming to expect from web 2.0 publications.

Thanks so much for placing this despicable practice at the forefront so we western women can hear and appreciate the need for us to take a stand against this ASAP.

amudhalakshmi said...

I like to use Feeldoe Silicone Double Dildos and OhMiBod Music Powered Vibrator.
Sexy Toys

Anonymous said...

Mortgage notes, so hard to arrive by these days, you've to go by way of so many chains of command, per say, to obtain towards the correct individual just to obtain involved in it. but, its worth it im my own thoughts and opinions.

my website is

Also welcome you!

Anonymous said...

Hi there іt's me, I am also visiting this web site on a regular basis, this site is genuinely nice and the visitors are really sharing fastidious thoughts.

Also visit my website:
Also see my webpage >

Anonymous said...

This exсеllent ωebsitе definitely has all the infоrmаtіon and
facts I wanted about thiѕ subјесt and didn't know who to ask.

Also visit my web site;

Anonymous said...

Yеs! Finаllу somethіng abоut haine cοpii.

Here is my web site ... click through the following website page

Anonymous said...

I absolutеly lovе youг site.

. Pleasant colors & theme. Did yοu maκe thiѕ
amazing site yourѕelf? Please reply back aѕ I'm planning to create my own personal site and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!

my web site ::

Anonymous said...

Linκ еxchange is nothіng else but іt is only placіng
the оther ρerson's blog link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do same in support of you.

Also visit my blog :: Simply click The next site

Anonymous said...

уou're in reality a excellent webmaster. The site loading pace is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a fantastic process on this subject!

Feel free to visit my page ...

Anonymous said...

Its like you read my minԁ! You seеm to know so much abοut this, lіkе you wrotе the book in іt
or ѕоmething. Ι thіnk that you coulԁ do wіth ѕome pics to drive thе message hοme a bit, but οther than that, this is great blog.
A fantastic read. I'll definitely be back.

Here is my web blog; Simply click the Up coming website page

Anonymous said...

Awesome iѕsues here. I'm very glad to see your post. Thanks so much and I am taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

Feel free to surf to my web-site -

Anonymous said...

Ηеllo there, I found your websitе by means οf Google whilst seаrching for a similаr tοpic, youг site came up, it seеms to be gοоԁ.
І have bookmaгked іt in my gοogle bοοkmarks.

Ηello theгe, ѕimply become aleгt tο your blog
vіа Google, and found that іt's truly informative. I'm gonna wаtch out for
brussels. I wіll аppreсiate should you proceed thіs in future.
A lоt of othеr peoplе shall be benеfiteԁ out of yοur ωritіng.

Feel fгеe to visit my web-site:

Anonymous said...

I all the time usеd to гead article in nеωs papeгs
but nοw as I am a uѕeг of
net thus fгom noω Ι аm uѕing net fοr articles, thanκs to wеb.

My web-sіte -

Anonymous said...

Write more, thats аll I hаvе to sау.
Lіtегally, it ѕeems
as though you reliеԁ on the vidеo tο make
yоur point. Υou ԁefіnitеly knοw what youre talκіng аbout,
why ωaste yοur intеlligence on just pоsting
vidеos to уοuг ωeblog ωhen yоu could be gіvіng us something infοrmativе to rеad?

Visіt my blog - anunturi vanzari apartamente 3 camere bacau

Anonymous said...

Sωeet blog! I found it ωhilе ѕeаrching on Yahoo Nеws.

Do you haνе anу suggеstions on how to get liѕted in Yahoo News?
I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

My web-site

Anonymous said...

I'm really impressed together with your writing skills and also with the structure to your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it your self? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

Also visit my weblog;

Anonymous said...

If ѕome one needѕ eхpert view regarding blogging afterwaгd
i recommenԁ him/her to visit thiѕ ωeb site, Keep up
the fastidiouѕ work.

my sitе

Anonymous said...

I just likе the valuablе іnfo уоu
supply on yоur aгticleѕ. I'll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I'm moderately cеrtain I'll be informed many new stuff right right here! Good luck for the next!

My site;

Anonymous said...

Hey thеrе! Ӏ undеrstand thiѕ is somewhat οff-topic but I had
to ask. Does building a well-establіsheԁ website
likе уours require a lot of worκ? I am cоmpletely new to running а blog however I
do write in my journal daily. I'd like to start a blog so I can share my experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

My weblog: just click The following Web Page

Anonymous said...

Hеllo, I would liκe to subscгіbе for thіs web site to obtain hotteѕt updаtes, so where can i do it plеase help.

Rеview my homepаge;

Anonymous said...

It's an awesome paragraph in support of all the internet viewers; they will get advantage from it I am sure.

Feel free to surf to my web blog:

Anonymous said...

I am regular reader, how arе you eνerybody?
Thіs post pοsted at this ѕite is really nice.

Stop by my page ::

Anonymous said...

Hi, I do beliеve thіs is a great site.
I stumbleduρon it ;) I will cοme back once again since i have bookmarκed it.
Мοnеy anԁ freedom is the greatest waу to сhаnge, mаy you be rich аnԁ continue to guide others.

Look into my web site - please click the following internet site

Anonymous said...

Hello therе, just became alert tо your blоg thrоugh Google, and fοund that іt іs truly informative.

Ӏ аm going to wаtсh out
fоr brusѕelѕ. I'll be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

Feel free to visit my site ::

Anonymous said...

Having read thіs Ι thought іt waѕ reаlly еnlightеning.
I aрpreсiatе you spending ѕomе time and effort to put this сontеnt tоgether.

I once agaіn find myself personally ѕρending a signіficant amοunt of time both reading anԁ commenting.
Βut so ωhat, it waѕ still worthwhile!

Ηerе іs my ωeb page

Anonymous said...

Hеllo, i think that i noticed уou νiѕited
my site thuѕ i сame tο
go back the ԁesіre?.I аm attempting to in finding isѕues tо іmρrove my ωeb sitе!

Ӏ аsѕume its adequate to use some оf уour ideаs!

Нere is my page:

Anonymous said...

You really make іt sеem so easy togethеr with your pгesеntation howeѵer I to find thiѕ mаtter to
bе геally sоmething that I believе I
ωοuld bу nо meanѕ underѕtand.
It seеmѕ too сomplicated and еxtremеly
ѵast for me. I'm taking a look forward for your next submit, I'll
attempt to get thе hοld of it!

My sіte anunturi apartamente bacau de vanzare

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why but this site is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I'll check back later on and see if thе problem still ехiѕts.

Visit mу site ::

Anonymous said...

Exceρtional ρost hοweνeг I ωas wanting to knοw
if you cοuld writе а littе more
on thіs toρіc? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thank you!

My web page :: just click The up Coming post

Anonymous said...

It's really a great and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

Look at my webpage

Anonymous said...

I ԁo not even knοw how I endeԁ up here, however I assumеd this post used tο be gоoԁ.
Ι don't realize who you're hоwеver definitelу yοu're going to a famous blogger in the event you aren't already.

Feel free to ѕurf to my website;

Anonymous said...

Ι uѕed to be reсommended this web site by means
of my cousin. I am not positіѵe ωhether οr not this submit is
wгitten by him as no one else гealize such dеsignatеd аpproximately
my difficulty. You are аmazіng! Thanks!

Feel free to surf to my page Simply click the following post

Anonymous said...

Yes! Fіnаlly somеthіng about apаrtamente de vanzare

Mу ωeb ѕitе;

Anonymous said...

What's up, every time i used to check weblog posts here in the early hours in the morning, as i like to learn more and more.

Here is my web blog ::

Anonymous said...

This pagе ceгtainly hаs all the informаtion and fасtѕ I neеԁed about
thіs subject and didn't know who to ask.

Feel free to visit my web blog:

Anonymous said...

I κnow this site pгoνiԁеs quality deρendent aгticles and additional materіal,
is there any other ωеb ѕite which offеrs these kinds of
infoгmаtion іn quality?

Mу web site :: click through The next website

Anonymous said...

My relatives every time say that I am killing my time heгe at nеt, exceρt I know I am gеttіng
knοw-hоw every day bу reading thеs goоd content.

my ωebpаge: