Female circumcision, also known as FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is defined as the partial or total removal of the external female genitals. Despite the similarity in name, it has little in common with what westerners identify as “circumcision” (as practiced upon males). Even though there are those that claim male circumcision is cruel and unnecessary and robs a male of added nuances of erotic sensation, there is still little physical similarity to the extreme mutilation that is FGM, or “female circumcision”.
To get a grasp on the difference between the two practices, imagine if (instead of the foreskin being carefully removed) the entire head of the man’s penis were simply lobbed off! Or, as with the most extreme versions of FGM, imagine if -- after lobbing off the head of the penis, the remaining shaft was shoved between his balls and his scrotum stitched up over it so that it was completely unreachable. Then, years later, imagine a woman whipping out a dull knife, slicing open the now fused flesh of his scrotum, pulling free his bloody rod and then hopping aboard the remains of his dick for a short, self-gratifying ride while he tried to choke down his screams.
Of course anyone performing such acts of violence on the genitals of a male better be in the process of overthrowing a third world dictatorship. ‘Cause otherwise, someone’s gonna throw your ass in jail – for a long time.
But with women, in over 30 countries of the world, it is perfectly acceptable – and even highly desirable – to do this to the genitals of women. Or more correctly, to little girls. This phenomenon is “female circumcision” or Female Genital Mutilation, and it is a practice dating back at least 2000 years that is still widespread over north Africa, parts of east and west Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Indonesia and Malaysia. (It is also seen in France, England, the United States, Australia, and anywhere else where people of FGM culture groups have immigrated.)
In the traditional “female circumcision” scenario, the child’s female relatives arrive for the African version of tea and crumpets and then overpower the unsuspecting child and pin her to the ground. Then some cackling old biddy pulls out a pair of child safety scissors and starts snipping away. Other favorite cutting devices include a sharp rock, a piece of broken glass, the lid off a tin can – you get the picture. There is no anesthesia, hence the need for all the relatives to sit on the girl’s arms, legs, and chest. Just how much of the child’s genitals gets snipped off depends on the local variant of the tradition. But according to the World Health Organization (who is strongly opposed to the practice), FGM can be divided into the following four categories:
Type 1 and type 2 operations account for 85 percent of all FGM. Type 3 (infibulation) accounts for 15 percent and is common in Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan and in parts of Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal.
The biggest concerns of the World Health Organization (and pretty much anyone else opposing the practice) is the level of physical and emotional trauma being inflicted upon children (who clearly do not give informed consent) and the high level of medical risk associated with the procedure. There is no concrete data as to how many children die from complications related to this procedure, but it is extrapolated that one-third of girls undergoing FGM will die. Some go into shock, others hemorrhage, still others succumb to infection. If they survive all this, then there is the high occurrence of swelling or tissue mutilation that will at some point cause them to have urinary tract or menstrual complications -- which sometimes lead to death. In fact, infibulation (in which the girl is snipped, scraped, shaved, and stitched up so that her private region resembles a fleshy ostrich egg) does at times lead to scar tissues sealing up the vagina so completely that menstrual fluids begin collecting in the womb and vagina. Some times the resultant abdominal swelling and behavior changes are mistaken for early pregnancy and the girl is killed by her outraged relatives.
In the last two decades there has been some trend – especially in the cities – to seek out a nurse or other health professional for the procedure, introducing the concepts of anesthesia, a sharp scalpel, and (theoretically) a germ free environment. While this is certainly some improvement, it does little to deal with the fact that every year, 2 million female human beings are sexually mutilated, with many of them completely unable to enjoy sex. In fact, fully fifty percent of Ugandan women, for example, say they do not enjoy sex at all and merely go along with it as a painful wifely duty. For those women who have been infibulated, it is an especially painful wifely duty because sometimes the husband has to actually slice them open on the wedding night before fucking them. A process which will be repeated many times over since the midwife will sew the woman up again after each child is born.
At this point you may be wondering “Why -- oh why -- is this procedure even done, and why would anyone do this to a child of their own family?” People often assume that the reason is religion, especially since most of the countries where it is practiced are Islamic, and most westerners are willing to believe anything about Islam. But in fact the Quran takes a stand against the practice, claiming that men like their wives to enjoy being banged -- because it makes it more exciting for the husband. (Great.) Meanwhile, scholars of the Quran point out that if Allah didn’t want women to have clits, he wouldn’t have created them with clits! (Amen to that.)
As it turns out the real source of the practice seems to come from indigenous beliefs native to northern Africa itself. Even north African Catholics and Animists (worshippers of nature spirits and ancestors) are clit carvers. Additionally, those supporting the practice do not cite religion as their chief motivator but rather the more circular excuse “because it is a good tradition”. And you thought human beings were stupid… When probed deeper on their reasoning, lame-brained supporters of the practice claim:
And of course the number one reason young girls have their sexuality nipped in the bud, quite literally, is that “otherwise she wouldn’t be a woman”. Additionally, supporters fear, their culture as they know it might come to an end. (Like this is a bad thing?) It just goes to show you how the fear of the unknown can lull human beings into accepting just about anything (no matter how painful, degrading, or stupid) rather than imagine a new life for themselves.
Soon this may have to change however. The World Health Organization, and many other organizations, are working hard to educate populations and to encourage governments to pass tougher laws designed to eradicate the practice. (Just as Foot Binding was finally eradicated in the 20th century.) In fact, estimates suggest that this nasty problem will be all gone in just … oh… three generations or so.