Female Genital Mutilation and “Vulvas with a Difference” Warning: Graphic Images are included. Individual alerts about images will be given in advance.
Facts About FGM • Involves removal of some or all female external genitalia. • Also known as “female circumcision” (misleading term) • Estimated 150 million women living today have undergone this ritual (2-3 million girls per year) • Widely practiced in Africa, as well as among Muslim communities in Malaysia, and some areas of the Middle East, India, and Pakistan. • Performed on girls an average of 7-10 years old • Ancient practice that predates Islam and was also practiced by Christians • Causes widespread trauma, death, and infant mortality (estimated 1/3 of all women in Somalia die as a result of FGM—nearly 100% of all women in that country undergo the ritual)
Alert • The next slide is a drawn medical diagram of normal female genitals, followed by slides of drawn medical diagrams of 3 kinds of FGM.Can close eyes or leave room if uncomfortable.
FGM 1-4 • 1: Clitoridectomy(removal of clitoral hood or clitoris)2: Excision(removal of clitoral hood or clitoris plus some or all of labia minora)3: Infibulation(removal of all external female genitalia, leaving a small opening for blood and urine)4: Unclassified(cutting, burning, piercing, scraping)
Alert • The next slide is a photo of normal female genitals, followed by photos of different types of FGM.
“Normal” Female Genitalia There is wide variety in appearance (but only ideal/small ones fond on the Web) Clitoris has twice the number of nerve endings as the head of the penisand when detached in sex reassignment surgery, function like a penis. PHOTO OF FGM WILL FOLLOW NEXT
FGM - 2 • Excision: Removal of clitoral hood and all of labia minora.
FGM - 3 • Infibulation: Removal of all external genitalia.
Conditions • Usually performed by an elder woman under unsanitary conditions, with scissors, razor blade, or knives;no anesthetic. • Incision is usually held closed by thornsand legs are tied closed for 3 weeks.
End of Potentially Disturbing Photos(retrieve anyone who has left the room)
Type of Procedure Most women infibulated Circumcision and Excision widespread Some cases reported Circumcision practiced among groups
Results of FGM • Plus lowest infant mortality rates are in areas with widest-spread FGM.
Source Female Genital Mutilation – The Facts Compiled by Laura Reymond, Asha Mohamud, and Nancy Ali. Funding was provided by the Wallace Global Fund. http://www.path.org/files/FGM-The-Facts.htm
Warning • Explicit visuals follow, showingbefore-and-after vulvas withDesigner Laser Vaginoplasty andVaginal RejuvenationBut no blood or potentially disturbing imagery
“The WondrousVulva Puppets”Tyra BanksShow Many womenstill do not knowtheir own anatomyand confuse theurethra withthe vagina.
“Vulvas with a Difference”by Faith Wilding • What was 19th Century “hysteria”? • A so-called “medical” condition caused by the widespread inability of women to orgasm because of cultural taboos about female sexual desire and pleasure (women not supposed to have pleasure in sex) • Orgasm was supposed to be experienced during coitus alone, until the 1960’s (Kinsey Report had an impact) • What were some of the cures for “hysteria?” • Doctors or midwives give “pelvic massage,” use vibrator, perform clitoridectomies, etc. (p. 1). • Porn movies: women were not stimulated until 1970’s and 1980’s (sexual desire embarrassing for women)
What are Wilding’s critiques of “designer vaginas”? • They project a “lack” onto women (need for “architectural integrity of the vagina,” etc.) • They fail to acknowledge sensation and sexual pleasure of the woman as the first priority (and no medical studies done) • “Voluntary” and “elective” become questionable because of extreme pressure on women to conform to standards (example: in FGM-banned countries, girls still try) • Women have not learned enough about their own bodies and what is pleasurable or right for them (e.g., awareness groups in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s) • Women haven’t even looked at a range of vulvas—men have. • “Public discourse” about women’s needs is being replaced by commercial spectacle.
Self-discovery spa days covered by medical insurance? • Is it a crazy idea? What is the point?
QUESTIONS or COMMENTS? “If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then all we have to do is train the eye to see better.”--Anonymous Student, Blog Comment