Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Big boobs and mutilation, redundant?

I recently had a conversation with one of my pseudo liberal minded friends who, upon me commenting on a friends nice new set of boobs, began to argue that breast augmentation ( or plastic surgery in general) was the same as Femal Genital Mutilation (FGM) that began in Africa approximately 2000 years ago. I was so shocked that a woman could be 'informed' about such horrific practices and yet still side with them that I risked being late to class to better educate myself on the topic. Here is what I found: There are three different kinds of FGM, Sunna Circumcision which removes the retractable fold (or hood) of the skin, Clitoridectomy which is the removal of the entire clitoris and the adjacent labia and Infibulation which consists of performing a clitoridectomy which is then stitched up allowing for urine and menstrual blood to flow.

The age the procedure is carried out vaires from just after birth to some time during the first pregnancy, but most cases occur between the ages of four and eight. Most times this procedure is done without the care of medically trained people, due to poverty and lack of medical facilities. The use of anesthesia is rare. The girl is held down by older women to prevent her from moving. The instruments used by the mid-wife will vary and could include any of the following items; broken glass, a tin lid, razor blades, knives, scissors or any other sharp object. These items usually are not sterilized before or after usage. Once the genital area for removal is gone the child is stitched up and her legs are bound for up to 40 days.

At one point during this conversation with my ignorant friend she said that many of the facts we westerners have about FGM (such as those stated above) are skewed or incorrect. I argue-that even if the circumstances in which these mutilations take place are sanitary and anesthetic is available, the reasons behind such practices are enough to attack it. In my research I found several reasons listed as to why this is done, one of those being that it will reduce a women's desire for sex and in doing so will reduce the chance of sex outside the marriage. Another, that an unmodified clitoris will lead a women to masturbation which will lead her to lesbianism and one of the most shocking reasons was that an intact clitoris will generate sexual arousal which can lead to personality defects.

Can a member of the human race, especially a woman, actually think it is acceptable for some cultures to look down on women feeling pleasure? I cannot believe that a person could consider spending thousands of dollars because of an insecurity (getting plastic surgery) as being the same as living ones life with a mutilated body and without joy in sex. If my friends point was that plastic surgery is becoming too accepted and too often resorted to, I can concede. However, it is in no way related to the physical and emotional damage women with FGM go through ("ain't no f***** ball park. Ain't even the same f****** game").

Info provided by www.members.tripod.com/fgm


Blogger Izdatyel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/08/2004 1:55 AM  
Blogger Izdatyel said...

Jeepers Marci, if you were trying to make me wince and squirm in my proverbial seat, you succeeded beyond expression. Want to know something else crazy? They still do that kind of thing to most males in America (usually at birth) - to this very day! I know, I know, there are some significant differences. But I still think it just might help us understand the obsession conservative males (which they can't even explain) have for guns and gun rights. "Leave me and my gun be!" they plead in desperation. This trauma manifests itself differently in liberal males - "let us all sue the pants off doctors" - it just feels so right.

9/08/2004 2:56 AM  
Blogger Jason Work said...

So let me get this straight, your "friend" is both attacking plastic surgery and defending female genetic mutilation, while saying that they are the same thing? Sounds like your "friend" doesn't know what the hell she's talking about.

9/08/2004 10:18 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

This has been big in the news lately. It is amazing to see how some cultures will go to extreme measures to 'look unique and beautiful' in their own way, meanwhile many of these same cultures attack everything exported by American media. Some SE Asians sharpen their teeth into points for beauty's sake, some African cultures hyper-extend their ear lobes, lips, necks for the same basic reasons.

Certainly our media over plays things like boob jobs, but it doesn't change the fact that in some low level of our psychie we're all doing these things for the same reason.

10/06/2004 11:10 PM  
Blogger Nomi Malone said...

In response to Brillo’s comment, I’m concerned as to whether you understood my point or not. It seems as though your take on my post is that there are many cultures that do all kinds of things we would call strange and wacky (like extending the ear lobes or sharpening teeth). If I am correct, then you have missed my point entirely. I do not adopt a culturally relative perspective in regards to mutilation of the human body. I am not questioning the cultural or religious practices of other countries, I am shaming those who would dare argue that repression (which FGM undeniably is) is acceptable in any form, even if ones culture says it’s for the best. The overuse of plastic surgery is a separate argument void of any commonalities with the practices of FGM. I certainly hope that as a human being, and possibly even a husband/father, you would have compassion and a sense of anguish for these women and join me in my disgust for those who try justifying it.

10/08/2004 10:11 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

CMS... no worries, I did not misunderstand you post. It was well put. I simply replied to a slice of the subject. My only point is that the world around you find uncommon practices done out of a desire to conform or IOW to fit a social expectation. I did not intend for there to be even a hint in my post that I don't find FGM despicable.

10/08/2004 2:47 PM  
Blogger Nomi Malone said...

What, you agree with me? You must be smart.

10/09/2004 5:06 PM  

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