Female genital mutilation is an awful human rights abuse in which girls are cut in ways mostly intended to deprive them of sexual feeling. The point is to keep women subservient. “Taming” sexuality is perceived as a way of keeping women docile and obedient, which in turn, is perceived to promote a stable society.
FGM generally is practiced in very traditional cultures, often (but not exclusively) with a strong Muslim component. That is why I think that a campaign to “celebrate the clitoris” as a means of fighting against the practice and convincing women to seek medical help to remediate having been cut, is not a smart or wise approach. From the CBS Las Vegas story:
A group formed to protest and combat female genital mutilation declared the time between May 6 and May 12 of this year to be the first-ever International Clitoris Awareness Week. The organization, Clitoraid, released a statement Friday about the awareness campaign. “Our first six years of humanitarian work have been dedicated to surgically repairing clitorises for female genital mutilation…victims, and on October 8 we’ll open the world’s first Clitoral Restoration Hospital,” Clitoraid spokesperson Nadine Gary said. “This year, we’ll celebrate the sexual pleasure of all women, since all can benefit from more sexual appreciation.”
According to the release, Clitoraid is encouraging other women to host events–however formal or informal–that further the organization’s objectives and garner more attention for their initiative–and the larger problem it attempts to address. “[The clitoris has] been ignored, vilified, made taboo, and considered sinful and shameful for centuries because of patriarchal religious values,” Gary said. “It’s time to give this beautiful organ the attention it deserves. It’s the only human organ with an exclusive sexual pleasure function!”
Yea, just what those who practice FGM want to hear! That is why the girls are cut. How is this going to be in any way effective?
The cause of ending FGM is more than just. But making the fight against this terrible oppression sound like Yale Sex Week isn’t going to play well in traditional societies threatened by what they perceive as the decadence and licentiousness of the West. Indeed, such attitudes are precisely what they are trying to prevent from influencing their girls and women! It might, I suppose, raise a few bucks here and there. But to make an important human rights issue sound like an early feminst bra burning protest is both sophomoric and counter-productive to achieving the goal of actually ending this awful practice where it happens.
Update: Reader Chris informs me that Clitoraid is a Raelian project. So, I did a little digging. Sure enough.
The Raelians are a science cult that fooled the media several years ago with the hoax that its company, Clonaid, had brought a cloned baby into the world. I debated one of their head honchos, and she had brought grieving parents to the meeting to try and convince them Clonaid could clone their dead children! What a dispicable crew for raising money off the bodies of mutilated women.