There are a lot of Traditions that no longer have a place in our modern world, many have to do with the oppression and objectifying of women. Sad by true.
My grandmother is 97 years old this year, yeepee. I love her to bits. She is the funniest woman I know, never a dull moment with her.
She is an amazing storyteller, even when she tells sad stories she makes them fun and easier to bear. One day she was jokingly telling me how it was important to keep one’s virginity for their husbands. She went on and on and got to a part where she talked about female genital mutilation for the purposes of ensuring that a girl remains a virgin to the point of marriage.
When I heard about this practice I thought of it as fiction. Most of gogo’s stories sounded like fiction anyway. I grew older and started coming across information that confirmed that it wasn’t fiction and it was in fact still happening in some parts of the world.
So this topic got me back to the hard saddening facts of what is reality to some people. I read a few articles and below is an exert of what I found to be the best explanation of what it is and why it was done.
Female genital mutilation (FGM), or female circumcision as it is sometimes erroneously referred to, involves surgical removal of parts or all of the most sensitive female genital organs. It is an age-old practice which is perpetuated in many communities around the world simply because it is customary. FGM forms an important part of the rites of passage ceremony for some communities, marking the coming of age of the female child.
It is believed that, by mutilating the female’s genital organs, her sexuality will be controlled; but above all, it is to ensure a woman’s virginity before marriage and chastity thereafter. In fact, FGM imposes on women and the girl child a catalog of health complications and untold psychological problems. The practice of FGM violates, among other international human rights laws, the right of the child to the “enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health”, as laid down in article 24 (paras. 1 and 3) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The origin of FGM has not yet been established, but records show that the practice predates Christianity and Islam in practicing communities of today. In ancient Rome, metal rings were passed through the labia minora of slaves to prevent procreation; in medieval England, metal chastity belts were worn by women to prevent promiscuity during their husbands’ absence; evidence from mummified bodies reveals that, in ancient Egypt, both excision and infibulation were performed, hence Pharaonic circumcision; in tsarist Russia, as well as nineteenth-century England, France, and America, records indicate the practice of clitoridectomy.
In England and America, FGM was performed on women as a “cure” for numerous psychological ailments. The age at which mutilation is carried out varies from area to area. FGM is performed on infants as young as a few days old, on children from 7 to 10 years old, and on adolescents. Adult women also undergo the operation at the time of marriage. Since FGM is performed on infants as well as adults, it can no longer be seen as marking the rites of passage into adulthood, or as ensuring virginity. There are many variations, performed throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Australia, and Latin America.
“Fact sheet 23”
This tradition does not have a place in today’s world. It’s sad that it is still happening. I am curious to know if this truly still happens around you and if there are any initiatives you know that are aimed at eradicating this tradition?
Please do let me know in the comments section below.
Ciao 👋 👋