British women protest FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)

by cherryblossomlife

A march took place in London Harley street today to raise awareness of the increase in gynaecological cosmetic surgery.

In Western countries FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is associated with tribal cultures and Islamic extremism. Articles inviting us to express horror at the primitiveness of other cultures and religions proliferate in the media. This emphasis diverts attention away  from the fact that FGM is also a highly prevalent cultural practice of Western countries.

The Western version of FGM is perhaps even more pernicious because it carries with it the added taint of Western cultural imperialism, and is legitimized by the medical profession and the governments run by white males, meaning politicians do not regard it as an issue worth discussing.

Labiaplasty is an operation undertaken to “tidy up” and “neaten” the look of the vulva, and is the latest example of the lengths women must go to in order to make their bodies acceptable to men.

It has its roots in porn.

In Beauty and Misogyny, Sheila Jeffreys painstakingly examines the link between pornography and beauty norms, demonstrating that just as women’s fashion orginates in porn, so does what is considered to be an acceptable body shape for women. Having long ago conquered women’s psyches when it comes to weight anxiety and worries about breast size, now the media (in cahoots with the medical industry) focuses on manufacturing hang-ups about the appearance of genitals.

“In pornography women’s labia are frequently airbrushed so that they are uniform. The women do not have obviously unequally sized labia or particularly long labia because they are tidied up in the airbrushing so that men will not be offended, and able to purchase a uniform product. But airbrushing is not enough and women in porn regularly employ labiaplasty, in which the labia are cut to shape, to create the regulation look. This pornographic practice has an impact on women outside the industry when boyfriends pressure women to look like hairless pornstars. Women, already trained in male dominant cultures to dislike their genitals, notice their genitalia more. They may worry that they are not like those on the women in porn, or their male partners may make this clear to them.” (Jeffreys, p.83)

Today, girls in their mid-teens are worried about the appearance of their genitals. The negative messages of the malestream media are compounded by the fact that most women and girls do not know what each other’s normal genitals look like. They believe the appearance of the women in porn is the norm, when in fact it is not. The medical profession is cashing in on society’s carefully cultivated disgust of the female body.

There are enormous risks and side effects to the surgery. In the UK, the procedure is available both on the NHS and by private companies, which are unregulated. On the NHS website one woman describes the “botch job” performed on her:

“…woke up in recovery room told by my gyno everything went well and to come back in 2 weeks….when i got home i was horrified to find he had done wedge method and cut my labia majora which was never discussed..the whole thing is a total mess i have flaps of skin everywhere and very poor stitching..which have all busted open today on one side…i am so gutted as this has been a problem for so long for me for many reasons…being accepted for this on nhs was a god send..i was looking forward to leading a normal life…now it is ruined…i can honestly say this is a botch job and i am devastated thought i could trust a gyno on nhs…obviously not!!!! im hoping the nhs will correct this can anybody tell me if this is now possible??????
or i am thinking of suing my gyno for this…i will never be able to be intimate again and stand to loose everything….gutted!!! “

Even those women who are happy with the appearance of their genitals are invited to consider surgery. After all, one must not forget the body’s propensity for ageing. According to labiaplasty surgeon Dr. Gary Alter:

“As we age, gravity causes all parts of our body to descend. Therefore, the pubic hair, mons and vaginal region also descend, causing an aged appearance. This area is elevated by performing the opposite of an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck; excess skin above the pubic hair is excised, raising the pubis. This procedure is often combined with abdominoplasty.” (Jeffreys, p.85)

That the medicine men have found a new way to damage healthy female bodies does not come as a surprise to radical feminists. Mutilating female genitalia is one of the the oldest and most predictable expressions of patriarchal hatred towards women, and contemporary males (for the surgeons are almost always male) are continuing this tradition by chopping up women into acceptable shapes.

This issue is often dismissed as being apolitical because Western women are said to choose to go under the knife, whereas Muslim women do not. But the “choice” argument ignores social pressure to conform and the fact that many women perceive (correctly perhaps) that if their bodies are pleasing to men it will help them survive, either by enabling them to find a male spouse, or by facilitating their entry into the sex industry (which is, by the way, very well-paid compared to the pink-collar ghetto.)

Couple this with the garden-variety disgust that women are taught to feel towards their bodies, which has a long history in Western culture, and you get a cultural backdrop whereby women are coerced into surgery in order to feel normal perhaps, or at least less of a freak. It is these pressures which drive women to “neaten themselves up”, not vanity.

Protestors at the march also dressed up in nude bodysuits decorated with lavish pubic hair as a nod to the beauty standard of hairlessness now foisted upon women.

Pubic hair on women has long been regarded as an obscenity, and in order to evade bullying and harassment women shave and wax. Any woman who believes she is doing this by choice should try not doing next time she visits the beach or pool…and see what happens when a group of boys or men spot her pubes hanging out of her swimsuit…

As the porn industry has strengthened, so have the pressures to “keep fresh” down there. “Feeling fresh” is a euphemism often used by marketeers (and women) to describe going hairless, the obvious implication being that anyone who keeps their hair are not fresh: i.e are dirty. According to one mainstrean Health and Fitness advice e-zine:

Whether or not to shave the pubic hair is a personal choice, and you shouldn’t do it if you feel uncomfortable with it. If you don’t mind the idea however, consider that once that pubic hair is gone, things like sweat and stray urine droplets won’t get trapped in the area. If you notice your vagina smells bad, it could be scents trapped in the hair and not the vagina itself. Shaving will also improve the taste of your vagina, much the same way as it improves smell.
Women in pornography have their pubic hair removed, perhaps so that men can get a better view, or perhaps because hairlessness represents pre-pubescence… As an example how prevalent hairlessness is for women in porn, a niche market has developed for men who like to see women with pubic hair (Jeffreys,p.82)

The organizers of the march, UK Feminista, are clear and concise in their ideology:

We don’t buy the neoliberal rhetoric that insists this issue is not political because women “freely choose” to get procedures like this done. The cosmetic surgery industry ruthlessly stokes women’s appearance insecurities and mines their bodies to extract maximum profits. Accountability, monitoring, and auditing are not words this industry is used to.

We hope our Muff March will spark a wave of activism against cosmetic surgery and the porn culture which distorts our body image. For too long they’ve reaped massive rewards. It’s time to fight back.”

Reading through blogs and articles on march (called The Muff March) it is interesting to see there are some male detractors, who have managed, somehow, to coin an argument in favour unecessary surgery. I leave you with my favourite from a blog entitled The Third Estate:

“Ultimately, for some people, vaginal cosmetic surgery may be a source of pleasure, just as one may take culinary pleasure from the most processed, most heavily packaged food item. Is the Muff March nothing but an analogue for those bourgeois who spend their time on Radio4 extolling the values of “real food”, the truth being that their muddied misshapen carrots bought from the farmers market at twice the market price offer nothing but a grand sense of capitalist identity while disavowing themselves from capitalist systems.

Nature will not protect anyone from anything. It ought not be the job of protest to sell one commodity over another. The real damage to genitalia is something more primary, more hidden. Bodies are born cut up, ready to be sold. Your vagina has no privilege.”

:shock:

Tags:

37 Comments to “British women protest FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)”

  1. Thanks for raising my consciousness about this, Cherry. You really lay it out, especially the roots of this in pornography. I do think there is a conspicuous pedophile aspect to it; I think Freud would have agreed. I once tried to draw a picture of the “ideal female”, thinking only about media and social cues I receive. The drawing was grotesque, like a tall skinny boy on stilts with enormous fetish-breasts and a long blond wig of hair that could never exist in life. It’s all part of some mystery to me; why oh why would anyone want us to look like this? How is this even attractive to men? Who is behind this fetish-monster that has been invented? I don’t think things have changed conceptually too much — I’m thinking of the fetishization of the tiny female waist, which led to ill health for so many women a century or so ago (and removal of ribs even). But now the actual body, not just its clothing or hair or paint, is being cut in a much bigger and more socially acceptable way for fetish purposes (the rib removal was a shameful hidden rare thing I believe). I was also thinking of whether male circumcision was a parallel in some way, or male scarification; but it seems to me there is a huge difference in the social function from female mutilation, which seems to be focused almost entirely on emphasizing the female as strictly a sexual object. I’m always amazed (and aghast) as new (for me) aspects of female subjugation present themselves here at the HUB. This needs an outcry and scholarly studies and editorials and books, but as so often happens it enters our world insidiously, presented as a “norm” long before it is a norm, as nothing unusual or unnatural, as just a fashion choice. I’m pleased to see UK feminists are raising awareness about it, but it contrasts so grimly with the US where I am, where I think such a protest could never occur (it wouldn’t have male approval like slutwalks).

  2. “It ought not be the job of protest to sell one commodity over another.”

    Women are commodities. Can’t get any clearer than that shit right there. It shouldn’t, but it does stun me just how unabashedly phrased and thought that comment is.

  3. Whilst I agree this protest against female genital mutilation which recognises that FGM is not something which happens ‘in other countries’ but is happening here and now in the west too, naming the protest action ‘Muff March’ is insulting to all women and misogynistic. We do not need so-called feminists aping men who have no qualms whatsoever in routinely sexually insulting women by calling us sluts, whores or worse. ‘Muff’ is a women-hating term created by men because male supremacy believes and promotes the lie only men are human and only men are worthy of dignity and respect. We women are all supposedly disembodied ‘dirty’ body parts.

    Women wearing pseudo female body hair is catering to the porn culture and in no way does it challenge male supremacy or men’s contempt/hatred for women. The Muff March is very similar to the PETA protest actions because both exploit women. PETA claims women appearing totally naked is challenging passers-by to consider what precisely PETA are protesting against and as we know the opposite happens. Male passers-by see naked women and think ‘oh yes just what I like images of naked women because that is what women are – just men’s disposable sexualised commodities.’ So too with the pseudo protest march Muff March – male passers-by will think – ‘ugly women showing their body hair’ because that is all these male passers-by will see ‘more women objectifying themselves in order to supposedly gain male sexual approval.’

    By all means challenge the cosmetic surgical industry but UK Feminista should use some initiative instead of lazily assuming ‘muff march’ is transgressive because it is not. It is conforming to male supremacist claims women are not human but just men’s disposable sexual service stations. Next time UK Feminista think before you act because you have colluded with Male Supremacy whereby women are indeed ‘Muffs’ which is in itself sexually insulting to all women. Would men allow themselves to be so dehumanised – I think not because men know they are not ‘sex’ they are males and for centuries have awarded themselves domination over those supposedly inferior beings – women and girls. We women have yet to be recognised by men as being human and in fact we are going backwards wherein more and more men are accepting the lie women and girls exist only to serve men in whatever capacity men demand because they are male.

    In response to the misogynistic claim by Third Estate who claimed ‘for some people, vaginal cosmetic surgery may be a source of pleasure.’ Third Estate are you referring to women and men when you used the term ‘people’ because if so you clearly do not understand that biological males have penises and biological females have vaginas. Therefore the ‘people’ having vaginal cosmetic surgery are biological females not males. The term people is gender neutral and is commonly used by malestream media and male supremacist system when referring to male(s) because men as a group are not reduced to their sex since they are autonomous. Women however, are denied this luxury because we are always referenced first and foremost by our sex since it is essential we are constantly reminded we are not the supposed superior sex.

    Third Estate according to your claims then it is okay for poor women and men to sell their kidneys and other body parts to wealthy westerners because these poor individuals gain a sense of pleasure from earning some money? Is it acceptable then for some men (because it is primarily males) to demand their right of having one or more of their healthy limbs amputated because it gives the male ‘pleasure?’ Your claims are libertarian wherein ‘pleasure’ is something which can experienced in a vacuum as though pleasure itself is neutral and often is not obtained at the expense of another human being who is predominantly female and giving ‘pleasure’ to the male because he demands it as his right and entitlement. That is what female genital mutilation is all about – men demanding women and girls be sexually mutilated because it ensures greater sexual pleasure and enjoyment to the male sexual partner. FGM is also male domination and male control over females and their bodies because men claim female bodies are innately faulty and in dire need of essential (sic) medical surgical mutilation in order to make the female body fit the male’s mythical image of the ideal female body. A female body which is cut and mutilated solely for the sexual pleasure of the male gaze.

    So if pleasure in itself is acceptable does this mean then I can inflict violence at will against any man because it gives me pleasure? Would this be acceptable to men and male supremacist system? I think not and for the record I do not condone inflicting violence on a man. But I have used this example because unless the issue is something which directly affects men, the male presumption is the issue is a non-issue, as in the case of the intense pressure young men and teenage boys exert on young women and teen girls to mutilate their bodies in order to become the same images male supremacy claims are ‘ideal female bodies.’ These female images all emanate from the Pornography and its brother the Sex Industry whereby the women in these industries have to have mutilating cosmetic surgery in order to make their bodies adhere to the misogynistic and dehumanised female images pornography promotes.

  4. Fuckin’ hell! That quote from the Health & Fitness magazine, it’s trying to frame the issue as a matter of ‘purity’ and ‘cleanliness’. Just like armpit hair and leg hair were first removed and characterised as “impure”; yeah, of ‘course because the bodies of adult human females are “dirty” according to patriarchal ideology. Removing pubic hair is the next stage in patriarchy’s attempt to service men’s pedophilia fantasies.

    As for FGM & Labiaplasty, it is always hard for me to read stuff about things like these. When men hurt womyn’s bodies permanently, irreversibly, it is such a painful reality…

    Thanks for raising awareness for the new generation of young womyn, Cherry.

  5. somehow when these abuses are taken out of the religious context and planted firmly within a consumerist context they become ok, and not harmful or oppressive to women, and not supportive of men and male supremacy and patriarchal institutions. its ridiculous. its all patriarchal oppression of women, and however FGM is contextualized it is always harmful to women because its dangerous and painful, which causes trauma bonding, complications and death; it reproduces dom/sub this way. through traumatizing women who react in a *human* way to trauma and then are mostly forbidden from acting out violently ourselves. PIV does the same thing. porn and BDSM does the same thing. religious contextualizing of any of this = creepy, oppressive! consumerist context = female empowerment.

    western women paying good money for the “privilege” does not empower women, its just a different avenue by which more power flows to men and male institutions. the stream of commerce (and the male medical machine) is a stream of male power flowing to men, just like the church funnels power (and money!) to men and how all patriarchal institutions funnel power and money to men. this does not empower women. women are weakened and die from this and men and patriarchal institutions are strengthened by it, thats the bottom line.

  6. oh, and contraceptive devices, products and medications are consumerist. which makes PIV-as-sex consumerist. DUH.

    http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/on-consumerism/

  7. Good topic, good to call out the hypocrisy — no less than the voice of patriarchal norms, Dikipedia, makes it clear why the links between all forms of this misogyny must be exposed: “The term FGM is not applied to medical or elective procedures such as labiaplasty and vaginoplasty, or those used in sex reassignment surgery.”

    One note on terminology. There have been discussions among people who work in aid groups who work with women who have undergone so-called FGM, and among feminists, that the word “mutilation” causes additional harm to the women who have had this done to them. If a woman is said to be “mutilated,” she is positioned as forever that mutilated person. So, rather than making that statement about the women, the term “Female Genital Cutting” describes the practice without othering the women being cut, and frames the practice in such a way that makes your argument work even better (the butchers who cut on women to reshape their labia to be more porn-compliant cannot claim that they are not cutting; they and the people who advocate for the practice cannot argue that it isn’t “mutilation”).

  8. I agree Hecuba, I really wish they hadn’t called it that. I didn’t want to write it, but I slipped it in at the bottom there because it was included in the UK Feminista quote. And yes, young women walking around half-naked, or depicting nudity, is not transgressive at all. But because the ideology behind the march is sound (unlike the Slutwalk!), and I’m impressed that women are angry enough to march about this, I felt it was a step in the right direction. (Although to be fair, the bar is pretty low: that slutwalk was a complete embarrasment for women, and it wasn’t even being led by women! :( )

    Noanodyne, thanks for the heads up about calling it Female Genital Cutting. Yes, the surgeons cannot argue against the fact that they *are* cutting women.

    And did anybody notice that awful surgeons choice of words. He begins his sentence with “As we age” and proceeds to list what happens to women’s healthy genitals. Who is the “we”?

  9. oh yes and that appalling man from The Third Estate, missing the point as men always do, going on about “nature will not protect anyone from anything”, as though nature is the one cutting up women, rather than men.

  10. Yes, his entire comment was bizarre. Men should keep their mouths shut about these things, they reveal so much whenever they speak but its hardly worth it. About as interesting as listening to interviews with pornographers or serial killers. They are depraved, sure, but they’re all pretty much the same.

  11. Great post CBL. Particularly the point of taking it out of the religious context.

    As we age, gravity causes all parts of our body to descend.

    Hmmm. Well wouldn’t that apply to men then? Surely their dicks and balls ‘descend’ and shouldn’t they be on the table ‘getting tidied up’?

    The whole gravity/aging thing (applied to women) is thoroughly ridiculous and made up. These boyz in the medical profession will make up any ‘condition’ if they can make a buck out of it.

  12. Well I don’t know what in the world a privileged vagina is, but the old women-as-food analogy never fails to make me laugh bitterly. Leg man or a breast man. Can’t eat the same thing for dinner every night. I notice this everywhere; Ella Bache marketing campaign is all about making your skin good enough to eat and shows women in spoons etc, numerous icecream ads show women flailing around orgasmically inside an icecream, the NANDOS ad campaign is the most disgusting: We Make the Chicks Hot, NO FAT CHICKS, take me home I’m basted etc.

    Carol J Adams has written some great books about women as meat: http://www.caroljadams.com/schedule.html

    Incidentally, when I did a search for this just now and typed ‘meat as porn’ expecting to be directed to academic discourse on the links between masculinity and meat eating, or perhaps Carol’s book ‘The Pornography of Meat’, I got 34 million hits: MeatHoles.com, Butcher Movies porn, EatMyBlackMeat.com, GiantBlackMeatWhiteTreat.com etc BUT at least hit number 7 was this article about a feminist protest at a porn conference quoting Gail Dines! http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/sep/23/pornography-conference-meat-market-protesters

  13. Female Genital Cutting is a term used by liberals to minimise the practice, it shouldn’t have any place in the radical analysis. Women who have their genitals cut up do indeed stay ‘positioned’ as mutilated for the rest of their lives. They continue to suffer pain and infection, and depending on the type of original mutilation are physically retraumatised whenever men penetrate them. Plus husbands put pressure on surgeons to sew them up after child birth. This is similar to the situation facing middle aged women in the west whose husbands bring them in after child birth for ‘vaginal rejuventation’. The term FGM is descriptive of what’s going on in the west, and in African countries, and should be retained.

  14. That quote by Dr Gary Alter is enough to turn even the most ardent heterosexual woman off men forever.

    This is what they think of us.

    Would a woman expect her female partner to go through an operation to tidy up her genitals, or would she be horrified that the person she loved was contemplating such a thing?

    I think we all know the answer to that.

  15. How in the world do these women know what their genitals look like? Are they contortionists or something? I sure can’t see mine. Which is why for the longest damn time I thought I had a penis. :p

    If hair is so nasty, why aren’t men shaving their genitals, legs, armpits, and especially the hair off their faces? All sorts of nasty crap flies into their mustaches and beards – food, dirt, vermin, insects. I’ve flown paper airplanes into them. It also makes me wonder why they’re not promoting that women shave the hair off their heads too? They’re rhetorical questions. I know the answer, of course. Just pointing out the hypocrisy.

    But yeah, men will do anything for a buck. They’ll sell their own mothers down the river for a buck. If I paid them a buck, they’d get down on all fours in the middle of traffic and bark like a dog. Hmmm… that gives me and idea…

    I’m delighted to know tho that hair acts as a bug repellant to men. Maybe I should buy some stuff to make it grow even more so I can ward off a whole army? :p Too bad it’s a lie tho. Men will swim through a river of snot if they think they’ll get some.

  16. I wish we had more anti-FGM (and anti-porn and anti-labiaplasty) marches as opposed to these embarassingly degrading “slutwalks”. Rather than “reclaiming” things and words– such as porn and words like “ho”– that were made by and for men, why not reclaim our minds and bodies from men and their porn and their other women-butchering industries, a la medical “science”.

    It is pornographic propaganda that drives women and girls to be masochists and lab-rats for men and their “suggestions” on how to “improve” the female form, and the sooner women and girls realize this, have a fucking epiphany once in a while instead being a “slutwalk”-feminist, the sooner we can have a real revolution….and no, it will not be pornofied.

    And I have noticed the racist/white-supremacist subtext whenever the media reports on FGM. “Oh look at those heathen dark-skinned folks chopping up vaginas. How barbaric! Now here’s Dr. John Smith on the benefits of labiaplasty and how it can improve your sex life, ladies!”

    Explain to me how the West/Global North is more “civilized” again?

  17. I to dislike the M*** word……why oh why do they have to use such terms. Feminista argue that in order to get any publicity at all for their campaighns they have to be outragious otherwise they are ignored……in UK anything to dow ith womons rights is ignored as unworthy because hey you know what we are all liberated these days….that is the latest in pomo and tory-pomo battle crys….and it will only get worse…….
    Brave womon to march and raise the issue….shame they have to be so extreme to get attention in the media…..

  18. you certainly have a way with words luckynkl :)

  19. Nature will not protect anyone from anything. It ought not be the job of protest to sell one commodity over another. The real damage to genitalia is something more primary, more hidden. Bodies are born cut up, ready to be sold. Your vagina has no privilege.

    I’m reading this as “because your “nature” as a woman is to perform femininity for male pleasure, that is your purpose and if you won’t perform it, we will force it on you directly or indirectly”. Ignoring the obvious contradiction for a moment, that is the crux of male supremacy; that female submissiveness is natural and unchangeable, and in the mind of males OUR DEFAULT. Our true “natural” state is existing unencumbered from male entitlements and their expectations of inferiority. Nobody is born with a political agenda, unless certain biological characteristics they possess have ALREADY been given cultural significance. Male supremacy is societal, not genetic. We are not born objects,female bodies are not born with femininity, that is a cultural projection and a creation of men.

    “Nature will not protect you from anything”, ergo, “we will forcibly remind you that your place is beneath us both literally and metaphorically, that is your true nature in our view, not the one you were born with”

    Males have historically twisted the word “nature”, they have posited that girls are born inferior, born faulty, which explains the ancient practice among patriarchal religions to celebrate that they were not born girls. Warrior cultures do not celebrate a girl turning into a woman. Judaism does not have the practice of a woman clutching her breasts and thanking Yahweh that she was not born male. Baby boys did not go unbaptized because they were considered unimportant. The birth of a boy does not necessitate a longer “uncleanliness” period, because males, separated from the female, are automatically purer. On the flip side, we get excuses of how men are inherently clueless, violent, incapable of self-regulation, and it’s women’s job to “hide” whatever that entices them to commit those things (often female existence), and take their shit because they can’t (won’t) do it themselves. Erasure, excuses, indifference… I’m seeing this in how men sanitize their language and actions by making it gender neutral, engage in false equivalence and victim blaming, (the oft-touted MRA claim that violence is 50/50, equating a slap with prolonged beatings, etc).

    They erase themselves as perpetrators. They erase themselves from the harms they commit. That is how rapes become “corrective” or a “misunderstanding”. The implication is that it is always that it’s some woman’s fault. We are faulty.

  20. yes, you’re right Princessriot. I’ve got so used to regarding men as being a bit thick because they cannot comprehend radical feminism, that I forget sometimes they *do* know what they’re saying. This man, (jacob, he calls himself) is asserting exactly that point: that women are born to be cut up. He is saying that *this* is natural, and the fact that that men do this to us is also natural.

    It is a complete contradiction though as you say. If women were born to be subordinate, then why does it take SO MUCH FORCE and SO MUCH CRUELTY and SO MUCH TERRORISM to keep us down? If the natural order was for women to be submissive and subordinate, then we would just *be* subordinate, and men wouldn’t need to employ drastic measures generation after generation to force us to comply.

  21. Today, girls in their mid-teens are worried about the appearance of their genitals. The negative messages of the malestream media are compounded by the fact that most women and girls do not know what each other’s normal genitals look like. They believe the appearance of the women in porn is the norm, when in fact it is not. The medical profession is cashing in on society’s carefully cultivated disgust of the female body.

    YES. This is why, I think it’s really, really important that women TALK ABOUT our genitals and what they look like, how they feel, what they DO. The silence and the secrecy ENABLE shame. It’s heart breaking.

    Thanks for writing this, CBL. It’s very difficult stuff to think about.

  22. And after reading all of this — it’s a great post — I know that there are a hundred times the number of white Western men who will complain that circumcision is the same as FGM. And will find some deluded way to blame women or feminists for it. LOL.

    But the practice actually was promoted by men, and probably selected for, because it is male-serving. circumcision reduces the risk of infecting a female partner with a disease, but it’s not for the woman’s benefit that it’s culturally instituted — oh no. Of that you can be sure. It’s to ensure the health of sons. A woman with an STD will have fertility problems and unhealthy babies, so it’s a male-promulgated practice to ensure the health of unborn sons.

    FGM, on the other hand, is not merely a “cultural difference” as so many suuuuper-liberal open-minded men say. It’s a specifically female-hating practice that, like circumcision, exists to benefit MEN. This time it’s explicitly at the cost of girls and women, whereas circumcision only benefits them in an indirect, unintentional way.

  23. No, warexx, “cutting” is the term that many aid workers have asked people to use after figuring out that the women they work directly with do not want to be seen as forever damaged. Those women want to see themselves as capable of being something other than mutilated — you know, as capable of being whole. This isn’t a theoretical debate and we cannot work our radical politics on the backs of real live women, those who have to actually live with these realities. And when they and the aid workers who are trying to stop the practice ask those of us who aren’t directly affected to do something, we damn well better listen.

  24. I agree UP! And did you notice that the man I quoted at the end thought the march was about vaginas?. We’re not talking about vaginas here, we’re talking about vulvas. People can’t even use the correct term when it comes to the female anatomy. But he’s a man so you can’t expect a grasp of basic biology. BUt women need to hold ourselves to higher standards. We need to talk to each other and educate ourselves.

  25. disturbingly, the male medical machine is *also* cutting up vaginas to make them more pleasing to men (although obviously that asshole you quoted wasnt referring to a vagina as you correctly state). yes, surgery is a treatment for “vaginismus”:

    Jill – “For 17 months we have suffered with the embarrassing humiliation of not being able to have sex after getting married. We waited until after our wedding for sex, only to have the worst honeymoon I could ever imagine, one where sex was impossible. We saw doctors as soon as we could and the recommendation was for surgery to open my vagina and hymen entrance so it would be large enough. We consented and within weeks the surgery was performed. After a long time of healing, I felt I was ready to try again, only to find out that it was still impossible to get him inside me. Even after they surgically widened me, sex has still been impossible due to pain and tightness. How can this be?”

    http://www.vaginismus.com/vaginismus-stories

    unsurprisingly, the surgery doesnt always work (aka the woman still gets no pleasure and only “pain and tightness” from PIV). luckily, theres a 10-step program too!

    http://www.vaginismus.com/vaginismus-treatment

    if *that* doesnt work, theres always lobotomy? i guess? i dont even want to know how many women just give up, and just keep having painful PIV anyway, because their partners and their doctors and therapists tell them they *shouldnt* be feeling pain and tightness. even though they are, and they arent the only ones. ugh.

  26. I love y’all. I can’t articulate my rage and disgust better than you already have.

  27. woah, vaginismus.com, way to strap those women onto the PIV-pony. One woman should just shell out a £1 and get a turkey baster:

    With some effort, we have been able to get him inside, but as soon as he tries to move it feels uncomfortable and I feel a pang of pain that forces us to stop. Our local physician recommended we use more lubricant, but it barely makes any difference. […] I truly want to be intimate and start working on a family. I just need somebody to help me figure out what is wrong!

    Lack of turkey baster, and stop trying to over-ride your mind/body and force yourself onto the PIV pony. PIV is rather obviously a duty for women in het relationships, as several of them say “I’m afraid he’ll leave me”.

    Many of the women getting this so-called “rejuvenation surgery” are going to get some nerve/sensation damage out of it, and so if they are doing this to “please their man” and cannot perform PIV due to pain/numbness, then they will find themselves out of the het relationship anyway.

  28. luckynkl … Love your sarcasm!
    And PrincessRot…that was stunning.

    I have to agree that the intent of the march, as with “SlutWalk”, has a kernel of good/truth at the center, but why can’t we get past using “sex sells” methodology to do our work? Feminists seem to be afraid of stepping out of that kind of all-pervasive (more like all-invasive) marketing. The more I read about first and second wavers and their work, the more I think we need to look back to re-set our minds and our creativity. They seemed to be able to do it without selling themselves in the process… I mean, a naked suit with glued on pubes? Really? Nobody will possibly take that grotesque parody seriously.

  29. ‘Muff March’. Oy vey.

    The comments over there made me throw up. It was all I could do to go through them and flag all the offensive/hateful ones (which is most of them) without triggering like crazy.

  30. I want to highlight something about strategy. I think that most women at least feel on an unconscious level know that the things they inflict on themselves are painful, damaging and degrading. But they still do it because of the premise that they need a man in their lives. Thus the consequence is to please men because they won’t stay if women stop to cater to them. Even women with regular feminist ideas (not the pro-pornies) are mostly still male-pleasing in their looks and behaviour because the consequence is evident and solid. It is the premise that has to be changed first. No matter what feminist idea you deal with, most women will still not act on it even though they agree with it on a rational level because they believe in the wrong premise. It is no use or not much to tell women that diats, butchery, piv, etc. are harmful, painful and degrading (all bdsm). It won’t work until the premise is changed. The amount of brainwashing is breathtaking.
    Of course, to tell the truth about men looks like hatered of men (or so the malestream says/lies), but the truth is still the only thing that will work at all because it’s the only thing that sets free. And freedom of the mind is still an amazing thing even though it is not freedom in life yet. And it is the best thing available at the moment. Of course pointing out the harm done to women in order to demonstrate men’s hatered of women will do, too.

    “That quote by Dr Gary Alter is enough to turn even the most ardent heterosexual woman off men forever.
    This is what they think of us.”

    Yes, Cherryblossomlife, spot on!

    Where are the amounts of women who demand the same thing from men? I guess they reside in MRAs’ fantasies (aka projections). It takes men to come up with this shit.

  31. yes Feuerwerferin,
    women practice femininity, however that may be defined in any given culture (in our culture a neat vulva = feminine) because if they didn’t men would like them even less than they already do, and perhaps they would abuse women even more than they already do. And yet, they would still expect us to be in close proximity to them: married, doing the shitwork, serving them sexually. Nothing would change for women. The only difference would be that, if women didn’t practice femininity, men would find it even harder to conceal their disgust.

    Deep down women know this.

  32. its such a good point that POINTING OUT what men do “looks like” hatred of men, because the truth is so ugly its almost impossible to believe its not all lies that were made up to slander men. but they arent lies, they are the truth. dworkin didnt use hyperbole, and neither do we when we call attention to the fact that men rape babies, that they hang women up on meathooks or whatever the horror of the day. men really do this to real children and real women in real life. or even that they “merely” place girls and women in harms way, literally placing them at risk for death through PIV. yet, they do this all the time. telling the truth about this looks hateful, but thats mens hate being revealed. its difficult to comprehend how this gets interpreted the way it does, but there it is. it might “resemble” man-hatred to some people (or they could be deliberately lying about that and really it doesnt look like man-hatred at all), but what it really reveals is something else entirely. if only anyone would fucking SEE IT for what it is.

  33. the bottom line is that it appears to be impossible for men (either individually or as a sexual class) to tell the truth about men as a sexual class. male-identified women seem to have the same problem naming men as a sexual class as the agents of harm to girls and women around the world. this special-snowflake individualism seems central to the patriarchal mindset. thats probably worth remembering in general, as i am sure the applications are widespread, and virtually unlimited. :)

  34. its such a good point that POINTING OUT what men do “looks like” hatred of men,

    FCM- Well I hate men, but I have good reasons to, considering what happens to womyn around the world. And man-hating is hardly equivalent to woman-hating, btw. One group here does not have the same power to hurt in their hatred of the other, i.e. most man-haters simply spend their lives just ignoring men, while most woman-haters objectify, demean, degrade, violate and torture womyn’s bodies…

    Nobody would be offended by the Jews hating the Nazis, considering what the Nazis were doing to them. The jews had all the right in the world to hate them, so why not us? considering there is a war against womyn out there. Men may call us ‘feminazis’ but it’s pure patriarchal reversal ’cause they are being the real Nazis in all the cruelties they do to womyn…

  35. Found this blog; thank you for being here and for bringing facts to light that, while not easy to read, are necessary for us to understand the extent of women-hating being perpetrated by men. I’d already thought it was appalling that modern “heteronormative” women today have been brainwashed and socially controlled by the patriarchy’s porn culture to believe they must use wax or shaving to make adult labia look like baby girls’ labia. That was before reading this post and learning about the prevalence of cosmetic (what!!!ick!!!sad!!!) labiaplasty being performed by an overwhelmingly male cast (upper caste) of surgeons against brainwashed females with money.

    Just proves, once again, that there is a lower sexual caste of women living and suffering within every relatively “privileged” social class run by men. As the second-wave radical feminists wrote — and the faux fun feminists and POMO club members deride because for people to accept the truth would destroy the lies that in turn destroy women’s truest lives!

  36. I would like to make the following point, as I am someone who has considered having Labiaplasty. As it currently stands, I have not had the procedure.

    While I very much agree with what you write regarding labiaplasty and such procedures as being from pressure to conform to twisted beauty ideals set up by men, in my case I had a very different reason for wanting to pursue this surgery, and it’s my hope that people in my predicament won’t ever get told that their own reason for wanting to was somehow not legitamate.

    In my case, the left half of my labia minora had grown so large, that it was approximately 5 inches long, and didn’t stay tucked inside of the labia majora. Thus, a whole lot of pink, mucus membraneous flesh was exposed with nothing to cushion it, and the very act of walking or sitting down pinching it beneath me was extremely painful. I recognize the majority of women seeking labiaplasty do not have this condition. But I would hope that no one in my predicament would wind up being told that pain was not a valid reason to have the excess skin removed. I’ve yet to have it removed, as I’m afraid of complications, and rather resort so far to rolling it up and tucking it into a specially-constructed cushioned underwear to try to mitigate the pain.

  37. Hi Lycere,
    One of the points I mentioned is that women don’t know what the genitals of other women look like. It’s perfectly normal for the labia minora not to stay tucked inside the labia majora, for example, and to “hang down” as you put it.
    But yes, as with breast augmentation, or other cosmetic surgery, nobody here is judging women at all! How can we judge women? THe focus of the march was on the pornography industry and the medical establishment.
    BUt it’s worth mentioning that perhaps in another time and another place, you might have lived in a society that did not require you to wear tight fitting underwear…

    http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/underpants-revolution/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 413 other followers

%d bloggers like this: