finchleerat asked: In this post: http://factsforfeminists.tumblr.com/post/3047972257/i-recently-received-a-submission-of-fgm-statistics
you say there are forms of FGM that "are actually not risky or overly painful, and in fact increase female sexual pleasure." I was just wondering what these forms of FGM entail and what cultures practice them. Because i've only ever viewed FGM as a very negative thing, but it seems i might not have the whole picture...??
TRIGGER WARNING FOR FGM
I’m actually very uncomfortable discussing this subject. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, and as a privileged white woman from the U.S. I often think that my energies are better focused on areas I fully understand. That said, it’s really important to learn about these issues— but please keep in mind that I am by no means an expert source.
First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that Western feminists very easily fall into a “rescuer” mentality that allows us to view ourselves as knowledgeable heroes, and “all the brown people” as exactly the same: victimized and in need of our intervention. This is really dangerous; it generalizes, it’s a very privileged view, it erases countless women and experiences, and it’s impossible to truly do good without good and true information. So I don’t want to fall into that, and I don’t want anyone else to make the mistake of doing so.
As I wrote before, forms of FGM vary a lot from place to place. We can all agree that forced FGM is absolutely unacceptable and needs to end. The same goes for FGM practiced in unsanitary and dangerous conditions (as in, with broken glass, without anesthetic, etc).
However, such conditions are not constant. FGM is actually not even a good blanket term; a lot of people prefer Female Genital Cutting or Female Genital Surgery. Because in some places (and again, I’m using my memory of sources like The Feminist Hub, so keep in mind I’m no expert) the surgery is consensual and totally humane. For instance, there’s clitorodectomy, which (if I remember correctly) involves scraping the top layer(s) of skin off the clitoris, which actually makes it easier for the woman to orgasm.
It’s really important to keep in mind that the procedure happens across a myriad of cultures. Universal condemnation erases those differences. I absolutely agree that it’s disgusting when five-year olds’ labias are sewn shut, for example. That needs to never happen. But it’s not the only thing that happens, and we can’t get caught up in the Big Western Heroes narrative like we have in the past.
(I’d also like to direct those interested to this post, which is also very informative and talks about Western bias and hypocrisy too.)