Press, vol. 31, no. 2, June 1979.
3 Reported in
Female Circumcision, Excision and Infibulation: The Facts
and Proposals for Change,
Rep. no. 47, Minority Rights Group, London
also Abdalla, Raqiya,
Affliction: Circumcision and
Zed Press, London, 1980.)
4 Bernstein, Hilda,
For Their Triumphs and for Their Tears: Women in
Apartheld South Africa,
International Defence Fund, 104 Newgate St
5 Holt. and
University of Chicago Press, 1960.
6 Ellul, Jacques,
Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes
New York, 1965.
Patricia Murphy Robinson
I The sex wars
Asked his advice, Dr. ]. Guerin affirmed that, after all other treatments
had failed, he had succeeded in curing young girls affected by the vice
of onanism by burning the clitoris with a hot iron
.... Iapply the hot point
three times to each of the large labia and another on the clitoris
the first operation,
from forty to fifty times a day, the
voluptuous spasms was reduced to three or four
.... We believe, then,
that in cases similar to those submitted to your consideration, one should
not hesitate to resort to the hot iron, and at an early hour, in order to
combat clitoral and vaginal onanism in little girls.
The time has come to think about sex. To some, sexuality may
seem to be an unimportant topic, a frivolous diversion from the
more critical problems of poverty, war, disease, racism, famine,
or nuclear annihilation. But it is precisely at times such as these,
when we live with the possibility of unthinkable destruction, that
people are likely to become dangerously crazy about sexuality.
Contemporary conflicts over sexual values and erotic conduct
have much in common with the religious
disputes of earlier
centuries. They acquire immense symbolic weight. Disputes over
sexual behavior often become the vehicles for displacing social
attendant emotional intensity.
Consequently, sexuality should be treated with special respect in
times of great social stress.
also has its own internal politics,
inequities, and modes of oppression.
with other aspects of
human behavior, the concrete institutional forms of sexuality at
any given time and place are products of human activity. They
are imbued with conflicts of interest and political maneuvering,
incidental. In that sense, sex is always
political. Butthere are also historical periods in which sexuality
more sharply contested and more overtly politicized. In such
periods, the domain of erotic life is, in effect. renegotiated.