2.Frye - Feminism Encyclopedia Entry

2.Frye - Feminism Encyclopedia Entry - feminism 195 ritual...

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ritual. It is practiced mostly in 28 African countries and among minorities in Asia. In the 1990s many African refugee and immigrant women moved to Europe, North America and Australia carrying with them the culture of the practice and its consequences. Those countries, together with several African countries, have passed laws prohi- biting the practice in the past decade. FC/FGM is a cultural practice and not a religious requirement. It is practised by some Muslims, Christians of various denominations, the Ethiopian Jews and followers of indigenous African religions. Commonly, girls undergo circumcision between the ages of four and twelve years, some before marriage and some as early as the first two years of life. In societies where FC/FGM is part of a larger initiation ritual, urbanisation and eco- nomic pressures have reduced the initiation to genital cutting. According to the World Health Organization there are four types of FGM: Type I : Excision of the prepuce with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris (mostly clitoridectomy). Type II : Excision of the prepuce and clitoris together with partial or total excision of the labia minora. Type III : Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (infibulation). Type IV : Rare and unclassified types. FC/FGM can cause many physical complications and may have lasting sexual and psychological effects depending on individual constitution, the circumcision experience and the socialising pro- cess. While the practice was first problematised by outsiders, the growing African women's movement is becoming vocal against the practice. The Inter African Committee (IAC) was started in 1984 and today has affiliates in over 24 countries. Other organisations dealing with issues of health and human rights are including FC/FGM within their mandate defining it as a violation of women's health and sexual rights. Because of the severity of this form of control of women's sexuality and because it occurs primarily in black Africa it has ignited many racial and cultural conflicts. The handling of some western feminists of the practice as a `barbaric ritual' of more inferior cultures drives many Africans to defend their cultures regardless of whether they approve or disapprove of the practice. The paucity of exposure of indigenous Africans' efforts to stop this practice by a biased western media feeds into existing patronising and racist attitudes. Increased collaboration and networking between women's organisations in Africa and the international women's movements is overcoming past rifts between African and western feminists. Progressive African women welcome all support and collabora- tion given in a spirit of equality and justice. NAHID TOUBIA
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2011 for the course WOMEN'S S 240 taught by Professor Cole during the Spring '07 term at University of Michigan.

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2.Frye - Feminism Encyclopedia Entry - feminism 195 ritual...

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