How to End Female Genital Mutilation--In the U.S. and Around the World

I was born in Guinea, a beautiful, small country on the West Coast of Africa. Green mountains line the landscape, amid waterfalls and forests full of trees that sway with the Atlantic Ocean breeze. But this beauty belies a horrifying statistic: According to the World Health Organization, more than 96 percent of women in Guinea have been subject to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). And a new report from Sanctuary for Families finds that thousands of girls living in the United States have been subject to FGM, brought by their families to countries like Guinea for "vacation cutting." ...more
Than you for writing about this. I learned about female genital mutilation when I watched the ...more

Somalia's new constitution prohibits Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), but will it stop the practice?

This August, Somalia banned female circumcision by law. The ban is a welcome addition to the new constitution but enforcing an end to the practice will be a huge challenge....more

In the interest of fairness

I have blogged repeatedly about weird shit people are culturally encouraged to do to the va-jay-jay, but I have posted nothing about the penis. That hardly seems fair....more

Is a Nick Really Better Than a Slice? The Controversial Plan to Stop Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

According to the New York Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends permitting pediatricians to a ceremonial pinprick or “nick” on girls from these cultures if it would keep their families from sending them overseas for the full circumcision." I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, if it helps girls by stopping their parents from sending them abroad to be mutilated under dangerous conditions, that is good. On the other, should this be a tradition that should be honored? ...more

Hmm...that's a good point. I am imagining it as being similar to what some people have been ...more

Female Genital Mutilation - Just Stop It.

I directed a documentary film on female genital mutilation entitled "The Cut" which was released earlier this week. ...more

not totally getting it, but will keep trying. plus sexy posts from the outside.

I have to be honest that I don't really understand Blogher. I post, maybe people read, I comment and then...not sure...am I missing something? I'll keep plugging away and maybe our blog will grow organically through the magical powers of women online. This week at hootchi cootchi there are a couple of interesting posts to note: Little girl singing Iron Maiden - makes me rethink my stance on not having children.  ...more

Feminism and Cultural Relativism

The caption on the photo accompanying the May 13th New York Times article, "Love on the Girls' Side of the Saudi Divide," read, "Shaden, who is veiled at 17, spoke with her father as her younger sister looked on in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in March 2008." As I ate breakfast, I stared at the picture. My initial look revealed only a girl who was maybe nine or ten years old wearing a white shirt and black sweater and an older man with a silver mustache wearing white. Where was Shaden? I squinted, pulled the paper closer to my face, and finally noticed her. Covered in the shapeless black fabric of an abaya, I didn't see Shaden at first because to my Western eye she is an utter non-entity, a black void that fills the space between her dad and younger sister. Immediately, I felt sorry for Shaden for her lack of presence. Then I wondered how a different culturally trained eye would see the photo. Would someone from, say, Saudi Arabia notice Shaden first, then her sister and father? (And if so, does that make it OK that Shaden is not allowed to show her face in public, under any circumstances, ever again, because people there still "see" her?) ...more

Hi Suzanne,

I know what you mean. At the same time, I remember that even in the West, ...more