Ain't I a Woman Too?
Others believe it's time to abandon the practice, and this is okay too. We believe it's time for our governments, international organizations and anti-fgm campaigners to listen to ALL our voices.
Anti-fgm campaigns may be well intentioned but they stigmatize girls and women in our communities. Many anti-fgm activists make exaggerated or unfounded claims about the long term health and psychosexual impact of these surgeries. Also, anti-fgm policies and legislation criminalize practioners for performing the same female genital cosmetic operations that thousands of women, adolescent and some underage girls undergo in western countries.
Anti-fgm campaigns have the unintended consequences of discouraging women from seeking badly needed antenatal care and gynecological checkups; these negative messages foster low self-esteem, feelings of racial and gender inferiority as well as sexual anxieties among affected adolescent girls and young women in particular. More important, anti-fgm policies don't work.
The "Ain't I a Woman" campaign goal is to raise seed money to finance our effort to increase awareness about the negative impact of anti-fgm campaigns, to lobby for policies that advance the full autonomy of ALL adolescent girls and women over their own bodies; to sponsor the education of circumcised girls so that they can delay marriage and have the same choices and opportunities in life as other children in the world; as well as to celebrate and teach about our unique traditions of female (and male) initiation in sub-Sahara Africa and other parts of the world.
Your $100 annual partnership will help some of the most marginalized African girls and women become confident and productive citizens in their communities with a strong sense of cultural identity and pride.
Your financial contribution of any amount will help restore the dignity and preserve the rights and freedoms of affected women and girls all over the world. With your contributions, together we can improve the way female initiation or female circumcision procedures are carried out in our communities while holding on to the health, aesthetic and sexual benefits of our unique, time honored, socioreligious traditions. With your support we can effectively advocate for an age of consent for certain procedures where this is relevant as an alternative to zero tolerance and extremist anti-fgm policies.
Thanks and God bless,
Fuambai and Sunju
PS, I love that you are doing this campaign - obviously a very controversial issue, but great that you are keeping the young women in schools and holding off marriage and families. I think African countries in particular (like the rest of the world) would do well to have more women in power, whatever they choose to do with their lady parts (which is no one's business but their own)! Much love!!
I respect your right to choose and absolutely your right to your cultural practices, however I have two issues of A) consent and B) health. I read of young women being carried off into the night without warning or consent to be put through a (what I imagine to be horrifically painful) procedure their mother has signed them up for - and has this mother been fully informed of the risks associated with this procedure? I expect that the women who perform these circumcisions have been taught ancient knowledge that has passed down through the ages to the point where it is an art and they must be incredibly experienced and knowledgeable, and maybe not medically certified, but qualified none-the-less, but I have heard some stories about rusty knives being used, and even sharpened stones; Some women bleeding out, dying of septic shock or later dying in childbirth when the birthing child unintentionally causes lacerations. I've seen keloids form in the scar tissue, and heard horror stories of the women who have immigrated (who never gave consent for this procedure) and then seek surgical repair - but even with repair / reopening, some will never experience sexual pleasure, intimacy yes, but the nerves that give sexual pleasure will not grow back. So: If these women are consenting for themselves, being fully informed of all the risks involved, I say go for it! I believe it is wrong to significantly alter a body in such a way forcefully, without the knowledge and consent of the woman concerned (and I realise this is my opinion). And: if a woman consents to the procedure, she should have access to hygienic facilities and instruments, as well as well-trained and experienced practitioners and should anything go wrong, follow-up care. Additionally, (and this is my own biased agnostic, western, white, feminist opinion) I question what this does to young women's esteem if they are forced to see themselves as "unhygienic", "impure", "unchaste", bad wives or mothers, not worthy of marriage, and not encouraged to see themselves as perfect the way they were created.