File spoon-archives/marxism-thaxis.archive/marxism-thaxis_1998/marxism-thaxis.9804, message 186

Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 12:12:41 -0500
Subject: M-TH: Clitoridectomy (Against the Naturalization of Heterosexuality)

Procreationists are facilitating the social relations + ideology that give
rise to clitoridectomy. Clitorises are cut off, because women are not
supposed to have sexuality unrelated to procreation, according to
hetero-chauvinism + sexism.


Jerry wrote:
>> > Why do men cut out the clitorus in some parts of the world Boddi?
>Clitorectomies, i.e the modern name for the surgical removal of the
>clitoris, are performed usually by _women_. Normally, the person
>performing the ritual is a mother, aunt, or another female member of
>the community. There appears to be a taboo against an active role for men
>in this ceremony. Thus the victims of one generation become active agents
>for the repetition of the practice on the next generation (sad, ironic,
>and true).
>Of course, the _reason_ for sexual mutilation of women appears to be
>related to both patriarchy and monogomy. Indeed, as you suggest it is a
>form of control by men over the sexual behavior of women.
>Although one can infer purpose to this social custom, I don't think there
>is any anthropological evidence that records the original genesis of
>female genital mutilation. We do know, though, that the practice
>pre-dates the birth of capitalism. For those who are planning a trip to
>New York, there is a ancient tool on display used in female genital
>mutilations in the "Museum of Natural History". How odd that this should
>be considered to be "natural" history.
>Although the practice is mostly centered in certain regions in Africa, it
>is not limited to rural areas. Moreover, there are cases in other areas of
>the world where it is practiced to a lesser degree. And, btw, it is still
>practiced on a very limited level in the USA. In fact, there was a legal
>case where a woman asked for asylum to prevent her from being returned
>home to her African country where she would be surely mutilated.
>This may be a painful topic to talk about, but it is a crucial issue today
>for hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of women today. It is also a
>instance in which it is proper for Marxists to pass (negative) judgment on
>a cultural custom and to mobilize against such practices. Occasionally,
>feminist organizations organize actions against female genital mutilation.
>These actions should be supported.
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