Okay, I admit it. I watch America’s Next Top Model and have been watching since Cycle 2. I am a reality show junky and there are not many reality shows that I don’t set my television to record. From The Salt and Pepa Show (which is pretty damn good) to Flava of Love 3 (may God forgive me. The women are pitiful on this show. Not a memorable one in the bunch. Yet, still I watch).
Anyway, yesterday was the season premier of Cycle 10 of America’s Next Top model. It was pretty good. I like seeing the women fight. I like seeing the world's standard of beauty and I especial love seeing what America considers a “plus size” model. All the other Drama is just icing on the cake. Well, on this particular episode we meet Fatima (pictured above). Fatima, in my eyes, is not that attractive and if you see her in a bathing suit she looks malnourished. In the very first episode she gets into it with Muhammad Ali’s niece and some other curly haired sister (neither of which make the final cut). All while waiting to interview with the panel, in the mist of all the white girls. Why must we put on a show for the white folks? Can somebody tell me? The drama all starts because Fatima tells her fellow sisters of color that they are acting Ghetto and should be ashamed. And they were acting pretty damn ghetto, so I don’t know why they got all mad. LOL.
Well, before all is said and done there is a complete turnaround. They start talking about sex or some crap and Fatima says how she doesn’t think she will ever have sex with a man. Of course this is an unthinkable concept for the horny hoes on America’s Next Top Model. Then they learn that Fatima had to suffer through the mutilation of Female Circumcision (a process that she explains to the panel) and there is the sisterly bond of tears and hugs. One of the more manly of the women asked Fatima if the circumcision made her feel like less of a woman. The other girls got all indignant and shit by the question, and although it was probably an inappropriate time to ask the question I thought it was a legitimate one. Hell, I wanted to hear the answer my damn self.
A definition: The removal of the clitoris and labia and the sewing up of the vagina, leaving only a small opening for urine and menstrual blood - a process known as infibulation. (This is just one of the three type so female castration).
This is the form of Female Circumcision that Fatima had to endure. Except when she explained it she said that they took her “two ladies and sewed them together”. I was mortified just listening. So, of course I looked it up today so I could speak on it here (I didn’t want to appear too ig’nant).
So drastic is the mutilation involved in the latter operation that young brides have to be cut open to allow penetration on their wedding night and are customarily sewn up afterwards. (Can you believe that crap?) The castration is to ensure that woman are faithful to their future husbands. Some communities, in Africa, don’t even see woman as being iligiable for marriage if they have not been circumcised.
My short little research of the process reveled to me that girls as young as three years of age have to go through this process, but this varies according to countries and cultures. What does not vary is the fact that the operations that these girls endure are often carried out in unsanitary conditions. Razor blades, scissors, kitchen knives and even pieces of glass are used, often on more than one girl, which increases the risk of infection. And get this…Anesthesia is rarely used.
Some girls die as a result of hemorrhaging, septicemia and shock or suffer long term urinary and reproductive problems.
I will admit that I had hear of female circumcision prior to this episode of America’s Next Top model, but never really bothered to get to learn more about it. As a circumcised man I couldn’t even begin to understand the concept of circumcision on a woman. I am saddened to learn that women still undergo such barbaric practices. It saddens me even more to learn that in many cultures, women who have not underwent this surgery are considered unclean, harlots and treated as such. The men of these cultures believe even believe that they will die if their penis touches a woman’s clitoris.
(Everything below this sentence came directly from the article I read.)
Campaigns are working
Female circumcision is part of the fabric of many African societies
Due to health campaigns, female circumcision has been falling in some countries in the last decade. In Kenya, a 1991 survey found that 78% of teenagers had been circumcised, compared to 100% of women over 50. In Sudan, the practice dropped by 10% between 1981 and 1990.
Several governments have introduced legislation to ensure the process is only carried out in hospitals by trained doctors.
Other countries such as Egypt have banned the operation altogether, but there is significant opposition to change because of the traditional nature of the process and health workers think a less confrontational approach, such as Ntanira Na Mugambo, could be more successful.
Ntanira Na Mugambo, also known as 'circumcision by words', has been developed in rural areas of Kenya by local and international women's health organisations.
It involves a week-long programme of community education about the negative effects of female genital mutilation, culminating in a coming of age ceremony for young women.
The young women are secluded for a week and undergo classes in reproduction, anatomy, hygiene, respect for adults, developing self-esteem and dealing with peer pressure.
Family members also undergo health education sessions and men in the community are taught about the negative effects of female circumcision.
Health workers believe the programme works because it does not exert a blunt prohibition on female genital mutilation, but offers an attractive alternative.
-One Man’s Opinion. Peace.
I hate to make this a sidebar, but it has to be noted. On this date, in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated.