Monday, 11 June 2012


Reflection B

Blogging about this project was actually so much more fun and easy than making a simple poster that I know will just get hung up on a wall in the classroom for a couple months, than added to the collection of past assignments in my closet at home. Here I was able to work on my project literally anytime I wanted to, at my own pace, all with the help of typing rather than writing everything out.

The absolute best part about this project is that since it is online, it is open for anyone to come and read about my topic. I can leave this blog here for months, maybe even years and over that time more and more people will have stumbled across my page and read up on this issue, perhaps even motivate a few people to take action. That's what this is all about, getting the word of this issue out to anyone who is interested, educate them, and get them to spread the world. These days it's so easy to share stories that I know this will have made a difference in the world, whether it's small or on a much grander scale.

Reflection A

I chose this topic because it was something that I knew absolutely nothing about.  I wanted to truly educate myself and learn about an issue that not most others did, rather than focus on a topic that gets more recognition (not to say that those such topics require less attention than mine). "Female Genital Mutilation"were three words that really stood out to me on the page we received the first day we started this project outline, it's hard to ignore something with a name as cacophonous as that.

I learned about the troubles that some girls will go through in order to fit in and be accepted by society as a whole and their families as individuals. I also learned how blinded some people are by tradition and how it makes them overlook personal well being in order to please others. The world is obviously a very cruel place, but it's hard to imagine it as one so cruel as to twist an entire population's mind into thinking that mutilating and permanently damaging the mind and body of a young girl is acceptable. I still believe that this issue needs more recognition than it gets, because it most certainly does not get enough.
Upon starting this project I have come to realize how easily I have it here. I never imagined a problem such as this existed until just before I started this blog project, and now that I'm more aware of this particular global injustice I feel so compelled to tell more people about all that I learned from my research. I can't imagine being one of the young girls who is in danger of being tricked into thinking that getting a female circumcision done with enhance her health and beauty, or worse, knowing the costs of the procedure but being forced to do it anyway. The pain that I've seen from the videos I've watched and pictures I have seen online is indescribable.
I opened up this blog with a story about my pierced ears and the scars they left behind to give a general "first world" understanding of  what this issue could be like. I cannot stress enough how overwhelming understated my example was.
These girls go through so much more, and their scars run so much deeper.
This entire situation makes me wonder why I don't hear more about this in the news or online when I'm NOT searching it up myself. I feel that people aren't educated enough on the subject since every time I've mentioned it to anyone outside of class, they have no idea what it is. Further, they sometimes think I'm making this issue up, that only men get circumcised.

I feel like we are still stuck in the dark days when I think about the power that men have over women in regards to this issue. In North America and other Western parts of the world, most  people don't live in fear of shaming our families by not getting married. I don't know anybody who would go through what these girls go through just for the sake of one day having a husband, especially when you reflect on the medical impacts this procedure leaves behind.

One thing I did notice though, was that Western societies' "need to fit in" isn't too far off from this. Many girls (and boys) here will often do "whatever it takes" to fit in, whether it is changing their personality or their body,  much like the girls in Egypt and Pakistan and other countries, though to a lesser extent.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Properly Purifying the Problem
Purity is not found by holding women down and mutilating their bodies as their blood soaks the floor, creating a stain almost as permanent as the one that will be engraved into their soul forever. Purity is not found by continuing on a tradition that causes only pain and suffering for those involved. No.

Purity is found in creating a solution to the problem so that there is less suffering and intolerance in this world.

How can we do this though? How can we possibly put a stop to an age old tradition that happens so frequently in so many places?
Well, let's look at the basics. Like any other global issue, change starts with awareness. The more people that know about this problem the better. It can happen by reading up on the issue and educating yourself, then making the transition to getting the word out to others, either by talking about it or sharing the information you yourself have studied. The more people that know the better.,,15359387,00.html
Next, you take the first step in truly dedicating yourself to change. Instead of just talking about female genital mutilation, you can truly learn about it, and start making a real step in stopping it (by organizing a protest or campaign to raise awareness, writing a letter to a government official, etc). Protests can often be seen as unpeaceful by the opposing party, but a campaign is always a solid approach. You can start a petition and get signatures from peers and other supporters, this will show how many people feel it is necessary to rethink the issue.

In countries such as Sudan, female genital mutilation is actually outlawed even though it is still practiced. If more  awareness is brought forward to the governments of countries like Sudan, perhaps by writing letters or holding conferences regarding the issue, then we will truly be closer to resolving the issue.

Here is a fun way in which a group of boys (yes, boys) decided to raise awareness. They created a short video which included some very important facts about the issue.

Who is Affected

  • Young Girls and Women- Players..
    - Often manipulated into getting the surgery done
    - Affected emotionally and mentally
    - Need to be accepted into society, so they need to get it done
  • Mothers/Aunts/Grandmothers/Other Guardians
    - Allow/Enforce female genital mutilation upon young ones without regard for their personal well being, even though they are aware of the traumas it causes.
    - Feel that because they had it done, it need be done unto their children
    - Won't be accepted in society if they don't pass on the tradition
  • Government Leaders
    - Stakeholder..
    - Possess the ability to outlaw female genital mutilation, if they so choose
    - Can influence the other stakeholders to resist/stop continuing on the tradition
  • Bystanders
    - Players..
    - Have the ability to protest/raise awareness for the issue
    - Can influence government officials/leaders/other stakeholders to rethink the legality of the procedure
    - Can aid the women/girls who have undergone the surgery or get them help before they are forced into getting it done

The Big Question

With all the medical, emotional, and physical complications that come with female genital mutilation, it's a wonder why this even exists.  What on Earth possesses these women to make their daughters undergo this horrible procedure that they too have suffered through and know the consequences of?

Why is this happening?

There are many different social and cultural reasons why FGM happens.

The most common reason is attempting to control a girl's response to puberty.  Often when a young woman reaches the adolescent stage of her life she starts to learn more about her body, and naturally the reason her body is the way it is. Usually around this time girls and boys start interacting with each other and relationships of a more mature nature form, which will eventually lead to sexual activities. It is almost always frowned upon when this happens in any community, as many adults feel it is more respectful to only react sexually to stimuli at an older age. This is why female genital mutilation procedures happen at a younger age, preferably before adolescence. The surgery that the girl has to take when getting her circumcision is so painful and scarring that it creates a feeling a fear in regards to being sexually active. The victim will usually be too afraid to have sex because of the pain it will most likely cause her, therefore controlling the sexual response to puberty.

FGM is also practiced because of social/cultural beliefs. There is usually a social pressure to conform to what the other members of the community do, as is in every culture. Since so many of the women have undergone the surgery and most girls are forced into doing it, it would feel almost wrong to not suffer through it as well, so that they do not become a "black sheep."
From the mother's perspective, female circumcision is considered to  be a vital part in raising a girl properly, to prepare her for potential suitors. Men feel that a a girl is more attractive when she is circumcised, in this way they have control over the women because it makes the women feel like if they do not get a circumcision they will never get married.

A common misconception of FGM is that it is also practiced for religious reasons when in fact, it has nothing to do with religion at all. It has been noted that there is absolutely NOTHING in the Qu'ran about the need for girls to get circumcised, or for women to purify themselves through altering their bodies (same goes for writings in the bible). It might be said that FGM is a religious practice to make it seem more tolerable for others, since arguing with religious practices is often a hard battle to win. But it is in fact a tradition carried out simply for cultural reasons.