MUTILATE.FEM

Specific references on female genital mutilation are excerpted from the
following:

This file was prepared for electronic distribution by the inforM staff.
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 TEACHING ABOUT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AN
 INTERDISCIPLINARY RESOURCE GUIDE

Alice Walker, Possessing the Secret of Joy, New York: Harcourt

Brace Jovanovich, 1992.
A literary presentation of an African American woman who
     chooses to have a clitoridectomy in order to follow
     Olinka tradition. Passages of this novel are a good
     choice for students because they help personalize the
     issue of genital mutilation. Professors may want to read
     the entire novel to decide which chapters can be used in
     conjunction with each section of the syllabus.

Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke (editors), Opening the Gates: A
Century of Arab Feminist Writing, Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana
University Press, 1990.

     The sections entitled "Zainaba" and "Lecture on
     Clitoridectomy to the Midwives of Touil, Mauntania" give an account
     of one attempt to work within the existing framework of African culture
     to bring about improvements in the medical practices
of clitoridectomies.
     These articles present the reader with a different perspective
     (other than a Western one) on how change can occur in
the area of genital
     mutilation.

Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Meta-ethics of Radical Feminism,
Boston, Ma.: Beacon Press, 1990.
In chapter five, "African Genital Mutilation: Unspeakable Atrocities," Daly
     discusses how certain healthorganizations refuse to deal with this topic
     because of accusations of racism in regards to the issue of genital
     mutilation. Daly also discusses the components of the
     Sado-Ritual Syndrome, including the hermaphroditic myth,
     and the reason for the absence of men from the actual practice of female
     genital mutilation. Daly alsoinvestigates possible parallels of African
     genital mutilation to certain health trends in the United States today.

Jomo Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya: The Tribal Life of Gikuyu, New
York: Vintage Books, 1965.

Jomo Kenyatta holds the opposite view of Mary Daly. He is writing from the
     perspective that genital mutilation is an African tradition, and for this
     reason, it is not a matter that should occupy international concern. It
     is not a women's issue, Kenyatta believes, but an issue ofrace and
     nationality. Chapter six entitled, "The Initiation of Boys and Girls" is
     a good example of these beliefs.

Fran Hosken, The Hosken Report: Genital and Sexual Mutilation of
Females, Lexington, Ma.: The Women's International Network News,
1982.
Students should read the introductory chapter, as well as the chapter which
     presents Fran Hosken's personal opinions. This book is a collection of
     statistics that Hosken has compiled over the years in her studies of
     genital mutilation in some countries in Africa.

Resources for faculty

Nawal El Saadawi, The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World,
Boston, Ma.: Beacon Press, 1982.
This is El Saadawi's personal account of how she had the operation forced
    on her as a child. Her account is vivid, and we get to hear first hand
    about one woman's pain. El Saadawi goes further to discuss the situation
    of Arab women today, and more specifically chapters entitled "The
    Question No One Would Answer," and "Circumcision of Girls" are very
    helpful.

John Duffy, "Masturbation and Clitoridectomy: A 19th Century View,"
Journal of the American Medical Association, volume 186, October
19, 1963: pp. 245-248.
This article is a clear example of how issues of genital mutilation have
     threatened the situation of women in the United States. Duffy recounts
     how during the Industrial Revolution, it was suggested that women were
     deriving too much sexual pleasure from operating the pedal controlled
     sewing machines. Clitoridectomies were considered as a possible remedy,
     but as we can see by the lack of modempedal sewing machines, other
     methods were used to eliminate the problem.

Fran Hosken, The Hosken Report: Genital and Sexual Mutilation of
Females, Lexington, Ma.: The Women's International Network News,
1982.
Fran Hosken is the first to publish a definitive study on
the topic of genital
     mutilation. For this reason, her work has a tendency to generalize about
     the situation in Africa. The Hosken Report provides maps and many
     specificcase histories. Hosken is also the editor of WIN News, which
     deals with the issue of genital mutilation on an on-going basis.