Female Circumstitions

Bad reasons to cut a girl's genitals

  • Aesthetic: 2, 28, 114
  • Cultural: 25
    • Conformity: 40, 63, 106
    • Rite of passage 6, 41, 56, 103, 107
    • Tradition: 39, 100, 105, 113, 119, 126
    • Patriarchy 133
  • Economic: 37, 95, 118
  • Hygienic: 130
    • "Cleanliness": 7, 20, 32, 35, 50, 58, 80, 85, 86, 97, 111, 116, 120, 129
    • Disease prevention: 13, 21, 22, 30, 33, 112
  • Magical/Irrational: 8, 9, 15, 16, 23, 25, 38, 42, 43, 44, 68, 69, 78, 79, 83, 109, 110, 117
  • Psychological: 3, 82, 115
  • Punishment: 96, 104
  • Religious: 31, 34, 72
    • Islam: 4.1, 4.2, 10, 11, 18, 48
    • Christianity: 55
  • Sexual:
    • preserve virginity: 74
    • prevent rape: 124
    • reduce lust: 1, 4.3, 5, 17, 19, 29, 36, 45, 46, 49, 64, 84, 91
    • prevent promiscuity: 75, 92
    • improve intercourse: 14, 47, 94, 108, 131
    • accelerate women's orgasm:  125
    • make less masculine / more feminine: 51, 99
    • test husband's virility: 24
    • increase husband's pleasure: 76, 81, 122
    • increase fertility: 77, 89, 98, 123
    • facilitate childbirth: 121
  • Social: 52, 57, 60, 61, 62, 67, 70, 71, 73, 90
    • marriagability: 53, 54, 59, 65, 66, 87, 88, 102
    • as an honour: 127
    • as a gift:  132
  • Unclassified: 12, 27, 93, 101, 128
  1. Because "it will stabilize her libido,
  2. Two, it will make a woman look more beautiful in the eyes of her husband.
  3. And three, it will balance her psychology.”

    - Lukman Hakim, chairman of social services,
    Assalaam Foundation, Indonesia
    New York Times magazine, January 20,2008

  4. Advantages of circumcising female children
    1. It shows that one is a follower of Prophet Ibrahim’s way of worship. Prophet Ibrahim (ASW) is the father of faith. [FGC is not mentioned in the Bible.]
    2. It shows one as a follower of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
    3. It is a way of reducing sexual desire in the woman thus avoiding adultery and a way of curbing her from bad sexual habits. This is because an uncircumcised woman would always have unlimited sexual appetite, which may force her to commit adultery.

    Rules of circumcision in Islam - Sheikh A.B. Muhammed, Friday, 28 May 2010

  5. psychosexual reasons: reduction or elimination of the sensitive tissue of the outer genitalia, particularly the clitoris,
    • in order to attenuate sexual desire in the female,
    • maintain chastity and virginity before marriage and
    • fidelity during marriage, and
    • increase male sexual pleasure;
  6. sociological reasons:
    • identification with the cultural heritage,
    • initiation of girls into womanhood,
    • social integration and
    • the maintenance of social cohesion;
  7. hygiene and aesthetic reasons:
    • the external female genitalia are considered dirty and
    • unsightly and are to be removed to promote hygiene and provide aesthetic appeal;
  8. myths: enhancement of fertility and
  9. promotion of child survival;
  10. religious reasons: Some Muslim communities, however, practise FGM in the belief that it is demanded by the Islamic faith. The practice, however, predates Islam.

    - the World Health Organisation

  11. "Those who advocate for FGM from an Islamic perspective commonly quote the following hadith to argue that it is required as part of the Sunnah or Tradition of the Prophet:

    'Um Atiyyat al-Ansariyyah said:

    A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina.
    The Prophet (pbuh) said to her: Do not cut too severely
    as that is better for a woman
    and more desirable for a husband'."

    - www.religioustolerance.org

  12. Because "it brings many benefits."
  13. Because "The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra.
  14. Because "Circumcision reduces excessive sensitivity of the clitoris which may cause it to increase in size to 3 centimeters when aroused, which is very annoying to the husband, especially at the time of intercourse."
  15. Because "it prevents stimulation of the clitoris which makes it grow large in such a manner that it causes pain."
  16. Because "Circumcision prevents spasms of the clitoris which are a kind of inflammation."
  17. Because "Circumcision reduces excessive sexual desire."
  18. Because "For us in the Muslim world female circumcision is, above all else, obedience to Islam, which means acting in accordance with the fitrah and following the Sunnah which encourages it."
  19. Because "It takes away excessive libido from women"
  20. Because "It prevents unpleasant odours which result from foul secretions beneath the prepuce."
  21. Because "It reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections"
  22. Because "It reduces the incidence of infections of the reproductive system."

    - Islam Q&A

  23. "How on earth can they get married with a big thing hanging between their legs? Shame! Think of how long it will grow!"
  24. "When she gets married, she’ll get sliced open again. Then, you know, if her husband doesn’t enter her, he is shamed. Weak. Her family will refuse the marriage."

    - "K", an old Djibouti woman on the Jones family blogspot.

  25. To "build trust between hospitals and immigrant communities,
  26.  save some girls from undergoing disfiguring and lifethreatening procedures in their native countries,
  27.  and play a role in the eventual eradication of FGC."

    - American Academy of Pediatrics 2010 Policy on Female Genital Cutting, p 1092 (6 of 8)

  28. Because s/he was diagnosed with "clitorimegaly associated with ambiguous genitalia" (had a bigger clitoris/penis than someone else was comfortable with).

    - Jennifer Yang, Diane Felsen and Dix P. Poppas
    Nerve Sparing Ventral Clitoroplasty:
    Analysis of Clitoral Sensitivity and Viability

    J Urol, 178, 1598-1601, Oct 2007

  29. Because "Uncircumcised girls will want sex more than is healthy.
  30. And they are more liable to infections and cancers...."

    - Dr Saed Thabet in Wiens J. Female circumcision is curbed in Egypt BMJ (1996)313:249.

  31. "While religion was the main reason for circumcisions,
  32. it is believed by some locals that a girl who is not circumcised would have unclean genitals after she urinates
  33. which could lead to cervical cancer.
  34. It is also believed if one prays with unclean genitals their prayer won't be heard."

    - Photo-essay by Stephanie Sinclair in VII, June 21, 2010

  35. "In some countries where the practice of female circumcision, it is believed that if a woman has not passed through this test, then it is unclean,
  36. too excited
  37. and can not properly deal with the economy.
  38. It is also believed that uncircumcised women can not give birth to a boy."

    - Photo-essay (same photos) at Ankit Mehta, June 27 2010

  39. "... it was considered to be a good traditional practice
  40. ...to...avoid being shunned and laughed at by the boys
  41. ...that was the only rite of passage to womanhood."

    - Ms Joyce Munanda, an advocate against FGM who got circumcised in 1968; "When culture confronts health and the law", the Monitor (Uganda), July 10, 2010

  42. Leaving a girl uncircumcised endangers both her husband and her baby. If the baby’s head touches the uncut clitoris during birth, the baby will be born hydrocephalic.
  43. The milk of the mother will become poisonous.
  44. If a man’s penis touches a woman’s clitoris he will become impotent.

    - Lightfoot-Klein H ‘Erroneous Belief Systems Underlying Female GM in Sub-Saharan Africa
    and Male Neonatal Circumcision in the United States
    paper presented at the 3rd International Symposium on Circumcision,
    Washington, DC, 1994.

  45. "It was hoped that it would tame the women's sexual desires since we (the men) had to move long distances grazing our animals. Therefore,
  46. it would prevent the women from being unfaithful to their husbands. However, I vowed to my wife that none of our children will ever undergo the tradition."

    - a 60-year-old Ugandan to Richard Musani in New Vision

  47. "Greater sexual sensations, closer communication with one’s partner, higher levels of orgasm.” “An awesome 75% of women are hindered from feeling the full extent of sensations, due to a condition which is most commonly known as “hooded clitoris”

    - "The Kindest Cut: Circumcision for Women", Playgirl, 1973, quoted in Rabbitwrite's blog, December 31, 2010

  48. "The practice has become important to Islam because it is associated with female sexual purity.
  49. FGM is intended by its practitioners to both control women's sexual drives and also
  50. to cleanse women's genitalia by removing the clitoris,
  51. which is seen as masculine, a female penis."

    Jacqueline Castledine, Mount Holyoke College.

  52. To allow them to enter the secret Bondo society of women (Sierra Leone)

    statement by African Woman are Free to Choose
    and news item, February 11, 2009

  53. Marrying without circumcision was not an option: uncut girls were believed to be undisciplined and clumsy.
  54. No husband would be willing to run the risk of social isolation inextricably bound up with marrying an uncircumcised girl.
  55. To make things worse: circumcision was believed to be a religious obligation for both Christians and Muslims.

    Ethiopian village fights against female cutting, Radio Netherlands, April 11, 2011

  56. Female genital mutilation is the partial removal of the external genitalia, undertaken for cultural initiation of a girl into adulthood.

    K’jongs told to shun female circumcision, New Vision (Uganda), May 8, 2011

  57. ... because it has an important role in the Maasai culture. ... an uncircumcised girl will find it hard to prove that she is a woman
  58. and any children she bears will be seen as unclean.

    - Why Female Genital Mutilation Persists, by Nyokabi Kamau, Daily Nation (Kenya), May 9, 22011

  59. ""Marrying an uncircumcised girl degrades your value as a man.
  60. There are some rituals the girl cannot participate in if she is not circumcised," explained Martin Ololoigero, one of the managers of the rescue centre.
  61. "It is important for a woman to be circumcised so that she can go to her husband's home," said Olemairuj Kipaken, a Maasai elder in Narok.

    "Female circumcision in Kenya" News24 October 5, 2011

  62. "Plapan regretted that some of the mid wives cannot attend to uncircumcised women for fear of going against their traditions, which considers uncircumcised woman as untidy.
  63. “Some of the uncircumcised women are teased by their fellow circumcised women.
    “This forces them to change their heart and go for the cut,” she said.
  64. The men also consider uncircumcised women as promiscuous and polygamous men fear such women can embarrass them especially when they take long to “reach their matrimonial beds”.

    "Cultural Beliefs Benefit Pokot Pastoralists" Coastweek, December 2, 2011

  65. "Hundreds of schoolgirls underwent the traditional rite of passage that now allows them to get married,..."
  66. "The government allowed us to circumcise the men, which we did, but then we later wondered: now that we have taken men through the initiation, must we not create a pool of women from where they can marry?"

    "Villagers ignore the law and go on a girl circumcision frenzy" the Daily Nation (Kenya) December 7, 2011

  67. “Personally, I have been through the process. I will even make my daughters undergo it. The pain is tolerable and has strengthened my relationship with my husband,” she wrote.

    "Bohra women go online to fight circumcision trauma" Hindustan Times, December 9, 2011

  68. “Some cultures consider it a purification ritual,” Ms [Faduma Salah] Musse said.
    “I am a victim myself, and I was forced to allow my three daughters to go through it also.”

    - "Woman's mission is to end mutilation", Danenong Leader, January 13. 2012

  69. "The child's mother... said her child was suffering from stomach infections, as a result she couldn't learn how to walk even after attaining the age of twelve months.
    ... "I sent my child to her grandmother, who claimed in order for the child to be healed, she must undergo circumcision," she said.

    "Child subjected to FGM now admitted to hospital" IPPMedia, January 30, 2012

  70. To allow her to attend public meetings and take part in decision-making.
  71. To allow her a place at the "high table".

    I would not be allowed to attend public meetings because I was not ‘a woman’, something which subjected me to a lot of psychological torture. I felt I was missing a lot in the public fora and was being left behind in decision making.

    That was not all, I always missed out on the ‘high table’.

    "What it means to undergo the cut" the Monitor (Uganda), February 8, 2012

  72. [Mrs Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Lagos,] said ...FGM is considered to be a cultural inheritance designed to preserve some traditional values such as religious purification,
  73. family honour,
  74. protection of virginity,
  75. prevention of promiscuity,
  76. increasing sexual pleasure for the husband and
  77. enhancing fertility.

    Others, she further told Daily Champion, are

  78. the belief that if the clitoris of an uncircumcised woman touches the head of a baby about to be born, the baby will die;
  79. and that if the clitoris is not cut, it will grow downwards,
  80. be dirty,
  81. and not allow a man enjoy sex.

    Nigeria: Celebrating Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Cutting AllAfrica.com, February 20, 2012

  82. Because "If a girl is not circumcised, she can't stand it".

    Egyptian woman on YoutTube (0:34), October 12, 2011

  83. Because "In our culture there is a saying that if a female is not circumcised she will break things."

    - a 14 year old Ethiopian girl in Hurt And Abused Children In Ethiopia: Cultural Calamity,
    Eurasia Review, March 21, 2012

  84. Because "women otherwise were overly sexual and 'prone to prostitution.' "

    Frank Bruni, Rethinking His Religion NY Times, March 24, 2012

    "She was referring to “kakia,” the ritual of crude circumcision that girls in her native country [Togo] were traditionally forced to endure. Female relatives held down the screaming teenagers and sliced off their genitals with a knife, believing
  85. this would make them “clean” for their husbands."

    Not victims of tradition: Women emerge as symbols for girls facing abusive fates
    Washington Post, May 2, 2012

  86. To prevent feeling dirty: "she asked me point blank if I did not feel dirty since I was not circumcised."
  87. Because "In some communities uncircumcised girls are considered not good enough for marriage"

    Natasha Kokutangiira It's much more than just a cut, Daily News, Tanzania, August 26, 2012

  88. "... to prepare young women for home management and marriage, as well as
  89. to help women to give birth to more children."

    Liberia: In Sande Bush - Woman Bleeds to Death, AllAfrica.com, September 13, 2012

  90. Because "Circumcised women are less apt to make nuisances of themselves than intact ones. 'What is the case if her husband died or divorced her, is she going to pull men from the cafes?' the daya [midwife/circumciser] asks."

    Review of "Sex and the Citadel" by Shereen El Feki in the New York Times, April 7, 2013

  91. Because "circumcision prevents a girl from having a high sex drive...
  92. ...and thus from becoming sexually promiscuous ... '“There’s this idea that if a girl is circumcised, she will grow up to be a ‘good girl’ with a low sex drive,” she says."

    - Yuli Krisna, Activists Demand Repeal of Circumcision Law Jakarta Globe, April 20, 2013

  93. The procedure exposes these sensitive zones, in both males and females, lessening the effort needed in achieving pleasure.
  94. Moreover there can be a discussion about the function of foreskin in general. That its purpose is to protect the developing child in the womb from being aroused sexually and skewing his/her hormonal balance. That after birth this kind of protection is no long necessary and, like the umbilical cord, be severed.

    Abdulkhaliq Alemao on Facebook, June 10, 2013

  95. "I had to run away from home to a nearby school as my father insisted that I had to be circumcised and get married so he could get cows," said a 13-year-old girl from Amudat.

    "Uganda: Parliament to Amend Children's Act" AllAfrica, June 12, 2013

  96. To punish their father for speaking out against genital cutting:

    Ahram (Egypt)
    June 20, 2013

    Egypt's refugees find Syrian crisis brings new challenges and some hope

    by Hazel Haddon

    ... Moataz, a 41-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker from Darfur, ... argued that girls should not be circumcised.

    "While I was speaking at the conference, they came and took my kids. They took my two girls and circumcised them.

    "They brought a letter, and they had doctors' uniforms. They said they came from the ministry of health. They had put my photo on a document, saying that I had agreed to do that," Moataz says. "When they brought them back they gave my wife a message: Tell your husband he shouldn't talk about these things."

    His daughters were two and six ...

  97. Dafa'a Allah ... once described uncircumcised women as "dirty".

    "Sudan MP Calls for Banning Females From Sports" AllAfrica.com, June 25, 2013

  98. Because "women become pregnant more easily when they are circumcised, and ...
  99. the clitoris can grow huge if they have not been circumcised..” Somali born Safia Abdi is a nurse who ... says women maintain the tradition primarily
  100. to pass on their identity to the next generation.... many think
  101. this is the way things should be. ... “Many do it with an eye to the future. They do it
  102. because they want to marry off their daughters ... ,” says Abdi. ... “The ritual can also be carried out at puberty
  103. to mark the onset of adulthood. ...

    "Circumcised women uncritical of the ritual" ScienceNordic, June 26, 2013

  104. To punish her for adultery.
    Following rumours that when a certain part of the female genitalia is chopped off, sex urges subside drastically, the said group of women agreed to mutilate the genitalia to contain her libido.

    "Adulterous woman foils circumcision ploy to tame her libido" the Standard (Kenya), December 1, 2013

  105. "The girls said they were forced by their parents to undergo the cut because it is tradition.
  106. They said they did not want to be laughed at in school for allegedly being uncircumcised
  107. and referred to as children."

    "Embu MCAs rescue six cut girls from danger" The Star (Kenya), December 6, 2013

  108. To enable women to reach orgasm by exposing the clitoris

    Female Circumcision as Sexual Therapy: The Past and Future of Plastic Surgery? by Sarah B. Rodriguez, Pacific Standard, February 24, 2014, or here

  109. Because ... "If a girl is not circumcised, it is a curse," [Angel's mother, of the Maasai community in Kajiado] said. "Her parents, her sisters and her brothers will die early. So if a girl refuses to be cut, she is cursing her family and she is an enemy."

    - Jude Kaberia: Kenya: local chiefs accused of abbeting [sic] FGM in Capitol FM, June 22, 2014

  110. Because giving birth before undergoing FGM is considered taboo.

    The Standard newspaper said the woman, Cheponger Yarasia, admitted to police that the girl's parents had sought her out to perform the ritual because their daughter was pregnant, and that giving birth before undergoing FGM was considered taboo.

    "Female circumcision killer gets amnesty despite girl's death" News24 (Kenya)
    September 4, 2014

  111. yess..cut girl make her cleann
  112. ..andd prefrnt dizeasses
    srry my englush not good...i from somalia...we cut girl here.
  113. its beutiful tradittion
  114. ..it make gurl preitty
  115. and happy

    - Mohammed Said Al Salaam on Facebook, November 4, 2014

  116. Because "the clitoris makes a woman itch, making her want to scratch all the time, and that
  117. the clitoris makes water leak from her private parts”.

    - Muhammed Alhajie Lamin Touray, president of the Gambia’s Supreme Islamic Council in "My daughter willl never be cut: it stops with me" in The Guardian, December 13, 2014

  118. Because “It is our job and we get paid for doing it.
  119. Our parents did it before us, now we are doing it and then we pass it on to our children.”"
  120. ... if a woman is not circumcised, she isn’t considered clean.
  121. She also believes that it helps women during childbirth: she has heard that when an uncut woman has a baby, her clitoris can explode – and,
  122. anyway, it is better for the husband. “We believe if a woman is not circumcised, making love with them will not be enjoyable,” she says, smiling.

    - Sarjo, 63, who cut anti-FGC campaigner Jaha Dukureh, in "My daughter willl never be cut: it stops with me" in The Guardian, December 13, 2014

  123. To aid conception
    Circumcision to aid conception kills Binga woman

    A 33-YEAR-OLD woman from Binga, who was desperate to conceive, died after bleeding for more than a week following a botched circumcision during which her husband’s grandmother cut off parts of her genitalia.

    Sources said it was a cultural belief in parts of the district that long labia lead to the development of fibroids and failure to conceive. Villagers often circumcise women by cutting off parts of their external genitalia to deal with the problem.

    The Chronicle (Zimbabwe) September 17, 2015

  124. To prevent rape:
    A Gambian friend of of Lily Harmourtziadou, cut at the age of 6 or 7, was told that it would prevent any chance of her being raped.
  125. Because "it increases the sexual power of the women to achieve orgasm much faster . That's why women go for it world wide for this procedure." [referring to the Dawoodi Bohra practice, khafz, nicking the clitoral hood]
    Taher Sayawala @taher_king on Twitter, September 17, 2018
  126. "Most of the women who engage in this, who practise this thing, [say]'There's nothing wrong with what we do, it's been handed down to us,  
  127. we're proud of it, we're honoured by it, 
  128. we're better for it,
  129. we're cleaner,
  130. more hygienic, 
  131. we enjoy sex better.' This is what they say."
    - Somalian pro-FGC activist Fuambai Sia Ahmadu in "American Circumcision" (46'09" in)
  132. "We're getting you a gift as you start to become a woman"
    - Anti-genital-cutting activist Soraya Miré's mother, told in "American Circumcision"  (36'35" in)
  133. To express the power of the patriarchy. (Documentation supporting this commonly-expressed reason would be welcomed.)


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