Re: female circumcision

Lynn Diana Gazis (
Fri, 18 Nov 1994 08:01:43 GMT

Wayne Hampton ( wrote:
: Janet Kieser <> writes:

: >I missed it... what is female circumcision anyway?

: In Africa they often remove the clitoral hood of young girls,
: for reasons of hygiene and health of course. In some places
: they remove the clitoris itself, and in other places they also
: remove the labia minora. And in other places they sew the
: labia major together to prevent intercourse before marriage.
: All of these are called female circumcision, however only the first
: mentioned operation is a direct homologue to male circumcision.
: The removal of the clitoris is properly called clitoridectomy, and
: the removal of the labia is rightly called labiectomy, and the sewing
: up of the outer lips is called infibulation.

Actually, make that in parts of Africa. I looked this up recently at
the library, and what I read there was that in most of Africa, female
circumcision isn't practiced. (Unfortunately, most of the reference
books just say parts of Africa, and don't get any more specific than
that. As if just saying that it happened somewhere on the continent of
Africa was specific enough. I can't see them saying "This custom is
practiced in some places in Europe." Actually, they all seemed pretty
sketchy in their information.)

I'm not sure this discussion needs to be happening on three groups, so I
set follow-ups to my post to sci.anthropology (since it's first on the
list, I'm assuming that's where it came from).

Lynn Gazis-Sax