Re: mutilation and ritual

Adrienne Dearmas (DearmasA@AOL.COM)
Thu, 11 Jul 1996 10:41:02 -0400

In a message dated 96-07-09 14:54:55 EDT, abaron@STU.ATHABASCAU.CA (Arthur L.
Baron) writes:

> However, I'm not yet prepared to commit to the permanence of the group by
> marking my body to display an abstract allegiance.

I think throughout time there have been those who were felt the same.
However, I'm not sure options were available to circumvent the process
(within those cultures that body mutilations are mandatory). I know that
until women in countries that practice fgm have an alternative lifestyle
(education, employment) to turn to, fgm will persist.

At one point there was a discussion about optional mutilation - choice. I'd
like to bring up the issue of child mutilations as opposed to adult.
Footbinding, cranial deformation, non-ritual circumcision, fgm, are all
examples of practices which were (are) performed on children. Footbinding and
cranial deformation must be done to the body as it grows. Now, rather than a
human rights issue, I see this as an expansion of the definition of self -
i.e. the group as self and making sure that the child is inducted properly
into the group with an identifying physical characteristic. Any thoughts?

> Is the process of tattoo more Zen-like than the final product ... is it an
> ongoing process?

Yes, but then not all tattoos are final products. They grow in size and
meaning and the process of it becoming a part of you and your body is
somewhat Zen-like, I think.

- Adrienne