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June 20, 2014


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Nachum, sorry I did mean to convey that it was done in the past.

Unfortunately, they, and many others still engage in male genital cutting.


That's different. OK.


I think the issue is as I reported, not as you distort it.

The survey was done over much of Africa and reportedly, areas that are arid have much higher FGM rates than areas that do not.

That there may be exceptions to this norm doesn't change what the norm reportedly is.

Past that, as the survey's author and others in the comments above have noted, once FGM became a religious or societal norm, it continued wherever the people now lived, no matter the access to water, because the original reason for doing FGM had long been forgotten.


What? Water is plentiful around the Nile and that's where it's most frequently practiced. It's very scarce in the Sahara and it's barely practiced there. Male circumcision prevents infection as well...you can't start to count the problems here.

Spacediver: *Was* known. They don't do it anymore, period.


I edited the article slightly to make that clear. Sorry for misleading you, APC.


oops. I thought the study was only in kenya but now having read the linked article I saw "Gwada, who conducted research among 20 ethnic groups across Africa, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, and South Africa," ....Sorry.


Another possible explanation:

The scarcity of water probably meant that other resources--like food--were scarce as well. People experiencing brutal poverty don't want to expend scarce resources on raising children that might not really be theirs.

So, yes, there may be a link between water shortages and FGM. However, the reason for FGM may still not be a mistaken believe in its hygienic efficacy. It may be that being on the brink of hunger all the time turns people mean and makes them controlling--especially of "their" women.


Its certainly possible that's why it started and that Islam latched onto it and codified it
since it served its purpose of controlling females, lessening their desire and pleasure, and possibly still thinking it had health benefits.


Without the release of the study for review by others and given the (laudable) agenda of those that conducted it, it's hard to measure its objective accuracy at this time.
The study area was also apparently just one country of many in which FGM is prevalent. If the same pattern is also found in most other countries where FGM is popular the case for water as a main factor would obviously be strengthened.

This from yesterday:



Actually, there is at least one jewish sect who is known to perform genital cutting on girls as well as boys.


as for the deeper roots of human genital cutting, here is an interesting read:



The issue isn't why it continued – the issue is why it STARTED.

And the apparent fact that FGM-practicing tribes are concentrated in ARID areas like deserts while areas with ample water appear to have much less FGM may very well be a strong indication of why the practice STARTED.


Shmarya wrote: When you don't know about germs ... something insane like FGM could actually seem reasonable.

I disagree. The many possible ill effects of FGM (see link) would have been frequent and apparent. I think even a pre-scientific society would be able to make the empirical connection without knowing about germs (and several of the detrimental impacts don't involve infections anyway).

I think the practice persisted despite its high morbidity/mortality/infertility toll because the perceived male need to control female sexuality was deemed to be "worth" the cost it imposed on women.



Feminista and exgaon –

We're talking about hundreds if not thousands of years before germ theory.

People did not know how disease is transmitted, about germs, etc.

But they may have noticed that women and girls who had access to water and washed were less likely to get these infections, suffer and, frequently, die.

That all they were really doing was mutilating girls (and killing some of them in the process)?

When you don't know about germs, etc., and how disease works, and when life is often very short (about 30 years, on average, for those who made it out of childhood) and very brutal, doing something insane like FGM could actually seem reasonable.

Eventually it became a rite of passage necessary to remain in the tribe.

History is full of things like this that now seem crazy.

The group who paid for the research is trying to use it to STOP FGM, BTW. It does NOT support it.


Your theory makes no sense, since the procedure is done in filthy, non-sterile conditions. Based on the rest of their customs vis-a-vis women, and upon the drastic results, it is much more "likely" that FGM began as a way to ensure that women would never seek sex outside marriage.

Some other tribes, in addition to FMG, stitch the woman's vagina closed and it stays stitched together until the husband cuts the stitches (usually around 13-14, when the menses start and when girls in those tribes get married.) There is only one purpose for this type of painful, sometimes fatal, mutilation - to control and destroy women's sexual response.

I am actually surprised the Haredim don't practice it, but maybe the men's attitudes towards their wives has the same effect as FGM, so surgery isn't needed. BTW that is one disturbing photo and I really think you should take it down.


Bull shit etiology of vicious practice.
Yeah well men are ever aware of their small organs, and wanted to have an excuse for not being able to satisfy their wife, concubine, or molested 10 year old. This is outrageously insane. Can't believe you published this shit, really SR, you are a valuable blogger. your stuff is often unique, particularly when it leaves the CSA sphere, where you have less competition. Why don't you just delete this entire thing, photo and all. Sad sad excuse for a vicious practice.. why don't they cut the fn beitsim off, because testicular cancer is common, and particularly in younger men. chop it off.


@ Reese.....or those who find and publish it


Yazooks, showing that picture is beyond the pale. The only ones enjoying seeing it are the neo nazi trolls that read this blog religiously.


"Likely." Such a moronic word in this context. History that predates recorded history is nothing more than highly speculative and unverifiable.

Frued was likely correct....until Jung said he was likely incorrect.

That picture is pretty sickening by the way....though of course being the pure intellectual you are, you are above plebeian sensitivities.

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