Any good person should be interested in this question and the answers it can generate. Any human being whose sanity and sanctity are not in question should bother about what grand-pas and grandmas are doing to the clitoris of their grand children.
Anyone interested in creating climes where girls and women can be free to ventilate and give expression to their feelings -even if it’s sensual and demand the right to sexual pleasure especially in relationships should strive to answer this question.
Now, I need to quickly warn that this conversation is not really about sex .It is not informed by any lascivious tendency. And just in case the issues canvassed tend towards erotizing or appealing to individuals with penchant for the voluptuous, please that was not the intention.
This article is purely developmental and it is simply the lamentations of a sad man; a man affected by the mutilation of an organ; an organ so small but yet means so much to women and indeed the entire world.
For those who don’t know, men often discuss their sex life. We actually do. And we do so with our right-hand men. We discuss the pleasures, pains, frustrations, mistakes- and for the mischievous ones-the escapades and conquests.
Even the married ones are not left out of this somewhat hedonic pastime.
I’m told women also discuss their sex life. And the pattern flows too like that of men. But one thing they all share in common is that they discuss their frustrations and pains; frustrations often resulting from the ‘absence’ or ‘partial presence’ of this small but mighty organ called the clitoris. An organ that has suffered age long mutilation and it’s even responsible for the breakdown of some marriage relationships. And it all boils down to the pursuit and expression of the right to pleasure ; a phenomenon that has become elusive simply by the unguided decision of our patriarchs to circumcise our girls like they say ‘to prevent them from becoming wayward.”
When we engage in female genital mutilation, we sacrifice the life of our daughters, we steal their joy and we tell God He made a big mistake by giving them clitoris.
“God looked over everything He had made; it was so good, so very good.”
That quotation was taken from The Message Bible’s rendition of Genesis Chapter 1 vs 31a. That’s the verse that kept ringing in my head as I thought about this article and the issue it sets out to address.
By the way, I don’t intend preaching at this juncture- just in case you are feeling like moving on to the next page of this magazine. I simply want to vent and give expression to one of the loudest thoughts I’ve been living with.
Why did God create the clitoris if He really wants it cut off as soon as a girl is born? Or could it be that men-(yes, I mean your ancestors and mine) were simply making a mockery of God and blaming Him for making a grave mistake when creating women hence they came up with the idea of circumcision?
I feel you should reconsider the verse I quoted earlier and perhaps try to hear what I’m hearing in the context of this article. I hear that verse sounding something like: “God looked over everything He made -including the clitoris and it was so good, so very good”. The Good News Bible (GNB) even puts it better: “God looked at everything he had made (including the clitoris) and He was very pleased” (emphasis mine).
So, why would men dare cut off an organ that God was pleased with? Why men would dare try to right what was not wrong in the first place and say it is tradition?
Someone reading this article might be wondering “what is this guy’s problem? You might even think I’m going beyond the terms of reference of this column or the scope of this magazine for that matter. But beneath the composition of a woman (and of course man) of substance are issues bothering on sexuality, pleasure and the extent to which It can be sought and achieved bearing in mind and observing all moral, religious and socio-cultural boundaries. And I think the day a few old men (and their female accomplices) sat down to preside over the fate and destiny of the clitoris as a means for keeping women in check was the day tradition went beyond its boundaries and stood on its head. Hence I hereby call for a day of repentance (and if possible penance) for all that Africa and its men have done to the clitoris.
When God created His girls and daughters, He made them perfect and gave them perfect genitalia. But in the name of tradition, we felt God must be out of His mind….so we chose to cut and mutilate what He’s perfected.
We can start redefining who a woman of substance is by the role they play in stopping some of these harmful practices that not only demean women but places them at the receiving end of indefensible decisions of men and society; decisions born out of brain waves or better still absurd whims and caprices of men.
Just in case you are still wondering Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is mindless injury to the female genital organs.
Imagine if your daughter were to live with complications such as shock, repeated urinary tract infections, possible reduction of vaginal opening which may lead to blockage of menstrual flow and consequently reproductive tract infections and lowered fertility or sterility, obstructed labor all in the name of tradition.
Cutting the clitoris and other sensitive tissue reduces a woman’s ability to experience sexual pleasure.
For most women, the consummation of marriage is likely to be painful because of the small vaginal opening and the lack of elasticity in the scar tissue that forms it. Tearing and bleeding may occur, or the scar may have to be cut open to allow penetration. Her man shares in this pain and anguish too.
So, wouldn’t you rather leave your girls as PERFECT as God created them?
By Kingsley Obom-Egbulum
Kingsley Obom-Egbulem is a journalist and writes from Lagos