I was flipping through the channels a few nights ago, and came across "America's Next Top Model". One model on there is from an African country. When it was her turn to give the judges an overview of herself she told them about being circumcised. She talked about how strongly she felt against female circumcision, and would like to make a difference by working to eliminate female circumcision.
Ever since reading, "Possessing the Secret of Joy" by Alice Walker, I have been horrified by this topic. Female circumcision, also called female genital cutting and female genital mutilation, is different from male circumcision because it serves no health benefits.
There are 3 types of female circumcision:
Type I: The removal or splitting of the clitoral hood
Type II: Excision of the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora.
Type III: Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (called infibulation).
Type III is the worst in it's physical implications. The stitching together of the outer labia can make trouble for urine and menstrual fluid to get out. This can cause infections from being unable to clean properly.
In all it's forms female genital cutting can be very traumatic and have lifelong implications.
It's important to note that this is a cultural practice, not a religious one. Many people attribute female circumcision to Islam, and that simply isn't the case. There is one hadith that talks about it and most scholars dismiss it as being weak. Islam is a religion that respects women and doesn't promote mutilation of women. Muslim women have the right to have a good love life with their husbands, and female genital cutting inhibits this.
I guess seeing a woman on TV that went through this started to make me think. I know in Islam we shouldn't ask the "what if's" since everything is from Allah. I still had to wonder that if this woman hadn't gone through this would she have turned away from Islam? Does she attribute her circumcision to the religion? What can we do to stop this practice? I know it's being banned more and more worldwide, but what more can be done?