What I Learned from Genital Cutting

Thanks to Wendy M. Walker and Tatiana Ryckman at the Awesome Awst Press in Austin, I got to share these ruminations on bringing about change. Including the change we need here.

The essay is inspired in part by a conversation I had many years ago. As I say in the essay: “Another African woman in LA told me that to her, much worse than having been cut, was what happened when she gave birth in a Canadian hospital. Residents and nurses were called over to her bed where they gathered round, gaping at her vagina and expressing outrage, horror and disgust.”

Here’s the rest:



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2 Responses to “What I Learned from Genital Cutting”

  1. Carol A. Hand Says:

    Such crucial reflections about effective social justice advocacy strategies. I especially appreciate the discussion about shame and humiliation, righteous anger, and alternatives to affect lasting change.

  2. desilef Says:

    Thanks, Carol. I think humiliation has long been built into US culture as a tactic — from the stocks in colonial settler days to present day schools. Maybe it worked back in Williamsburg VA, but I think people who’ve been stigmatized are too likely to embrace the stigma–a way of giving up while also resisting. Humiliation is poison.

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