Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Yes, this woman is skinnier than my personal opinion of beauty. This body affords her the opportunity to be on "America's Next Top Model" (one of my not-always-guilty pleasures). And that platform affords her the opportunity to spread awareness of a horrifying practice throughout the nation.
Fatima was born in Somalia, where she spent the majority of her life, up until the past seven years. When she was seven years old she was circumsized.
Female Genital Mutilation, or FGM, is extremely common in African and Middle Eastern countries, for different reasons. For some it is a rite of passage, for others a religious requirement. It is sometimes meant to prevent a woman from feeling sexual desire, therefore "protecting" her.
The process consists of the removal of the entire clitoris. Often the labia are sewn together as well.
Fatima wants to use this show as a platform to raise awareness of this horrible tradition. Girls of all young ages experience this, and the fatality rate is staggering. These procedures are often done amateurly, especially considering how many countries have now made it illegal. Even in England there is a huge subculture of this practice, given the rising percentage of Middle Eastern inhabitants.
I applaud Fatima for making her effort to change the world. Each of us has potential to do this; it is only a matter of trying.

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