Womb as Oasis: Pharaonic Circumcision in Rural Sudan Summary

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  • Topic: Vulva, Sex organ, Penis
  • Pages : 2 (630 words )
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  • Published : November 8, 2012
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Janice Boddy introduces the term “Pharanoic circumsison”. This is a term used not only in literature, but also by the Sudanese. It is very much like the western term “female circumcision”. In Pharaonic circumcision, the clitoris and labia minora are removed. The labia majora is sewn closed, leaving a small opening at the vulva for urination and release of menstrual blood. Lack of understanding of female circumcision (in a social context) has led to it’s becoming a subject of much controversy and debate in political, academic and religious fields, mainly by Westerners and Europeans. Boddy mentions that she became interested in this topic because she sought to investigate why “in the face of orthodox Islamic disapproval and the contravening legislation of at least two modern Sudanese regime it persists”. She analyzes an interpretation of the context of Pharaonic circumcision in the village Hofiyat of Northern Sudan, of which the population consists mainly of Muslims. She says that the Sudanese villagers of Hofiyat regard circumcision as a purification process. This is especially important, considering that “In Sudan, as elsewhere in the Muslim world, a family’s dignity and honor are vested in the conduct of its womenfolk”. The summer is seen as the season of purification, where circumcision is carried out on both boys and girls. This leads to the “transformation” from boys to men; the girls remain girls but the circumcision makes them “marriageable...it is a neceassary condition of being a woman”. They believe that a circumcised girl is “enabled to use her one great gift, fertility”. Differentiation occurs because the women are not recognized within the society by becoming more like men, but rather becoming less like men (physically, sexually and socially). The boys and girls get their circumcisions at roughly the same times, and in this time the boys become less like women. The female reproductive organs are covered, and those of the male are uncovered....
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