In her book, "Warrior Marks", Alice Walker explores the practice common throughout much of Africa, the Middle-East, and some of Asia, of chopping off the genitals of little girls. Collectively known as "FGM", or "Female Genital Mutilation", these practices range from cutting off the tip of the clitoris to complete removal of the clitoris and inner labia and scraping the flesh off of the outer labia to create an open wound. In this extreme procedure, termed "Pharonic", the sides of the wound are bound together and a small stick inserted to leave an opening to pass urine and menstrual blood once the remains of the outer labia have healed together with scar tissue.
Much confusion about this procedure is generated by the fact that it is often referred to as "female circumcision" which leads people to regard it as similar to male circumcision. After centuries of this ignorant and brutal practice, it is not difficult to understand how entire peoples could lose any knowledge of what an adult woman's intact genitals look like.
Before inhabitants of so-called "civilized" western culture indulge themselves in too much smug self-congratulation, they need to ponder whether in fact western culture does not do much the same thing in a hidden, covert, and dishonest fashion. These so-called "civilized" western mothers hide their intent to destroy their daughters sexuality by leaving their genitals attached ( in most cases ) but by severing the mental and emotional connection which the little girls have to them. I call this westernized version of FGM by the term "Female Genital Mindfuck."
I know a man who has been married over 25 years and has never once SEEN his wife's genitals, nor even seen her naked. She dresses and undresses in the closet. They do have 3 children, but so do the women whose genitals have been chopped off have children. The parts of female anatomy which are functional for reproduction are fortunately beyond the reach of the circumcizer's knife, and somewhat beyond the reach of the knife of fear and shame which western women use to detach their daughters from their own genitals rather than detaching the genitals from the girl.
This is how one 19 y/o woman described the experience in a correspondence with me:
"My mother told me that most men were after one thing...and she just look down between my legs (which didn't seem very interesting to me...I was probably 10).
"I read Songs of Solomon where he talks about how splendid he saw the womans body, and how incredible he viewed sex.
"I never told you about my grandmother. The word Sex is spoken as a nod of the head. She wouldn't have a clue what "going down" or "giving head" implies and she dang sure wouldn't let you talk about sex. She probably would have gotten on to me for reading the Songs of Solomon had she ever caught me and gave me some big lecture about that.
"Talk about mixed messages! How do you know to believe! So you know what I did?? I sheltered myself. I stayed away from those stupid Seventeen magazines and I never joined "girl talks."
"I saw older men out there who weren't looking for a cheap thrill, and wanted more than that "weird" thing between my legs."
This young woman was so dissociated from her own sexuality that she referred to her genitals as "that 'wierd' thing between my legs." I wonder if it is possible to grasp the enormity of that level of dissociation by using an anology of her referring to her eyes as "those 'weird' things below my eyebrows" or to her ears as "those 'weird' things hanging on the side of my head."
Another woman I know, one who was doing her level best to harass me into a "romantic" relationship in which I had no interest whatsoever, responded to my challenge of her assertion that she was a "sensuous woman" by actually looking at her own genitals FOR THE FIRST TIME AT AGE 42. This woman had deep and serious disturbances when it came to her notions of relationships, and particularly of her own sexuality. I saw her once get so egged on by some "you go, girl" types that she made an absolutely obnoxious fool out of herself by not letting go by any comment about an object which was longer than it was wide without making some comment about inserting it in herself. Since this happened to be a May Day celebration, at one point she suggested mounting the 16 ft long X 6 inch around Maypole. In a very misguided attempt to let her "sexual nature" out, several times she stood up and proclaimed to the crowd "Big ones, line up. Little ones, bunch up."
One might be tempted to leap to all kinds of conclusions from "See what happens when female sexuality is unrestrained by social convention" to the "See, men really dislike and are threatened by a woman freely expressing her sexuality" of the "you go, girl" grrls. However, what this woman was expressing was most decidedly NOT any form of intact healthy female sexuality, but rather a twisted and perverse caricature of the sexuality that SHE THOUGHT OTHERS WANTED HER TO EXPRESS. And herein lies the key: by first depriving a young female of access to her sexuality, then by destroying it in many cases, there is a void left into which ridiculous notions of "romantic love" or any other socially constucted fictions can be placed.
As the target of all this contrived display, I was disgusted both by her performance and by her stupidity, as were two of her friends who happened to be in attendance. They kept asking themselves "Why doesn't HE get her out of there? Can't he see what those people are doing to her by egging her on?" ( Why doesn't he RESCUE her? )
There are a whole lot of answers to this question, I'll try to be brief. First, I long ago stopped resuing women from the consequences of their own stupidity. Rescuing is the primary means whereby this culture destroys little girls' competence. In this woman's particular case, she had been so belligerent, obnoxious, and agressive in her attempts to bulldoze her way into my life and dictate to me the script of a ridiculous romantic fantasy which she wanted me to fulfill for her, that I really didn't care what happened to her. In my opinion, the more painful the consquences the better because this woman had been stubbornly refusing to take any responsibility whatsoever for her own actions for more than two years at this point. I wanted it to be as painful as possible for her so that the pain would penetrate the wall of denial which so far had been impenetrable. In addition, there were more than a dozen WOMEN around her who were allowing this to continue or actively participating in egging this woman on. Fascinating that they were either sitting on their passive asses watching this woman completely humiliate herself, or actively participating in encouraging her to do so. But I, as a MAN, got assigned the "responsibility" of rescuing her amidst a bunch of women who took no responsibility themselves. I don't think so.
However, I was not completely without compassion since I knew about the way this woman had been raised and the fact that her mother had seen to it that she had been dissociated from her sexuality at a very young age. While stories such as the woman whose parents subjected her to a clitorectomy as a barely preadolescent girl, as well as the persistence of the practice of male circumcision, show that Genital Mutilation is alive and well in the United States, it is this more subtle form of destruction of a young female's sexuality that haunts these women as well as the men who try to love them and connect with them sexually, their marriages, and their relationships with their own children and the culture as a whole.
Over the years, I have repeatedly tried to sew those severed connections back together, only to encounter time and again the same type of resistance to my efforts that the man mentioned above, whose wife undresses in the closet, experienced. The cruel paradox is that, with the advent of the mythological "sexual freedom for women", there are a lot of women who have been giving out the message that they would LIKE TO BE reconnected with those feelings. However, any man who is foolish enough to take them at their word will get slammed for it.
Women still retreat and hide behind the fictions of "true love" as a means of deceiving both themselves and men about the true nature of their wants and needs. Despite the economic gains of women over the past 3 decades and, contrary to all the bullshit about women only making 75 cents per dollar a man makes, achieving essential wage parity when factors of experience and time in the work force are compared; women still expect to be "pampered" and showered with affection and tokens of male devotion. They still want and expect to get their sexual needs met, but they refuse to take responsibility for their own sexual needs and usually manage to make the man responsible for them at the same time they hold the man in contempt for having his own needs.
I am constantly astonished at the attitude of women who are supposedly "seeking relationships" with a man. I make something of a hobby of reading personals ads and surfing "romance" web sites just to keep my blood pressure up and remind myself why I never have married and never intend to. No wonder women get their condescending view of men confirmed if they only meet the type of men who will tolerate the following kind of arrogant condescencion.
"Okay, so I went to the "tips on writing ads". That helped!
"I am seeking to find someone out there who is honest to a fault, not too hard to look at, rather tall, great personality, loves to pamper women, opps, erase that, I meant, loves to pamper a woman, knows how to give and take, will understand that most women will, one way or the other, get in that last word, understands that sex is not everything (I realize that will exclude 90% of you guys), understands that sex is an important part of things, (what can I say, I'm a woman, you're not suppose to understand what that meant).
"I know, I sound like an awful person, but I'm really not."
I would say that this woman needs to retake her "tips on writing ads" course. If it had not been one of those "pay for your grins" sites, I would have sent back the following response:
"Yup, sure enough, I'm one of that 90% of guys you wanted to 'weed out'. I would suggest that you re-take your 'tips on writing ads' course. Surely they didn't suggest that slamming 90% of all men was a sure-fire tactic for catching the attention of that small fraction of the remaining 10% who can meet all your other criteria. Now, let's see what you have demanded so far: 1) honesty, nothing wrong with that; 2) attractive, tall, and great personality, you and every other woman in this country. Since you've already ruled out 90% of all men, and the men who have such a killer combination of desirable attributes as you require will likely have their pick of women, you are fishing in a pool which is small indeed. 3) "Loves" to pamper women, no make that "A" woman, obviously you. Since men in the age range you are prospecting often have kids, ex-wives, and often colleges to support, the ones with enough money left over to "pamper" you are becoming small indeed. Now, lessee, 10% of 10% of 10% works out to 1/10th of 1%. Now, let's look at what you are offering such a rare man. Passionate sex? Nope, you've already made it quite clear that YOUR assessment of the significance of that activity is going to be the prevailing standard of the day. Understanding and emotional support? Nope, again. You are going to demand the "last word" in ANY argument, and you're gonna retreat behind the old feminine mystique and just say I'm not supposed to understand what you mean. Well, I gotta tell you that even if I were such a man as fit all your demands, this is sizing up to be a pretty bad bargain. You yourself even admit as much when you end your ad with 'I know, I sound like an awful person, but I'm really not.' Whether you are or not doesn't matter. Your ad makes you sound like someone who will do until the real thing comes along. Maybe you should think about retaking the 'tips on writing ads' course and re-writing your ad?"
Obviously, this woman's mother told her that "men are only interested in one thing" and she has held onto this notion until her late 40s. And just as obviously, she is only interested in men as crippled in their self-esteem as she is so they will tolerate her smug arrogance and absurd demands while practically spelling out the fact that she has no intention of giving the man anything he might want in return.
A few years ago, I would have felt sorry for this woman. Now, all I can manage to do is to feel sorry for the poor bastard that she gets her hooks into.
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