I’ve been away for two weeks, touring Holland and Belgium. I was going to blog about that, but as sometimes happens when I leave England and work from dawn ’til dusk every day, I’ve missed something huge in the news and this time, it’s very serious.
As of April 1st, women in the UK who have genital piercings will be classed as victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
FGM is torture. Girls as young as nine have part or all of their genitalia removed- often without anaesthetic or sterilised blades. This includes the clitoris, labia and part of the urethra (wee tube).
It is a cultural practise centred around keeping girls ‘pure’ and it is not only excruciatingly painful but can lead to severe and fatal problems later. This includes:
– Difficulty and pain urinating- scar tissue can block the urethra and lead to infection.
– Fertility problems- menstrual blood cannot escape the body and is left inside to rot.
– Multiple kinds of infection from open wounds and old blood
– Death from blood loss
… Not to mention mental scarring.
In the UK, there are many kinds of genital piercings and adornments available for women. I asked friends why they have genital piercings and received a range of responses, but mostly these:
– I like the look
– I had it done on a whim and never took it out
– It enhances sexual pleasure
Though there are women who are pressured into getting piercings, this has nothing to do with FGM and it is insulting to women who have survived FGM to suggest such a connection.
It is currently unclear whether or not female genital piercing will be made illegal, but certainly on medical records, a pierced woman will be placed in the same category as a ‘cut’ woman. How dismissive and trivialising for the survivor of such a despicable practise.
In a society still uncomfortable with discussing womens body parts, this new law can do yet more damage- trivialising FGM and confusing some as to what it consists of. I can imagine a few dim bulbs under the impression that women are brought to a remote village, given a clitoral piercing and sent home again! The true horror is masked by the non-issue of consensual piercing.
As I am writing, it is also unclear whether genital surgery (e.g. labiaplasty) will be included under the FGM umbrella or not. There are many unanswered questions but one thing is clear: This will not affect men. Men can still get any part of their body pierced without being labelled a torture victim.
Remember last year’s new porn laws, which banned women (but not men) from being filmed facesitting (among other things) despite their written consent?
The issue with both of these laws is that our consent is ignored.
Sex without consent is rape.
Surgery without consent is mutilation.
Either of these things with consent is none of your fucking business.
Pierced or not, please sign this petition to support the right of women to adorn our bodies as we wish, and to acknowledge the fact that FGM is a separate issue- pretending otherwise insults everyone.