Musicman 1    

F.G.M. A White Man’s Perspective.

As a White Western man of 60 years and counting…. it is quite difficult for me to comprehend the motivation of a Muslim African tradition that simply mutilates women….at a tender age…and then expects them to lead a life of quiet subservience. The removal of the whole of the clitoris is tantamount to giving a woman a reasoned, then angry, and then suppressed Reichian approach to pleasure. Yet working on the basis that you never miss what you have never had….some of the most mature, intelligent, and peacefully happy women that I have met have been circumcised. When married, they accept their role in a way that existentially produces great harmony in a life of polygamy, where the potential for angst is quite substantial!

Now I realise that this will provoke uproar amongst the white Western women’s waspish middle class; perhaps rightly so! But in Africa, if the husband is happy…then so be it! It may well be that this sublimation of basic sexual drives has allowed African men to take many wives, and have them live with each other in relative peace and harmony for many centuries! What probably started as an aid to enslavement, and  reduced women to a life of breeding and labour, has entered the 21st century as a barbaric resonance of an era that leaves both Black and White Western people completely aghast!

The protestations of an ever reducing number of male-dominated African government enclaves suggests that African women can now engage in political debate…. clitoris intact…. and survive this cauldron without becoming victims of religiously inspired sedition. The idea that a woman who is not circumcised cannot rationalise her intellectual perspective is absurd, to say the least. It can only be a male orientated tradition that requires women, on the pretext of health issues, to give up all sexual pleasure in order to fulfil basic everyday subservient roles such as cooking, cleaning, and child bearing. These are the kind of roles that Angela Davis talks about quite clearly in “Women, Race and Class” in 1981.

“The abolition of housework as the private responsibility of individual women is clearly a strategic goal of women’s liberation. But the socialisation of housework – including meal preparation and child care – presupposes an end to the profit-motive’s reign over the economy. The only significant steps toward ending domestic slavery have in fact been taken in the existing socialist countries. Working women, therefore, have a special and vital interest in the struggle for socialism. Moreover, under capitalism, campaigns for jobs on an equal basis with men, combined with movements for institutions such as subsidised public health care, contain an explosive revolutionary potential. This strategy calls into question the validity of monopoly capitalism and must ultimately point in the direction of socialism.”

Therefore it becomes apparent that a practice that has evolved over a 1000 years is in fact a means of enslaving a continent of women to a domesticity that is totally counter-productive to the evolution of the economy, and would otherwise have given women complete equality and a brand new level playing field! It is also a fact, in my own experience in West Africa, that we are now reduced to a “don’t rock the boat” kind of attitude amongst male dominated ethnic groups, where it is understood that the continuation of the practice of F.G.M. is utterly barbaric, but is a useful convenience, and yet is without any reasonable moral foundation or justification whatsoever!

In this time of the revision of Islam around the world, we should be looking very closely at the functions of the Mosque, the Imam, his interpretation of the Koran, the local tribal practices, and the ways in which women are organised to only fulfil basic roles within a community or culture! It is no coincidence that the ascendancy of artists such as Miriam Makeba, Vivianne N’Dour, Oumou Sangare and Rokia Traore has occurred at a time when African women have begun to break the stereotypical mould. No longer just a wife, slave, or child bearer, they have begun to attain the kind of status that Western women have been achieving for the last 100 hundred years. Emily Pankhurst and the liberation movement not only decimated the White Aristocratic posture of the male as dominant species, but also unleashed an energy that has begun a process of liberation across Africa. With luck, and considerable focus, this will return the continent to its original status as a global wildlife park, and also engender the renaissance of Africa as the agricultural bread basket of the planet.

Why is it that so many dictators have failed in Africa? Why is it that men who have systematically stolen all of the resources available to them, filled their off-shore bank accounts, and even let their mutilated wives inflict a repressive backlash upon the people, have been unable to find a familial peace that has then manifest itself in the growth and development of their nation states? Men who have had the choice of as many wives as they could use? Men who have “sexed” as many women as their over-extended ego/libido-driven tribal cultures could provide?

If there was no clitorical response from any of these mutilated women? If there was only an act of subservience and nodded completion of duty done? If there was no soul-level communion? Then we are left with a Kurt Weil/Bertolt Brecht type entertainment that even a Western sex worker does not have to endure. She takes money! She has a contract! She acknowledges that she takes money in order to provide a service of given satisfaction! The mutilated African woman simply has to lie! Enslavement and mutilation are non-negotiable! That’s the job!

Wilhelm Reich would have something to say about this! Perhaps the sexual fulfilment of a man is not dependent on how many women he sexes! Not dependent on how many wives, mistresses, or girlfriends he has! Not dependent on how many shoes, dresses or other superfluous accoutrements these women have! Not dependent on how much addictive power he wields! Not dependent on how much pain he inflicts on his fellow men. Not dependent on how much damage he causes or how much of his sentient feeling he suppresses!

Sexual fulfilment is fast becoming something of a 21st. century  enigma; an elusive, magical place! If only Harry Potter had the grown-up, big-time, web-driven, inter-active answer.  Surrender would be a good place to start! A letting go of all conscious, ego-driven, worldly considerations could follow quite naturally. A concern for the nurturing of the feminine would then lead to a natural objection to the continued practice of F.G.M. Perhaps the frustrations that an un-selfish African man feels, after sexing a woman with no clitoris, would lead to a re-assessment of his continued support for such practice! Perhaps he would then be more concerned about the possibility of having to account for his next action, especially if this were an act of genocide.

How many times did we, as Western men, fail to achieve orgasmic satisfaction with our partners when we where younger, and more inexperienced? To then be confronted with an unsympathetic woman as victim, your own frustration and feelings of inadequacy, a deep seated anger, and a tribal hatred to which there is no known antidote, and then to have access to military equipment that only the CIA knows how to provide, leads to a fairly reasoned explanation as to how some of the most notorious actions of killing and genocidal behaviour in Africa actually happened. Both Black and White have felt the lash of a woman who was not satisfied with her lot! It is a fairly straightforward conclusion to make, that a man’s ability to enjoy giving pleasure to a partner, and to then enjoy receiving his own pleasure, and to engage in a process of joint orgasmic communion, is a potential that has far reaching implications for the worlds most powerful men! There are nation states that have never known or enjoyed the leadership and environmental imperative that produces sexual health, sexual contentment, and a sexual freedom of choice that  brings peace and long term contentment!

100 of the worlds top business people were polled, and all answered in a similar vein to questions about their libido. Powerful men have powerful sexual appetites. But all responded in pretty much the same way. They sublimated 80% of their sexual libido into work. Lots and lots of hard work; for success is no secret! The other 20% of their sexual energy gave them great satisfaction, with wives, partners or others! Was that in a mutually pleasurable environment? Was there, in fact, great joy and orgasmic pleasure? Or were they simply adding to their own unconscious desire to suppress their own pleasure by compounding their inability to give pleasure to the other. We will never know how many wars and acts of barbaric evil resulted from men who left the pleasure chamber in a mood of anger and frustration; who then sought a displaced style of fulfilment in the mutilation and murderous acts that their intoxicated egos used as a substitution for real fulfilment! This would then produce the kind of  negative impact that a successful and rewarding sex life may well have avoided!

We therefore have a duty of care to increase this understanding of repressed sexual tension worldwide, and to increase the will to end the process of F.G.M. It may well be that there are many men who will argue against this! They themselves have found an easy road to avoiding their own sexual responsibilities in the realms of orgasm and pleasure! It is the liberated woman who can then step forward and explain to her man that pleasure is there for them both!

An argument could well be constructed that Western women are clito-centric, and are now not only liberated to the point where the demand for great sex can override any other social criteria, but are also in danger of using new found sexual power as a manipulative weapon. Scoring points and addressing old wounds becomes another guilty pleasure that Reich would argue is completely counter-productive. The fear that is engendered puts the male right back into his siege-mentality war zone! Let pleasure, the pursuit of pleasure, sexual health and the rights of us all be the resultant outcome of this global debate!

It is surely the positive benefit of having a clitoris, understanding its function, and enjoying its communion in excelsis, that should inspire Western women to address the barbaric tradition that is still practiced in Western and Eastern Africa. Our sisters would like to hear from you!

Paul Hill


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