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Jennifer Hollett of Current TV's Collective Journalism project reports on a group in Sierra Leone — where nearly 90-95 percent of all women are subject to female genital mutilation — called the Amazonian Initiative Movement, which is working to end the practice of FGM. In addition to educating women about the risks, AIM has started a program offering literacy skills and help starting new businesses to FGM practitioners, who often rely on performing FGM on other women to pay their own bills. Their hope is that, by eliminating the financial incentive to continue the practice, they can eliminate its spread. The full video can be seen by clicking on the image above left. [Current TV]

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DISCUSSION

Idk. There is a book called Why Do Men Barbecue: Recipes For Cultural Psychology by Richard A. Shweder that discusses female mutilation in chapter 4. Shweder stresses the importance of cultural perspective. In the chapter, Shweder discusses how many women see FM as a sign of femininity as the clitoris is seen as being something that is masculine given that it is akin to the penis. It is said in the book that many women like the sexual ambiguity of smooth genitals. He also says that there hasn't been enough evidence to conclude that women don't enjoy sex after mutilation as only the visible part of the clitoris is cut. The substructure remains intact. I then remembered Fatima from ANTM who had undergone FM and said that she couldn't have sex because of the procedure. So, I still have questions myself. I'm not saying I'm okay with FM but I found the information presented in the chapter interesting, as we often take the side of groups like AIM and rarely hear this version of the story. I am also aware that perceptions and practices about and around femininity can be indicative of the larger social structure or hierarchy present in society.