Warrior Marks Essay

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Alice Walker, Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1993, 373pp. Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is a practice that involves the removal of part or all of the female external genitalia. It occurs throughout the world, but most commonly in Africa where they say that it is a tradition and social custom to keep a young girl pure and a married woman faithful. But to some Westerners, the practice is viewed as being primitive and barbaric. We react with disgust and find it nearly incomprehensible that female genital mutilation can occur in the world today In Warrior Marks, Alice Walker looks at the reality that millions of African, Asian and…show more content…
Whether a battered wife, a rape survivor or genitally mutilated woman, Walker concludes that a woman warrior learns that if she is injured, she can fight back. She closes by saying, "Your wound could be your guide." Female circumcision is based on gender oppression and degradation of women. It is the result of a patriarchal society trying to sexually control women. Women are stripped of their sexuality and their virginity is controlled until they are married. As in most patriarchal societies, marriage is essential to the economic survival of women. Therefore, in the minds of these people, the benefits gained from this operation for the girl and her family far outweigh any potential danger. They look forward to circumcision as a coming-of-age ritual, which is necessary to maintain health, virginity and family honor. Circumcised women are considered beautiful while uncircumcised women are considered ugly, unclean, and unfit for marriage. So when parents request a genital procedure for their daughter, they are only seeking to enhance their child's acceptance into their culture and assure her desirability as a wife. There is also a health issue here because these procedures are usually performed under unsanitary conditions. They use tools non-sterilized like knives, scalpels or a piece of glass to do the cutting and there is no use of any anesthetics. Normal risks of circumcision include hemorrhage, severe pain, shock, infection, and even death. Harm that is done to
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