Embroideries: A campaign to end FGM

My first reaction when hearing of FGM was disbelief that something so cruel could really be inflicted on young girls. For those like me who hadn’t heard of it before, FGM stands for female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision or cutting.

It is a brutal and inhumane practice often performed on very young girls. The procedure consists of cutting off the inner and outer labia as well as the clitoris before sewing the area up, leaving one very small hole for urination as well as sexual activity. The practice is designed to remove the possibility of pleasure from sexual intercourse, as well as confirming the virginity of the girl upon marriage due to the profuse bleeding that is guaranteed to occur upon the tearing of her scar during her first sexual encounter. 
FGM is most commonly conducted when the child is 7 years old, it is rarely performed in sanitary conditions with proper sterile equipment and the child is seldom anaesthetised. The practice is most wide spread in Africa and some parts of the Middle East, but it does also happen here in the UK where it is illegal and so the domain of corrupt ‘backstreet’ surgeons. This also means that infections are rarely treated as parents are too scared to take their daughters to  a doctor.
The word used in Iran to refer to the procedure of FGM translates to English as “embroidery”; this planted the seed of out creative campaign which aims to draw attention to the atrocity of this practice and also to breakdown taboos surrounding the vulva. We have been compiling a collection of embroideries of ornate and luxurious vulvas! Made from the finest material and the richest colours, individual and elaborate embroideries on the finest silks and velvets to celebrate and glorify the vulva as it should be, as unique as a fingerprint. 
We hope this piece of work will achieve the main objectives of creative campaigning: to attract attention, shock and surprise, make an impact, subvert, inform, educate and to appear in the media. The message we will be trying to spread is that FGM is a human rights offence and a practice which must be erradictaed now.

Thanks to Tara for the most of the words and picture.

Published by

Shoreditch Sisters WI

Founded in 2007, we are a WI for women in and around London. We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 52 - 54 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8RT at 7pm. Membership is available all year around - joining in Jan-31st March is £41 for the entire year, April-30th June £30.75 for three quarters of the year, July- 30 Sept £20.50 of half a year, and Oct-Dec £10.25. We meet 11 times a year plus extra monthly sub-groups. Non-members are welcome to most meetings for £5.

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