Is ‘pulling’ worth the effort or trouble?
Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Gender and Culture Affairs Minister, Peace Mutuuzo has discouraged teenage girls from the practice of elongating their labia.
According to Mutuuzo, the practice of elongating the labia tampers with body hormones and arouses sexual feelings, which pushes teenage girls into premarital sex leading to unwanted pregnancies and diseases.
The minister sounded a warning to schools that encourage and allow such practices, saying it is form of Female Genital Mutilation.
She also sounded a warning to people offering Labia elongation services, saying it violates children’s rights as they are initiated before they attain consent age.
Labia elongation is common among Bantu women especially Baganda. Although criticised by the west, the practice, which is basically the elongation of the labia minora on the female private parts by girls and women. It is one of the rituals undertaken in preparation for marriage.
Mutuuzo says that while there is no medical evidence of the negative effects of the practice there is no known benefit.
She says while a cultural argument is made that elongating the labia raises sexual pleasure, there is no evidence to that effect.
However, marriage counselor, Ssenga Hamida Namatovu has criticized the Minster for being ignorant about the matter. She says labia elongation has existed for generations and cannot be blamed for the girl child school dropout.
Namatovu says that rather than take a radical move to condemn the practice, Mutuuzo should consult with knowledgeable people about practice to discuss her worries.
She says cultural issues are not just women issues they hold interests of men too.
Ruth Nalwoga, an English Language trainer says government shouldn’t move to condemn what has no proven side effect. She says labia elongation is cultural and appreciated by those who practice it.
Nalwoga says that since no one is forced to do it, those who practice it willingly shouldn’t be stopped.
Rashida Sanyu, a businesswoman says labia elongation shouldn’t be blamed for girls dropping out of school.
She says peer pressure and other factors are responsible and that government should focus its effort on solving the real challenge that force girls out School rather than tampering with culture.
Zulu DeWest, a student of Pan Africanism and presenter at TV Africa, a Pan African station, says the Minister is speaking to please western donors, who are opposed to labia elongation, which undermines the African culture.
He describes the minister’s statement as an insult to his intelligence.
Zulu challenged the Minister to explain if sex education promoted by government doesn’t open the minds of children to sex if they claim girls go for sex after elongating.
Uganda joins the rest of the world tomorrow Thursday 7th, February 2020 to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
The purpose of the commemoration is to raise awareness among all Ugandans about the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation and advocate for its total elimination.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) refers to the total or partial removal or mutilation of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.