Journal of Sex Research (iFirst). 10.1080/00224499.2014.1003027
Zambian Women in South Africa: Insights Into Health Experiences of Labia Elongation
G Martinez Perez, M Mubanga, C Tomás Aznar, B Bagnol
Labia minora elongation consists in the manual stretching of the inner lips of the external genitalia. This practice is documented in east and southern Africa. The experiences of African women in the diaspora practicing elongation are not thoroughly understood. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the health harms and benefits associated with this practice of Zambian women who have migrated to Cape Town, South Africa. Twenty women and seventeen men participated in this study. Between December 2013 and May 2014, in-depth interviews and natural group discussions were conducted with the participants. The focus of this article is to report on the emic of the women related to notions of health, hygiene, and well-being. Labial elongation is perceived as a practice involving minor, short-term adverse effects that can be prevented by following some basic hygiene. Overall, personal and social value is placed on this practice because of its reported benefits for the sexual health of men and women, and for women’s femininity and self-image. Further research is necessary on how female genital modifications influence Zambians’ sexual preferences to inform the development of culturally appropriate health promotion interventions.
This article can be accessed in this LINK
manena20.blogspot.com webpage. Sunday, December 07, 2008
Elongation of labia minora – Zambia
By Manena (author of the blog where this post is hosted)
I was browsing the web today and just now found out that elongation of labia minora is classified as Genital Mutilation type IV (where have I been?). So of course after my initial shock of “oh my God! I am mutilated!!!” abated… I had a few minutes to think and I have come to a conclusion on the subject. The researchers have erred.
History and Commentary: Let me start by saying that the information contained herein will most likely upset/disconcert a lot of Zambians because we have trouble talking about our sexuality or sex in public places. Ritual/ traditional sexual matters are discussed in private among friends or at gender restricted traditional ceremonies. The reason I feel strongly to speak on this subject is that as Zambian, we sometimes have a tendency to accept western standards as the norm, shunning our own cultures without much investigation other than the fact that it seems primitive. We often forget that when anthropologists come in from other countries to “study” us, they are not highly familiar with the language for a start, and the local people are not comfortable explaining everything or have trouble translating things to English. The evidence is clear in Chisungu: A girl’s initiation ceremony among the Bemba of Zambiaby Audrey Richards. Yes there are a lot of inconsistencies and traditional teaching that has been done the same way for ages that we have no idea why it’s done that way other than– it was passed on by our forefathers that way. You could say the same for many religious practices too. Unfortunately, unlike religion, our history is not written, but passes on through fables or partially true stories, through dance and song or a village elders romantic view of the past…
This post can be accessed in this LINK