Extreme Makeover: Feminist Edition
Letter to the Editor submitted by Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., to Ms. in response to the article "Extreme Makeover: Feminist Edition" which ran in the Fall 2007 issue.
Jennifer Cognard-Black's excellent article on the appropriation of the feminist choice to promote plastic surgery reminded me of a recent talk I attended on female genital cutting (FGC). I came away pondering the similarities between FGC and the Western practice of plastic surgery. The goal of both appears the same one of attracting a mate, and both have to do with cutting healthy tissue. Adult women give informed consent to be molded into what they hope will please the male gaze, whereas in cultures where cutting is viewed to be necessary for marriageability young girls are not given a choice in the matter. The paradox is that, choice or no choice, some women and girls are being cut.