Based on ethnographic research in post-genocide Rwanda, this article analyzes how femininity is embodied through a ritual practice called gukuna, which consists of the elongation of the labia minora through a reciprocal massage between young women. This chapter offer a complex anthropological scrutiny of the social stakes of a permanent modification practice on female genitals. The different meanings this assumes for the women and men involved, and for colonial and post-independent Rwanda governments are deeply appraised. Appropriately understood, gukuna reveals and challenges the culturalist and victimizing presumptions of the hegemonic representations of both FGM and so-called “African women”, highlighting the continuities between the mor- alization procedures of colonialism and of the contemporary humanitarian field. If on one side the dominant WHO categorization, and particularly the IV type, comes into question, the article permits us to understand the subjectivities of Rwandan women in their situated diversities and to acknowledge their social protagonist-ness, which is expressed in a fully satisfying sexual life as well. The gaze that this chapter turns on body, bodily and sexual techniques and, thus, on gendered incorporation processes, conveys the need for a real enquiry into the articulation between procedures on genital and sexual practices; as a real sphere of negotiation of social relationship between genders and inside genders, this embraces the possibilities for an equality that we have to be able to discern free from any emancipative projections.

Fusaschi, M. (2018). Gukuna: a paradoxical rwandan female genital "mutilation". In G.C. Michela Fusaschi (a cura di),  FGM/C: from medicine to critical anthropology (pp. 107-120). Torino : Meti.

Gukuna: a paradoxical rwandan female genital "mutilation"

fusaschi
2018-01-01

Abstract

Based on ethnographic research in post-genocide Rwanda, this article analyzes how femininity is embodied through a ritual practice called gukuna, which consists of the elongation of the labia minora through a reciprocal massage between young women. This chapter offer a complex anthropological scrutiny of the social stakes of a permanent modification practice on female genitals. The different meanings this assumes for the women and men involved, and for colonial and post-independent Rwanda governments are deeply appraised. Appropriately understood, gukuna reveals and challenges the culturalist and victimizing presumptions of the hegemonic representations of both FGM and so-called “African women”, highlighting the continuities between the mor- alization procedures of colonialism and of the contemporary humanitarian field. If on one side the dominant WHO categorization, and particularly the IV type, comes into question, the article permits us to understand the subjectivities of Rwandan women in their situated diversities and to acknowledge their social protagonist-ness, which is expressed in a fully satisfying sexual life as well. The gaze that this chapter turns on body, bodily and sexual techniques and, thus, on gendered incorporation processes, conveys the need for a real enquiry into the articulation between procedures on genital and sexual practices; as a real sphere of negotiation of social relationship between genders and inside genders, this embraces the possibilities for an equality that we have to be able to discern free from any emancipative projections.
9788864840321
Fusaschi, M. (2018). Gukuna: a paradoxical rwandan female genital "mutilation". In G.C. Michela Fusaschi (a cura di),  FGM/C: from medicine to critical anthropology (pp. 107-120). Torino : Meti.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/328562
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