India Uncut

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Ironing breasts

Reuters reports from Cameroon:
Worried that her daughters' budding breasts would expose them to the risk of sexual harassment and even rape, their mother Philomene Moungang started 'ironing' the girls' bosoms with a heated stone.

"I did it to my two girls when they were eight years old. I would take the grinding stone, heat it in the fire and press it hard on the breasts," Moungang said.

"They cried and said it was painful. But I explained that it was for their own good."
The report informs us that this is "a traditional practice in West Africa."

We all have two selves, don't we: the animal self and the rational self? I know, I know, simplistic dichotomy and so on, but you know what I'm getting at. At one level, I'm horrified by this report (as I was by this one, which I'd linked to here); at another, I'm the man the mother in the story is worried about, checking out the chicas that pass by as I type this on my laptop. The rational me and the animal me are always in conflict, and of course, the rational me is always in charge. At least I like to think so.

(And here's a previous post on mutilation and moral relativism.)
amit varma, 6:07 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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