Female genital mutilation in African and African American women's literature


  • Darja Marinšek




African literatures / African American literature / genital mutilation / women writers


The article builds on the existing dispute between African and African American women writers on the competence of writing about female genital mutilation (FGM), and tries to determine the existence and nature of the differences between the writings of these two groups. The author uses comparative analysis of two popular African and African American novels, comparing their ways of describing FGM, its causes and consequences, the level ob objectivity and the style of the narrations.This is followed by a discussion on the reasons for such differences, incorporating a larger circle of both African and African American women authors, at the same time analysing the deviance within the two groups. While the differences between African American writers are not that great, as they mostly fail to present the issue from different points of view, which is often the result of their lack of direct knowledge of the topic, African authors' writing is in itself discovered to be ambivalent and not at all invariable. The reasons for such ambivalence are then discussed in greater context, focusing on the effect of the authors' personal contact with circumcision as well as their knowledge and acceptance of Western values. The author concludes by establishing the African ambivalent attitude towards FGM, which includes different aspects of the issue, as the most significant difference between their and African American writers' description of this practice.


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How to Cite

Marinšek, D. (2007). Female genital mutilation in African and African American women’s literature. Acta Neophilologica, 40(1-2), 129–146. https://doi.org/10.4312/an.40.1-2.129-146