Oct. 30, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
SRU's Women's Studies Program confronts genital cutting
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa.- The controversial topic of female genital cutting for religious and cosmetic purposes will be the topic of a Thursday discussion at Slippery Rock University, sponsored by the University's Women's Studies Program.
Lisa Wade, a sociology professor at Occidental College, will present "Female Genital Cutting in the American Imagination" from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Spotts World Culture Auditorium. Wade has published widely on the topic and is expected to bring a broad cultural perspective to a complex issue, said Cindy LaCom, SRU professor of English and director of women studies.
Genital mutilation has been practiced for centuries in Islamic countries for religious reasons and is becoming more common in the west as a cosmetic procedure especially within the pornography industry, according to LaCom. LaCom said she hopes the lecture raises awareness and opposition.
"Women are subjected to genital cutting every year," LaCom said. "It's really easy for western families to dismiss the practice as part of a barbaric society. I am hoping we gain more cultural sensitivity and recognize that what is happening in our own country might from an outside perspective look just as horrifying."
LaCom said the lecture shows the progressiveness of SRU's Women Studies Program. "Despite the seemingly radical and potential offensiveness of this presentation, it is imperative that we consider it. It's something all women's studies program should address but unfortunately too few do," she said.
Wade teaches courses in gender, race, ethnicity, sexually and medicine. Her doctorate in sociology is from the University of Wisconsin.
Wade's discussion is free and open to all.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.