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Between Rites and RightsExcision in Women's Experiential Texts and Human Contexts$
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Chantal Zabus

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804756877

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804756877.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Sexual Pre-Texts

Sexual Pre-Texts

(p.19) One Sexual Pre-Texts
Between Rites and Rights
Stanford University Press

People in Somalia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and other parts of Africa believe that an oversized or an unexcised clitoris is an obstruction to coitus, while masturbation is an avoidance of coitus. Both are thus considered inimical to fertility. This chapter provides two “sexual pre-texts,” one African and the other European, the latter of which relies on African genital practices. To a certain degree, one or the other or both, directly or subliminally, informed women's contemporary self-writing on excision. The chapter considers a tribade (from the Greek tribein which means “to rub”), which refers to a woman who finds sexual pleasure with other women, often by rubbing an enlarged clitoris, a practice that is similar to lesbianism. It shows that women's experiential texts show the clitoris as instrumental in shaping female gender identity. Thus, the clitoris is a core element of African women's writings.

Keywords:   clitoris, Africa, excision, sexual pre-texts, tribade, lesbianism, gender identity, women, genital practices, self-writing

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