We as people often place power on articles of clothing and how they're presented on humans, especially women. In first world countries, clothing give us a sense of individualism. Sadly, women always get criticized for clothing, just look at fashion police on E! News, or watch how commenters at the Red Carpet only ask women questions about their clothing. This is how we know clothing is powerful though, because if no one cared, no criticisms would take place. In western societies we are always quick to jump to conclusions on women and if their article of clothing truly lets them feel liberated and free -- to an extent. This is how we either empower or make women feel miniscule. This is how in high school if you are declared popular because you wear Brandy Melville, or unpopular because you shop at a store not worthy enough. Wear too little of clothing, and you are viewed with no respect. In contrast, wear too much, and you are seen as a dehumanized woman unable to live her life for herself. Take this for an example, if you practice a certain cultural tradition, or religion that requires clothing to cover from head to toe, such as a burqa, hijab, or the habit,  instantly, you are seen as someone who is taboo. This has always been a problem with women, power. Although fashion can be the most powerful tool in first world countries, the power and freedom of a woman really lies underneath the clothing in many other countries. Sexuality, a Vagina, the most powerful tool a woman can have, but did you know that this power a woman has can be taken away from her? 

Imagine, being four years old and being held at your will with people holding down your body to do a procedure that they probably have done to your sisters, your mom, your aunts, and grandmas. Usually done by an older woman, or a man, this procedure that will take away such a powerful, and important feeling, while causing side effects that can kill you. Female Genital Mutilation, or the distortion of the Vagina with unsanitary procedures merely using a dirty razor, glass, or kitchen scissors to make sure that women are not in control of their sexuality, with no anesthesia used in the process. According to the medical dictionary, a precise definition would be, "the practice of which the female genital area is the cutting to partially or remove fully of the external female genitalia for cultural, religious, or other non-medical reasons". There are currently four types of female genital mutilation, but I want to discuss three because of how common it is found. Type 1, which is also called clitoridectomy is a partial or total removal of the clitoris. Type 2, named excision, is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with a amount of tissue removed varying widely from community to community. In its most extreme form of mutilation, which we should call type 3, the lips of the vagina are sewn together leaving a small open space for the Urethra to let urine out and menstrual blood. When type 3 occurs it is usually to prove that when the women is married, she is indeed a virgin because of how she is sealed up. However, in most cases women undergo procedures that are less extreme, such as only type 1 and type 2. Most families go with these types because of customs that started so long ago, and the traditions the family want to keep.

So where did this start out from? Science have found the earliest Female Genital Mutilation in Egypt B.C. From there we have seen in grown among 30 countries, but most particularly in middle east cultures and in Africa. 200 million alive women today are said to have undergone the procedure. In 1997, the United States banned it and the United Nations viewed Female Genital Mutilation as, "women having their human rights taken away from them". Today, a majority of countries, even countries where it is widely practice it, such as Nambia and Nigeria ban it. The complicated part is that medical professionals in these countries are being asked for it to be done by families, and even though it is illegal, doctors have a tough line drawing the line and not wanting to risk having the families get the procedure done on their child in a unsanitary, unprofessional, and unsafe way. 

In the unsafe way,  no anesthetics is used during the procedure, but the pain is just getting started. Complications from the circumcision are for life, including urinary and menstrual problems, infertility, and painful sexual intercourse. In extreme cases such as type 3, when the woman is brought to her new husband, usually a female relative, such as his sister will slice her sealed Vagina up, leaving him to be able to penetrate her, and hang up his bloody bed sheets to prove that indeed, she was a virgin. This is not pleasurable for the woman, at all. She will never enjoy sex, never know the pleasure of it, and have scar tissue that builds up that causes her to live with immense pain for the rest of her life. This procedure is merely done for the sake of men because they will still feel good, regardless. All these traditions started because a woman was deemed too powerful because of sexuality and it needed to be in control, and men did not want the women to be in control of anything, so they found a way to control it.

As female genital mutilation will cease to exist one day, those 200 million women, and female children who presently or undergone the procedure contain a power and strength that mass majority of males and females could not live without. Although in certain cases, some women choose to get cut to stick to traditional values. Regardless, Pleasure from sex, or sharing the pleasure of sex. Leaving them to be the most powerful and some of the strongest people because of their inability to experience the pleasure in the sense that we do. To those fortunate enough not to have undergone it, such as me, and probably you, at the end of the day when we wash our naked bodies, or share our bodies with those we love, it is truly power to the vagina. The creation for ever mammals life, and ability to give birth, is truly more powerful than designer clothes, and being able to control how you want to use your vagina, and what you want to do with it.