View Full Version : “possessing the secret of joy”, a novel by alice walker
March 31st, 2011, 17:26
ha! i came here for information about foreskin restoration and the first thing i comment on is female genital mutilation . . . which is the last topic i imagined to be listed! whomever’s idea it was to include the subject, i applaud.
it is barbarous and utterly soul-destroying. the internal scar, assuming the female lives long enough for the flesh to heal, is something that has haunted and disgusted me since my first reading of Alice Walker’s brilliant novel “possessing the secret of joy”. if anyone is unfamiliar w/ the author, she also wrote “the colour purple”.
“joy” delves into the soul and psyche of a woman who originates from an african tribe in full practice the tradition. she nearly dies from complications during the ceremony performed on her as a girl, and is smuggled into safety. now a young woman, she is granted the opportunity, through much adversity, to study in the u.s. she is plunged into an alien world where women have been sexually liberated. she becomes fully aware of exactly what it was that was taken from her, and what she will never regain. it is a must read.
April 1st, 2011, 13:18
Thanks for posting this.
I've been into intactivism for over 10 years now, and I've heard of "Possessing the Secret of Joy" before, but I had forgotten about the existence of this 1992 novel, which was well received. I did an interlibrary computer search, and found it's widely available at municipal libraries.
I love the title. With my sudden dekeratinization and onset-of-glide during my foreskin restoration, I possessed the Secret of Joy too!
If you liked "Possessing the Secret of Joy," perhaps you would also like the foreign film "Moolaade" (moo-la-DAY) (2004)(French and African languages with English subtitles). It's a Senegalese film about a colorful West African village where the FGM "purification" ritual is being questioned. When the all-male Council of Elders decides that FGM will continue as usual, one of the women elders, who feels she was severely damaged by FGM and who protected her own daughter from it, uses her prerogative under their village law to demand a cooling off period before any Council decision is implemented. She offers the village girls, who are scheduled to undergo FGM, Moolaade - Sanctuary, or Magical Protection - in her own home. Most of the film is devoted to the interaction of the characters during this time. When the Moolaade ends, the FGM ritual proceeds, but with some of the girls opting out with the permission of their families. The one bedroom scene in the movie (not a completely nude scene) portrays circumcised sex as something like two musk oxen dutifully heaving to rub their sandpapery hides together.
When "Moolaade" was first presented at the Detroit Institute of Arts Foreign Film Festival, I attended together with other members NOCIRC of Michigan as a group. Everybody liked it. It was impressive that a film with such a good script and such good cinematography was produced in Senegal. However, one criticism was that much of the acting was terrible - not even high school play quality. Also, subtitles always leave something to be desired.
I'm not much of a movie goer. I often have trouble sitting through movies, even those that have received rave reviews. Nevertheless, "Moolaade" held my attention throughout. (Available on DVD.)
World As Monkey Island
April 14th, 2011, 22:23
I saw a documentary a few weeks ago about a woman from (I forgot which African country). But she was trying to persuade a judge to let her stay in the U.S. (she was a non citizen but her daughter was born here). So she was pleading to the judge not to deport her because her daughter would be surely be circumcised. She and all her female relatives were circumcised. So they showed the village she was from, and interviewed the residents. They said even if the mother refuses the grandparents will have her cut as soon as the mother is out of sight. Even the neighbors will have your daughter cut if you refuse. They talked to a few women who said the men can have multiple wives. And if he has an uncircumcised wife he will give her more attention, because she is more sexually responsive to him. It was quite heart wrenching. The parallels to our own struggles were not lost on me.
vBulletin® v3.7.2, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.