Join feminist writer, Mona Eltahawy, MP Naz Shah and novelist and lawyer, Hina Belitz, for a frank discussion of hymen obsessions, exploring why the control of female sexuality remains prevalent across cultures and what this means for the equality and well-being of women in the UK and worldwide.
Female Genital Mutilation – the practice of deliberate cutting, injuring or altering the female genitals – is illegal throughout Britain. Despite this, more than 20,000 girls a year remain at risk of experiencing this harmful and traumatic practice from within the UK. Meanwhile, mainstream private clinics are increasingly advertising surgery to repair the hymen, a purely aesthetic practice with no medical benefit, designed to suggest a woman’s virginity. These practices and beliefs attach a high moral value on the control of female sexuality, which, in its most extreme form, can even lead to honour killings.
This event, chaired by Professor of Criminology, Aisha K. Gill, will explore the historic and current issues surrounding the control of the female body and ask why contemporary culture continues to be so obsessed with the hymen.