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Someone IS listening!! Good news from the Challenging Clitoraid campaign

April 9, 2010

I’m really excited to have something positive to blog in regards to this whole Clitoraid fiasco.

Last week I  sent an email to the organization Do Something which was also supporting Clitoraid’s adoption of African women’s clitorises.   DoSomething.Org is an innovative organization Using the power of online to get teens to do good stuff offline. They had sent a tweet to their 344,492! followers on March 30th stating: “As a means of supporting an important new medical facility in Burkina Faso, you can adopt a clitoris! (I’m not kidding.)”

I sent them an email urging them to retract their support for Clitoraid and got the wonderfully encouraging response below.  Now if only Good Vibrations would take the cue! 😦

Thanks so much for your thoughtful response to our tweet — as someone well versed in issues surrounding international women’s rights, I have heard similar sentiments as the ones you expressed in terms of the difficulties that come with these sort of activist campaigns.

Our twitter account belongs solely to our CEO, and because of our large following, she is often sent hundreds of links to tweet out each day on behalf of our own and many other organizations, so obviously they are not all heavily researched and you point out a danger in this kind of promotion, so thank you for that and we’ll look to be more aware in sifting through these requests going forward.

Additionally, if you feel there is important content on this issue that you would like to see on our site, specifically ideas for how young people can take effective action around this cause, please feel free to send it to us and we will integrate onto our website.  Thanks very much!

Julia steers

Julia Steers, Content Editor
212 254.2390 x232
powering offline action

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Below is the email I had sent them asking to reconsider their support:

Hi Do Something staff.
A while back you tweeted an encouragement for your supporters to ‘adopt an African woman’s clitoris’ via

I’m a professor of African Politics and an avid techie so I thought I’d write you with a heads up to be careful about who you urge your followers to support.

Clitoraid is a project of the Raelian movement. A UFO religion that believes that all life on Earth was created in scientific labs by a species of extraterrestrials. Their previous venture, Clonaid was met with a kind of skepticism that Clitoraid has not.

For years now African women have been complaining that, even as we are engaged in domestic campaigns to end the practice of female circumcision within our communities, the eager participation by Westerners, has sometimes done more harm than good. These well meaning but ill informed activists have taken over the space, displaced African women’s voices on the issue.

Feminists have now started coming together to challenge Clitoraid and their humiliating campaign: I think that would be a better place to direct your supporters as we work to ensure a feminism that is free of racism.

A good place to start getting familiar with the vast literature by African women on Female Circumcision is the book:
Female Circumcision and the Politics of Knowledge: African Women in Imperialist Discourses edited by Obioma Nnaemeka

Yet another book: Female “circumcision” in Africa: culture, controversy, and change By Bettina Shell-Duncan, Ylva Hernlund. The chapter by Fuambai Ahmadu starting at Page 238 is particularly enlightening.

I hope that you will undo your support of the cult supported Clitoraid by tweeting a retraction to your followers.  We, your supporters, will be waiting eagerly to see your updates on this very important issue as you stand on the side of empowering African women!

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