Recently I was reading a post over at brownfemipower’s Women of Color blog about a 15 year old girl, Katie Thorpe, who has cerebral palsy and whose uterus is being removed, by the request of her mother. Because, as far as I can tell, dealing with the annoyance, inconvenience, pain, and general taboo-ed-ness of menstruation might be too difficult. And perhaps because she needs to be protected from any pregnancy that might result from her being raped. And because the mother wants her child to stay a child.
I need to say something in this space because this is an issue that deeply upsets me and has come up before, with the case of Ashely X. I have a real problem with the medical profession, well-meaning parents, and society in general deciding that sexual organs of disabled women should be removed. To me, this means we, as a society, are complicit in what I think is the mutilation of girls and women. Lots of people agree that women should have ‘choice’ regarding their bodies. But is it only okay for middle/upper class, white, able-bodied, cis women to make those choices?, as queen emily asked in the comments at bfp’s. I have a feeling that this all comes down to our (society’s and personal) extraordinary squeamishness with, and fear of a) disabled people and b) sexuality and c) the combination of the two. Confronting this prejudice-that disabled girls and women shouldn’t or can’t be sexual beings is vitally important. This isn’t easy – when is it? – but I believe we cannot let this kind of thing slide on by.
I do not have the answer(s). I have neither the expertise nor the experience to arrive at a solution, if a single one exists. But I do know that we need to think about this more as a society, because more and more girls bodies are controlled and manipulated and mutilated in the name of our own convenience. Please read Book Girl’s post and go to Penny’s blog for a list of bloggers talking about this with more eloquence and knowledge than what I have.