Skepticism

Raelians want to save your clit

You know, I just couldn’t have made this one up. In case you don’t recognize the name, the Raelians are a very strange UFO religion that involves a lot of sex. Salon has an awesome article discussing their odd beliefs:

“an organization whose members believe that the fact that the human race was created by extraterrestrials shouldn’t interfere with our hedonistic enjoyment of sex.”

Well, they at least got some of it right.

The Raelians are now on a crusade to halt female genital mutilation. It’s called Clitoraid, which makes it rather difficult to take it seriously. I can’t fault them for this–GM is a grotesque practice. (This map shows how prevalent it is in some countries.)
Female genital cutting is absolutely wrong. But…a crazy UFO sex cult is planning a clit reconstruction clinic in Burkina Faso. This makes me initially not so keen on the idea.

I am encouraged by their working with 2 doctors that have actually done work with women refugees. From the Wired article:

“Bowers flew to Paris last April (on her own dime) to train with Pierre Foldes, an Ob-Gyn in Paris who reportedly invented the technique of clitoris reconstruction after many years of treating women in Africa. Foldes performs about 200 of these surgeries each year. According to Terstenjak, Foldes declined to get involved directly with Clitoraid, but he agreed to perform the surgery on women sponsored by the Raelians, and to instruct other doctors in his technique.”

If a crazy cult group wants to spend their money helping third-world women who’ve been sexually butchered…I guess after some thought I’m ok with that.
Are you?

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19 Comments

  1. I've heard of this. BUt I do share your concern that it's the Raelians who are organizing it.

    Where are the Human Rights organizations that should be helping out? Why is it left to the woo-woo crowd?

    On the other hand, at least SOMEONE is doing something constructive about the situation. Better the Raelians than no one.

  2. Yes, better someone than no-one. BUT…would it be fair to say that the victims of FGM are typically vulnerable and quite probably from cultures where superstition is higher than average?

    What concerns me is that the cult are going to be able to use this as a recruitment platform.

  3. I guess I have mixed feelings too. On the minus side, the Raelians have some very irrational beliefs and it's hard to see how those won't influence their help to some degree.

    On the plus side, they also see GM as a hideous practice whose victims deserve help.

  4. I'm cool with it as long as they don't make their help come with the price tag of converting to their beliefs. That's also the problem I have with missionaries and the like. But, yes, in the end, it's better than nothing.

  5. Yeah,mostly echoing the sentiments here. I worry about those weirdoes being involved with anything, but fighting against evil is good. I question their motives, but I'm sure at least some of them simply want to help and stop a truly horrific practice. In the end, when judging degrees of wrong, I think the weird alien cult is much closer to the tolerable end of the spectrum than genital carvers.

  6. I don't know whether you've heard of Papillon, a young French woman who had reconstructive surgery last year. One of the Raelian people left a link to a blog about their work, but I've just looked it up and it hasn't been updated since last August.

    You might possibly be interested in Papillon's own blog (in French) but I did do an English translation. Her reconstruction was performed by Dr Foldès who has been doing this surgery for a good many years, not to mention training other surgeons in France and in Africa in the technique.

  7. As far as cults go the Raelians don't rate very high on my threat meter. Now if it were the ghost of Jim Jones or if Charles Manson started a program I'd be more worried. I wish them luck with this.

  8. OK, I think I've rationalised this thusly:

    Even if they did try and recruit from this, I think a cult-member with a restored clitoris is better off than a non-cult member with a mutilated one. So…if they want to pay for this, then it's a good thing. Hopefully any ulterior motives are minimal.

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