This book explores the phenomenon of anti-femail genital mutilation (FGM) social media activism. Against a backdrop of over 200 million girls and women worldwide affected by FGM, this volume examines key global online campaigns to end the practice, involving leading virtual platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Drawing from twenty-one fieldwork interviews with anti-FGM activists, frontline practitioners and survivors, the volume investigates opportunities and challenges inherent to cyberspace. These include online FGM bans as well as practices such as ‘cyber-misogyny’ and ‘clicktivism’.
Global campaigns featured include the UN’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, the WHO’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme, The Girl Generation, The Guardian’s End FGM Global Media Campaign and the Massai Cricket Warriors. Furthermore, ten case-studies document prominent anti-FGM campaigners. Firstly, five African-led narratives from celebrated activists: Efua Dorkenoo OBE, Waris Dirie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh and Leyla Hussein. Second, five accounts from FGM survivors interviewed for the book: Mama Sylla, Masooma Ranalvi, Farzana Doctor, Fatou Baldeh and Mariya Taher.
By exploring anti-FGM online activism, this book fills a gap in the literature which has largely overlooked FGM’s presence in cyberspace as a virtual social movement. Female Genital Mutilation and Social Media will be of interest to activists, survivors, frontline professionals, students, academics and the wider public.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction: Understanding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Social Media; 2. Finding a Voice: When FGM Survivors turn Hashtag Activists; 3. The FGM Debate: To Cut or Not to Cut?; 4. Anti-FGM Activism and the Law: A British Case Study; 5. Going Viral: Global Campaigns to End FGM and Child Marriage; 6. From Grassroots Activism to Online ‘Clicktivism’: Opportunities and Challenges; 7. Conclusion: Tackling FGM in the Digital Age; Index
Christina Julios is an Honorary Research Fellow and Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London. She is also an Honorary Associate at The Open University and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Previously, Dr Julios was Director of Policy and External Affairs at the Ethnic Minority Foundation, and has taught at Queen Mary, University of London. She is the author of Forced Marriage and ‘Honour’ Killings in Britain: Private Lives, Community Crimes and Public Policy Perspectives (Ashgate, 2015) and Contemporary British Identity: English Language, Migrants and Public Discourse (Ashgate, 2008).
‘Christina Julios’s Female Genital Mutilation and Social Media is that rare thing: a rigorously researched and brilliantly argued scholarly book which manages to be immensely readable. Julios writes about the power and limitations of anti-FGM cyberactivism, considering its at times fraught relationship with offline grassroots campaigns. Female Genital Mutilation and Social Media is a guide to the complex discourses circulating around FGM in both real and virtual worlds; it examines narratives of cultural practice, religious belief, and gendered behaviour through an intersectional, interdisciplinary prism. This is a book which will surely play a vital role in ending the global human rights abuse that is FGM.’ Emma Rees, Director of the Institute of Gender Studies at the University of Chester, UK
‘This book draws valuable attention to the insights of grassroots activists who have taken the lead in making sure ending FGC continues to be located at the heart of the global human rights agenda. By bringing together FGC and cyberactivism, Christina Julios examines the ways anti-FGC campaigning has evolved over time to address today’s global virtual audiences. Importantly, this book not only discusses the barriers to the abandonment of FGC, but it further contributes to the much-needed discussions on the challenges faced by the women’s sector around the world.’ Emmaleena Käkelä, University of Strathclyde, UK
‘Female Genital Mutilation and Social Media is the first book to examine the epic impact of social media on advocacy efforts to end this form of gender violence. With social media inherent to our everyday existence, Christina Julios digs deep to examine how cyberactivism builds support to enact laws and create outreach and educational programs, as well as how it has led to new challenges such as spreading of cyber-misogyny in virtual public spaces by proponents of FGM/C. This book is a needed first step in understanding the fight to uphold our human rights in today's virtual world.’ Mariya Taher, MFA, MSW, Sahiyo Cofounder and US Network to End FGM/C Steering Committee