Date: Tue 06 Jun 1995 - 19:58:13 EEST
>Given that Greg has seen fit to decree as fiat that there are
>no venereal diseases, I see no problem hoping for a fiat on
>this question as well.
I sincerely hope that there will be no such blanket fiat on Gloranthan cultural expressions of sex and gender. It seems to me that sex is an area of great mythic importance which has not been well explored in our learning about Glorantha. (For another example, what about menstruation? Do mortal females menstruate in Glorantha? If so, what is the length of the menstrual cycle for a human female, and when does a woman typically have her period? And, what about menstrual taboos?)
I agree that genital mutilation is one of the perversions of humanity, but it is also one of the most common of human practices. According to the _Encyclopedia Brittanica_, only very few peoples "were unacquainted with the practice" of at least circumcision. These are identified as the "Indo-Germanic, the Mongol, and the Finno-Ugric speaking peoples." And while I believe a moral and ethical stand may be taken regarding such practices, I think they can be approached in an RQ game in the same way that such topics as slavery, rape, cannibalism, or torture is. I see no reason that these practices cannot be placed within the past, the "bad old days," of a specific Gloranthan culture, or as an example of things "bad people" do.
>Subincision isn't so much "mutilation", as "adornment", no?
Subincision is the practice known mainly from the male initiation ceremonies and puberty rites of Australian aborigines. (The same one Peter Metcalfe mentions with the bull-roarers.) The underside of the penis is slit from the base along the length of the urethra. Sometimes this is done for the length of the penis, but usually only for a centimeter or so. It is done by the men to steal the women's magic of periodic bleeding. The men will reopen their subincision wound during well guarded ceremonies that no woman may attend. Subincised men are called "possessor of a vulva," and abide by all menstrual taboos while their subincision wound bleeds.
Aboriginal females also undergo a rite, called "cutting the vulva." Originally an artificial defloration rite, the ritual has changed to include cutting clitoris, labia, hymen, and most of the perineum. Although not infibulation, it's close. :-p
Although I'm not sure how this worked, Chinese male eunuchs who survived being fully dismembered used quills to help them urinate.
I don't believe any Hsunchen practice circumcision. I think it would be a "civilizing" practice, somethink someone did when denying their animal heritage. It probably would have to be practiced for several generations to successfully "distance" a family from that mythical history.
I'm convinced the Dara Happans practice male circumcision, as a way to "more fully reveal the Glory of Man," and that they used clitoridectomies as a way to limit and control the "unnatural temptations" of their wives (until the Lunars successfully banned this practice.) Girls who would become Uleria worshippers would thus have been the only Dara Happan women left unmutilated. This would also help explain why oppressed Dara Happan women would turn to Gorgorma, instead of seeking "freedom" in prostitution (as has historically been one route or end for Terran women who leave their husbands.)
I don't think the Malkioni practice any female genital mutilation, but I'm not sure about male circumcision. Maybe the different sects have different beliefs. I guess it depends upon what the Brithini did. Maybe they practiced circumcision as a way for them to differentiate themselves further from the animal-men. Maybe not.
I think every form of genital mutilation is practiced by someone in Fonrit (based as it is on both Islamic and African cultures). If the Left Hand Path does involve subincision, they would not be allowed to enter Fanjosi, the City of Men.
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