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Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women

2.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0156002141
ISBN-10: 0156002140
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Female genital mutilation is still widely practiced in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Walker, whose 1992 novel Possessing the Secret of Joy explored the life of a genitally mutilated African woman, teamed up with Indian filmmaker Parmar (who was born in Kenya and is based in London) to make a documentary film about this abhorrent practice. This forceful account of how they filmed Warrior Marks in Africa in 1992-93 splices letters, journal entries, photographs, poems and interviews with victims of "female circumcision," their families, women who perform clitoridectomies and activists opposed to the practice. Included is medical testimony suggesting that female genital mutilation may contribute to the spead of AIDS. This remarkable cross-cultural collaboration should help to break the deafening silence surrounding a taboo subject.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Female genital mutilation is still widely practiced in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Walker, whose 1992 novel Possessing the Secret of Joy explored the life of a genitally mutilated African woman, teamed up with Indian filmmaker Parmar (who was born in Kenya and is based in London) to make a documentary film about this abhorrent practice. This forceful account of how they filmed Warrior Marks in Africa in 1992-93 splices letters, journal entries, photographs, poems and interviews with victims of female circumcision, their families, women who perform clitoridectomies and activists opposed to the practice. Included is medical testimony suggesting that female genital mutilation may contribute to the spread of AIDS. This remarkable cross-cultural collaboration should help to break the deafening silence surrounding a taboo subject. --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Book
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (February 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156002140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156002141
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alice Walker (b. 1944), one of the United States' preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy. In her public life, Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, teacher, and public intellectual.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am Kola Boof, often and truthfully billed as the nation of Sudan's top woman writer. I am also a woman who is "vaginally circumcised"--mutilated, if you will. In fact, Sudan is Africa's leading nation for "FMG" as Americans call it.

"Warrior Marks" is a superior work by a superior woman.

While so many reviewers here have claimed that there are BETTER books on this subject than Walker's "Warrior Marks"....I would remind them that with so very little written about this subject in the first place--we need to read and value EVERYTHING that is offered on the subject, especially when offered by a Black Woman (Alice Walker) whose obvious love, care and respect for African women...seeps like a healing oil from every page.

It's no secret that Alice Walker is one of the great inspirations of my own literary career and much of my work as an African woman from the Nilotic peoples of Sudan is distilled through the prism of her own American voice---as I struggled to find a way to tell my own stories with as much truth and bareness as possible.

"Warrior Marks" is a tribute to the WORTHINESS of African women...a book that gives us permission to embrace our sexuality, to value our black bodies and to insist that those bodies be healed. It also gives us the chance for "forgiveness". And through Alice Walker's willingness to lay bare her own personal reactions and observations and "empathies"....a larger story of womanhood is revealed and committed to word.

GOD bless both Alice and Pratibah, for such COURAGE.
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Format: Paperback
I first became aware of female genital mutilation (FGM) when reading "The Color Purple," and again when reading Fausiya Kassindja's "Do They Hear You When You Cry." These two books led me to read "Warrior Marks." Female genital mutilation is a crime, an outrage, a sin before God. How dare the originators of this heinous procedure presume that what God created is faulty or a mistake? "Warrior Marks" enhanced what I had already learned about FGM. Any man (or woman) who tries to uphold this procedure as something that benefits girls and women is of a criminal mind. There is no benefit to putting a woman through this torture. If men were required to experience a similar experience, we would soon see the end of FGM. Please read this book if you seek another point of view. The addition of Alice Walker's poetry and the sharing of her experiences as she and Pratibha Parmar traveled through Africa is an eye-opener, and the way the book is written gives the reader a personal view in the same way that Ms. Kassindja's book does. Ms. Walker gives the women that she writes about a certain dignity, and while the reader may not be able to identify with the physical pain, some of the emotions may be felt. This is definitely a 5-star book.
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Format: Hardcover
An incredibly intense book. It is not for the easily frightened. The modern-day atrocities detailed in this book overshadow anything Steven King might think up. YOU WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT IS WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK. I based my senior thesis on Walker's works, and Warrior Marks opens a window into her soul. I would recommend this book to all men and women, especially those who think the modern world is devoid of barbaric cruelty.
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Format: Paperback
"Female circumcision" or "female genital mutilation" is a hot topic. Unfortunately, there is "more heat than light" in most writings on this topic: this is a good example. The book and the movie are more about Alice Walker than about this ancient, puzzling, disturbing tradition. It is easy to confuse a topic such as this one with the book that covers it. Those whose first introduction to this subject comes through this book, will probably find it moving. Those who approach the subject seriously and professionally either as clinicians or anthropologists, will find this book a disaster: superficial, arrogant, condescending, ethnocentric, outraged, uninformed, manipulative, anecdotal, loaded with personal bias and without any serious research methodology. It is not a particularly useful contribution to the debate. If you are interested in this subject, the best thing you can do is move immediately beyond this book and come to grips with the real issues. Alice Walker is an intelligent, articulate woman; but she is hoplessly out of her depth here. Overall, a disservice to the women she wants to help.
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By A Customer on August 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Warrior marks was the account of all the time that Alice Walker and Pratibha Parmar spent in preparing for the documentary. They did not need to show how the mutilation is done because they painted a vivid enough picture. The book was about the emotional aspect of female genital mutilation. I must say that I commend them, especially Pratibha for the time that they spent preparing for the documentary. The book made me want to see the documentary. When Alice talks about herself in the book, she shows how her experiences were similar to that of the females in Africa. I recommend this book be read and the documentary seen.
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Format: Paperback
I had high hopes for this work, hopes that were dashed when reading how the authors wanted to travel and explore their topic first hand but were afraid that they'd be harmed in Africa. As if Jane Goodall worried about being eaten when she studied our primate cousins.

Then the authors chose to avoid personal contact and do their research in the library, reading the works of other people, thus presenting older second hand material as accurate without bothering to check the veracity or continuity of the material.

Finally, the authors personal bias came through often such as when they complained how combing the hair of a black girl was abusing and degrading and even torturing the girl.

At least Dr Godall had the guts to ask if the beliefs we had about gorillas were true and then seek the truth in their homes. Ms Walker and friend rarely left the library or their hotel and passed off the works of other researchers without question other than to blame men for all the ills that befall women.

FYI- It is women who choose to pierce their own ears, labia and clits, not men.

If you wish accurate information on the subject of genital mutilation, look elsewhere because all you will find here is second-hand data and personal bias and personal insults against anyone who disagrees with them.
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