Taylor and Francis
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Journal Article
Australian Feminist Studies, 2009, 24 (60), pp. 145 - 145
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Although the concept of genital modification is a relatively new one, feminists have always been engaged in theorising and activism around differing modes of body modification. In the 1970s eyebrow plucking, leg shaving and bra wearing became almost proverbial issues for Second Wavers. While such concerns led to certain stereotypes evolving around `the feminist, they reflected a deep-seated critique of the modes through which womens bodies had been moulded to meet masculine ideas of beauty in both the past and the present. Changing technologies and medical practices have ensured that the range of modifications to which female bodies may now be subjected have increased exponentially and present a ripe field for feminist enquiry, as the articles in this special issue readily attest. Focusing on the legal, ethical and political status of diverse practices of genital modification, the articles in this issue, brought together by Samantha Murray, Wairimu Ngaruiya Njambi and Nikki Sullivan, offer unique and innovative insights to familiar topics such as depilation and female circumcision, as well as areas less well trodden by feminist scholars such as cosmetic genital surgery. As well as offering new and original research, these articles have the power to unsettle many assumptions that we might have about such practices and I am very grateful to the guest editors for bringing such a wonderful special issue together. I would also like to thank all the contributors for their diligence, flexibility and patience. Special thanks go to Kellie Greene, whose fabulous image graces our cover. Cathy Hawkins was critical to putting the issue together, and again I am most grateful for her assistance. Finally I would like to wish all our readers a happy International Womens Day.
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