At her age, 17-year old Chepserem considers herself shrewd. Maybe it is her smart phone which she can’t keep out of her sight. Or the fact that she studies in a fancy private school 67 miles away in Kaptagat

Whatever the reason she knows all about female genital mutilation. She has heard her aunties talk about it in hushed tones

And she is ready for it.

But not their way. She knows all about a fancier way of become a woman.

Walk into a health clinic and get the cut


But is it?

Like a lot of girls in Kenya, Chepserem knows about the grisly details of what young girls undergo when FGM is performed on them. She knows it is bloody, unhygienic and too public.

She learnt about medicalization of FGM in school when her peers confided that they had been cut without much hustle back in their town, Kajiado, miles away. They had made it sound so fly

And as Chepserem starts counting the days to the ceremony, she can’t keep the excitement from her voice. She would become a woman without “stooping low.”

Since the government outlawed FGM in 2001, many women have undergone the practice in either backstreet clinics or under the hands of health practitioners.

Initially, campaigns against FGM stressed the negative health consequences of the practice, assuming that this would help to raise awareness of the health risks and in turn motivate people to abandon the practice.

But this seems to have sent a wrong message: that if a woman could avoid the unhygienic conditions associated with FGM, then it would be okay

Enter medicalization