Gender, Sex & Sexuality: KENYA | Escape: Traditional Blade

A Masaai villager displays the traditional blade used to circumcise young girls before the practice became illegal in Kenya. Maasai are a pastoral group mostly clustered in the Rift Valley. They practice circumcision on both boys and girls during puberty years as a rite of passage to adulthood. Though female circumcision and child marriage has been illegal for a number of years, these practices still occur in  Maasai land where the act of dowry offering still holds ground. A girl's dowry can prove to be very lucrative to an impoverished family like many Maasai. Since a girl cannot be married off unless she is undergoes the rite of passage to womanhood, circumcision goes hand in hand with early marriage. Traditionally a young girl is expected to quit school after she is wed in order to perfom her wifely duties such as cooking, cleaning, procreating and caring for the children of her husband's wives.
Traditional Blade, Kameli

A Masaai villager displays the traditional blade used to circumcise young girls before the practice became illegal in Kenya. Maasai are a pastoral group mostly clustered in the Rift Valley. They practice circumcision on both boys and girls during puberty years as a rite of passage to adulthood. Though female circumcision and child marriage has been illegal for a number of years, these practices still occur in Maasai land where the act of dowry offering still holds ground. A girl's dowry can prove to be very lucrative to an impoverished family like many Maasai. Since a girl cannot be married off unless she is undergoes the rite of passage to womanhood, circumcision goes hand in hand with early marriage. Traditionally a young girl is expected to quit school after she is wed in order to perfom her wifely duties such as cooking, cleaning, procreating and caring for the children of her husband's wives.