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8 Intense Female Rites of Passage

From female genital mutilation to dropping a girl in the middle of the ocean during her first menstruation, here are the 8 most intense female rites of passage practiced throughout the world. Some of these practices aren't a normal part of these cultures anymore, but some (like item 1) are actually still going on. This list isn't for the faint of heart. Some the things listed on here are pretty cringeworthy and could be hard to imagine happening. But if you're brave, take a look.

What are intense female rites of passage? If you really want to know have a gander at this list, but look on an empty stomach.

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  1. 1

    Genital Mutilation (Just One General Example)


    This particular female rite of passage has got a bad rep and a lot of people have started charities around it... with good reason. This is pretty nuts.

    The Massai tribe of Kenya, as well as other groups in Africa, use female "circumcision" as their main ritual marking of a young woman's transition into womanhood.

    The circumcision ceremony begins at dawn and involves the removal of all or part of the external female genitalia. The procedures are often performed with crude tools and/or knives. Nobody gets any anesthesia of any kind and it is absolutely, excruciatingly painful and may even stop the young girl from feeling any sexual sensation for the rest of her life.

    Little do these tribes know of the long-term health risks that that this procedure may cause such as life-threatening infections, increased susceptibility to HIV, and (again) complete deprivation of sexual sensation.

    The community only considers a girl marriage-material after this procedure is done, though, and like in any Jane Austen novel, marriage is the most important thing in the world for a woman.

    Maybe the leg-spread-open screaming should be left for AFTER marriage.

  2. 2

    Breast Ironing in Cameroon


    A lot of pubescent girls in the West African country of Cameroon are currently being subjected to the cruel act of breast ironing.

    Breast ironing is massaging a child's growing breasts with an object like a stone, or a wooden flattener, hammer or spatula that has been heated over coals until the bitches "disappear". This process is usually performed by the girl's own mother.

    Some of these girls are also made to wear something called a "breast band", which is essentially the equivalent of foot binding, only with bitches. They are fabric brands who are usually worn by women undergoing breast augmentation surgery.

    The point of this whole thing is to mitigate the tell-tale signs that the girl is entering adolescence. Though not actually a ritualistic rite of passage, it is an act that is practiced in order to prevent young girls from becoming too obviously attractive or "woman-like" to men. It's said that it is done in hopes of preventing "unwanted male attention" and to avoid rape.

  3. 3

    Abdomen Slicing - Tiv Tribe of Nigeria

    "Chicks dig scars"... on guys.

    However, there's nothing sexy about the abdomen scars on the women of the Tiv tribe of Nigeria (unless you're into that sort of thing) because it isn't a sign of individual liberty, but a subjection to tradition.

    The Tiv tribe literally marks a girl at the time of her first period with four long, deep cuts into her abdomen stomach, which are supposed to represent her womanhood and actually increase her fertility.

    The woman then has to wear these four marks on her stomach for the rest of her life, marking her as a "true" woman in this tribe. So much for belly shirts.

  4. 4

    The Nootka Natives of the Vancouver Islands

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    So, at the first sign of a girl's FIRST period, or during "menarche", (which is the best time to test ANY young adolescent girl's might), here's what a Nootka tribe would traditionally do:

    An elder woman takes the girl out to sea, like really far, way far, out to sea... and then they leave her there to test her physical strength... completely naked (won't that attract sharks?)

    So, once this girl-cramped-up-into-a-ball-moaning-on-the-floor-with-blood-pouring-out-from-her-insides-for-the-first-time miraculously makes it to shore, she can often barely stand. Everyone then cheers for her, as she has proven that she is ready to be a woman.

    So everyone can pretty much stop complaining about having to adhere to Teen Vogue and having to lose 7 lbs before prom now.

  5. 5

    Carib Tribe of Suriname


    At the first sign of womanhood (no, not debt, stress or realizing that guys are jerks, you know what tribes consider the first sign of womanhood by now) Carib girls are forced to handle a tuft of burning cotton, thus burning their hands immensely. This is foreshadowing of their upcoming handiwork as the women of the tribe.

    Other than completely destroying their hands for a while, girls are forced to wear mats covered with a breed of stinging, biting ants as a test of their power and courage (yet they are, inexplicably, not forced to do any kind of "boogie dance") -- because nothing cures the crippling, tightening pain of a girl's first period more than having violent, blood-thirsty insects crawling all over them.

  6. 6

    Ngoni Tribe of Malawi - A 3 Month Time-Out

    At the worst possible time to be a female in, seemingly, ANY tribe, The Ngoni tribe of Malawi seclude a young girl in a tent for up to three months.

    Her face and body are daubed with white flour, which signals her physical and spiritual separation from the community in which she lives.

    She sits, naked, in shallowe water until the women of her tribe determine she can get out of her seclusion and begin her life as a real woman where she can forever subjugate OTHER young girls to this same kind of cabin-feveresque torture.

  7. 7

    Luiseno Tribe of Southern California

    No one is as proud of a girl's first menses than the Luiseno Tribe of Southern California.

    It is practically a Fourth of July parade when a girl discovers her first drop of woman blood.

    The parents of girls among the Luisenos publicly announce to the community that their daughters are becoming women. Kind of like when your mom used to tell your friends that you had over that you used to pee the bed, only in front of YOUR ENTIRE CLASS. Ummm... AWKWARD.

    At this point, girls just bury themselves in sand -- not with embarrassment, but with pride. It is not a shameful act like it would be in other cultures. The reason this particular rite of passage is so intense is the physical trial that goes along with it.

    After the parents' announcement, girls are buried in heated sand, wild-west style, so they can't scratch themselves or eat salt (not that they can anyway since they're, you know, BURIED IN SAND).

    Then, because they have nowhere to run, they are instructed by older women of their body's physiological changes and the proper behavior of a woman and wife.

    So it's kind of like a combination between Western society's sex-ed and Europe's "bondage" combined into the worst parts of both.

  8. 8

    Navajo Tribe of the North American Southwest


    This surprisingly common ritual goes like this:

    At the first sign of menstruation, Navajo girls must wear a heavy buckskin outfit (woven Navajo rug dress, jewelry, buckskin moccasins and wrap leggings) to participate in a... wait for it... FOOT RACE!

    For four days, this girl, who has just started her first, excruciating, period must get up at sunrise and "run toward the rising sun."

    This usually means running several times to the east and back to her "hogan" (or hut, not relative of a well-known wrestler who is a "real American").

    Even worse, the poor girl can't even get a good night's rest afterwards. The night after her first race she must sit straight up all night with her legs out in front of her... for the ENTIRE night.

    The next morning, it's back to work: she has to make a huge cornmeal cake for the whole tribe... because, c'mon, they've earned it.

    To make things a little easier, she gets to use special stir sticks (woohoo!).

    This video, though, is of an Apache tribe, who practice a very similar ritual in which the girl must celebrate and go through ancient rituals for an entire four days, much like the Navajo do.

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