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Mute and mutilated: black women and the cutting of the 'racist' cake

20 Apr 2012, 15:09

Published: 20 Apr 2012 15:09 GMT+02:00

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The art performance “Painful Cake” by the Afro-Swedish artist Makode Linde, staged at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, has received a strong reaction from the Afro-Swedish community due to the installation’s racist content.

The cake consisted of a disproportionate female body with large breasts and vagina coupled with tiny limbs, while the artist himself acted as the head of this monstrous creation, painted as a crude minstrel caricature.

The Swedish minister of culture was encouraged to cut the cake and she chose to cut at the point of the vagina, which she then fed to the artist to the applauds and laughter of the audience.

The artist claims this to be an antiracist performance and explains that the cake was supposed to symbolize the mass graves, cutting and female genital mutilation. The organizers of the event and the minister have since argued that art has the right to provoke.

However, we must ask ourselves what relations of power this “provocation” builds on, if those left with the feeling of exploitation and exposure – and thus also those most offended by the performance – are also those this creation of art claims to liberate: namely black women.

Our argument is that when exploring any social phenomena impacting black women, one cannot be restricted to a solely racial analysis, or an interpretation strictly based on gender.

Rather, any analysis of black women must also include an examination of their historical relationship with racial, gender; economic, and sexual oppression.

The performance in which the minister participated literally re-created a gendered racist stereotype in the shape of a disfigured black female body with huge genitalia and breasts, naked and on display for the white audience.

Furthermore, the audience was then encouraged to participate in the genital mutilation of this body, while accompanied by shrieks of pain from the artist.

If the political message intended by the artist was to make the white audience feel uncomfortable when cutting into the cake, thus prompting them to reflect about racist stereotypes, then it’s not at all clear why he had to use an existing racist cultural frame of reference that depicts black women as unsightly, deformed and diseased.

The consequence is that the only ones engaged in conversation with the artist are the members of the white audience.

And he does not speak for, or to, the audience of black women through his work of art.

This abuse of the naked black female body completely disregards black women’s integrity and political interests. The consequence of this is that the intended message of the performance is only meant for the white audience, thus cutting off any possible connection with the untold stories of black women and their existence in oppressive structures of society.

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the performance is masked by claims that it is anti-racist; claims which ultimately ring hollow and designed to fail.

The images like those from the installation simply objectify the mistreated and mutilated black female body and in so doing strip black women of their basic humanity.

They also tacitly condone the objectification of the black female body by others, thus maintaining black women’s servitude in the eyes of those who view her.

The roots of some of these objectifying images can be traced back to stories of Sara Baartman, the so-called Hottentott Venus, whose body was exploited and exhibited in freak shows for the delectation of a middle-class white audience in Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth-century.

Whatever the political critique may have been intended by the performance, the effect seems to be that the audience, laughing uneasily, becomes complicit in supporting acts that continuously victimize black women within structures rooted in systematic racial voyeurism, gender mutilation and cannibalism.

In this respect the actions committed by the minister of culture, the artist, and the white audience simply feed into a well-established pattern of overt stereotypes that persist about blacks and other people of colour that serve to marginalize certain populations.

Story continues below…

The ‘Painful Cake’ incident is thus yet another sharp reminder of the urgent need for the piecing back together of black women and uniting in the struggle for both gender and racial equality.

These controlling images, brought once again to the fore by the art installation, are designed to make racism, sexism, poverty, and other forms of social injustice appear to be natural, normal, and inevitable parts of everyday life.

It is resistance to these controlling images that will eventually change the inevitable, and bring black women further away from oppression.

Victoria Kawesa, PhD candidate in gender studies, Linköping University

Viktorija Kalonaityte, Senior Lecturer, Linnaeus University

Ellen Belmore, Graduate in Gender Studies, Uppsala University

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Your comments about this article

17:36 April 20, 2012 by nar klockan klamtar
A racist cake, what ever next!!!
18:02 April 20, 2012 by peaceline3
very poor artist, just she wants to insult her own color and race.
18:17 April 20, 2012 by WhiteLight
Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to "assimilate," i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realize I'm not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn't object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.
20:20 April 20, 2012 by bloor west
Finally, an intelligent article and perspective about this event. Thank you!
21:28 April 20, 2012 by libertarianism
Every ivory-tower writer has criticized Linde and Liljeroth for failing to represent the interests of the 100 million girls/women who are the victims of genital mutilation (classified as "sexual violence" by Doctors Without Borders).

Yet these writers, when given a platform to speak, fail as well, choosing to lecture their audience with long and dull abstractions on gender and race theory, with NO call to action on behalf of the victims of genital mutilation.

See www.stop-fgm-now.com/who-is-fighting-fgm for a list of organizations working to end this 5000 year old "tradtion".
22:37 April 20, 2012 by prince T
My sweden is totally ignorant and have lost the plot. The younger generations are definately going to pay the price of this ignorance. The world have moved on but sweden is tiill in the 19th century.
23:08 April 20, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
You three begin with a hypersensitivity to the shape of the woman cake.

Can we apply some logic for a moment, please?

With a limited volume of cake and table space, the artist chose to over-emphasize female characteristics to make it obvious to viewers, even some distance away from this nearly pitch black form, that his sculpture was of a woman, particularly since it had a head and a shouting voice that belonged to a man, and because the sculpture

had to clearly retain a female shape even after much of it was cut away.

And nudity is an often used method in the history of art to portray people who are victims of war or some other form of violent act, and partial nudity is in fact required during FGM.

And what's this nonsense about a stereotype today that black women have 'disfigured' bodies? Have any of you three watched TV or left the library in the last 20 years? An athletic body is a beautiful body, and black male and female athletes vastly and disprorptionately outnumber white athletes at the olympics, elite athletics events, and in professional sports, particularly when based on the fraction of the population that they represent in most Western nations.

And there are plenty of popular and beautiful black artists, musicians, dancers, comedians, actors, and models, not to mention a highly intellectual American President and his wife and daughters, to counter any supposed sterotype that black women are 'disfigured'.

Shouldn't the 'urgent need' that you describe for gender equality of black women include their fundamental right to sexual equality, which must include a life without the threat or consequences of FGM? Isn't that vastly more important than a cake, or the white minister who cut it at the artist's request?

Or would you prefer the crime and the screams of the young girls carry on for the next 100 years rather than make some people in the black community (and frankly, white community also) uncomfortable because of a challenging and original piece artwork, which is vastly less shocking that the real act of FGM itself?

As scholars you have the whole backdrop of the abuses and torture of the 20th century sitting in the library around you, and all you can do is try to fabricate a racism argument out of this, rather than credit the black artist and minister for the spotlight they have placed on FGM, and take advantage of that to begin a real dialogue about a far more important issue.

Shouting out racism or other distractions, rather than using your platform to appeal to lawmakers to make changes that will spare future victims, makes you dangerously close to being complicit in the ongoing crime of FGM.
23:23 April 20, 2012 by Kevin Harris
Is it only me, or is the above text a load of psuedo academic claptrap?
23:36 April 20, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Small clarification - was not saying near the end of post 7 that FGM is more important issue than racism itself, rather saying that FGM is more important than a search for racism in a dissection of the cake art episode.
01:47 April 21, 2012 by jimmyjames
Thank-you "white light " for speaking honestly and truthfully. There is a group of individuals who for some decades has been dedicated to aggressively pushing the multi-cultural, caucasion assimilation, agenda. They are in every country and you will always find them concentrated in academia, newspapers, movies, publishing and behind the scenes politics. They hate whites for the actions european caucasions have taken to preserve their race and culture in past centuries. Everyone know who they are but in Europe it is literally against the law to openly challenge them. If you will read and study and investigate the truth is not hard to find and the perpetrators are easily identified only you are forbiden from speaking of them or their activities. There most definitly is a campaign ( not a conspiracy) to dilute european caucasions in Europe and their cousins in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. Know your enemy and know they most definitly aim to destroy the Caucasion race.
06:06 April 21, 2012 by RobinHood
To the Editor

On 18 April The Guardian printed a piece of Jallow Momodou froth about the racist cake. So many posters on the Guardian forum objected to the this "histrionic rant" appearing in a quality UK newspaper, that on 20 April it printed a balancing piece by Jonathan Jones as an apology.

Can we expect some similar balance from The Local anytime soon? The international press has now seen past the initial impression given by the cake cutting photos, and is somewhat peeved at being misinformed by the Local and other Swedish news agencies. Mr Momodou and his ilk are now seen as boys who cried wolf. It does not serve the Local's international reputation in the trade, its finances, or its readers to be too closely associated with Mr Momodou's histrionics.
07:19 April 21, 2012 by coffeetable
The "racist cake " story tells me alot about today's Swedish culture and it is not good.
14:44 April 21, 2012 by stateohio905
I do not know anything about art or what was event, but the picture above is so disturbing. Really lack of good taste and judgment, specially for somebody who has to be Minister. She has to resign.
15:09 April 21, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
Plenty of outrage here over perceptions of the photos shown of the minister at the cake-cutting, and the event itself

Where is the 'outrage' over FGM - which the event at Moderna Museet was highlighting?
20:02 April 21, 2012 by ttrs_d
This is just disturbing.
21:24 April 21, 2012 by IssI
@ WhiteLight & jimmyjames, you guys sound so pathetic, Un real and have Brivik like mentality. No wonder that sick minded clams of having a pathetic army of the likes of you.

"What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?", "There most definitly is a campaign ( not a conspiracy) to dilute european caucasions in Europe and their cousins in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand."

Read your pathatic thoughts you morons, just to give you a reality check, it was you "Europians caucasions" and your "cousins in the USA, Autralia, and New Zealand" that invaded and made colonies in almost the whole world and held them slaves, and its due to you white europians and your cousins that most of the indigenous people of the countries you invaded either parished or are going to parish, you Europians and your cousins made the most destruction and loss of life on earth by start WW1 and WW2 and you say multi-cultrulisma and black people are going to distroy you.

Get a life you lossers.... Shame on you and your thinking, i am afraid another Brivik like sick (liks of you) doesn't stand up and do another stupid act.
03:55 April 22, 2012 by strixy
If those academics had to jump from the level of their ego to the level of their IQ it would kill them.
13:20 April 22, 2012 by Dave N
Issi - I see you mention sick minded clams. I'm with you on that one. I know just how you feel... but my experiences so far have been with with a perverted oyster and a plateful of paranoid mussels
15:59 April 22, 2012 by Garaen Flake
Laughter is often a nervous reaction to uncomfortable situations, even when there is nothing humorous about the subject matter. What is called from all the attendees and the artist himself is a bit of sensitivity; supporting an artist´s expression or attempt to raise awareness about a heinous misogynous practice, notwithstanding. What about the women who may have experienced FGM firsthand? Imagine what they would feel upon viewing this gathering reminiscent of ancient Roman debauchery and torture. These are the people whom the minister and the artist should redress. The event after all was about awareness and not an occasion to defend one´s lack of intelligence or sensitivity to the plight of thousands if not millions of victims.
17:15 April 22, 2012 by patriotemeritus
There's yet another artist - who executed his masterful, theatrical, yet OFFENSIVE ART masterpiece against his own people in Oslo - in an attempt to make them aware of their actions. His name: ANDERS BEHRING BREIVIK.

I believe his actions have left him in JAIL with several people questioning his level of sanity. It's still in the news, but I don't think he's doing so well.
21:31 April 22, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ Garaen Flake

You get credit for at least recognizing that nervous laughter is human nature in some situations, and so your social IQ vastly exceeds that of a vast number of so-called journalists and blog posters.

With regard to showing sensitivity to the victims of FGM, the victims fall under two categories.

A first group may be deeply unhappy about their victimization, and so may understandly feel embarassed by the art, but FGM results in an injury that is invisible to the public, so an art performance like this would not be expected cause the more accute embarassment of being singled out in a crowd because of say a visible war injury, like the loss of a limb to a land mine (which, like FGM, is obviously not the fault of the victim herself).

But in exchange for this emotional discomfort, at least some fraction in this first group may have been hopeful for the possibility of an increased dialogue with politicians about the crime of FGM, that may ultimately have led to awareness campaigns and changes in domestic and foreign laws to reduce the number of future victims. Sadly much of the media have neglected to mobilize themselves as a force for useful change, and are instead screaching racism, against an original

and provocative piece of art by a black artist who had no racist intentions at all.

Sadly there is a 2nd group of women who have been victimized by FGM. The creepy and horrific reality is that many women who have themselves experienced FGM are in favour of the FGM of their own daughters. These women (along with their husbands) deserve more than a dose of embarassment, they deserve to be arrested.
12:37 April 23, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
After all the apologies, the main conclusion after reading right through all of this:


If only the cake in question had been of a beautiful looking black woman instead of a woman that looks like the typical caricature of the African cannibal (with red lips).

OK, so the cake was the wrong form and colour and instead of provoking a discussion of FGM it resulted in the artist and the minister being erroneously accused of racism - even though the cake-maker artist and the minister have repeatedly made it clear that racism was not their intention.

Since the minister after all is a woman, perhaps a beautiful cake representing Eve or Lucy - or a cake said to be symbolic of all women in their natural state or even two cakes, a cake-body with and a cake -body without the missing piece could have been more appropriate....

In either case, over there in the Modern Museum where the exhibition/ cutting of the cake took place, artist and minster could have made their speeches explaining the meaning of the cake-cutting ceremony in very unmistakable words...

But even if some people cannot forget about the cake which is no longer there, when do we start talking/ taking action against the practice of FGM / "cultural rights" which is still going on right now?
13:32 April 23, 2012 by Jes
Yes , there are people talking agaist the practice of FGM . But as always , some messages are only appreciated by those that such a message is intended for .

Go to Mali , senegal etc - you will find that the main campain against this primitive tradition is now in the hands of some of the women who were actually responsible for its continuation .

Go to Kenya and vist the few tribes that do FMG . You will find that the late Noble prize winner did a lot of work before she departed . There is even an Olympics Gold-medalist who goes from village to village educatiing only only mothers , but men .

That said , it would be naive to think that well entrenched vices , however horrible , can be eliminated in a short time . Ás a mother in Somalia takes her little daugher to the cutter , there is a father in Turkey who is planning to kill his own daughter because she has refused to hide her hair or marry her causin.

Somewhere in Såter , there is a mother saving money to pay for her 8 year daughers breast inplants .

Noooh !----- no intelligent person can justify the creapy act of cutting a bloody cake that depicts the uggliness of a black woman . This is like thinking that anti-abortion Americans are right to dangle images of dead babies.

I could bet a leg that most of the commentors here have never cared to know more about FGM . I suspect that to them , this is just another opportunity to release bits of superiority complexies
17:43 April 23, 2012 by guy noir
Is it just me, or are people getting more upset about the way a black artist is trying to raise awareness about the most horrible practice of FGM, which is essentially a form of castration, than they are about FGM itself.

In other words, I wish people would expend their energy and all their oh so PC outrage to fight against the actual practice of FGM, instead on wasting it on complaining about some relatively tasteless artistic attempt to raise awareness in a country where people live a blissful life removed from the horrors lived by a large portion of humanity.

In some sense the artist achieved his goal by shocking everybody instead of trying to be PC and keep everybody happy - yes, he could have, e.g., shown some tastefully done, large black and white photographs of women who were the victims of FGM, their sad eyes staring right at us, telling stories of unspeakable suffering, and we would have looked at them, our hearts burning with the sorrow we felt for them, and then we would have gone home to our happy lives ... and forget all about it ...
18:23 April 23, 2012 by RobinHood
Yesterday, the London Times newspaper published a front page condemnation of FGM in the UK, where it is a crime punishable by imprisonment for 14 years. It named three people who perform FGM in Britain and information about them has been passed to the police. A British minister said anyone convicted of FGM in the UK could expect to be imprisoned for the full 14 years. The story was followed up by the Daily Mail, the world's most widely read on line newspaper, also on the front page.

The "racist" cake has now put FGM on the front pages of the world's most respected and widely read newspapers, and government ministers are finally getting serious about it. Three suspected practitioners of FGM are under investigation, and many more should seriously think about leaving whatever European country they might be living in now before they are too are arrested and imprisoned for a very very long time.

Has a piece of art ever had such a positive impact?
21:42 April 23, 2012 by patriotemeritus
In the same positive spirit that we are embracing here, "giving African women their human rights", shouldn't we also OUTLAW the infamous European and American practices of BDSM and cum shots that are published all over the internet because they demean the dignity of women - denying them their human rights.

Such white-originating practices show the world where caucasians think their women should be - on the receiving end of suffocation, or a serious beating with sharp and leathery objects [similar to "the most horrible practice of FGM" as someone put it], or on the receiving end of the upstanding organ that expresses manlihood - at the expense of the pleasure of the white man (the guy watching on the internet, the guy acting, or the guy directing). It's a manly industry of the Western world. FANTASTIC isn't it?

The industry that endorses and supports this money sprouting "manly" activity that "shows women their place" has it's biggest "factories" and "consumers" in which two continents that are mainly caucasian? I'm sure you know them and can name them without a second thought.

Lovely, let's go and preach human rights and equality in Africa, through mockery and macabre art, while we put women and children in pornography, film them, please the old caucasian farts and the rest of the misguided population at large and make billions out of it. No one will complain. We are always right, aren't we? We are making money out if it, exploiting others - so hey it's right, isn't it?

Come on Facebook and Google have amazing face recognition algorithms - almost 100% accurate at picking white faces correctly. Put them to use in pornography on the internet and JAIL - FOR 14 YEARS - THOSE WHO DEGRADE WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN SUCH HEINOUS ACTS, DENYING THEM OF THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS.

Practice the same precedent that has been set equivocally by your own laws. Put the same effort that you are putting in this case of FGM back into your own country. Look within.

Ah well, they're making money, improving the economy! Total rubbish. They are exploiting and degrading other fellow human beings. They are more barbaric than any African practicing FGM because they are making money out of it - in billions! THATS THE HEIGHT OF EXPLOITIATION.
13:50 April 24, 2012 by Jes
@guy noir ( black guy ) you write like an intelligent person .

So why is it so diffucult to understand that this sich image does not help to fight FMG ? Yes , its you - you don`t get it ! To borrow somebody`s phrase : look at that picture ! There is a smiling white woman sticking her kvife into an uggly looking image of a naken black woman .

Think and think if you may : what do you think the re-action would be if you took this picture to a village when FMG is performed . ´Will the women think : " we better abolish FMG ----" or will they say : " that is what white people think of us " ?

Look ,@RobinHood reports that UK dedicated a whole page condemning FMG . This fellow is not bright enough to notice that UK did not have to insult and demean victims of FMG , but put laws in place to punish only the offenders . His small brain tells him that law in UK came as a result of the wonderful cake from Sweden

Some might get it , many will not , but @prioritemeritus sarcastic post seems to expose the hypocricy within. The element of "making money" is missing is FMG action . Sweden that collects thousands of billions from an industry that produces and distributes poisons that kill 50 000 of its citizens annually would be the last country to make fun of societies that practice horrible traditions .

The only way to effectively eliminate FMG is to educate those who still think that it is an "honorable" thing to do .

If publishing pictures on front pages of the worlds magazines was an effective way to fight all evil , there could be no drug-addicts or pedhophiles anywhere in a civilized world.
15:53 April 24, 2012 by libertarianism
Does post 27 say that 50 000 Swedes are killed each year by *porn*?
21:24 April 24, 2012 by planet.sweden

Spot on.

The Comment placed in the Guardian by Jallow Momodou was thoroughly dishonest and the newspaper was totally duped in accepting it.

Unfortunately the replies were already over 300 by the time I saw it otherwise I would have taken time out to give a blow by blow rebuttal.

The debate in Sweden about race is ill formed, counter productive, ideological, infantile and frequently hysterical (all of which apply to the article above. It's a studentesque environment in which Mr Momodow evidently thrives.

And TheLocal in its desperate bids for attention is quite prepared to stire the racial pot if it thinks there's a headline in it. It is doing more harm than good. Sweden would be a better place without TheLocal.
11:08 April 25, 2012 by Jes
No . post 27 does not mention *porn*

" the debate in Sweden about race is ill formed "

I wonder what "spot -on -Robinhood " is doing here
11:56 April 25, 2012 by libertarianism
Re 30, Okay. Post 26 criticizes porn as a white tradition and industry and equates it (porn) with female genital mutilation.

Then post 27 says, " Sweden that collects thousands of billions from an industry that produces and distributes poisons that kill 50 000 of its citizens annually would be the last country to make fun of societies that practice horrible traditions."

What industry and deadly poisons does post 27 refer to?
12:57 April 25, 2012 by bcterry
Re 30, Okay. Post 26 criticizes porn as a white tradition and industry and equates it (porn) with female genital mutilation."

Right, and muslims pick up the ball and run with it.


"Muslim Statistics (Pornography)"

The infidels made them do it.
18:00 April 25, 2012 by patriotemeritus
True, there might be some link between porn consumption and Islamic states, however it is likely to be a weak linkage because you do not take into account the populations of the accused countries. Islamic countries generally have way higher populations.

The accused countries have way higher populations than any European country. Take for example No.1 on the list: Pakistan (171,000,000) vs Germany (perhaps the country with the highest population in Europe: 81,000,000). There's a divisibility factor of 2 there. Very likely the statistics would indicate double the amounts of anything searched for, if you take the entire population size of searches, as Google statistics do because it's live data.

The statistics may suggest what you have inferred, however the population of people connected to the internet is crucial. Sweden has almost 100% penetration of internet connectivity (9,000,000 citizens) , while Pakistan has 19,000,000 connected users about 12%. What bearing does that have on the statistics? If all connected Pakistanis search for porn once it will show up as twice the number of searches as compared to Sweden, but that does not do justice to how deeply ingrained the porn culture is in a country.

The per-capita consumption (the percentage of the population) is perhaps the metric we are looking for. If there are statistics you can find on that, i'm betting Europe and America will show up as the highest per capita consumers.

As producers of porn it is already known as a given fact where the source is, evidenced in the quality, the producers the actors. It's a given.
18:22 April 25, 2012 by budaboy

Wow, I did the muslim statistic thing you mentioned, quite the eyeopener.

what a frustrated bunch.. The Religion Of Porn.
19:34 April 25, 2012 by bcterry
"True, there might be some link between porn consumption and Islamic states, however it is likely to be a weak linkage because you do not take into account the populations of the accused countries. Islamic countries generally have way higher populations."

300 million population in the U.S., over a billion in CHINA, 1.22 in India, and Indonesia, the highest Islamic population, 245 million.


"Top 20 countries with the highest number of internet users."

The 2nd link down, vrxworldwide.

The largest islamic country internet users is Indonesia, coming in at #13 on the list.

Turkey is the only other, at #16.

Facts are facts, and there is no honest way of getting around them.
20:26 April 26, 2012 by Swedishmyth
By the law of fundamentality, there is no way to isolate racism and be "anti-racist" out of context. You have to be anti-collectivist (collectivism being the general category to which racism belongs) which is just not happening in Sweden.

Efforts to be "anti-racist" while still advocating collectivism will and must fail.
21:39 April 26, 2012 by planet.sweden

If you don't like porn I suggest you stop watching it. Your post suggests you are rather too acquainted with its vices for comfort.

But the big difference between porn and female circumcision is of course that women have a choice whether they engage in the former, but not with the latter.

If anyone forces a woman to engage in "porn" then its actually assault, kidnapping, rape etc which is already fully catered for in Western law.

Incidently a few years back the UK government did try and ban BDSM from the internet, and was met by leather clad, whip carrying women protesting outside of the House of Commons. It's called Freedom. Some people are comfortable with it, and other like you

@patriotemeritus are not.
07:28 April 27, 2012 by sinterklaaskapoentje
How totally disgusting...Sweden has really sunk to new lows with this.
12:42 April 27, 2012 by Expat1
The three women who wrote this article are clearly embarrased by the facts. This is not a a gender RACIST story, it is a RACE story.

This cruel and barbaric crime (FGM) is commited by BLACK women on their daughters and granddaughters. White women do not do it! BLACK women use the excuse that it is what the (black) men in their culture expect/demand. However, this cruel and barbaric crime could be stopped today if these black women said "NO!"

I fully support the UK government's position that this crime carries a 14 year prison sentence, but feel ashamed that no one has ever been presecuted. I do not care that it might be trampling on the "culture" of a minority! Such treatment of young girls by someone that they trust is NOT acceptable!

I am saddened that some people have jumped on the bandwaggon to push their own agendas and distracted from this heinous crime!
19:53 April 27, 2012 by anonymous4
How long is this article going to be on?
16:36 April 29, 2012 by DAVID T
I like cake - even racist cake
10:20 April 30, 2012 by John.Smith
What a load of cr_p! The artist intended to provoke and it seems to me that hyper sensitive 'anti' racist army are the ones who have a problem with race... They are the ones who are hooked on an art installation (and a cake toboot) being racist.

Get a life... it is art for the love of God!!

Race is race is race is race.... why shouldn't this be acknowledged and accepted. Saying that black women were somehow degraded by this is utter rubbish.
19:45 April 30, 2012 by Wyatt
White Light & Jimmy James - I agree wholeheartedly !
10:00 May 4, 2012 by Kaethar
Comments from foreigners not even living in Sweden dominating the boards as usual. I'll just add my 2 cents as a Swede amongst this mess. Sweden has a very strong history of supporting freedom to expression and that's something I support. Sweden has been in the news before about our museums hosting controversial art - this isn't the first time and it won't be the last.

The beauty of art is that it's open to interpretation. The opinion of the 3 women in this article is as valid as anyone else's. I don't agree with their interpretation but they have the right to have it. Shock art always offends people and you can argue that that's the point of it. At the end of the day shock art raises awareness about issues like few other pieces of art do. You think everyone from American bloggers to Swedish professors would be talking about this exhibition if it had been your run-of-the-mill presentation on female genital mutilation? If just a few people look up the meaning behind this piece and learn about FGM then it will have been worth it. Dozens of course are mutilated in Sweden today and it's time politicians made it a priority to stop it instead of dancing around the issue in fear of appearing "culturally insensitive."
06:46 May 5, 2012 by RobinHood
Yesterday in England, two men were arrested for arranging the mutilation of their victim's genitalia. If convicted, the maximum sentence is 14 years.

To the many supporters of FGM who posted on this subject, it is obvious now why you were so anxious to distract people from the artist's message. All across Europe, the police have suddenly begun to take the crime of FGM seriously. If you have been involved in arranging FGM within a European country, and live in a European country now, or intend to return to a European country, I strongly recommend you contact a lawyer immedietly. It will be much better for you if you hand yourself over to the police now, than if you wait for them to arrest you. Fourteen years is a very long time to spend in prison, particularly for a sexual offence. Anything you can do to reduce that period is probably worth it.
19:39 May 5, 2012 by JAMessersmith
No, not all people meet the strict European definition of beauty, but that doesn't mean we should be ashamed of them.

What seems racist to me is the fact that so many Europeans, white and black alike, recoil at the depiction of a tribal African woman. If Betty Boop was on that cake (i.e. a cartoon version of a white woman), no one would've said a word about it. But the second a non-European, non-American African woman is depicted, it's racism. No, shame is what it really is.

There are in fact women in Africa with large breasts and genitals, and wide hips who paint their faces in a similar fashion. That's not disgraceful. That's reality. Deal with it.
17:28 May 7, 2012 by libertarianism
17:34 May 7, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
History is full of episodes of horrific systematic abuse, followed by enlightenment.

During the 1940's, many German people were led to believe that jews, roma, and homosexuals were being transported to camps for their own safety, and many of the more ignorant among the German population probably believed it. The increasing fraction who knew the truth also promoted the safety argument, as it advanced their agenda of extermination. These pro-deportation people might even have said that to deny the 'vulnerables' the safety of the camps might have been a form reckless endangerment, or racism.

Sadly with regard to the ongoing crime of FGM today there are still some who are crying 'racism' and turning a blind eye to the yearly suffering of hundreds of thousands of female children, who will have to live with their irreversible mutilation for the rest of their lives.

When the world succeeds in eradicating FGM, historians will ask who stood on the sidelines, or, even worse, who stood on a podium and attempted to distract the world from the real horrors of FGM, in this case by fabricating nonsensical accusations of racism against a provocative piece of artwork by a black artist that suceeded in bringing much needed attention to the horror of FGM (which is not even a white on black form of crime in any case).

It is even worse when so-called intellectuals are the ones who are staging these distractions. Because these three and Carmen Price have strived so hard to conceal the real issue, or to assist in defeating the real enemy, their published quackery is not entirely unlike the Nazi recourse to so-called intellectuals of the 30's and 40's who published papers that implied Aryan racial superiority. Both the opinion articles published in TL and the 1940's distortions of reality either directly or indirectly (by way of fabricated distractions) support(ed) the perpetration of a crime against humanity.

Thankfully more reasonable voices have prevailed, and the cake art has led to a far more pro-active response against FGM in the UK for example.

These three authors and Carmen Price will be harshly judged for the reckless and irresponsible role they played.
10:32 May 17, 2012 by awash
many of you who're defending the so called "provocative art" and try justify its premise while attacking the victims who oppose this racially motivated installation are actually deep down racists ranting every time a news/issue is written related to immigrants; you don't give a damn about victims of FGM, all you care is about the status quo which vilifies, demonizes and dehumanizes the black people. I'm sure none of you have ever met one person who's been circumcised (male or female for that matter). You've never been on a receiving end of racism, so you'll never and ever want to understand its overt & covert tones; because many of you're the perpetrators. You praise and endorse this wanna be next "Damian Hurst", because he promotes what you really feel inside to be publicized for ever and ever. we fight our own fight, be it FGM or racism; just leave us alone.
Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

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Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

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The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

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Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

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