The global fight to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) has sparked widespread awareness and important conversations. However, the reality is that progress has been slow, and many fear that we’re still a long way from ending FGM for good. 

Newly released figures have shown that more than 9000 attendances of NHS services in England were FGM-related in the last year alone. Sadly it’s a statistic that BIMM graduate and singer-songwriter Rosina Buck knows all too well.

Rosina – who works in close collaboration with local Bristol charity, Integrate UK – has co-written several songs around the subject as part of a bid to raise awareness around FGM. The songs have also been written in partnership with a group of talented young people from the charity.

Their most recent track, #MyClitoris, was written in response to an article by The Economist which argued that there are minor forms of FGM. It’s a controversial statement that she and others – including anti-FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein – spoke at length about the subject last week at the Manchester International Festival and who all wholeheartedly reject, as Rosina explains:

“The young people at Integrate Bristol were outraged – there is no other kind of child abuse around which people would advocate for a minor form to be permissible? Questions such as ‘so how much sexual abuse is ok with a child?’ were thrown around. The point is, they argued, that however they perform FGM, whichever type is practised, they all stem from the view that a girl child’s sexuality needs to be controlled.”

#MyClitoris later became an overnight viral sensation, receiving praise from The Guardian, various UN organisations and a host of celebrities, including the singer Lily Allen, writer and journalist Caitlin Moran, tennis star Martina Navratilova and Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman, who tipped it for the Xmas No. 1!

At a glance, the music video’s pink dainty background and gentle production come across as innocent, but the lyrics give way to a more provocative and direct meaning – a deliberate decision to hit home the message that FGM is cruel to women, whatever the circumstances.

The song, which also features several BIMM students in Megan Emrys, Austin Shepard and Chris Jones, has received well over a million hits but has unfortunately been branded too explicit for TV. Nevertheless, Rosina is on a crusade to get their hit played on BBC Radio 1.

That said, their efforts have certainly not been in vain. Many schools around the world are using the song to deliver key messages around FGM, and it’s all thanks to Rosina and Integrate UK’s sensational creative input. The charity has since won Silver at the Charity Film Awards.

Outside of her activism work, Rosina is the lead singer of Circe’s Diner, who are currently on a 30-date summer tour as she tells BIMM:

“We are travelling all over the UK promoting our music and our new single ‘Who Dares’. It’s so much fun, and we continue to be overwhelmed by the experience of living the dream. We love being together on the road. In September we hope to begin recording our new album and then more touring!”

Rosina is just one of many artists using her talent to campaign for tougher sanctions and an outright ban on female genital mutilation, a cruel and sickening practice which causes both excruciating physical pain and long-term mental health issues.

To find out more about FGM, visit the NHS website. Or check out Integrate UK to find out more about what you and others can do to tackle the subject.

POSTED ON: July 10, 2017
  • Bristol