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As in many other contexts where LME is practiced, this procedure is just one component of certain initiation rites which may contribute to how young girls construct their body image.
LME is common among women of some linguistic groups in easthern and southern Africa (Grassivaro Gallo & Villa, 2006; Martínez Pérez & Namulondo, 2011; Martínez Pérez, Tomás Aznar & Bagnol, 2013).
If she wishes to protect herself against intromission, the rolling up of the loose labia into the vagina effectively closes the os (Williams, 1969, p. More recently, in a joint report from UNICEF, UNFPA and IOM on gender-based violence in Zimbabwe, the authors document that LME is a common traditional practice in Mberengwa and Mudzi districts (Marsh (bridewealth), denial of access to education, forced early marriage, wife inheritance, and prostitution.
The report states that, according to some of the women that participated in the study, “There is tremendous social pressure to conform to this practice” (, the initiation rites’ period of seclusion (Thabethe, 2008).
The objective of this study is to learn about the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of urban Zimbabwean men towards labia minora elongation.
A qualitative study was conducted in Chitungwiza, Harare, in 2012. Data was collected on men’s understanding of the procedure, motivations, its relevance for marriage and sexual life, and its implications on health.
More studies exist, though, on other traditional vaginal practices, such as finger-cleansing, vaginal wiping, insertion of substances and consumption of aphrodisiacs.