An investigation into the meanings and contestations around the practice of labia elongation amongst a select group of migrant women living in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
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This study investigates the meanings and contestations around the practice of labia elongation amongst a select group of migrant women living in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. This study examines how the migration experience shapes the discourses that surround the practice of labia elongation. It also aims to give a voice to migrant women concerning this practice. By using a qualitative interpretivist theoretical paradigm, I seek to highlight how these migrant women deal with the labia elongation practice. The key question in this study is as follows; what are the meanings and contestations around the practice of labia elongation amongst migrant women living in Pietermaritzburg South Africa? In-depth interviews were utilized as the method of data collection. The study includes women from Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The experiences that migrant women may encounter in their host countries may impact how they view labia elongation. When performed in a migratory context, cultural practices such as labia elongation, are usually reshaped. Migration therefore gives women an opportunity of cultural reflection and this has led to a modification of cultural practices, such as labia elongation. The majority of the women in the study stated that they had no problem with the continuation of the practice, as long as the age was revised and consent was sought from those women who wished to undergo this practice. However, other women were ambivalent. The results of this study indicated that, although these women have migrated from their home countries, they still regard this practice as being important.