Your clit ring now means you’ve been subjected to FGM

A story in today’s Independent newspaper suggests that the NHS (the National Health Service, the UK’s point-of-contact free medical care for all service) will, in future, categorise patients it treats and who have evidence of genital piercings as having suffered FGM -female genital mutilation.

I’m not sure what the picture lookalike worldwide, but here in the UK there is a groundswell of opinion that FGM needs to be outlawed.

FGM -Female Genital Mutilation- is essentially female circumcision. It is practiced widely, and almost exclusively, across northern and central Africa. I would be opposed to the practice, on the basis that there is never a need for it, in terms of health benefits. There is also little evidence of it even being a practice particularly bound up in religion.  At the same time, I wouldn’t be too enamoured with its name. Mutilation is an emotive word which, for me, provides a vital clue into the historical perspective of the practice’s critics : people with an agenda in cultural imperialism as much as anything else. Many of the posters and campaign literature associated with groups keen to see the practice end frame their graphics in similar emotive, blood-stained illustrations.


It would, I think, be better if the practice was referred to as ‘female circumcision’, and have the practice of genital cutting for both men and women described in similar terms.

You can read a UNICEF report on the practice of FGM here.

It’s also easy to support an ending to the practice on the basis (from a western perspective) that it’s a form of child abuse, carried out against minors who are not afforded the voice to say ‘no’ (not dissimilar to the male version performed on infants). The male variant does, in a small number of cases, have sound medical reasons as to why it should be carried out, but these do not normally manifest themselves before adolescence or adulthood, when the person undergoing surgery would have the cognitive power to understand what’s going on and why.

The BBC also provides a guide into the practice of FGM in light of these new rules.

A clitoral hood piercing is, apparently, the most popular form of genital piercing and naturally there are those in the UK who think these latest guidelines overstep the mark. Possibly they do, but there seems to me to be sound reasons why they’re in place. The practice of FGM is illegal in the UK. There are many immigrants who live here and who will be culturally aligned to the practice. So when their daughter is born, where does the cultural practice take place? In back street ceremonies, I would imagine, and thus the guidelines are in place where children, in particular, come into contact with the NHS and it’s a duty to report this form of child abuse.

Within Second Life there are literally dozens of forms of piercings that can be purchased, all very visible within the SL naturist community.

chavvie clit rings_001b chavvie clit rings2_001b
It’s not something I would do myself in RL, or even would wear in an SL context, but despite my personal dislike of piercings (I only ever had my ears pierced, once, when I was a teenager and when my earlobe became infected I swore ‘never again’) I do find myself in sympathy with those who say there is a clear difference between a child suffering widespread mutilation of their genital area and a consenting adult who chose to have a piercing -which can be removed and the area return to its pre-pierced state.

I understand the NHS’s reasons for adopting this approach. I’m less confident in us reading, somewhere down the line, that NHS staff have chosen to report an adult woman’s clit ring as FGM and that a court case regarding it is about to commence. Does that sound silly? Probably, but I live in the UK which has a great track record in busybodies choosing to over-step their remit quite simply to comply with ‘rules’ and without the application of that rarest of commodities,  ‘common sense’.



Readers beware: research into this article has revealed that several (male) journalists are describing this as ‘vaginal’ piercings. You can’t have a vagina pierced in such a manner. The clitoris and labia, yes, the vagina, no. Please be aware of this if following down any links written by (male) journalists. If they’re this good with their personal road map to a woman’s body, one can only despair if they’re trying to negotiate the London Underground. Vagina to Clitoris, one way, with a change at Labia, only to discover they’ve emerged at Anus in error…. 🙂




Je suis Charlie

By now, you’ll all be aware of the horrific events in Paris, France, in which twelve people died, most of them journalists from the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine based in the city.

All of us who are Brits are, covertly or overtly, Francophiles. We admire our Gallic cousins. Their weather, their wine, their cheeses, their lifestyle. They, in turn, admire Britain, to the extent that France’s second city (in terms of the number of French domiciled within it) is actually London.

Tonight, we all stand united against those who would attack our freedom of speech.

All of us in the UK will almost certainly have learnt the French language, above any other, in school. This, the language of one of our nearest neighbours, gives us a bond with our friends across ‘La Manche’ -the English Channel- that divides us  from continental Europe. While politics sometime divides us in the UK from the rest of Europe, tonight we are united. Tonight, ce soir nous sommes tous Charlie. We are all Charlie.


Tonight, we thank President Obama for his support in the fight to unearth, and bring to justice, those who murdered, allegedly in the name of Islam. While I consider him to be one of America’s great presidents, I recognise there are those who disagree. Some fear Obamacare, his colour, and his alleged secretive ‘Muslim’ past. The difference is that those who disagree with me won’t challenge that view with bullets, only with words. Which is how it should be. However vehemently others may disagree with my view on President Obama, they will accept my right to express it. Without bullets. Those of us in the UK, in the US, in continental Europe, recognise and accept freedom of expression. We have not been poisoned.

(Edited: originally this post contained an image of some of the events in Paris during the past week. The brother of a policeman slain during this murderous attack has spoken of his grief at the photographs spread around the world. In respect of his view, and that of the family, I’ve edited the post to remove that image, which I originally included due to its impact, and the fact that it perfectly illustrated what was wrong, what was inhumane, what was evil about the events. I got that wrong, and I’ve moved to remove it on reading the policeman’s brother’s words. This is why I leave the blogging, in the main, to Ella & Pookes: such errors of judgement don’t happen on their shift. My apologies. Howie)
Today, even the lowest common denominator ‘rags’ of the British press have the tone right. The photograph from today, Thursday’s, ‘Sun’ (UK) newspaper, shows allegedly Al-Qaeda terrorists seconds from shooting a French policeman, believed to be Muslim himself, to death. It is an image that should horrify all of us, but frighten none on us. It simply unifies us against a horrific, medieval world view that, mark my words, will be defeated, should it take the length of 2015 or the 21st century.

I would call on all people, whether they call themselves Christian, Muslim, Jew, or any other religion, to declare their opposition to this sort of action.

Tonight, today, we are all Charlie. Tonight, I am Charlie. Tonight, I hope you, too, are Charlie.

Howie Lamilton





I do regularly link to Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper because it’s the one paper in the UK who adopts a swivel-eyed, hypocritical stance to nudity or semi nudity. Some print stories/photos of this without further comment, realising that we’re all old enough (be we 6, 16 or 86) to know what a nipple looks like, we all have them. Others quite obviously use female nudity as a device to shift papers.

The Daily Mail, disparagingly called the ‘Hate Mail’ by some, is never one to miss a trick where it can express ‘outrage’ about numerous things in modern life, nudity included, while squeezing every last ounce of coverage it can from its outrage, and I think stands alone as the one UK paper who can express ‘outrage’ while printing story after story about nudity.

Many in the UK will recognise, according to the Daily Mail, everything wrong with the world is the fault of ‘foreigners’. Polish immigrants to the UK are stealing British jobs, apparently (disregarding the fact that many of the jobs they do wouldn’t be filled by lazy, work-shy Britons whose existence on social benefits seems like a preferable life to actually working for a living). Racist, homophobic and xenophobic, the Daily Mail (DM) is a joke, pitching itself as a ‘serious’ paper yet peddling the lowest common denominator of press coverage imaginable. If there’s a Pole, a black person, a gay person involved, be assured the DM won’t fail to mention that fact.

Imagine a good Samaritan type of story. A white, elderly woman is mugged. Three passers by witness it. One, a Pole, gives chase to the assailant, catches the white, British teenage hoodlum and pins him against a car until the police arrive. The gay man is the one who rings the police and ambulance. The black lady, a nurse, administers first aid.

Typically, the DM will report it in the following manner: ‘Polish immigrant Stanislaw, 23, was unconcerned about the scratches on the car to which he held the assailant. Meanwhile, John, 47, a gay man who lives with his HIV positive partner for 20 years, phoned the emergency services after which he and Afua, 37, a Muslim from Ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone, administered first aid.’

The subtext is always that the Pole has caused some damage, the gay man might have HIV, the African nurse might be carrying Ebola while coming to the aid of a white, elderly woman. Get the picture?

Where’s this all heading?

The DM is almost car-crash journalism. You can’t help yourself from looking. I know I can’t. I do try to avoid most of it, but its fascination with nudity, and outrage at the same, keeps me returning, if only for amusement at its Little Englander stance.

Pookes’ post on the #freethenipple film and campaign yesterday led me to follow up on her links and further explore the campaign. And that, in turn, led me straight to the DM and an article about Miley Cyrus posting a topless photo of herself on Instagram. 

The DM ‘tastefully’ pixellates her nipples from its coverage, lest we be offended.



While the uncensored photo/posting looks like this…


So what do I see? A pretty young woman in a pose that wouldn’t look out of place in an art photography shoot. A dramatic, b&w depiction of the nude form, a staple of art since man began drawing on cave walls, almost.



Why pixellate? What does the mainstream media find so offensive about this? After all, it’s a puritan stance shared by many media outlets, not just the DM.

Incidentally, Chelsea Handler, who mocked Russia’s Vladimir Putin earlier this year (another Instagram hypocrisy nipple censorship SLN also covered earlier this year) has been topless again on the social media…a story, naturally, covered by the DM.  (censored version on the DM website, uncensored version below)



And yet these social media outlets still continue to allow graphic depictions of violence? Of beheadings? Isn’t it all just a little bit strange?

I think, in 2015, one of our goals should be to #freetheSLnipple, as there are locations within the game where a similar stance to the DM is much in evidence. ‘No nudity’, the signs say in stores, in various sims, yet a guy in a pair of jeans is exceptionally unlikely to be challenged for his mode of dress while a female avatar will be remarked on, challenged and maybe even banned.

In 2014 we’ve promoted and support those stores and blogs who adopt an adult approach to nudity.  We shall do so again in 2015. Isn’t there something strange about a skin store that blacks out the nipples on their wares? Nipples come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Before I buy a new skin, wouldn’t I like to see the ‘full effect’? You bet I would.








Better together (2)

I’ve made no apologies for my non SL, non naturist ‘Better Together’ post in which I’m nailing my colours firmly to the mast of a ‘No’ (to Independence for Scotland) vote, and will vote accordingly later today. But this is SLN. We do Second Life, we do Second Life Naturism.

Being UK based, I’m working on a time zone wherein I’m speaking more to Britons & Europeans when I’m in world than I am to people in the Americas, Asia or the Antipodes. It’s just the way it works.eswni2_001b

So…Brits, Irish, French, Dutch, Scandinavians & Spaniards dominate my friends list. And, I’m pleased to say, people from right across the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. And it is my great pleasure and delight (you have no idea how difficult it was to organise this! It took days of planning to bring us all together in one place!) to present avatars from the four nations of the UK showing their support for the United Kingdom, for naturism and for Second Life itself.eswni3_001b

If there’s more of us together, life’s more fun. And that’s true of naturism as much as it is of the United Kingdom. I spoke last week of the ‘social’ element of the lifestyle, of getting together away from damned dumb-phones and engaging with other people, and how the conversations are longer, the laughs more prevalent, when a bunch of people engage in social naturism. Naturism, like the UK itself, is BETTER TOGETHER. Second Life, like naturism, like the UK, is BETTER TOGETHER.

If you don’t play Second Life, get involved! If you do play Second Life, make sure that before you log off you’ve added a new friend or socially engaged with another avatar (it’s a pleasure itself to engage with someone from another part of the planet and, however briefly, get a little window into their world). If you haven’t tried naturism, maybe now is the time to google up the name of a local swim night or club and at least make enquiries.

And if you’re a  non-naturist SL avatar, maybe now is the time to hop along to one of SL’s wonderful naturist sims, find an avatar (look…some of us SLN folk are often around) and enjoy the particularly social and non-sexual element of SL naturism.