/ State of the World / State of the World / Social documentary

Maasai Custom: Female Genital Mutilation

  • Prize
    Winner in State of the World/Social documentary
  • Photographer
    Matilde Simas
  • Studio
    Matilde Simas
  • Website
  • Instagram

This series documents an unlawful Maasai female genital mutilation (FGM) ceremony in Makuta, Kenya. Kenya’s abandonment of "FGM" was written into federal law in 2011, yet the practice remains widespread in remote areas of the country. “If I do not accept the ‘cut,’ I will be forced to leave,” says one Maasai girl from a remote village. “Where can I go? “FGM” is a rite of passage thought to elevate a girl from childhood to the status of adulthood. The procedure, clitoridectomy, ranges from snipping off a piece of the clitoris to the removal of all external genitalia.

Matilde Simas is a photographer based in Boston, MA. Her unique style focuses on documentary and fine art, with her imagery simultaneously reflecting the sensitivity and the strength of her subjects. Matilde uses the capacity of photography to inform, provoke discussion, and inspire action by public speaking and exhibiting her work in museums, galleries, and public spaces. Her work on human trafficking has been widely exhibited by various UN agencies. She has recently been awarded a UNICEF Picture of the Year HM.