Blake Lively Is Calling Attention to a Terrifying Truth: Female Genital Mutilation Occurs in America, Too

The problematic practice has long been a global concern—and now it's a local one.

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Blake Lively may have shuttered her platform Preserve, (opens in new tab) but that hasn't stopped the star from speaking out about things she thinks are important—including protecting and supporting women. 

Today on Instagram, Lively launched an initiative to call attention to FGM—female genital mutilation—a procedure that involves removing parts or all of a woman's genitals for non-medical reasons. It's long been practiced in parts of Africa and was recently banned in Nigeria (opens in new tab), but Lively points out the chilling fact that FGM isn't just something that happens in other places—it's right in our own backyard.

The star teamed up with L'Oréal Paris USA to bring attention to women changing the world, including Jaha Dukureh (opens in new tab), a woman fighting to end FGM and a survivor of the practice. Today, 100 million to 140 million women and girls are believed to have been subjected to the practice (opens in new tab). You can read more about her and her story (including ways to help), along with all the other Women of Worth at LorealParisUSA.com (opens in new tab).

Cheers to celebrities using their platforms to make a difference, and here's hoping we see the end of FGM in our lifetime.

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Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.