Sia Amma is woman — hear her roar 

San Franciscoperformance artist Sia Amma has a great deal in common with many men on the planet. She’s circumcised.

While the topic of female genital mutilation isn’t the kind of thing you’d normally find tossed into a comedy routine, the Liberian-born performer was struck with an epiphany on a local open-mike stage nearly 10 years ago: What if laughter could be the catalyst for universal healing?

Onstage, she humorously remarked about the one thing that was taken away from her at the age of 9, which she "desperately" wanted to find: her clitoris.

She got laughs. People were moved.

"The concept was to celebrate different parts of womanhood," Sia Amma explains, "that we are much more than just a clitoris."

Deciding that she would do whatever she could to put an end to FGM, she gave birth to a one-woman show, "In Search of My Clitoris," and launched the nonprofit Global Women Intact. She sent the money she raised to African clinics and children in need of scholarships.

"In the culture I came from, there are so many myths about women," the performer says. "Sex is taboo and so is sexuality for women. To think that a woman can actually enjoy sex more than a man is hard for the culture to take."

Ten years later, Global Women Intact appears to be thriving. Fueled by support from locals, university students and others hoping to raise awareness around women’s issues, the artist created new programs to assist Africans, everything from interest-free business loans for traditional African women to importing and selling handmade goods on their behalf.

Sia Amma also returns to Liberia once a year to educate young girls and their families about the health risks associated with FGM. (Amnesty International estimates than more than 2 million genital procedures are performed on females every year.)

Meanwhile, she continues to perform locally.

Her latest opus, the divinely inspired "Clitoris Celebration" — think postmodern "Vagina Monologues" with only one woman — runs Thursday and Sunday nights in a funky, living room-size theater she founded on Ellis Street. It’s dubbed Our Little Theater.

A comedy showcase featuring local comedians — and a refreshing comic find in Tim Lee — runs Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Profits benefit Global Women Intact. Both shows run through August.

"I continue this work so that another girl doesn’t have to be subjected to [FGM], so that she can celebrate her body," Sia Amma says. "I want that sense of community in Africa to continue, but to do away with the actual mutilation."

Sia Amma

Where: Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis St. (between Mason and Taylor streets), San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays; closes Aug. 30

Tickets: $15

Contact: (415) 928-4060 or

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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