John Harvey Kellogg, along with his brother Will, invented cornflakes to keep the bowels and sexual organs of his patients at the Battle Creek Sanitorium from clogging up. Will decided to add sugar to the cereal and sell it everywhere. John bowed out of this plan, and so his cereal legacy ends there.
However, Kellogg still became famous as one of the most renowned physicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries because of his work at "The San," where he introduced ideas like clean eating and exercise. He also believed that female masturbation was the cause of conditions such as spinal derangement, epilepsy, uterine cancer, and certain birth defects in the unborn. The temptations that led to masturbation: too soft of beds (saying that children should sleep on the floor or on corn husks instead); consumption of foods like tea, candy, and peppermint; dreams (“In perfectly natural sleep, there are no dreams; consciousness is entirely suspended"); and reading. The symptoms of a masturbating child included bed-wetting, lying, boldness, and seductive behavior. As Jezebel notes, this list of symptoms matches up almost word for word with the signs of child sexual abuse.
How should parents handle their child's sinful touches? Shame and sexual abuse.
Here Kellogg was instructing adults to charge into a child’s room, rip off their blankets and nightclothes to expose their privates, and then to thoroughly inspect a girl’s (or teenager’s) vulva for an engorged clitoris and sexual lubrication. He is guiding an adult through a very particular course of sexual abuse of their own child.
However, if that wasn't enough to end the child's hellish behavior, Kellogg believed that female genital mutilation was the proper solution.
“A Desperate Case.—A little girl about ten years of age was brought to us by her father, who came with his daughter to have her broken of the vile habit of self-abuse into which she had fallen. Having read an early copy of this work, the father had speedily detected the habit, and had adopted every measure which he could devise to break his child of the destructive vice which she had acquired, but in vain… it finally became necessary to resort to a surgical operation, by which it is hoped that she was permanently cured, as we have heard nothing to the contrary since, and as the remedy seemed to be effectual.”
"Treatment-… the application of blisters [carbolic acid] and other irritants to the sensitive parts of the sexual organs, the removal of the clitoris and nymphaea, [labia minora] constitute the most proper treatment."
Head over to Jezebel to read the full article in all of its terrifying detail.