I don't know why I continue to be surprised when I learn that women are the ones who perpetrate these types of abuse. Clitoridectomy is another good example of women being the enforcers of traditional practices undertaken (ostensibly) to improve a girl's chances at a good marriage (and therefore, economic security).
It seems to be yet another case of those in the second-least powerful position exercising arbitrary power over the weakest members of a society.
In Mauritania, when it comes to women, for many people fat is beautiful. Here in this desert country, where poverty and malnutrition affect many, obesity is seen as a badge of wealth and prestige.
But for some young women, getting fat is hard work.
The quest for obesity is driving some women in outlying villages to force-feed their daughters and granddaughters.
Momta, an imposing grandmother and expert force-feeder, says: "For us, a girl who has not been force-fed is ugly, not beautiful, and she’s a source of shame to her family."
Momta believes that if a girl is fat she will attract a richer husband.