mercredi, novembre 02, 2005

fattening them up

Sadly, women are chattel in most cultures. That their families do everything they can to make them more attractive to potential husbands is no surprise. But the Mauritanian practice of force-feeding girls into obesity literally turns my stomach.

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.

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