July 17, 2013

Health Awareness: Meanwhile, in Mauritania…

Growing up I was told that if I don’t lose weight I won’t be attractive and I would lose a lot of opportunities because I’m fat. I went from one diet to another, from not eating breakfast to only drinking water to eating just once a day. I remember it all. The general attitude in the community I grew up in, was that, small and skinny are beautiful and cute. I am neither small nor skinny, in comparison to the other girls in that community. I have butts, so I have it. They’re trying to tell me I’m meant to have flatter and smaller ones. Go figure. For a start, my height (at around 166cm, not that very tall, I know, but…) is above the average height of the girls population. It took years of battling, both physically and mentally. I gain weight fairly easily, and I love my fried chicken, mcnuggets, bacon, rice and so on. Though, a recent lifestyle change has drastically changed my outlook on how I feel about myself and what I look forward to. Trust me, even now I am still being judged, that I am not of the ideal weight that the community proposes to be. I am in no way saying my body is perfect, it still has plenty of room for improvement, but it will come with time, and perseverance. But I don’t hate it like I used to. I just want to stay fit, maintenance is key, and to achieve the best my body could be. Without sacrificing the body shape I have been given, naturally. I am not against skinnyness, if you’ve been given such body shape, then that is yours. What I am about to touch on is to be what you’re not, if you have an hourglass figure, why change it to be a ruler figure because everybody else think that’s the body shape you should have. That is my point. A tiger cannot have a body of a giraffe, nor a giraffe with a body of a tiger, or a cheetah and a lion. Or if you have an athletic small body, why try to be a whale. Work with what you’ve got.

This brings me to the topic of force-feeding, specifically in western part of Africa called Mauritania. The Mauritanian men likes their women… overweight. Of not the normal weight. It is a sign of wealth and prosperity. It is a sign that… she has not been ploughing the field of a farm all day, something that ‘poor’ people all do. So they say. If you have plenty of stretch marks, show them off, even better. I can only imagine the horror the young girls have to go through. Here I share a short segment of what it’s like. To defy nature.

Force feeding in Mauritania Documentary

I cannot put my head around how these girls are being force fed like foie gras ducks. And they are only at tender ages of under 15… 7 to 12 year olds. Goat’s milk, camel’s milk, olive oil, butter, or just any kind of fattening substances would do. Oh, the milk will fatten you up fast, and give you pretty stretch marks. Indeed, indeed.

Gavage in Mauritania, for Marie Claire US

26 year old – Zeinebou Mint Mohamed.
Image credit: http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/forcefeeding-in-mauritania

article-2364060-036292AB0000044D-709_634x437

Image credit: dailymail.co.uk

Excerpt from the dailymail article & the HBO Vice documentary (by Thomas Morton)

He found that girls are fattened up from the age of eight by their families in a practice referred to as 'gavage' - a French word that means force feeding and is used to describe the fattening of geese to make foie gras.

Once they reach a marriageable age, girls are sent to 'fat camps' in the desert where they are fed 15,000 calories a day.

For breakfast, the girls have breadcrumbs soaked in olive oil washed down with camel's milk. They then have frequent meals throughout the day of goat's meat, bread, figs and couscous, all with more camel milk to drink.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2364060/Force-fed-husband-How-Mauretanian-women-fattened-like-foie-gras-geese-dangerous-animal-growth-hormones-satisfy-mens-love-larger-lady.html#ixzz2ZHT3GLKv
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These women are being exploited, and these children… ah! angers me to see how they are being treated. The squeezing of the toes and the fingers? The bending of fingers? Their bones would break! Oh, so it is common and perfectly fine to just break your own daughter’s fingers because you believe it is for the good of her future…? Enlighten me.

-x-

Personal note: I find it troubling that so many are mis-educated and unaware of the health risks of these sorts of behaviours and beliefs. Apparently the practice is decreasing now. Although I can only imagine that there are still more to it that are left untouched or unreported. I wrote this purely for general education and awareness, so that you, may also see more of what’s happening in the world we live in. Feel free to tweet me at @blushfully

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