Monday, April 23, 2007

We're not so far apart, you and I

Sunday I had quite a drive to get to my son's soccer matches, and we were listening to the BBC. During the entire ride there, there was a discussion about Mauritania and it's "wife-fattening" farm. It was a fascinating set of interviews.

Apparently in Mauritania the woman are expected to be fat. Men won't marry a woman unless she is exceptionally fat, and girls from a very young age are force fed by their female relatives. They are generally sat down and stuffed to the point of throwing up, and if they do, they are sometimes forced to eat the throw up. There is one area where young girls are forced to drink milk and cream until their bellies are rotund. At that point a hole is dug in the ground, and they are forced to lie down with their bellies in the hole. This whole process is done to promote stretch marks, a very significant sign of beauty Mauritania.

The fashion of being fat and having a significant amount of stretch marks has become a huge health problem for the women of Mauritania. Doctors try to explain to their patients that this type of obesity is terribly unhealthy, but they are met with suspicion as in Mauritania a skinny woman is suspected to be unwell because of the vast amount of Aid’s patients that exist in their area. In fact there is a new population of these doctors' patients who have begun taking animal steroids to promote quick weight gain and thus stretch marks.

Recently, however, women and men of Mauritania have begun to value a healthier lifestyle. A small number have begun to exercise and size themselves down to a size 12, a very small size for this country. I got the impression, however, that although some men, ironically who are supposed to be thin and muscular themselves (the opposite of their women), may find thinner women attractive, this viewpoint is viewed as an oddity.

So what is my point in telling you all about this news story? The whole time I was listening I couldn't help but think, take out fat and put in skinny and you'd have a whole different country. Perhaps ours?


Butrfly4404 said...

Thanks! haha...Melissa Summers is so funny!

Butrfly4404 said...

OOPS, that was meant for the cocktails!

For this one:

Hmmm...I am on both sides of that. I think that the obsession to be the "hottest" adds to the obesity epidemic. But that's kind of another topic. I just mean I agree that the doctors are pushing them to be more like us...but it is bad for your heart and such. I think they are just too extreme about it.

My favorite time was when a woman's body was considered most beautiful looking post-child. Like The Birth of Venus.

Dan said...

I heard that program too, it was very interesting.

I didn't know you could get bbc radio in the states.