Thin is not in

Imagine a country where thin isn’t the ideal body shape.  A place where women aren’t considered attractive unless she has rolls of body fat, multiple chins and stretch marks and thinner women envy their heavier friends.  Sounds like it might be utopia, right?  But it’s not.

I recently read an article in Marie Claire magazine about the force feeding of girls in Mauritania, on Africa’s northwestern coast.  Obesity is so revered among the Moor Arab population there that girls as young as 10 are sent to “fat farms” and fed a diet of 16,000 calories a day.(!)  That’s more than Michael Phelps!  And if they don’t want to eat?  They’re physically punished. 

The goal of force feeding these girls is to make them attractive as wives.  And it has it’s root in fat being seen as a sign of wealth.  (The heavier you are, the more money you must have to buy food.)

For a while the practice of leblouh (as it’s called) went out of fashion, but it’s now back in vogue thanks to political upheaval and a ruling party that wants to bring the back the country’s old traditions.  It’s estimated 80 percent of girls are being force-fed. 

There are many non-profit groups trying to tackle the problem, but they’re facing resistance from the girls themselves.  That’s because even though these girls know they’re risking their health by being extremely overweight, they fear the rejection of men.  It’s the total opposite mindset of American women who worry they’ll never find a guy who’ll love her because she’s not a size 2.

Neither situation is healthy and the situation in Mauritania is just another example of the fretful relationship average women have with their bodies.  It’s a world-wide delimma that women need to band together and fight.  We are beautiful no matter men think, no matter what the fashion magazines and TVs tell us.  I believe it.  Now it’s just a matter of convincing the rest of the world to feel the same.

  To read the Marie Claire article click here.

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One Response to “Thin is not in”

  1. Fari Says:

    Incredible! So many awful things going on in the world that we are not aware of. Men don’t seem to have as much issues w/ their bodies as we do…I wonder why?

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