Last night my girlfriend made me aware of something. Being of direct African (as opposed to Afro-diasporan) background, she wasn’t surprised by some Youtube videos she stumbled across. It’s no secret that ‘black’ & African men generally prefer big women. However, I was astonished & disgusted to find how far that preference is taken in traditional African cultures.
Among the Calabar ethnic group of Nigeria, women are literally fattened up for marriage. When a woman is propositioned for marriage, she’s kept in isolation from society for 6 months. Under the extremely vigilant eye of a professional fattener, she’s fed high-carb foods from morning to night. As if that’s bad enough, she’s not allowed to leave the hut! And not allowed to exercise or move!
The professional fattener also applies special massaging techniques to ensure the fat goes to the desired bodyparts: belly & thighs. The woman’s only allowed to go outside after 3 months so her family can see how big she’s becoming, then she has to go back inside to finish the process. Because she’s being readied for marriage, the woman would also be circumcised during this seclusion.
In Mauritania a very similar thing happens. Even though many Mauritanians claim it doesn’t anymore, they acknowledge women are still making themselves bigger. Talk about denial. But it gets worse. Not only are women forced to become fat, they’re fattened from childhood! They’re pinched with giant wooden tweezers to distract them from the discomfort of being full, and if they vomit anything back up they’re forced to eat it. Yes, little girls are forced to eat their own vomit!!! Also, the pressure to gain weight is so strong many grown women take appetite-enhancing drugs to make themselves eat more! Even while knowing those drugs can fuck up their health!
(Notice in part 1 how the male doctor says – in front of his patient – bigger is more beautiful, then moans about health problems women bring on themselves)
One Sudanese brother I used to know told me Sudan used to prefer big women too. Now the preference has changed to skinny. He didn’t detail how that change happened so I can’t comment further.
This really belies the whole “Africa-used-to-be-a-matriarchy” claim. The image that came to mind is that these men don’t want a human being for a wife, just a lump of immobile fat with an unnaturally tight pussy (due to circumcision). Seems like pre-colonial African women were just as oppressed as post-colonial ones. All this being done to please us men rather than themselves.
Disclaimer: I must admit I prefer bigger women too. But that’s only because bigger women are more likely to have bigger breasts. In my personal opinion, breasts are more indicative of “womanliness” than thighs, bum and especially belly. Regardless I would never want my girlfriend, or any woman, to put her health at risk to please me – which I thank God she doesn’t. For a woman to be truly empowered in a relationship or a culture, she should force men to accept her as she wants to be.
The irony is these women still don’t get as big as Americans but I digress.
Just in case someone thinks I’m dissing African cultures, I think all cultures and belief systems are shit. The similarity between this and modern* European/ Euro-diasporan beauty ideals isn’t lost on me. Even though ‘white’ women usually want to stay as skinny as possible, ultimately it comes from a cultural imperative that women have to alter their bodies to please men. It’s a different expression of the exact same behaviour. So yes, modern European cultures are just as shit and just as stinky.
* And it is modern. ‘White’ Europeans preferred & idolised curvier women since at least the 1600s. A quick look at the prehistoric “Venus” figurines implies this preference stretched back to the first (‘black’) Europeans as well.