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Gavage: A Cultural Desire for Thickness!


In the Western sphere, having a "pleasantly plump" or "thick" physique equating to beauty- would be a shock! The European/United States standards of physical attractiveness is considered to be those who are tall, thin, blonde and fit. However, the definition of beauty fluctuates across the Globe. For example, I was recently watching the television show Taboo when a segment about gavage came on. I was not able to to catch the entire episode so I decided to do my own research.

Gavage [French: to stuff] is essentially force-feeding. Gavage is mostly practiced in North Africa and in the Middle East. The tradition promotes curvier and plumper woman to be more desirable for marriage while thin girls are considered to be a shame to their family. Gavage is so important it can border being harmful to the young girls sometimes younger than 6 years old. When they are full and refuse to eat any further zayar sticks are used as a punishment. Mothers use the zayar sticks to clamp down the child's toes tightly, forcing them to continue. If the child stops, more pressure is applied. The community sees this as acceptable because the mother is securing her daughter's potential for marriage and other necessary opportunities. For Mauritania’s Muslim men, a decent woman should weigh no less than 100 kg or 220 pounds.

The young ladies consume upwards of 16,000 calories daily across four meals. The bowl being used is filled with couscous, camel milk and sometimes hormone pills. I personally, would be upset about the menu.

Being "pleasantly plump" is a symbol of power, wealth and elegance. Girls and women do experience heath issues such as heart failure, renal failure, diabetes, reproductive health problems, and joint pain , due to their weight but many do not regret the decision of practicing gavage.(Wordpress.ClarkU.Com).

Resources:

The National Geographic Channel

http://www.parallelozero.com/

http://wordpress.clarku.edu/id125-womansrightshealth/2016/11/18/bad-cultures- (In-Depth Detail)

force-feeding-young-girls-for-marriage-in-mauritania/

#Gavage #Africa #NorthAfrica #MiddleEast #Beauty #Curves #Weight #Plump #Women #Mother #Force #Feeding #Tradition

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