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Concept of beauty – africa

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————————————————-Our Concept of Beauty What is beauty to you For a female, would beauty be described by a Victoria??™s Secret model How about a male Would a picture of a Calvin Klein super model come to mind In America, our idea of beauty has been governed by what we see in the media and well as other social norms. As the ideal image of a super model changes, we change our concept of beauty. When Marilyn Monroe became famous, for example, it became desirable to have more curves. Then came Twiggy, the revolutionary model that introduced ??? skinny??? as the ultimate look. Now, we are bombarded with images of skinny girls on swimsuits with long straight or wavy hair and big fake breasts. We see Cover Girl commercials of girls with even skin tones and we could never imagine a male model with tattoos on his face. Any trace of a marking we would see as a flaw unless it is governed by the rules of couture. Indeed, we are so overwhelmed with these ideas that we fail to consider that there could be anything different somewhere else in the world.

It is because of these ideas that we see people obsessed with obtaining the ??? perfect??? weight. Many of us strive to go beyond what is considered healthy in order to attain a ??? beautiful??? figure, and we don??™t even sit to think whether this concept of beauty is just in our heads. Is a skinny girl really preferable everywhere in the world Are ??? excessive??? piercings and tattoos not what everyone in the world would want to see as iconic Perhaps we need to think twice. This research paper will take you through a journey in Africa, where you will experience what beauty is like in the countries of that continent. You will get to see a different side of the ideal weight and you will envelop yourself in a place where Kate Moss is underfed and Brad Pitt is not manly enough. ————————————————-Fat and beautifulImagine a place where your routine consisted of sleeping, eating, and getting fat. Even more, imagine a place where this was a sign of good health and prosperity.

Welcome to Calabar, Nigeria and the customs of the Efik, where being fat is a women??™s valued emblem of beauty! It might seem strange to an American to picture a world where the fatter a woman is, the more desirable she is. However, in certain places in Africa, such as Nigeria, Mauritania, Uganda, and others, a fat woman is not judged intrinsically on her looks but on the meaning that a corpulent body holds. A fat wife represents the worth of her family and that of her husband.

The wealthier they are, the more they should be able to feed her, and for this reason, a big wife is desirable. (BBC News)Naturally, most women are not overweight from birth. Therefore, there is a fattening process that must take place as a woman prepares herself to become a wife. If the girl is not of marriageable age, fattening up still takes place as a tradition to show the girl??™s transition from maidenhood to womanhood. The fattening process takes place at a fattening room. This could either be a fattening center or simply a room separated from the main house, where the female is fed continuously and is deterred from activity aside of toileting, learning, and eating.

She is massaged three times a day, fed 6 large portions of fattening food such as porridge ekpang, yams, and soups, and encouraged to sleep many hours. (Oku) In an Annang fattening room, (the Annangs are a tribe related to the Efiks), the girl sits on a bamboo mat which they believe will soften her up. This, they believe, will help her replace her muscles with fat. Additionally, the girl is naked at all times. This is so that ??? one can observe her fatness???.

(de Garine) In addition to making the girl fat, the older women that are in charge of her also teach her the secrets of becoming a great wife. She learns how to cook, how to care for children, how to respect her husband, and overall, how to make a happy family. The girl is also taught traditional dances, folklore, folktales, songs and other forms of entertainment that will help her be successful in her marriage and womanhood. (Oku) Traditionally, the girl would begin her fattening process with a ceremony. At the end of her period in seclusion, she would be greeted with pompous celebration with her family, neighbors, and visitors. The fatter she comes when she ends her seclusion, the higher the price that the parents can ask from the groom.

The process of fattening takes approximately six months. In that time span, the girl achieve up to a weight of 220 lbs. (de Garine)The process of fattening a girl is not always carried with the consent of the girl. According to Fatematou, a ??? fat farm??? owner in Mauritania, it is rare to find girls that do not want to eat.

However, when they refuse, they are forced to, as this is ??? for their own good.??? In the end, all of them overeat and according to Fatematou, ??? They are proud and show off their good size to make men dribble.??? (Harter)So how fat is too fat According to the Efik, there is no rule as to whether the girl is fat enough, but overall, the fatter the better. Not surprisingly, however, there are health detriments that arise from these practices.

This excess of fat increases the women??™s propensity to heart disease and other illness. (Simmons) However, the health effects are left aside to avoid ruining a girl??™s reputation and that of her parents in society. Essentially, the girl is kept in the fattening room as long as the parents can afford feeding her. The length of the seclusion and the weight that the girl gains both contribute to the status of the family. Parents of a skinny girl are tagged as not having enough money to get her through the whole fattening rite. Moreover, a thin girl is believed to be sickly and unable to bear a child. (Simmons) The Annangs believe that ??? fattening created broad hips which are a prerequisite to providing a large enough birth canal so that babies could slide out easier.??? (de Garine) A fat girl is believed to be ready to conceive, carry, and nurture a child.

In the old times, the Annangs had a lengthy process for becoming a Mbobo, or a fattening room girl. First, the girls had to become part of two secret societies (ndam and ngwongwo). The initiation of ngwongwo involved the controversial female circumcision. A Mbobo was the fattening processes that lead to marriage. In order to become a Mbobo, the girl had to be a virgin without any exceptions. The matrons checked for her virginity in privacy before the final celebration, and if she is found not to be a virgin, she was left to become a prostitute to support herself.

Before coming out, she was force to swear that she was a virgin. If she lied, she would supposedly die within the next six months. Currently, the practice of Mbobo is sanctioned by the Catholic Church, and for this reason, fattening girls are much more protected from being discovered by outsiders.

(de Garine)Indeed, we have seen that our image of a perfect figure as that of a skinny woman is not shared by all cultures around the world. It might seem puzzling for there to be such vast differences in our views of beauty. Nonetheless, it has been found that in developing countries, there is a trend in humans for females to be better fed than males; as a country gets wealthier, this difference is reduced. ??? Primary findings included the observation of a consistently inverse association for women in developed societies, with a higher likelihood of obesity among women in lower socioeconomic strata.??? (McLaren) This could explain why we see this trend in differences in aesthetic preferences for women. ————————————————-ConclusionOur journey through the African ideologies of beauty has given us a different view on aesthetic preferences of humans. The information and data throughout this paper depicts the lives of tribal peoples, and it is important to note that these ideologies have not escaped the influence of the West and of Europe. We began by talking about the differences in preference for weight in women.

It is obvious by the facts presented, that there is a tendency in some African countries to prefer overweight women. However, some data suggest that as Africa becomes more Westernized, there has been an increase in body dissatisfaction and eating disorders among young women. (Mwaba) As for body markings, concerns with the sanitation of the process of scarification as well as a move of African countries towards development, has reduce these practices. Nonetheless, they are still common and embraced. Not even have accessories been untouched by the views of the West. Currently, there is a growing trend in the use of fake hair that is brought from America.

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