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What mothers do to marry their daughters off

November 2, 2005

In Mauritania fat girls are desirable. So desirable that mothers actually force feed their skinny daughters. “We want them to get a good marriage.” To them it does not matter that later their daughters will have knee problems, hypertension and diabetes. “Fat is beautiful so everyone wants to be fat.” It’s funny that only the women must be fattened up in order to be able to marry. A man laughed when he was asked why he likes obese women. Shyly he answered that fat ones are more enjoyable in bed. While in Somalia girls have to be circumcised (female genital mutilation) in order to be desirable to men. Therefore mothers are more than willing to mutilate their daughters

All the time people are screaming that it is because patriarchy has a strong hold in these parts of the world. Yet, the women are actually the most industrious ones that enforce the system. Some of you might be grateful that you are not born in one of these countries. In my opinion, however, our society is not better. Our mothers are just as rigorous in imposing the patriarchal society. Are we not supposed to be ‘beautiful’ (according to one standard or another) to attract a potential husband?

The patriarchy merely takes another form than it’s used to be. Maybe in the future not wearing burqa, but putting make up would be seen as oppressive.

After more than half a century, Simone de Beauvoir still hits the mark:
‘You are not born a woman, you are made a woman.’

Furthermore, I’ve observed that the saying applies to other matters as well. You are moulded in every possible forms to fit into the pictures of the society, whether it’s your gender, your job, your lifestyle, even your values and belief.

Everyone who is born is born with a sound nature; it is his parents who make him a Jew, a Christian, or a Magian [Zoroastrian]. (Al-Ghazali)

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