In Africa, female body modifications have been primarily tribal practices. Some African women underwent strange body modifications to suit their belief systems, from lip plate, long neck to Elongated head.
According to UNICEF, at least 200 million women in 30 countries have undergone this procedure. Of these, 44 million victims are girls under 15 years of age. However, no one knows the exact numbers. Despite legal bans introduced in many countries, operations continue to perform clandestinely, risking the life and health of a woman.
This practice is most common in western, eastern, and northeastern Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East.
The consequences of this intervention include infections and sepsis, difficulty urinating and the flow of menstrual blood, recurrent infections of the bladder and urinary tract, cysts, infertility, increased risk of complications during childbirth, and death of newborns. And now we will look at Africa, perhaps the richest in unusual ideas about female beauty
A plate in the lip
Tribal residents of the Mursi tribes from an early age strive to comply with local beauty canons. From the age of 12, they permit to insert a plate made of baked clay or a smooth disc made of wood into the lip. For this, a small incision makes in the lower lip—first, a small plate insert, which changes over time. The desired disk size, which girls strive for, reaches 12 cm in diameter.
The larger the plates, the more cattle are given for the girl when she takes as a wife. The plate’s breadth indicates the woman’s age: the older, the correspondingly larger the scale.
Such beauty is not complete without pain because a girl is cut out with a knife, a hole between her lower lip and gums. To prevent the disc from pressing on the teeth, the two lower incisors (sometimes four) remove.
To commit such abuse or not is a personal choice of the girl, but in the future, whether she is at least three times a beauty, a good ransom will not be given for a bride without a plate in her lip.
Some African tribes have taken to deform the shape of the breast. With the help of small weights, they lengthen it and shape it into pouches that you can throw onto your back.
In Africa, the opposite tradition of “ironing” the breast originates. It still practices in some areas of Cameroon and other countries in Central and West Africa. Girls undergo a painful procedure during puberty, in which the breasts are “smoothed” with hot objects or tight bandages to prevent breast growth. In this way, mothers will save their daughters from early sexual intercourse, rape, and sexual harassment.
So far, 3.8 million African women have subject to this horrific procedure. To make girls look less feminine, they try to make it flat at the first signs of breast growth. Hot stones, wooden rolling pins and spatulas, hammers, heated bananas, and coconut shells use for “ironing.”
Such a process does not pass without leaving a trace for the female body: cysts appear, breasts are deformed, their asymmetry develops, and breast cancer cases have become more frequent. Trauma can cause scarring, hardening of tissues, and destruction of the mammary glands. Physical and psychological problems arise: many women develop an aversion to sex and their bodies.
Long neck ring
Among the (Ama) Ndebele tribe living in South Africa, the long, graceful neck of a woman has always been considered the canon of beauty.
Since childhood, girls put on thick brass rings around their necks, from which the channel continues to grow as this raises, the number of rings increases. In the end, the neck reaches such a length (on average, lengthening by 40-50 cm) that it can no longer independently support its head without rings that support it. The crews could not remove, since the absence of cervical muscles would lead a woman to immediate death.
A similar tradition of lengthening the neck with the help of rings also exists among the peoples of the Karen group living in Myanmar and Thailand.
Women of the Maasai tribe, a semi-nomadic African people living in the savannah in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, are mainly engaged in household chores: they milk cows, go for water handicrafts and even build huts. The girl becomes an adult at the age of 14, after an official circumcision ceremony – an emorata.
Although clothing made from animal skins is traditional for the tribe, modern Maasai prefer a dress made of red sheets (also called shuka) wrapped around the body. All kinds of beaded jewelry on the arms and neck are also prevalent.
The most famous tradition of female beauty among the Maasai is to keep the earlobes as elongated as possible. They make holes in them, which can reach up to several centimeters in diameter. They filled with different discs, wires, beads.
Since childhood, the hole in the ear stretched; in adult women, the lobes touch the shoulders. They are even used instead of pockets, they put a smoking pipe there, a spoon, and one journalist saw a cell phone in a lobe. To prevent the lobes from clinging to branches in the forest, women put them on the upper edge of the ear.
In addition to a long lobe, the Maasai also considered two knocked-out front teeth and a half-bald head as a unique charm.
In the Khoisan peoples (Hottentots, Bushmen), protruding female buttocks signify female beauty. Beauties are trendy in which the angle between the back and buttocks is about 90 degrees.
This development of the fat layer is genetically inherent in some African peoples. It is especially characteristic of African Hottentot women, but it finds to a lesser extent in men. Steatopygia (predominant fat deposition on the buttocks) begins in infancy and develops fully during the first pregnancy.
The tradition of scarring your body in the name of beauty spread not only in Australia but also in many Western African tribes. Scars guaranteed success with the opposite sex: a man or woman not adorned with scar ornaments was considered much less attractive.
The scarring technique is practically the same in all tribes: the skin is lifted with crochet or thorn and then either cut or incised. The process is painful and “bloody.” Sometimes ash or ash is rubbed into the wound.
Women of the Mwila (Mumuhuila) tribe living in Angola are famous for their extraordinary hairstyles. They cover their hair with a special paste called Oncula, made from powdered red stone. Oil, tree bark, cow dung, and herbs then add to the powder. All this mixture is applied to the hair and fits into braids decorated with beads, shells, and feathers.
Tall women of the Himba tribe living in the north of Namibia, dressed in necklaces and bracelets, with pleasant reddish skin and long tight dreadlocks, are difficult to confuse with anyone. Historical Himba etiquette requires women to be naked, so the entire wardrobe of local beauties is limited to a short goatskin skirt.
Himba women devote several hours every morning to personal care. However, at the same time, they do not wash – water is a too valuable resource. However, they came up with several hygiene procedures. They invented an excellent cream that allows them to be beautiful persons with perfect skin, even in the sophisticated eyes of Europeans.
This cream prepares as follows: milk fat, ash, and, as an aromatic fragrance, the resin of the Omumbiri shrub (Commiphora Wildii) growing here, called Namibian myrrh, are added to the bright red hematite ground into the most delicate powder.
The mixture gives the body an intense golden-reddish sheen, which, firstly, corresponds to the ideal of Himba beauty and, secondly, protects the skin from the relentless sun and insect bites. What looks like red-orange clay on the head is the same mixture. Himba coats their original styled hair with this product during complex hairdressing manipulations.
Also, women take a cleansing smoke bath every day. A smoldering ember heats a small bowl of Commiphora herbs, leaves, and twigs until fragrant smoke begins to smoke. Ladies lean over him, for maximum effect, cover themselves with blankets to get a good sweat. When the pores of the steamed skin open, they cleanse it with special flat sticks so that it can then be coated again with a portion of fresh miracle cream.
Women from the Kenyan Kikuyu tribe paint their faces brightly to increase their attractiveness.
In a group of peoples of the Mangbetu tribes in Zaire and Uganda, a woman artificially lengthened her head, which, according to legend, saves from witchcraft. As soon as the little girl was born, her head tightly bandage with strips of fabric, which the child did not remove until the skull’s shape completely changed.
Then complex hairstyles make from the hair, which additionally lengthened the head. They were intricate designs: the hair was braided into thin pigtails and pulled up around a tapered frame, which expanded at the end. All this engineering marvel adorned with long bone hairpins.
Finishing the story about Africa, I cannot at least in passing mention a tradition that is not directly related to the theme of beauty but is a very significant contribution to the treasury of female s*x abuse. It is the tradition of female circumcision.
Total or partial amputation of the external genitals is common in at least 28 countries in Africa, from Mauritania and the Ivory Coast in the west to Egypt, Somalia, and Tanzania in the east.
This operation is considered a sacred ritual and symbolizes the “cleansing” of a girl from about six to twelve years old, her transition to the rank of an adult woman. According to their mothers, no one wants to marry an uncircumcised girl.
In Sudan, they convince that such an “unfinished creature” will be too excited, start walking left and right, and not correctly focus on the household. Uncircumcised girls often see as “depraved,” and it becomes nearly impossible for them to get married. Proponents of circumcision also believe that it increases a man’s pleasure.
To Be Continue…