The most striking article that I came across on my search for differences in cultural beauty standards was one about women in Mauritania, a country located in Northern Africa and about the size of Egypt. In the article "Mauritania's Wife Fattening Farm" BBC news sheds light on a view of beauty unlike that of the Western world. In this country fat women, categorized as obese, are considered desirable to men. So much so that young girls are being force fed and even punished for not eating. This phenomenon of beauty is so opposite of American norms of beauty even Oprah featured this difference in an episode that aired in 2008. Her guest Houda, the daughter of a Mauritanian doctor, said that "when you're skinny, you're even considered as sick or there's something wrong with you". When I compared this country's idea of beauty to what our book said on physical attraction I found both differences and similarities. One part that didn't match up with the book is the idea that men look for women with a hip to waist ratio of .7 because in this nation the larger all the way around you are the more desirable you are to men. On the other hand Mauritania's culture matches the textbook in the aspect that men are attracted to younger women, with kids as young as 10 getting married. Our society is so concerned with the pressures media put on women to be thin but I had never thought about it to the other extreme and the health effects that come along with forced obesity.
Beauty in Bulk
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