Posts Tagged With: beauty

Beauty in Africa

What if women in America all strived to be as overweight as possible in hopes of attracting the right man? Countries like Mauritania have beauty ideals that the western world would find downright outrageous. With it being international women’s day/month I wanted to discuss the beauty standards of different countries in Africa. Women of Mauritania go to extreme lengths to fatten their daughters up for their future husbands. Some parents even send their daughters to fattening camp,  ran by women such as Fatematou who explains in this BBC article the diet the girls are kept on to maintain their round figures,

“I make them eat lots of dates, lots and lots of couscous and other fattening food,” Fatematou, a voluminous woman in her sixties who runs a kind of “fat farm” in the northern desert town of Atar, told BBC World Service’s The World Today program.”

For the men in Mauritania its more desirable for a woman to be larger because it represents wealth while a skinnier woman may represent poverty or not being able to eat enough. However in Mauritania this tradition is starting to be seen as a little bit old fashioned as explained in the same article,

“Young people in Mauritania today, we’re not interested in being fat as a symbol of beauty. Today to be beautiful is to be natural, just to eat normally.”

Another beauty phenomenon, at least in the western countries is skin bleaching. All though it isn’t as far fetched as fattening women for marriage it is a big thing in the area. Women will use many different kinds of dangerous chemicals all in the name of having fair skin. This beauty trend isn’t only practiced in parts of Africa but all parts of the world including the U.S. However in western African countries the number of women who turn to this practice is staggering as this article breaks it down,

“The prevalence of skin lightening reported among those interviewed in Africa shows some disturbing results. In Bamako in Mali, researchers calculated 25% prevalence, while in some studies in Dakar, Senegal, up to 52% prevalence was observed. A study in Pretoria, South Africa revealed up to 35%, while the most disturbing was a study in 2002 which showed up to 77% prevalence in Lagos, Nigeria.”

Whether women are eating large quantities of food to gain weight or using dangerous bleaching products, beauty practices are different all over the world, so who are we to judge. The only thing you can do is be comfortable in your own skin

Photo by Maindru Photo

Categories: Africa, Journalism | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Africans can publish their own magazines?

Picture from Vogue Africa prototype

The words high fashion and Africa are rarely combined. When Conde Nast was offered to create Vogue Africa, along side their many other international affiliations, they kindly passed. Although vogue creating an African magazine would have promoted Africa in a more positive light as well as a more diverse standard of beauty (you can see for yourself here), there are many other African magazines that display high fashion in Africa and promote Africa positively. One of these magazines that you can actually find in the magazine section of Boarders is Arise. This magazine includes vibrant fashions spreads and features on things like street fashions, up and coming African musicians, as well as African super models.

Another African magazine that can be compared to the likes of cosmopolitan (except less sappy) is True Love a canadian based magazine that does interesting features on both African and American celebrities. This magazine isn’t afraid to take on the cultural issues such as polygamy (which is very common all over Africa) that occur throughout the continent. while those two magazines, just mentioned, are physical magazines that you can subscribe to similar to Vogue, one online magazine is a stand out in featuring african fashion alongside intriguing features.

Haute while its working on creating its hard copy magazine is still doing a great job of providing people with an online edition that covers all things African entertainment and fashion related. It even has video for everything from fashion shows, photo shoots, and store events. All these African magazines makes me think Conde Nast may have made a very bad choice by not taking the offer for vogue Africa but knowing that these magazines exist gives me a good feeling, we will be alright without Conde Nast’s help.

Photo by Mario Epanya rights reserved to qiv and flickr

Categories: Africa | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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