Yeah. I had to read that headline twice too. Turns out in, “Mauritania, a country one-and-a-half times the size of Texas and blanketed in desert,” writes Abigail Haworth in this month’s issue of Marie Claire, bigger is better. “Mauritanian tradition holds that among women, rolling layers of fat are the height of sexiness.” But in this West African country, young women and girls are forced to eat a diet of some 16,000 calories a day (male body builders consume about 4,000 calories) at ‘wife fattening camps’ where women must undergo leblouh—intensive force-feeding. If they vomit, they eat it. “The practice is re-emerging because men still find mounds of female flesh comforting and erotic,” explains Seyid Ould Seyid, a Mauritanian male journalist in the Marie Claire article. “The attraction is ingrained from birth.” And up to 50 to 60 percent of girls in rural communities undergo force feeding and some 20 to 30 percent of girls in urban settings. You can read more about the physical side effects of force feeding here. But not all women are into the weight gain. Some are fighting back and have joined a women only gym. Can you imagine? Forced to be fat to be more attractive to men? Jeezus. In the US, we make kids go to fat camps to get skinny or go on TV or undergo surgery to force ourselves to be skinny, excuse me “healthy”, to be more attractive to men to have better self esteem (and to not be ridiculed by women). When is weight not an issue for women? And when will we stop starving and gorging ourselves to make others happy with us?