The sad reason why mothers in these African communities ‘Iron’ their daughters’ breastschelseyngu | 24.02.2021 | 0 | Health , World
For many girls around the world, the onset of puberty represents a time of uncertainty even anxiety, as their body changes. But approximately 3.8 million girls around the world turn that anxiety into anguish, as the start of adolescence brings with it a practice called “breast ironing”. The sad reason why mothers in these African communities ‘Iron’ their daughters’ breasts.
When girls start showing puberty, mothers start ironing their breasts using heat tools like stones, mortar pistle, spatulas to pound their chests. In an attempt to prevent them from developing. The practice is also known as “breast flattening “or “breast sweeping” according to Newsweek.
In order to prevent girls’ breasts from growing, mothers may also wrap bandages tightly around their daughters’ breasts to avoid breasts from growing.
Breast ironing like genital mutilation is a practice that has been perpetuated for the good of girls.
While studies have found that breast ironing is done in Chad, Guinea Bissau, Togo, and Benin, it is most common in Cameroon where nearly a quarter have girls have their breast ironed. “Cases have also been reported from the UK of girls as many as 1000 West African immigrant communities in the UK are believed to have undergone breast ironing” the week reported.
Though breast ironing is done to prevent girls from unwanted sexual advances, the practice can be both physical and emotionally traumatic.
“Every morning before I go to school I mum makes me lift up my shirt so she can make sure I haven’t taken off my bandage,” says a 14-year-old Cameroonian girl who told french photographer Gilda’s Pare whose project plastic surgery dream spotlights victims of the practice. It’s been two years now and she still checks it on daily basis. It’s humiliating I’d like to stop her says the young girl.
The breast ironing process itself is painful and may make girls ashamed of their bodies in the long run and ultimately breast ironing in itself is ineffective cause it doesn’t stop the breast from developing.
However, in some cases, girls have ironed their breasts on their own. Newsweek report.
The tools used leaves scars on the girls’ bodies making them vulnerable and causes problems for girls when they give birth milk flow can’t be possible.
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