Target: Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, President of Mauritania
Goal: Ban the abusive force-feeding of young girls to make them obese, which is considered the ideal body for a wife.
In the country of Mauritania, rolls of fat and stretch marks are considered the height of sexiness, and girls are fattened up and married off usually between the ages of 12 and 14. Many young girls are sent to fat camp, where they are force-fed inhumane amounts of calories and punished severely if they refuse any food or vomit it back up. This practice is dangerous and extremely damaging to the health of these girls, who are children and have no choice in the matter.
The practice is called “leblouh,” which means “intensive force-feeding.” Girls as young as 7 are made to ingest up to 16,000 calories a day. The recommended amount for an average 12-year-old girl is 1,500 calories a day, while adult male body builders eat up to 4,000 a day — one quarter of the amount the girls are fed. They are beaten with a cane and tortured to make them eat, and to gain weight faster are forced to eat pure animal fat and their own vomit if they throw up. This is all so they can be married off by the time they return home, and make appealing brides — the tradition is rooted in the notion that a fat wife, similar to fat livestock, was a symbol of a man’s wealth and his ability to feed her. And since girls are married so young, a bigger size gives the illusion that she is mature enough to be a wife.
The massive strain on the women’s organs, risks of other diseases, and inability to comfortably move around are disregarded by this practice. Sign below to put an end to this institutionalized torture.
Dear President Abdelaziz,
The practice of leblouh is an inhumane abuse of children, and the government cannot turn a blind eye. Young girls without a choice in the matter are tortured into consuming a massive amount of calories each day, exceedingly more than the human body is built to endure. Childhood obesity brings with it a vast amount of health risks even apart from the beatings and abuse these girls are subjected to in the process of force-feeding. This practice must be banned.
Achieving an ideal image of feminine beauty and sex appeal does not justify this child abuse. Girls are brutally beaten, psychologically abused, and forced to eat their own vomit, as well as the immense amount of calories they are forced to consume. No child should have to endure this. I urge you to ban leblouh and force-feeding camps and protect these young women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Rasbak