Mauritania: Where Fat is Sexy

In Mauritania, Seeking to End an Overfed Ideal

Nouakchott Journal
In Mauritania, Seeking to End an Overfed Ideal
Published: July 4, 2007
To Mauritania’s men, fat is sexy, so women resort to force-feeding and steroid use in pursuit of obesity.


But this is the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the mirror opposite of the West on questions of women’s weight. To men here, fat is sexy. And in this patriarchal region, many Mauritanian women do everything possible — and have everything possible done to them — to put on pounds

Comment: I live in the wrong country!

More (maybe not!)

Nor is it easy, Ms. Mahmoud said, to change how the sexes view each other. “Men want women to be fat, and so they are fat,” she said. “Women want men to be skinny, and so they are skinny.” Indeed, according to Mauritanian stereotypes, porky men are womanish and lazy.

Mohamed el-Moktar Ould Salem, a 52-year-old procurement officer, blames the brightly colored, head-to-toe mulafas that hide all but the most voluptuous female curves for shaping the men’s preferences. A slender woman, he said, “just looks like a stick wrapped up.”

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