"Aminetou Mint Ely, a women's rights campaigner, said girls as young as five were still being subjected to the tradition of leblouh every year. The practice sees them tortured into swallowing gargantuan amounts of food and liquid - and consuming their vomit if they reject it.

"In Mauritania, a woman's size indicates the amount of space she occupies in her husband's heart," said Mint Ely, head of the Association of Women Heads of Households. ''We have gone backwards. We had a Ministry of Women's Affairs. We had achieved a parliamentary quota of 20% of seats. We had female diplomats and governors. The military have set us back by decades, sending us back to our traditional roles. We no longer even have a ministry to talk to." Mauritania has suffered a series of coups since independence from France in 1960. The latest, in August last year, saw General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz seize power after the elected president tried to sack him."


Yet another example of a traditional practice gone haywire. I like the idea that a women's size indicates the amount of space she occupies in her husband's heart. That on its own is a cute comment that fat married women should probably rejoice over to some degree (given they are not morbidly obese). But it shouldn't count if you are force feed and threatened with the prospect of eating your own vomit. That is not a show of love through food, that is just sick.


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