Feeding Desire

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“There’s a lot more to life than how fat or thin you are.” Kirstie Alley

I remembering watching a talk show that Jessica Simpson had appeared on a few years ago. She had gained a few pounds and was discussing all the negative feedback she had been getting from the public. Because of this experience she started a reality show called “The Price of Beauty” where she travels around the globe and reveals what ideal beauty is in many different parts of the world. In one episode she go to Uganda and visits with a community that embraces larger women as their ideal model of beauty. As soon I saw the book “Feeding Desire” it reminded me of Jessica’s experience. Rebecca Popenoe is a social anthropologist. Her book, “Feeding Desire” details her experiences and observations amongst the Azawagh Arabs. The Azawagh Arab women’s story of image, beauty and womanhood is articulated in this book. Popenoe’s cultural research was conducted on the people inhabiting in the Saharan community in Niger, a which is located in Western Africa "Feeding Desire"; broadly tries to depict how the “semi-nomadic” Moors and Azawagh Arabs located in the Sahara desert have a history for the appreciation and value for feminine model of excessive fatness.

The current ‘modern’ western world opinion of female beauty differs radically. Despite the fact that the central western view on female beauty is based on images in the media of thinness, many people and scholars have researched numerous cases, which have undeniably different views on female beauty. The Azawagh Arabs acquire completely different principles of female beauty and sexuality, and beauty is defined by the size and fatness of a female. The author highlights the point in this book that the fattening process is mainly about desire and socializing sexuality. “What fattening does is make a woman an appropriate object of desire” (Popenoe 2004: 197).

Popenoe interprets the process of fattening and the sedative lifestyle as being...
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