Feeding Desire Summary

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Feeding Desire: Fatness, Beauty, and Sexuality among a Saharan People written by Rebecca Popenoe, explores the traditions and ideals of beauty cherished by the semi-nomadic Moors in the Azawagh area in the Niger basin. This particular culture believes in the practice of active fattening of their young girls and valued feminine ideal for them is one of extreme fatness and voluptuous immovability, which is believed to beautify their bodies, accelerate puberty, enhance sexuality, and ripen them for marriage. This ideal contrasts with Western culture values and demonstrates how beauty ideals can only be understood within specific cultures and their social structures. Following is an overview of the book, the discussion of interesting aspects: the relation of fatness to the Muslim religion, the importance of milk to a female’s body and in the culture, and the comparison of their culture to Western ideals, and a critical evaluation of the appeal, readability, and significance of this ethnography.
This book is divided into four parts. Popenoe devotes the first part of the book on how she came into contact with the Azawagh, who they are, and her fieldwork in the Sahara desert. She then has a chapter over getting fat: when it begins, who does it, what to eat, and reasons for why they fatten. Part two is about
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Popenoe states that the “beauty of fattening is that it deeds desire- creating it, inducing it, inviting it…” (197). While desire can be viewed as a negative thing, they believe it is acceptable to desire a woman who has spent her life devoted to embodying an honorable way of being. The fattening process is about desire and socializing sexuality. Often a challenge for women while fattening their body is that as the woman is sexualizing her body, she needs to deny the sexuality and any sign of appetite and desire is perceived as

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