There have been wars, battles, and general uproar for as long as I can remember over the “true” stature of the African woman. Should she be fat, skinny, voluptuous or slim?
In the past, Nigerians have been known to say that the wealth of a man can be seen in the body size of his wife , the saying was rationalized by the “common” fact that the men are so busy working for the money that they don’t have time to actually enjoy it.
Infact, we can also recall the days of the “Calabar Fattening Room”, I don’t know if it still exists. This is the place where the extra rich go to put on some weight. We take the example of Happiness Edem, who is married to a prince. Before her marriage, her husband paid for a trip to the fattening room for her because “People will think I am not rich, if my woman is not fat and has not gone through that process she does not qualify for marriage”.
Happiness went on to say “When you are fat, it makes you look healthy, people respect you,people honour you, wherever you go, they say, ‘your husband feeds you fine’. If you go to a village, people can come out to look at you, because you are healthy.”
Also common in olden day Nigeria was the search for women with well rounded hips to marry, because these hips were considered “child bearing hips.
Now to modern day Nigeria! Practically 80% of the Nigerian women think they are fat and moan over this fact. Men now largely seek women who are toned and slim, because their stature has the aura of “health” and is generally pleasing, this is not to say that the “big” African woman propagators are no longer in existence.
It then calls for a debate. What indeed is the true stature of an African woman, a baby oku? Or is there really no “true” stature because just in the same way we follow clothing trends, we also follow body trends? We can lay this blame on the influx of westernisation and global awareness, because these days people are more concious of the health pros and cons of everything they ingest and gear themselves towards the mentality of slim/skinny is healthy.
So what say you baby okus and bobo okus? Does Africa actually have a stature “requirement” before a lady can indeed claim to be “African”?