Photo: Ghana Fashion and Design Week/Facebook
Standards of beauty vary through time, countries and cultures, except when it comes to fashion it seems. The barely-there-bodies of skinny woman have been the trend on almost all catwalks for as long as we can remember. But what of a country and culture which associates thinness with poverty and AIDS?
According to The Guardian, when Ghanaian Fashion and Design Week arrived this year, so did whole groups of frail-framed models “moving together in small, conspiratorial looking packs.” And one curvy onlooker’s amused commentary on their alien-like appearance was telling of the west African country’s traditionally full female forms.
“In Ghana not only do women not look like models, but they have no desire to look like them. This is a country where pharmacists freely disclose that buoyant sales of appetite stimulants are mainly owing to women who want to, as Ghanaians put it, “grow fat,”" reports The Guardian.
It seems like a lot of afro-ethnic cultures, outside of the realm of fashion, still value the big busts, fat bottoms and thick limbs that were once associated with fertility. In the West Indies women’s consumption of chicken feed, or “chicken pills,” to grow their butts is the norm. However, with the spread of western fashion and its body image, one wonders if it is possible for this waning desire for a curvaceous figure to endure.
As the fashion weeks of Africa, like that of Ghana, Dakar and Lagos, gain popularity and international visibility it may be inevitable that those “small, conspiratorial looking packs” will eventually turn into large, prideful posses of laughing arms and legs like you seen in the liquor commercials; at least they might for the designers who feel skinny models are a requirement in order to be taken seriously. But as the writer of The Guardian stated, “you can change the models, but you can’t change the consumers.” It is true. Only the consumers can change the consumers. And until the consumers adopt a new sensibility of what is attractive, thinness among women in Ghana will likely remain a novelty.
Although, it is worth it to note, dietary practices like starvation, and the unnecessary consumption of appetite stimulants and chicken feed is reprehensible regardless of what the average dress size of the culture is.
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