‘Breast Ironing’, it’s creepy only when you say it first right, so what is this process all about? Well, the name says it all, but much more than just the process. Breast Ironing is the pounding and massaging of a pubescent girl’s breasts, using hard or heated objects, to try to make them stop developing or disappear. Freaky enough, but do you know why they do that? Apparently, according to the girls’ mothers’, an adolescent girl must get her breasts ironed so that the men do not get attracted to her and therefore, she doesn’t become a victim of sexual harassment or rape. However, according to them, this also prevents the girl from early pregnancy that would contribute to tarnishing the family’s name. Breast Ironing is usually carried out by the mother as she uses two stones, or rather a wooden pestle that we normally use for pounding tubers, and presses it against the breasts of the girl in order in order for them to be flat and small even as she grows. Isn’t it ridiculous? Where we live in a highly patriarchal society, assuming that other countries would have a better status for women, there’s nowhere to go now. ‘Breast Ironing’ is practiced in most of the places in Africa. Places like West and Central Africa, Benin, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Togo, Zimbabwe and all ten regions of Cameroon. Once again, we are bought back to the same topic on how women have to ‘adjust’ themselves in order to be safe. It’s the only thing I don’t understand. Where you need to get safety solely because it’s your right, there you have negligible amount of women demanding for it. Breast Ironing, as scary as it sounds is a stereotype in itself because having your little girl to undergo something as dangerous and painful as that is not only illiterate but ridiculous and completely unnecessary. Why would you hurt your own daughter or your little girl in order to keep her safe? If you’re thinking about white lies, well that’s a whole new different perspective on things. But, ‘Breast Ironing’ is definitely something you should NEVER practice on not just your daughter, but anyone else too. Breast ironing is extremely painful and can cause tissue damage. There have been no medical studies on its effects though, but medical experts say it may cause breast cancer or cysts in the breasts. This isn’t just life threatening, but also a negative effect on the girl’s mind. The poor girl is going to be scarred with this throughout her life. This may not be as stereotypically known by every woman today, but it must. Several women are harassed everywhere around the globe, the only difference is, some countries have strict laws, and some don’t. However, Breast Ironing seems to be a practice, something that MUST be done to every adolescent girl. Even though the government has seen a 50% decline since this was first accidentally discovered by a 2005 survey, this process is still being practiced, maybe not knowingly to the government, but unknowingly too. So, if you may or may not be a victim of Breast Ironing, or if you may or may not have even heard of this term or been aware of this practice, well, let’s join the campaign together and fight against Breast Ironing today because remember, the only person who’s responsible for rape is the rapist himself and no one else.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Sonia David, our Intern. Sonia is a funky and sweet girl who is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Communicative English from Jyoti Nivas College, Autonomous in Bangalore. She loves writing, sketching and reading. She believes that women deserve much more and together, women can turn the world right side up!