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What The Hell Is “Breast Ironing”?

Hold on to your girls before you read this, ladies.

There is a practice called “breast ironing” in the African country of Cameroon, a practice which involves flattening a girl’s growing breasts with hot stones to prevent her nipples from being firm and “enticing men.” The news network CurrentTV filmed a short documentary on “breast ironing,” specifically how mothers believe it will “protect” their daughters from teen pregnancy if men are not tempted by their pert breasts. Girls as young as 9 have their breasts ironed as soon as they start to develop, which is happening earlier and earlier as nutrition improves. According to CurrentTV, half of young girls under age 9 who develop early suffer from the practice. Not surprisingly, breast ironing causes numerous health problems, such as burns and abscesses — to say nothing of the psychological damage it must do.

It’s somewhat similar — as a concept at least — to female circumcision/female genital mutilation, where a girl’s clitoris is partially or entirely removed supposedly so she is not tempted to stray from her husband and enjoy sex with other men. How sad is it that many places in the world blame a woman’s sexuality for a man’s behavior, rather than the men themselves? If you can stomach the documentary, I highly suggest you check it out.

[CurrentTV via YouTube]
[Washington Post]

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