Body image issues: chicken feed and big bottoms

Source: Cartoon stock

Now I have a teenager in the house, I wonder whether they will worry too much about how they look. There is a lot more flesh on television than their ever was and there is plenty more online. As I did not grow up on this, I tend to imagine that I did not suffer too much from body image issues. But perhaps it is all selected memory. I did grow up in a time when it was awful to be thin and to be fat was OK as long as it was not morbid. A middle aged man with wealth had to have a ‘public opinion’ and a middle aged woman had to fit into her Kitenge well.

As a middle aged woman, I fit into my Kitenges very well, thank you. And no, I do not advocate accepting an unhealthy body – I do my exercising and eating healthy. But I do accept that there is no ideal body. Models spend 24-7 worrying about their bodies in an industry ridden with eating disorders. I hope the future will see big changes in that industry and save our children the distress….but i digress..

Teenage years are always full of angst…..

I thought my forehead too high, my nose too large – I can blame that on my Motown stars that were very busy thinning their large noses….a story for another day….

But I did worry that my hips were too narrow and my bottoms too tiny…

When I was in secondary school, there were certain girls that I thought had the greatest bodies. One was tall, she had really short hair but had the tiniest of waists that gave way to massive hips. Some first-formers would walk behind her when they thought she was not looking and imitate her, trying to swing their tiny hips. Then there was the girl who looked amazing during swimming contests. Her costume must have been tailor made, her hips and bum stretched out from this tiny, tiny waist.

Watching my mum and aunties, I knew it was highly unlikely I would get those hips and butts but hope is, you know, just hope…… when you are young, you never stop hoping.

An exaggerated hour-glass shape was what I wanted. Heavy at the bottom and a medium sized top, it was not good to have ‘mosquito bites’, which is what tiny breasts were referred to, but it was also not good to have a large bust. There was nothing like hips or bottoms that were too big.

This obsession with large hips and bottoms has not died – the presence of TV and internet has just made it worse and people go to great lengths to achieve this shape….

Chicken feed for big bottoms

I have had people ask me ‘Tabs, why don’t you write about chicken feed and large bottoms?’

I don’t know whether women are still eating chicken feed for big bottoms or whether that fad came and went. Or whether it has been replaced by something worse. It would be interesting to find out what problems women feeding on chicken feed would face. It is hard to imagine getting a number of women to participate in such a study and would be hard to justify the ethics of it. I doubt any researcher would touch such an issue.

However, I can hazard a guess at the likely outcomes…..

We did a whole module in the university on animal production and looked at what should be in chicken feed. A whole load of fibre, mainly bran, maize, sunflower seed cake, some meat or bone meal. My mother has kept chicken since I was a little girl and looking at that feed over the years, the quality is awful. There is plenty of ‘mushakwe’ – you know what is left of the maize cob when you remove all the grains – that is a ‘mushakwe’. I highly doubt any bone/meat meal goes into feeds these days. Many farmers prefer to add crushed egg shells and omena (tiny dried fish) to get some protein into the chicken. My mother hangs sukuma (kale), mchicha (amaranthus) leaves or any other greens so the chicken get what they would have had if they were free-range

I have to admit, it takes a lot to cook chicken feed for dinner. What is there to get, other than a bad belly? It would take a while for the body to get used to all that hard stuff. Chicken have a gizzard which they fill with tiny stones that grind their food.

Ladies – you do not have a gizzard. You cannot grind that stuff properly.

But I have been told that it’s the additional ‘supplements’ that the ladies are going for. However, growth hormones if they are present, will also be present in the chicken meat so if that was the case – just eating chicken would suffice.

The bottom line (pun-intended) is we really cannot change some things about our body shape. I am the unfortunate apple shaped lot – all the fat goes into the stomach. Other than going under the knife, there is no way I can transmit that fat to my hips or bottom.

I would say, forget the chicken feed and get a good tailor or shop wisely for clothes.

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