Force fed women

In Mauritania in West Africa, where food is scarce, a large, even obese woman is seen as more desirable and prestigious a mate. Because of that, girls are force fed using the practice known as gavage, the same technique used to fatten geese to produce foie gras.

Once they reach a marriageable age, girls are sent to 'fat camps' in the desert where they are fed 15,000 calories a day. 

For breakfast, the girls have breadcrumbs soaked in olive oil washed down with camel's milk. They then have frequent meals throughout the day of goat's meat, bread, figs and couscous, all with more camel milk to drink.


This is terrible and cruel, and it also points to the dangerous connection between health and social norms.

In the U.S., the norm is flipped as obesity has become linked with lower income and celebrities are touted for their washboard abs and bikini bodies. It's a signal, perhaps, of copious leisure time and the ability to afford a personal trainer (both possible markers of wealth), though it's not foolproof.