Women in Liberia Feel Pressure to Gain Weight

According to the Global Press Institute, the ideal of feminine beauty in Liberia is a larger figure, and women who don’t meet that standard feel intense pressure to gain weight, even if puts their health at risk. The article, entitled “Pressure for Fuller Bodies Drives Drug Industry in Liberia”, explains that many women take pills and vitamins they obtain illegally to make their bodies “fuller”, even if the pills have strong negative side affects.  The women reported feeling unattractive and ostracized from their communities if they didn’t fit the ideal of a rounder body. To those in the United States, this might seem strange, given our culture’s intense focus on being thin. But the situation in Liberia just highlights how varied beauty standards across the globe are, and that any society which tries to pressure girls and women to look one very specific way is going to do intense emotional and sometimes physical damage to those women. Instead, we need to recognize how harmful arbitrary standards of beauty can be, and share this knowledge with others.

Vanessa Wright