Whenever it comes to rituals and women, it hasn’t gone very well for the latter. While different societies treat women differently, in most part of history and even in the current times, women have been long opressed and dominated in the name of rituals, customs and traditions.
Often subjected to merciless torture and agony, women have suffered and are suffering in the name of some extremely oddball rituals.
1. Teeth chiseling of female Mentawaians in Sumatra
The female Mentawaians of Sumatra go through a painful practice known as teeth chiseling. The local shaman sharpens a rude blade (do not even question the hygiene here) as best he can, takes a rock and begins to hack away. The young girl is given no drug support to numb her pain.
Why is it done? To make her look more attractive, duh-uh. Everything women must do must be to please men, after all.
2. In the Sabiny tribe in Uganda, partial or complete removal of the clitoris is a ritual
For the girls of the Sabiny tribe, in Uganda, the price for womanhood is genital mutiliation. If you’re thinking what’s the point of it, according to them, if she can survive the test, she proves herself strong enough to endure every obstacle that she may face the rest of her life. Female circumcisions are complete when the clitoris is partially cut or completely removed. With high chances of infection and death, this ritual makes sure she is faithful to her husband, and keeps herself off sexual debauchery.
3. Girls in Somalia and Egypt face clitoral mutilation. So do girls from the Dawoodi Bohra community in India and Pakistan
Girls face painful and merciless genital mutilation in Somalia and Egypt. This act of sealing the vagina, in the most unhygeinic condition, without any drugs, is done for ONE ‘simple’ reason – to prevent any possible sexual indulgence by a girl as the ‘pure’ virgin’s seal is broken only on the night of consummation by the husband.
In India and Pakistan, ‘Female khatna’ (circumcision) or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is limited to the Dawoodi Bohra community. A Shia Muslim sect, largely concentrated in Mumbai, the community is generally perceived as progressive but still practices this ritual secretly.
We ignore men’s role in marriages a lot now, don’t we?
4. In Uaupes, girls have to undergo rigorous beating sessions
In the Menses rituals of Uaupes, Brazil, girls are brought out naked on the streets and are beaten to death or till they are unconscious. Why? The reason is shocking but easy to guess, as are most reasons related to women opression. If the girls still wakes up after this extremely cruel treatment, they are considered ‘womanly’ and ‘worthy’ of marriage. So much for proving your worth and even then, somehow it is never enough!
5. Breast ironing in Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa
In a widespread practice in Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa, large hot stones, hammers or spatulas are burned over hot coals and pressed against the girl’s breast to stop their breasts from growing by attempting to damage breast tissues. And all of it is done just to prevent male attention and as a precautionary measure against girls getting raped.
If you thought this is sad, the reason for doing this is even more sad – the mother often warrants the ritual, removing signs of puberty, so her daughter can pursue education for a longer time rather than being seen as ‘ready for marriage’.
6. Girls of Paraguay and Brazil get extensive body tattoos to make their bodies look beautiful
Thanks to our societies who have been trying to set impossible standards of beauty since time immemorial, in one such unusual ritual, in Paraguay and Brazil, girls who come of age HAVE to get extensive tattoos on their bodies mainly on their stomachs, breasts and backs. Getting a tattoo by choice is completely different from getting inked by force, in case you missed the point.
While the focus is on the tattoos that men find attractive, no one gives two hoots about the pain women are forced to go through in the process. Take a bow, society!
7. In Mauritania, young girls are brutally force-fed a diet of up to 16000 calories a day to prepare them for marriage
In Mauritiana, a large, full-bodied, plump wife is said to ‘signify good luck and prosperity’ in a marriage. To fulfill it, Mauritian women are often force-fed a highly unhealthy 16000 calorie diet every day to become fatter for their wedding, sometimes causing them endless illness and health problems down the line.
Like we told you, we hardly take notice of the groom when it comes to wedding rituals.
8. Bride kidnapping by Romani Gypsies
In this extremely disturbing and ridiculous custom followed by Romani Gypsies, it is legal to kidnap a girl you like. *sarcasm siren* Why not? In fact, congratulations, you have earned yourself a property you can call your own. You can not only kidnap her legally, but if you manage to successfully keep her as a hostage for 3-5 days, you can even marry her. Permanent property there, congratulations.
9. Wearing rings to have a giraffe’s neck in Thailand
For Thailand’s Karen tribe, long neck is a standard set for beauty and they go through a lot of pain to achieve it. Women from the tribe wear rings around their neck, almost like neck braces, but permanent. Girls start wearing rings around their necks as early as when they turn five-years-old and keep adding more rings as they grow up. A life full of restricted neck movement and for what? For long necks other people ‘think’ are ‘beautiful’.
10. Eating the baby’s placenta
In some countries, mothers eat their own placenta after giving birth. Why? All of it for the nutrients that the placenta contains. This tradition is followed in China. I’ll leave it on you to decide if this ritual is right for the baby and the mother.