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Preview "Massage, Cameroon Style" (Mothers Protecting Their Daughters From Predators)

by Tambay A. Obenson
August 3, 2011 4:55 AM
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Was breezing through the recently announced list of 383 titles (from 70 countries) scheduled to screen at the 2011 Montreal World Film Festival, and came across this one. It's called Massage, Cameroon Style.

But don't let the title fool you; it's much more harrowing than comforting.

In short, in parts of Cameroon, some girls are forced to undergo what is called "breast massages;" essentially, fearing that their daughters may become victims of sexual abuse, some mothers remove their daughters' mammary glands (mutilating their bodies with a hot stone used to "massage" their breasts) hoping that doing so would help them escape the gaze of men.

The act is also said to be done to "erase the first signs of puberty to avoid forced marriages... and unwanted pregnancies," with the paradox being that the "massaging" is done by women to other women.

I can understand a mother's fear (even though I'm certainly not one; neither am I a father) for her child, but this is a little extreme, isn't it? This is done in order to *protect* their daughters, but it's more like punishing them for being women than protecting them, right? What's the alternative?

The film is directed by Josza Anjembe, a Cameroonian herself, who lives and works in France.

Watch the NSFW preview below:

Massage Cameroonese Style - Teaser (English)

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  • Laura | August 4, 2011 11:57 AMReply

    It is so sad. That woman have to go through self mutilation to "protect" themselves.

    It reminds me of young sistahs walking around looking like dudes, more specifically young thugs. (I'm not comparing. By far it is not of the same magnitude. ) I've always felt it was a way for some young girls to avoid being victims of the male gaze.

    The sisters who dress that for the most part are lesbian. ( I had a student who dressed like that and last I saw her she walk down the street pushing her baby in a stroller dressing the same exact way.) Based on my observation of my young male and female students that is my conclusion.

    Back when I was a kid girls would wear oversize shirts are gain weight to hide their bodies.

  • nyc/caribbeanragazza | August 3, 2011 7:46 AMReply

    CNN International just did a story about this. It was beyond upsetting.

    The poor girls. The mothers really do believe they are protecting their daughters.

    According to the report Cameroon isn't the only country where this is done.

    The good news is, there are women who are going to various villages to talk to the mothers.

  • Vanessa Martinez | August 3, 2011 5:16 AMReply

    I saw a clip about this a long while ago on youtube and never forgot it. This is horrendous! :-(

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