Breast ironing is a common practice in Cameroon, during which the growing mammary glands of young girls are deformed with the help of hot objects to make the developing breasts flatter. Many Cameroonians believe that the breast growth of their daughters contributes to puberty, and a physically developed girl attracts much more sexual attention from peers and older teenagers. Parents are often afraid that their daughters will drop out of school if they meet a man and get pregnant.
Basically, this rite is carried out by the women of the family — themselves or with the help of healers. It all starts already during puberty — for some local girls, it begins at the age of 8. The consequences of this shocking ceremony, as you can guess, are terrible-cysts, breast cancer and problems with feeding children, not to mention the appearance of psychological problems associated with this strange tradition. According to statistics, every 10th girl in Cameroon has a breast iron.
French photographer Gildas Pare visited Cameroon and photographed the victims of this inhumane ritual.
One of the methods is to massage the mammary glands with hot instruments. It is believed that if you warm up an object and press it to your chest, it will help to melt subcutaneous fat. It's a crazy idea. To do this, a lot of improvised tools are used — pestles, wooden sticks, shovels (pictured), spoons and stones. Basically, the ritual is carried out by mothers or grandmothers.
The bones from the berries are used to deform the breast. They are heated, and then rubbed into the mammary glands.
Elastic bandage for flattening the chest.
Nomad ants are used to stimulate the production of breast milk.
Homemade elastic bandage for the chest.
A stone for pushing.
A healer who, among other things, is engaged in breast ironing.