Breast ironing is the pounding and massaging of a pubescent girl’s breasts, using hard or heated objects, to try to make them stop developing or disappear. It is mostly practiced in parts of Cameroon.
Young girls start the procedure at eight or nine years old by wearing tightly wrapped bandages around their chest to prevent growth.
This excruciating female body modification is meant to make the women less attractive to men, in the hope that the young girls will not get pregnant and will have a chance to finish their education. It is typically carried out by the girl’s mother to prevent early pregnancy. Women who delay marriage in pursuit of an education and career can make more money and have more independence later in life.
The practice can cause the following:
- Tissue damage
- Breast cancer
- Malformed breasts
- Eradication of one or both breasts
- Mental trauma