I guess there is no parent who finds it easy to relinquish their protective hold on their growing children, particularly the girl children. It is nature that from the onset of puberty and the activation of hormonal changes, the child now enters a world of some experiences that at first may be scary or unwelcomed. I am certain if you quiz a sample of the ladies you know about their reactions to their first menstrual cycle, or “period,” you will almost certainly get at least one tale of a very frightened little girl who was scared to death because she believed she was about to die from bleeding.
And that female baptism into puberty has propelled many a parent to say to their baby girl, “You can’t play with boys anymore now.” The confused child is left wondering why.
But in some parts of Africa, the motherland of us Blacks here in the Caribbean, parents have found an easier way to safeguard their young adolescent girls against an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.
As soon as the girl begins to develop physically into the coca-cola shaped adult, she will begin to have a daily dose of breast ironing.
Older readers may recall rural life before electricity and the electric iron. Do you remember having to keep the “iron” in the coalpot until it was red-hot? Two alternating irons would be used to maintain the required heat at all times during the ironing process.
Well, for these girls in Africa, it was not school uniforms or church clothes that are being pressed; it is their precious growing breasts. (Their parents really do not want the girls shaking what God gave them.)
The idea behind the ironing of the breasts is that the repeating exposure to the intense heat would slow the growth of the breasts; therefore, if the breasts do not become protruding or give rise to cleavidge, then the boys and young men will find the girls less sexually attractive and will not pursue any relationships with them.
You will have to determine if the ends justifies the means.
There are also documented situations among tribal groups in Africa where, instead of ironing the breasts at puberty’s inception, an older male relative of the girl will have sex with her and make her pregnant, thereby averting any future relationships with the boys in the village.
Again, you decide if the ends justifies the means.
So, most of us are in the Caribbean because our foreparents came across the Atlantic as slaves. Who knows, if not for slavery, maybe you would have been in Africa right now under a hot iron, having your breasts ironed.
Slavery actually has some good in it, right?
On the other hand, the annual statistics released from the statistical department continues to show that teenage girls in this country continue to give over 300 births. That is a staggering realization. Each year, over 300 of our age 13-16 girls are getting pregnant.
In 2000, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Family Planning Association conducted a research called Save the Nation’s Face in which they found out that by age 13, one of every four (25%) Vincentians was already having sex; by age 18, three of every four (75%) Vincentians were having sex.
In light of the just mentioned figures, will our society benefit if we start the practice of ironing the breasts of our young girls here in St Vincent and the Grenadines?
The above stats will mean that only 25% or one-quarter of the Vincentian population at the legal adult age are virgins. But that was almost twenty years ago. There has been a proliferation of condoms, even for women today, so one might probably be safe to assume that the percentage of Vincentian virgins has decreased since the early 2000s.
So, was a former Vincentian prime minister right when he said that Jesus could not have been born in St Vincent because there are no virgins on the island?
Hmmm…..let us think critically on these things.