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February 14th, 2011
KFC Needs to Get into Africa and Jamaica STAT!

Every culture has its idealized woman a standard of beauty that is sought and valorized. And everywhere around the world, women are altering themselves to achieve the look that is celebrated, from cosmetics to liposuction.

In Jamaica, women have come up with some of their own unique, homegrown beauty enhancement techniques.

"Some girls, in order to be more attractive to the male, they get themselves into the use of chicken pills. Chicken pills are the same pills farmers give to make the chickens grow faster," says Carol Turpin of St. Catherine, Jamaica, who is the head of the 4-H Club.

The trend began in the '90s and took people by surprise.

Originally they were used by farmers to bulk up chickens - but it was discovered that when taken by women they enhance the size of thighs, hips and bottom.

Now scores of online sites are also offering "herbal" versions of the tablets.

Makers of the herbal pills claim the capsules only contain exotic plant extracts which mimic the effect of fat-building hormones.

But medical experts have warned many of the pills are unregulated and those who take them cannot be sure what they contain.

"Women take the chicken pills to get broader hips and bigger bottoms," says Carol's son Jason. "In our Jamaican culture, we love a girl that has a lot of shape."

"Most males, they love to see women with big bottoms. The whole idea of Coca-Cola bottle shape" Carol says. " 'I don't want a meager woman,' that's how the men would speak. ... They're figuring if you look meager, you look poor, in the sense that you're not being taken care of."

According to Carolyn Cooper, professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, "big bottoms" reveal power.

Under the African standard of beauty, health is expressed in some amount of fat. The "healthy body girl" is at least between 160 and 210 pounds, says Sonjah Stanley-Niaah, lecturer in cultural studies at the University of the West Indies.

Dr. Neil Persadsingh, a dermatologist in Kingston, has seen hundreds of young women who have taken chicken pills and have suffered the side effects.

He says it's the arsenic in the chicken pills that stimulates the appetite of the chicken. The government has banned the chicken pill for chickens and women, but it is still available across the island in farm stores and on the street.

Some of the side effects include numbness, diarrhea and dermatitis. And arsenic is a cumulative poison that can build up in the body and cause cancer.

Donna Hope, a lecturer in reggae studies at the University of the West Indies says that, like women in all cultures, Jamaican women are using all kinds of artifice, hair extensions, eyelash extensions and skin bleaching as a form of enhancement.

Like chicken pills, the bleaching products are sold on Princess Street, Kingston's downtown market. They're packaged in little plastic bags with no labels.

Hope says that these cosmetic concoctions are a mix of toothpaste and curry powder that is rubbed on the skin and left for a period of time to lighten the skin.




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