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A tribe in Central Africa, north eastern Congo had a rather distinctive look. It involved binding the head tightly to deform it to a conical head shape as below.
A baby’s head would be tightly wrapped in a custom called ‘Lipombo.’ It would begin a month after birth and continue for the next couple of years until the desired shape was reached. The practice was seen as a status symbol denoting majesty, power, beauty and higher intelligence.
Perhaps surprisingly the practice did not necessarily affect the brain which is soft and malleable in a baby’s head and simply follows the prevailing shape of it’s container.
The practice began to die out as late as the 1950’s upon the arrival of westerners. It was also outlawed by the Belgian government who ruled colonial Congo at the time.
It is interesting that most images of this physical deformity are women. Although I have seen a few men bearing the conical head shape.
How does this practice strike you?
Think you would have taken part in this practice had you found yourself in this location pre 1950?
You must have seen the online arguments amongst the ‘breeders’ versus the non breeders.
Always somewhere in the debate a ‘breeder’ – let’s use ‘parent’ – will pipe up with ‘how selfish not to have children. You people just think of yourselves and no one else!’
Fair enough. But is there meant to be something wrong with that? If you know yourself to be committed to other things – even if that IS your own ego, why give birth to a child that is not wanted? Surely…surely THAT would be selfish? Or am I missing the point?
I think it’s part of that dubious argument about humans dying out if everyone chooses to be ‘selfish’ and not to have children, even though humans are clearly not all choosing to be child free suddenly and simultaneously.
Then we have a planet teeming with abused and unwanted children – (a winning argument for non parents surely?) One could argue that adding yet more children to the world is egotistical rather than shepherding one of those lost lambs into your loving home instead. If we are thinking about the world and the planet and the suffering of millions of innocent children in need of care, could adding (lots) more be described as the more insular and selfish act?
Perhaps indeed no one is selfish and the variety of choice is all a beautiful thing, but that word SELFISH comes up EVERY time in these debates and I’ve always wanted to understand why it’s the go-to word predominantly used by those with children.
I’m an idiot.
Is having children or choosing not to have children the more selfish act?
So singer Adele’s father who abandoned her at the age of 3 did the decent thing and came back into her life – once she was rich and successful – to build bridges. In the process of the bridge building he apparently decided to sell a story about her without discussing it with her and now can’t understand why he is no longer welcome in the ‘Hello’ household…and then went back to the press to cry about it!
…And then there was the father of a member of the pop band One Direction who – after his son’s success – decided that he urgently needed to be part of his son’s life and felt that the best way of achieving this was to apparently threaten to go to the press with ‘stories’ if his son continued to refuse to acknowledge him…probably not the best ice breaker!
A similar scenario happened to yours truly. After some national and international exposure (part of another job) my mother bumped into my errant father after decades. She told me that the wasteman had accumulated tons of press cuttings which he carried around in a briefcase and she saw them when he opened it to give her something. How did I feel about that? What an ass! Creepy eh?
If you won the lottery tomorrow or your book did a JK Rowling or the song, blog, cooking, sewing… whatever, afforded you sudden fame and fortune and you had an errant parent or other family member or even friend who you hadn’t heard from for some time come oiling their way back into your lives, what would YOU do or say? How would you handle it? Could you see things from their perspective?
Perhaps you are an ‘errant’ parent that did not bring up your children, perhaps you can you help us (poor half-orphan Annie’s! 😛 ) to understand why?
In a study carried out in the united Kingdom via Netmums, 9 out of 10 mothers admitted that they treat their sons differently to their daughters. 55% said they had a stronger bond to their sons than their daughters.
When asked to describe their little male bubba’s, the language used overall was more positive for boys. They would use words like ‘funny,’ ‘playful’ and ‘loving’. Girls on the other hand would be described as ‘argumentative,’ ‘serious’ and ‘easily offended.’
That’s not even with remotely taking into account, (with a nod to my friend from India 😉 ) the extremes of ‘honour’ killings reserved on the most part for girls.
As mothers what do you think about that? And as daughters did anyone feeeel the discrimination when young?
Here’s my take: my mother has openly said she prefers my brother. Bam! In your face The Ed! Can you see now why I am a psychological wreck??!!!
And what about you pappy’s?? Are your girls your favourites? With honour killings, misogynist trolling, females hating on females, continuous editorial and advertising stealth attacks, does ANYone love us just that wee bit more?
Oh joy of joys! It’s that time of year again! Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack frost nipping at your nose…Or perhaps it’s the Christmas dinner getting burnt beyond recognition on a gas fire and your nephews new Christmas toy gun bullets zinging past your nose?
Let’s face it Christmas ain’t what it used to be:
And here’s another thing…who says that Ebeneezer Scrooge didn’t have a point? Why did all those poor folk keep having children they could ill afford? He practiced restraint, why couldn’t they? 5 children, 8 children 10, 12. Was it some kind of competition to see just how many children one could expose to unremitting disease, extreme poverty and hardship? If his beliefs, practices and behaviours were so wrong why were people always knocking on his door to share his ‘ill gotten’ gains? ‘What an evil greedy man you are…oh by the way, can you spare a shilling?..Yes you know from that money you accumulated by NOT behaving like the rest of us.’ BAH HUMBUG!
Is there anything really left to love about Christmas?
1. Woah! Ed…or should I say Edeneezer, (see what I did there?) Take a chill pill, it’s just a happy family get-together.
2. Too right Ed. Christmas is a joke that has had all the traditional significance squeezed out of it.
Successful woman meets unsuccessful or less successful man. She loves him regardless and he drags her down to his impotent level and destroys her because of his insecurities about being a man that is less successful than his partner…allegedly!
Let’s make this clear. I wasn’t in the bedroom with the aforementioned, but one could see an unmistakeable downward slide in the glamorous singer following her marriage. A definite dulling of that multi-platinum superstar shine as she tried to compensate for her partner by diminishing herself. It would be hard to believe that a little squashed partner ego wasn’t part of her issues as it would be almost inhuman for Houston’s phenomenal success not to impact those around her.
Oprah: “Was he jealous?
Pause…Looooong pause…Even longer pause.
Whitney: ‘He’s not gonna like this …but yes.’
In my case my friend/partner even admitted in an unedited outburst that this was what he was doing. He was actively sabotaging my career. ‘Everybody wants YOU right now! What about MEEEE?!!’ were the exact words raged at me one time.
It is the oft repeated story of a ‘A Star Is Born’ where we can see that just sometimes the man actually loves his lady, but he just can’t kick his underlying jealousy enough to act graciously and humbly step back into the shadows as her silent, stoic support, (you know, the role women play most of the time) and instead precipitates her downfall.
It was so strikingly obvious, even captured horribly ‘live’ as it was happening on a reality show that I named this circumstance ‘The Whitney Phenomenon.’
Has The Whitney Phenomenon happened to you, or (cough!) someone you know? You don’t have to be in showbiz to have a partner, male or female, stifle your dreams, freedom and potential from sheer jealousy.
Have you found yourself beaten into a shadow of your former energetic, brilliant self by someone who subtly undermines you at every turn? ‘Oh you’re wearing THAT today?…What’s wrong with it?….Oh, nothing.’
Like I say, I jettison this kind of nonsense behaviour pronto like it was a bomb on a row boat, but what say you?
Is The Whitney Phenomenon real or imaginary? Justified, unjustified?
If you saw this happening to your son, daughter or friend, what could you say to them that would make them listen?
Houston was her own woman and her downfall was ultimately her own doing, but there were many people in the Houston camp and in the ‘biz’ whose jaws swung wide open on hearing that she was marrying Brown in the first place, presumably because of the reputation he had studiously built for himself. The negativity only strengthened her determination to stay with him as seems to always be the case in these relationships.
What magic words could you offer to someone…or even yourself, to get a grip and move on, or is it in fact the brutal truth that actually there are none?
This lady was just strolling through supermarket when she found her daughter’s doppelganger on a shelf!