Jamaican Beauty Trends Complicated and Risky

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The Jamaican vision of beauty keeps evolving. "Most of the young girls now coming up ? they don't want fat no more, they want slim and trim," says farmer Kadesha Abrahms (left) at a feed store in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. (Image: Davia Nelson for NPR)

The Jamaican vision of beauty keeps evolving. "Most of the young girls now coming up - they don't want fat no more, they want slim and trim," says farmer Kadesha Abrahms (left) at a feed store in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. (Image: Davia Nelson for NPR)

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.

“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.”

Read More and Listen: Taking Surprising Risks For The Ideal Body: NPR.

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