Waist Beads: Adorns Women Despite Disapproval And Obscenity
By: Oluwakemi Otubambo Sulaiman
Beautification has been in existence since the primitive times and for women it was a way of expressing their feminism. Women adorned themselves with body paintings, body incisions, jewelry and beads.
Several beauty trends from the ancient times still strived till now and some were upgraded, though some have gone into extinction or seen as barbaric. One of the beauty trends that are seen as barbaric is the popular tribal mark which is assumed by the present day man that it disfigures the human face and body thereby, tampering with its actual beauty.
According to people’s testimonies, they were stigmatized and embarrassed in one way or the other resulting to emotional abuse and depression.
The beauty trends that found their way into the modern day are henna, native eye liner( Tiro), local weaving, neck beads, local tattoo, anklet, nose rings, head wrap (gele), cowries shells, coral beads, earrings, bracelet and waist beads.
Waist beads which is one of the most important ornament for female from the primordial era is not as popular as it used to be, some religious leaders frown at it explaining it to be fetish while few parents view it to be immoral and dirty However, waist beads is of more essence than the fetish representation.
Females use waist bead primarily to beautify the body and enhance their feminity.
Years ago, beads on the waist were a sign that a lady had reached a marriageable age and is opened to suitors. Also waist beads is associated with sexuality, it has a way of exciting the opposite sex since it draws the attention to the waist line, hips and bum. Only the partner of the female is given the honor to see the entire bead on her body.
Waist beads decorated with bells is a symbol that the lady was pure as at the time of marriage. When children are given birth to, beads are worn round the waist during naming ceremony to define the hips and waist as they develop into ladies.
For defining the waist, the waist beads is also used as weight checker, it tells when a lady adds or looses body fat by moving up to the belly or down on the hips respectively.
One of the feature of waist beads that makes it alluring and erotic are the colours used, the blend of some colours aligned with the female’s skin tone makes the view breath taking. Apart from the beauty the colours also has its meaning attached to them. Mind you, different nationalities and ethnic group have different symbol meanings colours.
However, the meanings of the colours given below are generalized and they are:
Brown – Earth and stability
Gold – Good health, power and wealth
Green – Abundance, fertility, nature and prosperity
Red – Confidence and vitality
Turquoise – Communication and self-awareness
White – Light, truth and purity
Yellow – Energy, joy and happiness
Black – Power and protection
Blue – Loyalty and truth
Orange – Courage, self-confidence and vitality
Pink – Care, beauty, love and kindness
Purple – Royalty, spirituality and wisdom
Waist beads are beautiful and they adorn women despite the disapproval attached to it about its obscenity. This African ornament is very synonymous to beauty within some tribes and ethnic group in some African communities and it is still well cherished and adorn till present day.