use of waistbeads

During my time overseas, I met a Liberian girl who wore waist beads. Nothing fancy, just one bright strand of glass beads around her small waist. She explained to me how she uses the waist beads to keep track of her weight. I thought, “those must be some magic beads.” If they get me a small waist then sign me up immediately.

Fast forward to two years later, I now wear 5 strands of waist beads.

Why waist beads?

I’d love to say that they are spiritual but that would be a lie. I really wish they were. There are some people who are spiritually gifted who have to wear waist beads as instructed by their spirit guides. Some are given the waist beads when they are born. This is most prevalent in African cultures who believe the waist beads will bring blessings, protection, divine health, depending on what colour the beads are. Yes, the colour of the beads is critical.

What’s the big deal surrounding waist beads?

I came across a post that cautioned men not to mess around with women who wear waist beads. All the author said is, men should run when they meet women with waist beads, he didn’t bother explaining why. I’m very curious to find out how he came to that conclusion.

Are all waist beads wearers bad?

Like literally anything and everything on this planet, there are some people who have perverted waist beads and thus resultantly, created a stereotype surrounding waist beads. I was doing my wedding rounds with my best friend and my waist beads kept peeking at the top of my jeans. When we were in the car she said to me, “Maybe it’s best you leave them at home when you are wearing jeans. Not too many people will understand that they are just for aesthetics.” This is the last thing I wanted considering I was about to join a new family whose beliefs I wasn’t sure of.

Aren’t waist beads sexual?

In my research, I came across an article which implies that women will cast spells on their waist beads almost like a love potion to enchant men. I can’t disprove this claim because I don’t know the first thing about mystic things.

Some women will earn waist beads during sex education trainings such as Chinamwali. This is an African culture ritual for women to learn about their sexuality. It’s much more than just about sex. This practice is frowned upon due to the rigorous nature and possible sexual abuse of girls as young as 12 years old. In this new age, young women can signup for the watered-down version of these Chinamwali sessions which may or may not include, back-breaking.

What do my waist beads mean to me?

I was influenced by Beyoncé to get some of them. She mentions them in her song, ‘Black Parade.’ She is also adorning them in her promo videos for Ivy Park Drip. In this one video, she has her back towards the camera, twerks, and the waist beads pop out and back under. It’s a game of peek-a-boo. There’s a sensuality that comes with wearing waist beads. It’s the same feeling you get when you are wearing cute lingerie or a pretty dress. I find myself moving my waist a lot just to hear them jingle. Hopefully, this leads to a smaller waist.

As women, we need to be allowed to wear whatever we want, society be damned. Prudes will be infuriated by waist beads because of the sexual liberation the waist beads allude to. If you wear waist beads you are seen as a Jezebel temptress or Siren luring men to their deaths. A gender which is always sexually assaulting women, even spiritually with Mubobobo, is afraid of glass beads. Make it make sense.

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