AWARD NAME: The Madeline Dane Ross Award
AWARD RECIPIENT: Abigail Haworth
AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: Marie Claire
AWARD HONORED WORK: “Forced to be Fat”
In a world where the 24/7 media seems omnipresent, Abigail Haworth clearly went where no one else thought to go. In “Forced to be Fat”, she investigates leblouh, the Mauritanian practice of force-feeding young women to give them the rolls of flesh that men consider a sign of beauty. Reluctant teens are threatened with beating if they refuse to eat the oily food served to them at special camps; those who vomit are forced to eat that too. Haworth’s riveting, well-sourced and fascinating story brought to light not only the human condition of women in Mauritania, but also the broader issue of those in societies where absolute power can be used for better or worse.