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They also fake it here

BUSINESS
By | May 22nd 2010

By Kenfrey Kiberenge

Looks can deceive. In search of sexy women, many Nairobi’s young men have ended up dating women with fake body shapes, thanks to a growing craze for padded innerwear.

City women are now going for padded panties and bras than never before to enhance their shapes — attain the elusive ‘figure 8’ — especially their rear end, hips, thighs and breasts.

Few years ago, the padded lingerie was common only among the high-end young women population in the leafy suburbs. Today, the trend has quietly taken root in downtown Nairobi, with the outfits now available in most lingerie shops and stalls along Accra Road, Moi Avenue, Tom Mboya and Kimathi streets.

Boost size

Renowned sociologist Ken Ouko describes the trend as signs of a modern society that has become overly sexualised. "Modern man seems to over-glorify sexuality and elevate sex to such premier superiority status that almost everything in modern life oozes sexuality. Women are only responding to an evolved social phenomenon," says Ouko.

For as low as Sh500, women are acquiring padded bras or underwear to boost the size of their breasts, buttocks and hips.

Just like the usual innerwear, the padded lingerie are worn normally though have thicker pads stitched on to the right places for the desired appeal.

City women who want to become sexier part with between Sh1,800 and Sh2,000 to get silicone bra or panty — made from a soft silicone gel that leaves it colourless to match the wearer’s body complexion.

The bras consist of two shaped silicone gel filled bra cups that stick to the skin of the breast using built-in re-usable adhesive, then clipped together to pull the breasts together. These can be used as falsies that will not slide around in a bra, and can be used to enhance cleavage on a woman.

On the other hand, the panties are stuck on the buttocks and then a specially designed panty is worn to hold them in place without moving or shifting. They can enlarge body parts to between two and three centimetres. They have super thin edges that make them look almost invisible under clothing.

"They add to your rear end what nature forgot to. No one will ever know you have them on but will notice your sexy curves," says Alice Gatumia, 26, owner of Lassies World lingerie shop on Accra Road.

However, many will feel wasted to realise men do not necessarily want such features in a woman.

Elevating femininity

Ouko says the presentation patterns for the female gender have gradually shifted towards guided emphasis on the sexual attributes of feminine existence.

"The modern woman is more oriented towards highlighting and elevating her femininity, which is better symbolised by the buttocks, the breasts and other attributes that the male ‘lacks in’," says Ouko.

Ms Gatumia says more women are buying the innerwear, blaming the trend on the mass media influence.

"A customer would come and ask for that which ‘will make me look like Beyonce or J-Lo’," she explains.

Olive Awiti, a worker at stall along Tom Mboya Street admits to hoodwinking men into thinking she has a "super sexy body shape". "One day I wore a silicone panty and men could not stop drooling. Even one offered me Sh1,000 just to have my (phone) number. From that day, I knew the secret," she says.

Faith Wambui, a student at University of Nairobi, says women are taking advantage of men’s ignorance to hoodwink to them.

"Ladies wear them (padded innerwear) and undress before men or sometimes men undress them, yet men never tell the difference," she said.

She argues that men’s obsession with big hips and breasts had pushed women to such great lengths.

"This creative solution is safer, faster and cheaper than cosmetic surgery. Not many Kenyan women can afford the surgery and similarly not many local doctors can perform the procedure successfully," she says.

Gatumia also adds a new twist to the story, claiming some gays buy the lingerie to make them pass for women.

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