Teeth Sharpening Is A Long-standing African Tradition Redefining Beauty Standards

young boy showing sharpened teeth
Via Picryl
Adé Hennis
February 1, 2024

Their teeth were as sharp as fangs, but so was their intellect. They know that true beauty lies within us all.

Tribes across Africa, especially in Tanzania and Mozambique, have practiced the tradition of sharpening their teeth for generations. It was a rite of passage into adulthood, a sign of masculinity, and even a way of strengthening the spirit. But no matter why people sharpened their teeth, they all knew that they were beautiful.

Western society has often portrayed this tradition negatively, and non-indigenous Americans have even kidnapped Africans with sharpened teeth, and displayed them in zoos. But our tradition is sacred and must be respected and protected.

Teeth sharpening is a practice that takes skill, precision, and patience. However, we don’t have to be patient for others to accept our traditions, as we are beautiful by our own standards.

Teeth sharpening is a strong tradition rooted in African cultures. It’s a beauty standard and liberates us from Eurocentric standards of beauty, and encourages us to display and define beauty in our own ways.

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