Acquiring a botcho, Ivorian slang for “vast rear end”, connotes wealth and health. It’s something that’s becoming more coveted among the emerging middle class in Ivory Coast, a country that has been one of the Africa’s most successful growth stories.
Bottom enhancers, from pills to creams and broth-infused suppositories, are big business in the country. At Treichville, the biggest market in the economic capital of Abidjan, shop owners do a steady trade in grossifesse, “butt booster” creams and other products that are meant to give women larger derrières, according to a report from Agence France Press.
The pursuit is not without its risks. Enhancers in the form of pills, often made from corticoids, can cause high blood pressure and diabetes, Fatima Ly, a venereologist in Dakar told the news agency. Creams, usually made with shea butter or cod-liver oil, don’t have the same health risks but they are expensive for a country where the average person makes only a little over $100 a month. Sellers said the cream enhancers go for between 15,000 to 25,000 CFA francs ($25 to $45). Another method, used by women on lower budgets, is ingesting broth cubes.
Padding that gives an illusion of a larger bottom is a safer option, local dealers say. This can bring its own set of problems. In Nigeria, where the pads are sold in stores and sometimes by hawkers in the street, there have been reports of men feeling misled.