Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fat Black Women Let's Go There

I came across a post over at Nubian Fitness Goddess, entitled "I'm Thick!!" Are Black Women in Denial About Their Health.  At first she goes through the descriptors "thick" and "F.A.T" (Fabulous and Fat) to discuss black women that are considered obese. Apparently it is okay to accept these terms as long as you are attempting to do something about your "excess weight".  Loving yourself for who you are is somehow impossible, if your body is encased in a lump fat. Think about loving the body you will/should have, versus the body you currently inhabit.  We all must openly acknowledge the health concerns of carrying excess weight.  Yes I know, diabetes, strokes, etc are risks however, why must we constantly acknowledge this to make skinny people satisfied that we find our selves contemptible? Confess, Confess you twinkie eating fatty...Skinny= Good, Fat = Bad, and everyone knows it. Quick ,say 20 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers for absolution.  How dare you have any kind of self esteem while you are shoving an extra large pizza down your throat, cause you know all of us fatties are constantly binge eating, ignoring the health risks.  How do we even sleep at night with that threat hanging over our heads. 

She even goes as far as to supply us with a list which she claims "not to endorse". Why provide a list and not endorse it, own it sweetie you posted it.

"Skinny" (Naomi Campbell)image
"Slim" (Ashanti)image
"Medium" (Gabrielle Union, Ericka Alexander)
"Thick" (Lisa Nicole Carson, Kenya Moore)
"Hella Thick" (Buffie the Body, Ki-Toy Johnson)
"Buff" (Serena Williams, Jana Stewart)
"Super Thick" (Queen Latifah, Kym Whitley)
"Big" (Monique)

 

Yeppers Kym and Queen Latifah are fatties. Lets not focus on their talent (especially where the Queen is Concerned), success, or beauty. Who the hell would want to identify with that?  Wrapped in all of this supposed concern about health, is just another veiled attempt to disciple the bodies of women.  We all need to fit into a certain size, or stereotype to be considered valuable.  Let's take a scroll through the commentary:

"YES!! I am really tired of morbidly obese black women loudly proclaiming they are thick and sexy but short of breath after going up a flight of stairs. All of the women in my family, except for me, are overweight by 30-150 pounds. My 35 year old sister takes Lipitor and Glyburide and has no plans of losing weight. I think that many black women feel that if they actively lose weight and eat a proper diet, they are giving in to the regimented beauty standard set by society. It makes me angry and sad."

This person so believed in what they had to say, they posted anonymously. And what insight, we are using our weight to rebel against convention. Black women don't have enough struggles in this life, and so we just feel it is necessary to add another dimension.

FaceBook Responses:

I think a lot of black women are in denial about their health. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an attractive "thick" build you need to work it out and eat healthy. Eating healthy doesn't mean starving yourself, and working out doesn't mean you're trying to be a size zero. It means you are keeping yourself in shape, preventing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy heart. I've found when I'm treating my body healthily, it enhances my mental and spiritual health as well. Besides muscular toned thickness is the best. Sistas we already have the BEST shapes given to womankind, we just gotta keep em fit!

No fat person has ever seen the inside of a gym. The only thing we think of as exercise is lifting fried chicken legs to our mouths, or squeezing the top off of the lard container. I do love the racial superiority uplift after running fat women down. Don't worry if you loose weight you too can be a Nubian goddess.  Stop thwarting nature girlfriend.

I think that black women are coming to the realization that that we are not thick- but obese. Being thick is just not healthy regardless of how good we look. If we want to advance in our careers, we have to understand that employers discriminate against fat people-it is unspoken but it does happen.

So instead of fighting discrimination we should all join Jenny Craig and conform, conform, conform. Lets hear three cheers for the multi=million dollar diet industry.  Imagine how much they need the boost from the few disposable dollars that black women have. 

I think a lot of us are in denial about how healthy we are we choose to affectionately describe ourselves as thick or voluptuous, when in reality we are reinforcing behaviors and ideas that will lead us to overweight or obese.

Right, because we need others to tell us that we are overweight.  We don't look at ourselves in the mirror and truly assess our bodies like all other women on the planet.  Thank God these women are out there to tell me how unacceptable, unhealthy, and truly grotesque that I am.  I never would have known this on my own.  Somehow I didn't understand that buying plus size clothing meant that I was not the so-called "average" size.  How did I live in denial all of these years?

Okay ladies lets talk some truth that all of you have neglected.  Black women by enlarged live in poverty.  If you have been to a grocery store, then you know the true price of food.  Compare the cost of a head of broccoli to say a box of kraft dinner...which do you think is cheaper...the box of kd. Sometimes people cannot eat better because they cannot afford better.  Has it even occurred to you that there is a link between poverty and obesity?  Why would that be? Perhaps because the price of healthy food is extremely expensive, and I am not even talking about organic food.  The cycle of obesity runs in families partly due to genetics, and partly due to generational poverty.  It is not always a case of self will, but I will be sure and tell all of the sistas not to even bother to try and turn adversity into triumph by loving themselves despite everything.

Oh, and about your health concerns...some people are heavy because they have an illness.  Try and stay skinny taking steroids, or having a thyroid problem. But oh no, once again lets ignore the reason why people may be heavy, and just judge them without knowing their story. Health, health,health, you women use it like a battering ram without ever looking at the other side of the equation. Heaven forbid we have a little solidarity between women.  That is too much to ask for. I am glad that you got your emotional boost by being "supportive" of the cause to uplift black women.  How about next time you try do it without making yourself feel good, and running others down.

24 comments:

Ebony Intuition said...

I ran across this article also, and was very annoyed of the comments that were left. If women of different races were to stand next to each other its obvious that everyone has different body types, shapes and sizes. Even within a race body shapes and sizes differ from they way people eat in their culture.

For example i'm 5"2 my bus is 36d, my waist is 30" and my hips are 42".

I am very thick, but guess what when I go to the doctor and get my physical done and blood work done, I'M HEALTHY. The size of my body (or my bum or breast) doesn't dictate weather i'm healthy or not healthy. A women can be very slim, or skinny, but still suffer from any type of health risk

I think images that are pushed in women's faces on a daily basis to have extremely skinny bodies and be underweight is starting to take effect more and more on ethnic women.

"So instead of fighting discrimination we should all join Jenny Craig and conform, conform, conform."

Screw conforming lol..

Fittaz, thickaz, all the way!!!!!!!!!

Renee said...

I totally agree with you. I started to post a response and found I had so much to say that I needed more room, hence the blog post. I am sick and tired of skinny people sitting in judgment of fat people, as thought their bodies are perfect.

napturality said...

Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much for writing this! This kind of discourse is all over magazines, and "health" blogs. Thank you so much for saying what needed to be said in response.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ebony. Okay, I dont agree with everything. I am a big girl and you can not say fat women has not seen the inside of them gym. I have been going to the gym since January and I am going to continue to go so I can be healthy, yes I am trying to lose weight, I dont want to be skinny I want to be healthy. My trainer just told me this past week that skinny girls always come in the gym amd they can not stay on the treadmill for no more than 5 minutes before losing their breathe. But whatever "I AM GOING TO DO ME"

Rea. said...

I have gained a few pounds im in a size 10. It's been a steady gain in the past 4 years - I am tired of everyone acting like I'm going to get diabetes and keel over tomorrow.

I am still healthy, yes i'm a bit more thighs and tummy but im toning and working out. I am fine the doctor agrees - I also am 5'2 and a bit thicke but that doesn't make me a social leper!

When I ran across the article on sisterlicious i couldn't put the feeling into words but i'd felt it before -- its the same way i feel when i see those nutrisystem commercials or someone mentions jenny craig or losing weight or that i'll never get the weight off. I feel like im being attacked -- like my self esteem doesn't count for two beans in the eyes of america's success system.

to be successful you must be small, skinny, anything that doesn't show your ethnicity -- well im a good ole' southern girl that believes in feeding and being fed. that believes in cornbread and place eating has in a good family. i put love in what i cook and eat. I am 21 and just reached 140 pounds -- thats better than some middle schoolers. i am tired of being beat on the head because i am not the ideal BMI . I am not america's ideal and i think that something to be proud of.

honestly im delighted in my temple. i feel beautiful i have always admired the bodies of women that had a bit more curves and body. A year ago i was blogging about how i was going to diet and this way and that way -- now i am embracing who i am. I'm tired of having to build myself up each day because skinny mini can't take the fact that i still glow! well bask in it!

thanks for this renee and you too ebony! sorry this comment is kinda everywhere -- i needed to get this out.

Renee said...

When I said that no fat woman had ever been in the gym I was being sarcastic. This post is about supporting women that are perceived as less than due to weight.

Afroamericawriter said...

Renee:

Thanks for stopping by my blog and great post on black women's body image. It's one of the topics I plan to cover (election kept me busy) since I'm embarking in getting back in tip-top shape.

This is not about thin or F.A.T, this is about FIT. Like I've said to friends and family; I love how fit feels.

Fitness Goddess said...

Renee,

I really appreciate your post. Your reaction to my post provided me with a lot of insight on the issue at hand.

I hope that it is clear to you that my focus is on Health and Fitness. In my post I was attempting to convey that it is important for women to embrace their beauty and have self-esteem no matter what size they are. I am just trying to encourage Fitness Among all Women. That is the point of my BLOG.

If you think that this is conforming then well be it. I want to be Healthy and will continue to encourage others to be healthier.

I have struggled with weight loss for as long as I can remember. I have finally made some major lifestyle changes that include Running 5 x a week and eating healthier. I am committed to this for LIFE, and I have seen great results. I am by know means skinny (size 12) but I am approaching HEALTHY.

Once again, thanks for your comments.

-Cendrine

ouyangdan said...

thank you for linking to this in Thursday blogwhoring. a topic near and dear to me.

i understand the desire to be in shape and to want to encourage fitness, but instead of putting the emphasis on "struggling w/ weight" or committing to running five times a week for life (which some of us can not do through no fault of our own), we should focus on body acceptance and HAES. we can all clearly see that the BMI is a joke and that fat does not equal healthy.

it is fine to want to encourage people to be healthy, but shaming them by telling them repeatedly how bad it is to be fat does no one any good, except make the shamer feel superior.

check out Kate Harding's Shapely Prose for more on body acceptance.

great post, renee, and i don't know why your comments keep getting caught in my mod queue. and i love your new blog l/o!

Anonymous said...

"I am sick and tired of skinny people sitting in judgment of fat people, as thought their bodies are perfect."

I guess 'thick' women never look down on others shapes huh? I guess 'thick' women don't have it in their minds that they are superior to the next chick because they have 45 inch hips?

I'm so sick and tired of people generalising and assuming that so-called 'skinny' women have nothing better to do than to worry about what the next chick is doing.

I've heard plenty of bigger women say downright nasty, vicious things to petite women.

Funny how people never bring that up.......

PROUD TO BE 'SKINNY'!

Renee said...

I guess 'thick' women never look down on others shapes huh? I guess 'thick' women don't have it in their minds that they are superior to the next chick because they have 45 inch hips?

I'm so sick and tired of people generalising and assuming that so-called 'skinny' women have nothing better to do than to worry about what the next chick is doing.

I've heard plenty of bigger women say downright nasty, vicious things to petite women.

There are plenty of instances where women berate each other because of physical appearance, however fat hate is socially acceptable. You may have issues because you are considered skinny, however skinny people are generally not attacked on a daily basis. Sorry to burst your bubble sweety. Nice to know BTW that you stand by your convictions so much you signed your name to it.

Anonymous said...

"There are plenty of instances where women berate each other because of physical appearance, however fat hate is socially acceptable. You may have issues because you are considered skinny, however skinny people are generally not attacked on a daily basis. Sorry to burst your bubble sweety. Nice to know BTW that you stand by your convictions so much you signed your name to it."

Prejudice is socially acceptable PERIOD!

Fat women aren't the only ones who get disrespected. Pay enough attention and you'll see that folks are singled out on the basis of hair colour, height etc etc.

I am VERY proud to be slim! ;)

Renee said...

"Fat women aren't the only ones who get disrespected. Pay enough attention and you'll see that folks are singled out on the basis of hair colour, height etc etc."

Did you come here to just pick a fight? Clearly you have not read any other posts that I have written. I make a point about speaking out on issues regarding the construction of the female body. I also address racism, ageism, classism, and homophobia.

Why do you feel the need to keep announcing proud to be slim as though you have just conferred world peace upon the globe? The point of this post is that while these women were claiming to approach this from a health based concern, they ignored issues of class and disease. It seems you are only intent on looking at this from your own narrow lens...

Anonymous said...

"Did you come here to just pick a fight? Clearly you have not read any other posts that I have written. I make a point about speaking out on issues regarding the construction of the female body. I also address racism, ageism, classism, and homophobia."

I addressed a comment that I found negative and hypocritical and decided to respond to it.

Free speech anyone?

"Why do you feel the need to keep announcing proud to be slim as though you have just conferred world peace upon the globe? The point of this post is that while these women were claiming to approach this from a health based concern, they ignored issues of class and disease. It seems you are only intent on looking at this from your own narrow lens..."

LOL, I'm being sarcastic. I guess you don't know British humour very well!

Narrow lens? LOL

Renee said...

If I didn't respect your right to voice your opinion I would not continue to publish your commentary.

Yes you have a narrow lens as the post was critical because the health based approach often neglects to deal with the issue of the prohibitive cost of eating healthy and the link between poverty and obesity. It seeks to individualize the issue when there are larger social issues that are often responsible for obesity. Also from a health based perspective disease as a factor of obesity is often over looked.

You may laud your British humor but this is hardly a laughing matter. Perhaps you should save it for something more relevant like the next installment of Monty Python.

Anonymous said...

"If I didn't respect your right to voice your opinion I would not continue to publish your commentary."

Well, gosh!

"Yes you have a narrow lens as the post was critical because the health based approach often neglects to deal with the issue of the prohibitive cost of eating healthy and the link between poverty and obesity. It seeks to individualize the issue when there are larger social issues that are often responsible for obesity. Also from a health based perspective disease as a factor of obesity is often over looked."

Her post wasn't even anything to take seriously. She was adressing weight from a physical perspective.

She was grazing the weight issue and only focusing on the terms that some fat women use to avoid addressing their reality.

She didn't touch on emotional issues, finances or any other conditions that play a part in the eating habits of many fat women. There was nothing of real substance in the post.

"You may laud your British humor but this is hardly a laughing matter. Perhaps you should save it for something more relevant like the next installment of Monty Python."

I use humour to lighten a situation. That's me and I'm not changing for ANYBODY.

It beats being an uptight person, especially when there's no need for it.

Renee said...

"She was grazing the weight issue and only focusing on the terms that some fat women use to avoid addressing their reality."

They Know the reality of their situation. Everywhere one looks the body is constantly being dissected.

"She didn't touch on emotional issues, finances or any other conditions that play a part in the eating habits of many fat women. There was nothing of real substance in the post."

That is exactly the point that I was addressing. There are serious issues that need to be considered if you are going to make a commentary on an issue such as this.

"It beats being an uptight person, especially when there's no need for it."

No one is asking you to change however there is a time and place for everything.

Anonymous said...

"They Know the reality of their situation. Everywhere one looks the body is constantly being dissected."

I don't think all of them do.

Anyway, society is anatomy-obsessed.

"That is exactly the point that I was addressing. There are serious issues that need to be considered if you are going to make a commentary on an issue such as this."

I don't think the lady was aiming for deep convo on her blog. If she was, then the issue would have been addressed differently.

"No one is asking you to change however there is a time and place for everything."

Whatever.........

Renee said...

I don't think all of them do.

...Right because everywhere you turn there is constantly the message that it is okay to be fat right? The multi-billion dollar diet industry is built on people accepting fat people? Nice logic...

Anonymous said...

"...Right because everywhere you turn there is constantly the message that it is okay to be fat right? The multi-billion dollar diet industry is built on people accepting fat people? Nice logic..."

You've never heard of inner fat?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2006/dec/10/medicineandhealth.health

Renee said...

and this link defends your position how?

Anonymous said...

*Sighs* I alluded to the fact (in a previous post) that some people don't know they are fat.

There are people who consider substantial weight to be nothing more than thickness, which is the point of the lady's post that you are dissecting.

And there are people who are fat on the inside, which poses a health risk.....hence the link I posted.

Renee said...

yepper fatties...lets keep pointing the finger. God forbid we stop from discipling the body for two minutes and allow people to live their lives. And while we are at lets never critically examine causation because the money is made in finger pointing and shaming.

DiosaNegra1967 said...

ebony intuition: you got it!

during my teen years (which i'd never like to repeat, thank you kindly), i lost 100 lbs. in residence at a "fat farm"....i was a size 13/14...and quickly realized that if i ate normally (so, i didn't)...the weight would come back...

BTW, i made sure to spend 2-3 hours doing EXTREMELY rigorous exercise...EVERY DAY, in addition to keeping my caloric intake at 500! (i do believe that would fall into a category of an eating disorder, no?)

that was before i discovered alcohol and diet pills, which nearly killed me at 16....

fast forward, i'm now 41, and am comfortable at a size 18/20...i eat sensibly, get movement into my body in various ways at least 3 times a week....

genetics plays a large (no pun intended) part in how our bodies are shaped...and also our cultures....

there is far too much emphasis on being THIN vs. HEALTHY....the two are not mutually exclusive to each other....

women AND now men are DYING to achieve some kind of perfection, because all sorts of promises are made that, if you are "perfect", somehow your life will be PERFECT!

bollocks!