While surfing the Internet, the boy Wisdom is Misery sent us an interesting article. You may have seen it around. It talks about Black Women being heavier and happier than their white counterparts. Naturally, on the SBM listserve (don’t be surprised we have one), we ranted and raved and discussed this topic ad nauseum, and figured we should bring the discussion to you, the customer! So check out our viewpoints on this article.
Wait a minute… turn those mics down and turn my mic up. We cannot ever condone malfeasance in society for as long as we live. I think it was Cam’ron who brought forth the interjectory phrase, “That’s a problem!” We need to stop the music for a brief moment and discuss something important to our health and our race. Please see below.
Dear Black women,
“My first diet started when I was six years old, I’ve never been a small girl. One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body.”
That’s a quote from Gabby Sidibes (Precious) on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Full disclosure, Oprah looked at her like she was crazy when she said this. Therefore, I won’t roast Oprah “Headmaster of The League of Extraordinary Middle Class White Women” Winfrey today.
Ladies, we love each and every inch of your body. We know you know we love it, too. However, we need you to be around long enough for us to enjoy it for a lifetime. With that said, at 5’4” and a size 14, while you may be happy with yourselves, let’s not ever confuse happiness and healthiness. If your doctor has told you that you may want to lose 30 lbs to get to a healthier weight, do not accept 15 as a healthy compromise. There are no compromises had with obesity. The consequence is death. It’s almost like telling God, “I believe you created the Earth and I believe in miracles, but be honest, Jesus isn’t your son.”
A lot of the problems you guys have come from horrible diets, guilty pleasures and lack of exercise. Somewhere along the way, Black women seemed to be more interested in having a full head of hair when they die, than taking their behinds to the gym. As a Black man, I am tired of walking into a lounge or club and hearing you complain about not having anywhere to sit for the next 45 minutes. If you can’t stand on your feet for 45 minutes or experience shortness of breath after walking up two flights of stairs, THAT’S A PROBLEM.
AND, if that is the case, I don’t want to see an article that says, “Black women are heavier and happier.” Why? Because I think that we can find ways to be happy about ourselves, but also work towards being healthier. And I’m telling you this because I care, not because I want to piss you off, take it however you want to take it.
PS – I find Pinky to be repulsive.
PPS – Stop bringing Amber Rose into things she ain’t got nothing to do with.
PPPS – Taylor… Gang.
What I like about this article: It encourages a positive self image for black women. This is something I support and find too rare a feat in mainstream media.
What I hope isn’t overlooked in this article: Let’s keep in mind that the main woman in this article is a fitness instructor. Others cannot simply blame “genetics” for their shape, obese or otherwise, if you don’t work out, eat right, or live a healthy lifestyle. That doesn’t make sense. That’s like saying genetics will prevent you from getting cancer while you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. That’s not how the game works. Conversely, if you eat right, work out, and live a healthy lifestyle and you’re still thick, as defined by a metric I’m not sure I personally agree with, but don’t fit in the traditional Body Mass Index, that’s fine as far as WIM is concerned. Honestly, I prefer a woman with meat on her bones and everyone who knows me knows this. However, I don’t want a woman whose said meat has collected on said bones because like T-Pain all she does is win, win, win no matter what at every all you can eat buffet she’s ever encountered. In the long run, that’s not something I can support.
For clarity on my part, I’m only addressing women today because that was the main focus of the article. I have already shared my thoughts on weight gain within a relationship. Furthermore, I feel the same can be said about black men, and therefore, the entire black community. We need to do better in a lot of categories and simply dropping it like it’s hot to LMFAO’s “I’m sexy and I know it” isn’t a work out plan nor will it reduce the devastating rates of diabetes, heart disease, and a multitude of other preventive diseases which lead to the ridiculously high number of early deaths plaguing our community.
Big is beautiful. But you can be big and healthy, too. You can also be skinny and unhealthy, I’m looking at you Toothpick “I Eat Churchs Spicy Chicken Everyday” Tommy. For the record, I wouldn’t speak on this subject if I didn’t care about our community’s health as a whole. This is not an attack but take it how you see fit, no pun.
The article was peace to me. Instead of give a sweeping opinion, I will comment on some excerpts which caught my eye and my opinion:
The poll found that although black women are heavier than their white counterparts, they report having appreciably higher levels of self-esteem. Although 41 percent of average-sized or thin white women report having high self-esteem, that figure was 66 percent among black women considered by government standards to be overweight or obese.
This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Black women on average are just “built” different than other races. We have a rich history of overcoming oppression and racism, and deep rooted within that is a strengthened sense of self. Black women have to deal with ridicule from all areas, and they are still represent, so it makes sense that those both “obese” and “normal” sizes would have high self-esteem on average.
The notion that all women must be culled into a single little-bitty aesthetic is just one more tyranny, they say. And black women have tools for resisting tyranny, especially from a mainstream culture that has historically presented them negatively, or not at all.
Truth. We all are made to conform to the European model of beauty, and sometimes people forget that beauty resides in all shades and forms. The same people who clowned black women for big butts, lips and hips, now imbibe themselves with silicon, butt implants, and Botox, in order to capture those sexually appealing qualities that Black women possess.This is one of the many reasons why black women are guarded when it comes to critiques on their images. The media and society forces them to have to be on the defensive and constantly defend their own gorgeousness. It’s like society wants the best of both worlds, but tries to charge rent to those who own that world!
Doctors have long told her she needs to lose weight — 30 or 40 pounds, according to their charts. She’d be cool with 15. She tried weight loss programs such as Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem in years past, but “I came to realize that I have to have some freedom to eat.”
Instead of fixating on shedding weight, she focuses on being fit and healthy and finding her joy in that: “This is how I’m genetically designed, and I’ve accepted that.”
On the flip side, it’s mentalities like this that piss me off. I’ve written many times how BMI is a joke. It’s an archaic measurement of fitness, and should not be the sole benchmark to determine whether you are healthy. You should measure your body fat and actual weight. You should get your cholesterol, heart rate, blood sugar, and all those internal stats.
When doctors tell you that you need to lose weight, and you acknowledge that you should but the “food keeps callin you…” you exhibit a mental slavery to food. You can eat pretty well without eating sh*tty food. You don’t need to eat grass and rice cakes 24/7 to be healthy. When faced with medical experts giving you advice, it would behoove you to research and apply it to your life.
Finally, stop using genetics as a crutch! Just because you have a certain body type doesn’t mean that you have to accept it and remain slightly obese. If you want to be healthier and in better shape, it starts with YOU! Sacrifice, dedication, and focus will eventually get you to your goal. It won’t happen overnight, but if you have a tight game plan, you will achieve. There are people who aren’t born tall, strong, pretty, intelligent, etc, but they don’t let that stop them from trying and over achieving. Body type and genetics aren’t no different! You aren’t given a death sentence to obesity when you are born. You may have to work harder or be more careful, but it is possible. Take it from someone with every black ailment in his bloodline, I won’t accept it and neither should Black Women!
And though she’s never married, she contends she never lacks boyfriends, black and white. “Men have always said to me, ‘You’re not fat, you’re p-h-a-t fat.’ And when I’m not teaching, I’m all girl.”
Fellas, we have to either a) stop gassing fat women telling them that they are “phat” (people still say phat in 2012?!), or b) reassess our definition of thick. As I’ve written about before, when you perform a proper cost-benefit analysis of a woman’s physical appearance, you can properly determine whether to you she is normal or fat. However ladies, some dudes just want to beat and will tell you whatever to get between your thighs. Too many men do this, and you get the reactions like above. We all SHOULD know the difference between a “plus sized body” and an overweight/obese body type. Don’t lie to yourself ladies, get in shape if you need to, and if you desire.
So let us know what you think. Is being big and beautiful the move in 2012? What is your definition of healthy? What are your thoughts on the article?