Originally posted 2010-11-11 10:56:02.
Really, I suppose this is an open letter that could be addressed to anyone who casually takes on the topic of health and wellness… or even those who attack the topic with the sole intent of pushing a blatant angle.. I don’t know. I’m a stream of conscious writer.. so I doubt I’ll even go back and proofread this, let alone change the title to reflect anything different.
I’m just gonna cut to the chase. Sorry, in advance.
I’m tired of seeing these stupid blog topics that ask questions about why Black women are sooooooooooo fat.
You hear me? Stop it. Stop, stop, stop.
I’m tired of reading blog posts trivializing the health of Black women – not Americans, not even Black people… but Black women.
And if it were rooted in concern, truly willing and eager to gin up dialogue about what we’re all doing to make changes and how our efforts are working, I’d approve… but its not. It’s a bunch of people on one end of the spectrum holding up the other end of the spectrum as something to scientifically study. Holding your own up as collective Hottentot Venuses. “Why are you so… different? What the hell is wrong with you? You’re so intriguing… and unfortunate.”
And you know what really burns my whole wheat toast? Reading posts from people – usually Black men – about why and how white women manage to stay in such tip-top shape, but we – ohhhh, us Black girls – are just failing by and large.
If you’re going to discuss the shortcomings of Black women, can you do so without comparing us to another race? Particularly white women? Because while all you may see is a bunch of thin mints, I grew up watching many of these same girls and their disordered eating habits that they developed from their moms who had the same habits… trailing back to their great grandmothers who had no problem maintaining their petite figures… yet, no one knows why its so hard now. You know how I know that? Because well over two-thirds of America is “overweight.”
Would you prefer that Black women be subjugated to feeling like they are literally “less than” because they’re not built like [insert any woman]? And would you be okay with us sticking our fingers down our throats and hoping to “even out” at the end of each day so that we can maintain figures pleasing enough to “get a husband?” (Or… perhaps you believe that eating disorders aren’t a Black girl thing? You’d be wrong.) Would you prefer that we spend days not eating because it’s the quickest way to lose a few pounds before we go back to the gym to weigh in? Would you prefer that we subsist on liquid diets so that we can be thin like [insert a cover model]? ‘Cause trust me… that’s what a lot of these white girls suffer from. Unhealthy body images and horrid nutrition… but damn if they aren’t skinny.
And don’t get me wrong – Black women suffer from unhealthy body images, too – but that’s because we’re so busy trying to conform to the same immature title that you give us when you’re trying to get in our good graces: thick. We’re so busy trying to be “thick” – like those white girls are trying so hard to be “thin” – that both groups ignore their own actual health in the process. Did you ever think of that? Or were you too busy whining about the lack of women available to serve as your personal eye candy?
No one ever takes a serious look at why the weight problem is so prevalent. No one ever asks the hard questions about the food we eat, the drinks we enjoy, the lives we lead. No one ever says that there’s an inordinate amount of stress on these women – the same women who are likely to be heads of their households or, even, the only adult in their household – and that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the fact that we’re raised to put everyone and everything before ourselves and our own mental and physical wellness. No one addresses the fact that we, by and large, tend to feel guilty for taking time away from family to “be vain” and work out. No one is stepping up and saying “I’ll watch the little ones while you go work out for an hour,” they’re just saying “You’re gettin’ kinda thick, huh?”
No one is telling these women “Sugar makes you fat,” nor are they telling these women “If you’re still buying processed foods, that same sugar is in everything.” We’re expected to be superwomen… we’re also expected to be freaking food scientists. No one is telling us “Your food intake should consist of real food,” just feeding us that continual BS line about how calories in need to be less than calories out and everything in moderation.. because that stupid equation has everything to do with mental and physical wellness. Because it doesn’t matter where calories come from. Just lose the weight so that we don’t have to look at it… no matter how clogged your arteries are or how close you are to developing type 2 diabetes. How… uninformed.
And it’s so funny… because we always disregard the very legitimate reasons why Black women are carrying more weight as “excuses.” We can’t bring up the very real issues in hopes that we can dialogue about how to provide solutions? It’s automatically written off as “Stop trying to give these broads excuses for being fat. Get over it and go work out.” Do you know that people work out every day and don’t lose a single pound because they have poor nutrition information? There are people out there who know nothing about wellness… and they have to learn… and obviously, you aren’t the ones to teach them.
If I talk about the stress levels of Black women, it’s automatically shrugged off as “Everyone is stressed out. So what?” So, um, look at the stats – two thirds of America is also overweight, as well. It’s not the issue of stress – it’s an issue of stress management. That needs to be addressed. If I talk about access to food and the value we place on proper food as a culture… that’s not an issue to be shrugged off. Not everything is an excuse meant to remove a topic from discussion. It’s being brought up because it demands an answer… and if you aren’t prepared to give answers, you aren’t prepared to address the topic. Period.
And don’t even get me started on the comments. Ohhhhh, the comments. They just devolve into a fat girl guilt fest… where every Black woman who feels guilty about having a few extra pounds feels the need to come out of the woodwork admitting to everyone that she’s got “a few extra pounds” and feels helpless… and then some moron comes out with completely ludicrous “diet” advice… or said “diet” advice is in the actual post. (It’s also usually something to the effect of “work out more, eat less” – eat less of WHAT?) So not only does the original post do nothing to help Black women, but the comments usually result in piss poor advice and guilting of Black women and the perpetuation of poor body image. Shoutout to being the most counterproductive conversations on the Internet. No, really.
The reality is… every time I read one of these moronic blog posts railing Black women for having weight anywhere other than their booties – and don’t let your booty be toooooooo big, lest you be called Precious – the writer makes it evident to me that even if they DID take the time to educate their readers on what they think proper nutrition is… it’d be clear they suffer from the same lack of knowledge as everyone else. Fat or skinny.
Stop mocking Black women with pictures of men masquerading as women in fat suits – is that what you think of us? – and pictures of half naked poorly dressed women. Stop cracking jokes about our health and minimalizing it into issues of being unattractive or needing to “be like white women.” Beneath that “strong Black woman” meme that you insist on thrusting upon us lies a woman who is sensitive, sometimes confused and maybe even – dare I say it? – insecure about her body… and using these women for traffic to your pathetic little blog does nothing for the cause you claim to be so concerned about. Trust me.
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