Fat Black Women Feel Good and That’s a Problem

Here is exhibit thirtyleventybillion of how the positive attributes of black women are twisted, folded and rejiggered to be negative through a racist and sexist lens.

From the Huffington Post:

Whether rooted in the old “big boned” theory or a reluctance to work out for beauty sake, researchers say that black women’s perception of obesity differs from that of white women.

Tiffany L. Cox, and her team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, ND, and Obesity and Quality of Life Consulting in Durham, NC analyzed data between 2000 and 2010 and found that most obese women are dissatisfied with their quality of life when compared to women of “normal” weight, but black women report a higher quality of life than white women of the same weight. (Quality of life measures included physical function, self-esteem, sexual life, public distress and work.) Self-esteem also ranked particularly high among black women.

 The study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, also found that black women appear to be more concerned about the physical limitations resulting from obesity, than by the potential mental and emotional consequences of being overweight or obese. Read more…

For black women, this would appear to be good news, yes? No. Not according to HuffPo. Let’s review the fails, shall we?

  • The article just couldn’t resist a jab at black women’s so-called “hair issues.” What would a shaming article be without, apropos of little, dredging up the lengths black women will go to protect perms and weaves.
  • Though the study found black women are concerned when they feel their body size creates physical and health limitations, researcher Cox still “fears that the idea of experiencing a high quality of life despite having a high BMI may dampen motivation for attempting weight loss.”It is not enough that black women focus on their health and physical ability, they will only truly be motivated to lose weight if they are additionally “motivated” by a poor quality of life due to fatness.
  • As though one researcher’s musings on whether black women’s lives are being ruined enough by girth isn’t enough, HuffPo asks all its readers to weigh in on whether black women are “misguided.”  (As of this writing, 55 percent of people say we are.) The media site is actually asking its readers to judge the beliefs of half of an entire race of people. Can you imagine people being asked to evaluate white men or women this way? Studies show that white families are more likely to serve pumpkin pie than sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving. Are they misguided?
And please don’t fill up the comments section with concerned trolling about the high incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure in the black community. This article isn’t about the health of the black community. It acknowledges that black women are concerned with health issues and working to mitigate them. The rub is that black women don’t find fatness reason enough to stop feeling good about themselves; we don’t think extra poundage is a reason not to have, for instance, a healthy sex life.  Fat black women feel too good about themselves; and if they feel good about themselves, how will we ever get them to change?–that’s the message here. And it’s a gross one.
Photo Credit: Danikaze

10 thoughts on “Fat Black Women Feel Good and That’s a Problem

  1. I hate that people don’t want to see women feel good about themselves…If you are satisfied with your body weight and body image then screw what everyone else thinks…be happy with yourself 🙂

  2. I was told that whistling wasn’t ladylike, but I knew even then that women were simply not supposed to be that happy. ~Anonymous, quoted in Kindling the Spirit by Lois P. Frankel

  3. And considering evidence that losing weight isn’t all that simple (like the NYT’s “The Fat Trap” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?pagewanted=all), what does a message like this really say? If you’re not allowed to feel good about your body and your body isn’t likely to conform to whatever standards you are “allowed” to feel good about, you’re essentially doomed to misery. What’s healthy about that?

  4. What a disgusting, racist attitude from the Huffington Post. Not only does it demand that fat women feel shame, but to blatantly degrade an entire race and make a distinction of PoC as “other”. Shame on them! Thank you for writing this!

  5. Wow, shockingly enough Huff Post, people can be “fat” (who really cares about BMI? It’s flawed anyway) and still feel wonderful. Must be something in the water, eh?

  6. I find this article reassuring and ironic, because even white women like myself have been playfully accused of not working out just to keep a hairdo in tact!

    White society has always looked for ways to undermine the confidence of anyone black/brown/other. This is nothing new, but the article exposes the new subtleties of it all.

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