Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Note on Fat Black Women Who Love Ourselves "Too" Much

 A note on Black women "being too accepting of higher weights,"  most of the studies that even include Black women and media/self-esteem/weight issues, don't seem to understand that because Black women as a group are statistically much larger than White and Asian women, our self-hatred kicks in at higher clothes sizes but those small sizes (say a size 10 for a Black woman, where Black "plus size" models are typically size EIGHT to 12) are, for us as a group, just as unreachable and depressing as say a size 4 or 6 for most "fat" White women. That doesn't make the self-hatred and the hatred we experience from media-empowered, fat-hating folks who think HAES (Health At Every Size) is "haze," any easier/lighter.  That doesn't mean that Black women have higher body/self esteem because our reference point is different.  That doesn't mean there isn't vicious fat hatred in the Black community...because there is.

Also in the Black community, there are roles (those of service to others with no self-hood, sexiness, beauty, deference or support) for fat Black women such as a race woman, a church woman, a mama to all.   But to only be able to get any accolades for being a person without personhood, where even the desire to be loved, pampered, considered beautiful or worthy to be helped or assisted is considered selfish and bad...where now the fact that those who have chosen those roles to have a place at all, are condemned for being "unhealthy" and thus threatening to end their source of service to others supposedly pre-maturely, is not an alternate Black universe where fat is accepted.
 I also think that some (most?/nearly all?) Black women may not be entirely honest when we do report to researchers how much we love our fat bodies (or at least without saying how much we have to push back against the fat haters to do that, to breathe, to lift our heads up and live another day) because it seems additionally demoralizing or shaming to have to admit to such feelings or discrimination if the interviewee is a white woman of any size or a slim woman of any race.

Sometimes after heated exchanges with some White women about how a fat woman can be beautiful, a fat woman can be healthy, a fat woman can be physically active, etc., I feel the carpet pulled from under me again because the fat-hating woman will then say, "Oh well, it's easy for you -- you're Black."  I usually don't have the energy to go anymore rounds at that point!  Some thin or thinner-than-me Black women have been just as bad but they just conclude I'm crazy -- period.  I don't know which is worse...Except that the Black women like that I've encountered so far had no power to affect me professionally, such as killing a magazine series they strongly solicited as did the RADIANCE editor I mentioned in a previous post..


  1. Beautifully said and a great resource for educators who want to address this misinformation and injustice in the classroom.

  2. Wow, that is special praise coming from a master educator such as you! Thank you. I am honored and humbled.