Black Women’s Bodies Under Attack

posted by Sista on May 9th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

During my daily sweep of the internet I was unfortunate enough to come across yet another article talking about how fat and disgusting black women are. This one came from the New York Times and attempts to explain why 8 out of 10 sistas are supposedly overweight.

Now like many of you, I see tons of fat black women on television. From talk shows to high rated sitcoms and dramas, the media has put fat black women front and center for America to gawk at.

My question however, is why? According to many studies, Americans are getting fatter. One recent study said that in 20 years nearly half the U.S. population will be considered morbidly obese.

Because I am neither a doctor, scientist or surveyor, I am not here to dispute those findings. However, as a black woman, I am here to dispute them in relation to black women and why it always seems to be us and our bodies that are held up for the world to look at be repulsed by.

If it is one thing I have learned in the glorious 40 years that I have been on this planet, it is that there is a reason behind everything.

The black woman it seems, to me at least, has been the target of several hate campaigns for the last few years. Almost every other month there is a study that is splashed across the front pages of newspapers and websites that claim we are the least desired women on the planet, the most diseased, the poorest, the least likely to find a husband and of course, now, the fattest.

I don’t know about you, but if I had any pride and dignity about myself as a black woman, I would soon be losing it listening to all these studies and statistics.

And that my sisters, is what these stories are all about. They are about bringing us to our knees. There is a deep conspiracy to destroy the image and self-worth of black women. Take whatever we feel good about, like our natural curvy bodies, associate them with whiteness (Kim K, Coco, ext), then link the black woman’s body to unhealthiness, fatness and disease.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourselves this: When has America ever given a flying fig about our health, finances or marital prospects? Why now? Why are we all of a sudden public enemy #1?

The reasons are vast, many and probably better explained by minds greater than mine. The purpose of my article isn’t to rehash the many spot on articles that have explained this new black woman hate phenomenon, but rather to sojourn with my sisters and ask that you be strong in the face of this never ending onslaught.

And when I say stay strong, I don’t mean pray on it or hope shit gets better on its own. I mean every day that you wake up, make sure whatever resources you have, you use them towards the betterment of black women and our own interests.



15 Comments

  1. Great article. We as beautiful Black women need to yes, be proud of our curves and cultural charactaristics, however it’s time to demand more of ourselves. As a Personal Trainer and competitive fitness athlete, I receive daily questions about health and how to get fit. When the answer demands change, I see an immediate shut down. Regardless if others are puttting our obesity on blast, we need to start getting our people healthy. Curves are sexy. Obesity and poor health with no desire to change, are not! Let’s spark a fitness movement for ourselves. When we’re put on blast, atleast we can respond with our statistics of change!

  2. This article isn’t about overweight black women or being healthy. It is about the media’s obsession with making black women through what many believe to be fabricated facts, look like the scourge of the earth.

    We have always been called fat and unattractive in this country and the intensity of that hate is getting stronger everyday.

  3. MY BODY IS A TEMPLE WONDERFULLY MADE IN THE IMAGE OF JEHOVAH. i don’t know what they are talking’ about….:)

  4. We need to forget about what others think of us and begin to take care of ourselves. It is too many of us that are fat and like to claim they are thick. No you are unhealthy and a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses waiting to attack you. It is enough already.

  5. I don’t care what people have to say about black women’s bodies, because they all wish they looked like us…they wish they had natural big butts, breast, hips, and lips….I love myself, my body and all my curves! So the New York Times can kiss my hips!

  6. There are overweight people of every race. Black women are the sexiest women imo no matter their weight.

    I’ve also heard some say that black women are overweight because almost every corner in a black community is a McD or BK and it’s cheap. Those places are not those expensive fast food places you see in downtown areas of major cities. That could be true but all I know is women are beautiful no matter. Be proud ladies of who you are as a person.

  7. I know this article isn’t supposedly “highlighting” the issue, but this “new black woman hate phenomenon” is NOT new. We have been trying to be broke down for years, and like those who have realized how beautiful we are, YES we are ALWAYS imitated. I often see articles and blogs that point the finger at what “they” think about us, when we should really just ignore what has to be said about us and continue to lift each other up. We are not going to be liked by everybody and that’s life. I love me and then some. And can’t nobody tell me that my race is not BEAUTIFUL! When we become threats, there will always be someone to tear us down, so why won’t we all just ignore it all together. How are the media and other races going to tell you about you?

    “People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from ME. One day I decided I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, is your home, and you must decorate it.” – Gabourey Sidibe

  8. i really enjoyed learning from this article and the comments. It is so true that it is an assault against black women in a way i have never imagined in my nightmare would be happening. but like you said use whatever resources i have to better myself and other sisters. It is a shame that once the white man raped us and degraded our men in front of us so we would not believe that we need protection as our whiter female half got, they have to continue to try and make people believe we are nothing. that is ok though Jesus told me i am an Empress and will continue to live a life of betterment for myself and all i meet. keep up the great work with these types of articles.

  9. I respect this Sista’s opinion but I feel she is way off base. Look, in this stage of the game it is not about the visual looks anymore. White folks have and always will downgrade curvy women of all colors and that will not change. Kim K and Coco get the spotlight because they are vixens in the game and do things to keep the media’s attention (hanging with Kanye, getting married and getting divorced weeks later, etc). There is nothing wrong with a deliciously curvy Sista (much love to Jill Scott, Queen Latifah, Monique, etc) but we are talking about a health issue!! The fact is Black women, Black men, and people across this country are alarmingly obese and we are transferring this behavior to our kids. The medical effects of obesity (diabetes, heart disease, etc) and lack of a healthy/physical lifestyle is one of the top 3 killers of our Black women today. Our children are not maintaining a healthy/active lifestyle (unless they are active in sports) as well and many are obese by the age of 10! This is the real issue and I don’t understand why we continued to be offended by the facts. It’s not rocket science to know not all Sistas are going to look Pilar Sanders, Regina King, or Taraji P. Henson, but we need to address why many of our ladies are big and unhealthy and support 1st Lady Obama in putting a stop to this. Our kin folks like Rick Ross and Gabourey Sidibe are gorgeous but everyone knows they are too big (it has been reported Rick Ross has passed out during a couple of stage performances). With that said, it’s time to tell it like it is, stop being insulted by the facts, change the way we eat and drink, start up and stay consistent with exercise and physical activities, and see our doctors on an annual basis. If not we are going to continue to lose a lot of our kin folks to this epidemic. Cheers!!

  10. Let me add that I do not believe the statistics either. The majority of black women I see on my daily travels are not hardly obese. 8 out of 10 black women obese, I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that anymore than I believe the average black woman is worth a mere $5 or that we have more sexual diseses than other races of women. Mind you, the fat black girl stats are right in line with those of Latina women, who reportedly now outnumber black women in the U.S., but how often do you hear that stat? I was on to this bullshit years ago and a search of the internet shows that white males reportedly have an obesity rate up in the 70s. Over half of all white women are supposedly fat as well.

    Peep these stats: http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/obesity-in-the-us/

    In other words, the average white male is more Rush Limbaugh than Brad Pitt, the average white female more Roseanna than Megan Fox. But again, you wouldn’t know that because, well, whites don’t like to report bad things about themselves.

  11. And FYI, you wanna lose weight, keep eating the foods your mama been feeding you for years, neckbones and all, and cut out the fast food and especially Chinese food, which is the most questionable food out there and litters every black neighborhood in the country.

  12. Oh yeah, a new study out today says fat women give birth to dumber kids.

    Do I need to tell y’all where this one is going?

    Fat black women will now be blamed for destroying the world, creating more welfare babies and making black ppl just all around incompetent.

  13. If you want to know where this blatant disrespect of black women come from look at black male entertainers. Musicians, comedians, and in some case actors. Look at the image that black men have put out about black women and tell me why other races feel so comfortable disrespecting us.

  14. We are the only race of women left who society has failed to make feel bad about our bodies! We have come so far in society and there is absolutely nothing that anyone could to do to dampen our spirits. I say keep living our lives going to school,church,taking care of our kids and our men and keep doing us!

  15. This article is so true…sadly, its true. Perhaps they are all doing this attacking now that Michelle Obama is in the whitehouse, and they don’t want the standard of beauty to change whatsoever. It could have something to do with it…because the standard has always been blond, blue eyed etc…Yes Onasis changed that a bit but then with an African American woman in the whitehouse? One that is intelligent, crushes all stereotypes and happens to be healthy and attractive? That probably pisses them off, therefore…they have to try continuing this open season attack on black women. Its really disgusting and sick! Your article is so true.