LAST WEEK'S QUESTION: Is the definition of fat relative to race? Is it culturally acceptable for Black Women to be fat as opposed to White Women; translated as Black Women have an easier time of it than obese White Women?
Well, the jury is still OUT even after reviewing online comments from other sources. In fact a number of woman felt that the perception for this was twisted. It wasn't that it is more acceptable for Black Women to be fat, it's that there are more fat Black Women! There is strength in numbers and because they show "attitude," and "confidence," they "pull it off" that being overweight is more acceptable for Black Women.
What's the fat and skinny? Well, there is also the concept, as Rawtya Kameir suggests that Black Women remain outside the mainstream fascist standards of beauty and as a result, have felt free to do what they pleased. Needless to say, the result has been a negative. Finally, there was one thin dissenter, but does she count?She was Black and a fitness fiend who was railing against the obesity crisis amongst Black Women.
When I saw Denzel Washington, marvelous in the role of Troy Maxson in Fences, (Broadway last year) I noted the audience response when Troy tells his buddy Bono about making love and the type of woman he likes. Troy says he likes to "be able to grab" onto a woman who's got substance and flesh. Why? He says," 'cause it cushions the ride!" Well, there was such an eruption of joyful calling and whooping from the audience, a good number of them heavy Black Women, I thought I would go deaf! They were thrilled at Troy's praise for their plump thighs and buttocks. No scrappy chicken legs there. So even though things are changing, and I'll get to that in a moment, in August Wilson's historical cycle of black culture (Fences took place in the late 1940s) the perception seems very real that a Black Man enjoyed a Black Woman with enough plump physicality because he loved to be surrounded in her sensual fleshiness during intimacy. It was THRILLING!
But girlfriend, things have changed. Look at Jennifer Hudson, here.
And look at her BELOW. What happened to the type of woman that Troy Maxson would have loved to hug and squeeze back in the day? Jennifer went the way of Hollywood celebrity. I wonder if she were thin, would she have gotten the lead in Dream Girls instead of Beyonce? (She did sing better, didn't she?) I also wonder if the continual reminder of her obesity in photos, videos, uploads, downloads on Youtube, etc., didn't pressure her to LOOK BETTER, THINNER, MORE BEAUTIFUL!
Other Black Female stars have chosen not to follow into uber thinness: Monique, for example. But Queen Latifah has caved. (She' also blond like a growing number of Black actresses.) And of course, Star Jones is legendary, as is Oprah's yo-yo dieting. Who can blame Jennifer Hudson? She must compete. And being a Weight Watchers icon, she will be pressurized to "keep it off." She looks fabulous, doesn't she? However, I have a few Black Women friends who swear that she's also had surgery and other enhancements. And I didn't get the overall sense that they were especially pleased with her modeling Britney Spears' body type.
So much for the racial divide and FENCES between Black and White Women, at least where celebrity is concerned. What do you think? Do Black and White Women have to be THIN to "Be Somebody" in our culture? Did Jennifer Husdon have to lose as much weight as she did to keep her competitive edge in Hollywood, competitive enough to go head to head in a throw down with Beyonce?
You always give us so much to think about, Carole. One thing about being thin is that it is healthier. Jennifer Hudson went through a terrible tragedy with her mom and brother? and nephew. Maybe she felt the need for a change. At least she did it in a healthy way!
Thanks, Margo. Tragedy affects everyone differently. My mom was killed in a car accident. I gained weight (comfort food). After my Dad died, I gained weight and yo-yoed and gained and reached my fattest. I was grieving his and my mom's loss. You are right. In any case, she didn't starve herself, and the weight loss won't hurt her competitive edge.
Apparently, there are problems with eblogger's comments' configurations due to traffic issues; so I have to show comments as follows:
MY FRIEND ABBY SAYS: I think the Black Women's "air" of confidence is a shield against body-judgment. In a couple of ways: 1) it genuinely deflects negative comments and people honestly don't notice the fat as much; and 2)it is a shield or mask in a sense b/c I think internally, they have much insecurity, too-after all they are surrounded by the same media images, etc. However, in the Way past, the African culture is/was much more respectful of natural women's bodies
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