Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fat black women feel too good about themselves

Here is exhibit thirtyleventybillion of how the positive attributes of black women are twisted, folded and rejiggered through a racist and sexist lens to be negative. 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 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?
  • In all this commenting about black women's tragically high self esteem, HuffPo didn't see fit to mention the well-discussed problems with using BMI to judge fitness in African Americans. According to a 2009 Science Daily report, a study found that body fat measurements overestimate fatness in African Americans. The problem isn't "big bones," but it may be higher muscle mass.
And please don't fall up in the comments concern 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


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