Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thick vs. Fat: A Black Man's Take

So here is one brother's take on Thick vs. Fat in the Black community. This one should spark some chatter. Discuss:

I remember in the late 1980’s when Black men first started using the word “thick” to define a woman with ample bottom and/or breasts. We knew what we were describing and it was more about T & A than the result of too many Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Moo-Moos and Cow-Cows.

We also knew that “healthy” was a term reserved for women with a little meat on their bones. They really were considered healthy because they ate regular meals (that they often cooked at home) and had beautiful bountiful bodies to show for it. They were proportionate and anything but obese.

But I remember that the term “thick” was co-opted in the 1990’s by overweight women who wanted to redefine America’s view of women (particularly the ones on the heavy side), and change the way overweight women viewed themselves.

Now, I’m all for people looking for ways to feel good about themselves, but if it is not based on reality and is actually inadvertently promoting and celebrating an unhealthy lifestyle, then it’s not a good thing.

Since the big girls dig brothers like me, some have been aggressive and when rebuffed (even though done politely), they often claim that I’m not a “real” Black man. After all, “real” Black men like big girls.


Not really.

“Real” Black men like a variety of women, because “real” Black men come in a variety themselves. Some of us do like the big girls, but some of us like the ladies who have little body fat, except where it counts.

Most of us probably know at least one or two Black men who like the big girls.

And, all across the nation, clubs specifically for big girls and the men who love them are popping up on the landscape.

So that means that being a big girl is a good thing.



Now, here’s where I get to use the phrase “never trust a big butt and a smile.”

While some big girls have co-opted the word “healthy” to denote a woman with largess, the redefinition of fat has gone too far.

It’s going too far to co-opt terms such as “healthy” to describe people who are, in reality, far from healthy.

Read the rest of the article. It's well worth it. Overall I think he does a good job of addressing the issue without coming off sounding condescending. And the whole "thick" phenomenon needs addressing. And I will get to that, but right now I'd like to here what folk have to say about what this Brother is addressing.


Daughters of Destiny Leadership Institute said...

I am a big girl who, in my healthier days, was defined as "thick". And I must say that I agree overall with this Black man's POV. However, I must interject this one thing. Size does not equate to health. I am a plus-sized woman, and I don't suffer with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or anything of the sort. Yet, a few of my slimmer sisters are on prescriptions for the above-mentioned maladies. My only statement to the author and to those who read this blog is this: don't judge a book by its cover. Sometimes you really can trust a big butt and a smile. :)

Muze said...

this is a subject that has been wearing on me for a while. i am not 'thick' by any person's definition, but i am happy with my body, thin and all.

i think it's most important to promote better eating habits and healthier lifestyles in the black community. i've been called 'anorexic' sooo many times by black men and women simply because i am thin.

like daughters of destiny said, it is more important to focus on health, cause no one size personifies it.

mista ecks said...

Everybody wanna hate on the big girls. Everybody wants to cry foul when a big girl calls herself this. I say go for it sista! And yet no one bats an eye when a skinny girl calls herself thick just because she has a round butt. I don't care how round your butt is...anything under 140 pounds is SKINNY, damnit.

Anonymous said...

You know what? I agree with you Muze - skinny people always get the butt of bad jokes just as much as the big girls do. We get called anorexic, asked if we eat, told "Damn you are so small" etc. but most skinny women could give a DAMN about a big girls size. It's nothing to comment on. Fat people are a dime a dozen nowadays. You always have your special cases of the big girl squeezing into a few sizes to small outfits for attention but for the most part they go unnoticed like most other people. ESPECIALLY in Black America. I mean most of them flaunt their fat (being real) like it's natural (hence the terms: big boned, solid, healthy, etc.) so why should we care? Which brings me disagree with Mista Ecks comment. No. everybody does not hate on the big girls. AND most skinny people don't call themselves thick...we know we are skinny because people always remind us that we are SKINNY, damnit.

Livinfree4me said...

Ok...I am what you call "thick" but I also think it's whose calling you that. I am no longer a size 7 and know at size 14, I have no health problems (that God), I work out and I try to eat right. I say "if it makes us big girls feel good to say that we are "Thick" - What's the problem? I would never look in the mirror and call myself fat or obese even though I know there are people out there with problems like that, but as far as I'm concerned, LET A BIG GIRL BE A THICK GIRL!

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