Saturday, December 20, 2014

Black women and weight

Do you believe that black men don't want their women to lose weight? I sure don't.

Black women and weight

Queen Latifah wearing a dress from her fashion collection on HSN
Queen Latifah wearing a dress from her fashion collection on HSN

Do you believe that black men don’t want their women to lose weight? I sure don’t.  

But that’s what Alice Randall asserts in a recent op-ed in the New York Times about African American women and obesity.  The writer in residence at Vanderbilt University writes, “How many middle-aged white women fear their husbands will find them less attractive if their weight drops to less than 200 pounds? I have yet to meet one. But I know many black women whose sane, handsome, successful husbands worry when their women start losing weight. My lawyer husband is one.”

Wait. There’s more. Randall also writes, “Another friend, a woman of color who is a tenured professor, told me that her husband, also a tenured professor and of color, begged her not to lose ’the sugar down below’ when she embarked on a weight-loss program.”

Who’s she kidding?  Yeah, a lot of black men prefer a so-called "thick" silhouette but there’s a big difference between that and being morbidly obese.  But I stray from what got me reading Randall’s column in the first place and that was another claim of hers which is, “many black women are fat because we want to be.” 

Seriously? Black women, four out of five of whom are overweight or obese, deliberately put themselves at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and other health ailments because they want to?That doesn't make sense. No sane person consciously wants to be overweight. Just last night I had a sad conversation with a black woman considering a second bariatric surgery because her weight is spiraling out of control again. She, like a lot of Americans is overweight for a number of complex reasons. It's not because she thinks it's cute or somehow acceptable.

Jenice Armstrong Daily News Columnist
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Jenice Armstrong Daily News Columnist
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