Thin Black Women, Love Your Body!!!
I am thin in black. Yep, that’s right. I am a Black woman and I wear a size 4. Yes, you read that right – size 4. My five feet, nine inch one hundred and twenty five pound frame is a bit of an anomaly in the Black community – no Beyonce body here. Think Cameron Diaz, dipped in rich chocolate. For the record, my slim frame is hereditary, not something gained by unhealthy means. A lot of the women in my family were also very thin when they were my age.
Because of my slender body frame and proportion, I have been asked about my weight more times than I care to remember. It is usually peppered with positive or negative overtones, depending on the woman asking.
White women tend to envy my size, whereas Sistas tend to pity me for it. It’s as if I straddle two different worlds – praised by White and mainstream culture but enduring ridicule and countless cruel jokes from the Black community for the same reason – being thin. And quite frankly, I am tired of the praises and criticisms I’ve received from both sides, finding these comments about my weight intrusive and downright rude.
Although mainstream America praises my slender figure, my people celebrate the curvier body type as beautiful. Just look at the covers of King or Black Men Magazine, graced with photos of Nicki Minaj or LisaRaye turned around and poppin’ it out. Heck, even Coco, rapper Ice T’s wife and Kim K’s famous curves are everywhere you turn. I mean, any time a White girl is thicker than you are…
I’m just sayin’. The message is clear: If you are a Black woman, or if you want a Black man, this is what your body should look like. Subsequently, there is a lot of pressure for thinner Sistas to have a fuller shape. Today, I accept my body the way it is, but I would be lying if I said I have never wanted fuller hips or plump backside. In the past, I spent hours in the gym on the Stairmaster and doing lunges and leg presses, exercises that fitness magazines promised would fill out my flat fanny. I even found myself at a nutritional store, eyeing the weight gainer that a friend had recommended to me. (For the record, I left the store empty handed after someone told me it all went to her belly instead of her backside; the last thing I wanted was to be a skinny girl with a gut.)
And I know that I am not alone: recently, I read that black market plastic surgery is on the rise among women of color, particularly buttock enhancement injections. In the book Shot Girls, author Vanity Wonder writes about receiving ‘shots’ or illegal buttock injections in a motel room in Detroit; she also describes how the practitioner used cotton balls and super glue to close the injection site. “I had always wanted a better body and, on top of that, I liked the compliments that I’d got when I was a little thicker,” Wonder wrote.
Although I would never put my health at risk in this way, I understand the desire to fill out those Apple Bottom jeans and be considered desirable by the vast majority of Brothas everywhere. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a dime? But after the Stairmaster and lunges failed to work, I began to examine the definition of beauty in Black culture. Who gets to decide who is a dime and who isn’t? And why was I trying to force my body into a mold it obviously wasn’t designed to fit into? I thought of the White women I had seen on television or magazines that starved themselves or purged after every meal, all in an effort to be thin, to be considered beautiful. Wasn’t I doing the same thing, just in reverse?
I decided that it was high time for me to define beauty for myself. I started focusing on all the things I liked about my body – my legs, my lips and most importantly, my health – instead of what I didn’t. Soon, I noticed Brothas sittin’ up and taking notice; see, I discovered that although a lot of men like curves, all men love confidence. Feeling good in the skin you’re in is the ultimate definition of a dime. Just ask any Brotha: it’s all in the way you carry yourself ladies, whether you are a size 2 or 12. Because this is what I know for sure: whether or not we are blessed with curves, all of us are blessed to be Black women—and we all should celebrate that.
written by DeLana Nicole
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