Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"I'M THICK!!" : Are Black Women in Denial About Their Health??

You have all heard these words thrown around; Thick, Voluptuous, etc. But what do these words really mean? Are women that use these words to describe themselves considered to be healthy? Is the popularity of terms like "Thick", "F.A.T." (Fabulous and Thick) increasing obesity in Black Women?

My 2 Cents:
A recent conversation with a friend made me realize that there are varying definitions to the word "Thick", some that may be detrimental to the health of Black Women.

Some people consider "Thick" to be a woman with a small waist, relatively flat stomach, thick legs, and large breasts. The word is also used to describe women that are overweight.
For example, Mo'Nique considers her self to be "Thick". As a matter of fact she calls herself Fabulous And Thick (FAT). Now, I am all for women of all shapes and sizes embracing their beauty and having confidence. But it is also important for women to be aware of how much their weight affects their risk for diabetes, breast cancer, and other diseases plaguing the Black Community. So as long Black women that consider themselves "Thick" are concerned about improving their health and making significant changes in their physical activity and eating habits, I'm all for it!!

I try to avoid these types of classifications. While I recognize that I'm not my ideal weight or size. I try stay focused on my goal of physical fitness, decreasing my chance at disease, and increasing my life expectancy.

What Others Say (I do not endorse the validity of anything below) :

This is a rating system I found online; Originally posted by GeniusG

"Skinny" (Naomi Campbell)
"Slim" (Ashanti)
"Medium" (Gabrielle Union, Ericka Alexander)
"Thick" (Lisa Nicole Carson, Kenya Moore)
"Hella Thick" (Buffie the Body, Ki-Toy Johnson)
"Buff" (Serena Williams, Jana Stewart)
"Super Thick" (Queen Latifah, Kym Whitley)
"Big" (Monique)

Here's an Article I found: Click the title for the full Article
The Bridge: Thick, Healthy, or Fat , By Darryl James:
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.............(click title for more)

What Do You Think?
I think this topic is worthy of discussion. I am really interested in your thoughts on the issue. I'm am concerned with how these terms affect the health of Black women.


Anonymous said...

YES!! I am really tired of morbidly obese black women loudly proclaiming they are thick and sexy but short of breath after going up a flight of stairs. All of the women in my family, except for me, are overweight by 30-150 pounds. My 35 year old sister takes Lipitor and Glyburide and has no plans of losing weight. I think that many black women feel that if they actively lose weight and eat a proper diet, they are giving in to the regimented beauty standard set by society. It makes me angry and sad.

Anonymous said...


All right, here we go.

First, I've observed that if people think you're overweight, they won't listen to what you have to say, so I'll post some stats first:

US size 10
aerobic training: high intensity interval
anaerobic training: astanga yoga derivatives (Jivamukti, Kest), pilates (mat and machine), resistance band, free weights

NOW - let's start with the list.

If you "don't endorse" it, why would you post it?

If you're going to assert something like that for discussion, why wouldn't you own it?

Fitness Goddess said...

I'm not sure where you got the idea that people don't listen to you if you are overweight. That is certainly not the environment that I am trying to create at my Blog. Especially considering that I am overweight myself.

The reason that I posted the list/scale was to show the content that was on the internet about the issue. That is why it was entitled "What Others Think." I gave my personal opinion in the blog and separated that from "what others think."

Buffedstuff said...

I was once 60 pounds overweight and it was deemed as okay, no one could see a problem, I looked healthy everyone said but I was slowly killing myself. We have to take charge of our health and our bodies. I am now on a crusade to stamp out obesity, it is destroying us as a nation.

Delishmish said...

Hi FG..

great topic.
I found your blog via Evia's blog btw.

Of course, there is much to say in this arena...and as soon as you say anything, you will have the lurkers screaming at you about your "hatred" for overweight people. What they fail to realize is that speaking up/out actualy comes from a place of love. If you did not care, you would shut up and only do for you, basically.

I would advise ANY woman of color to "step back" from a man or any other relationship that encourage and enable her to stay overweight...and one of the hardest things to do is to actually realize how you REALLY look. I am tired of seeing attractive black women, who take the time to go to "Lu Chens" nail shop, or the beauty shop, and then to the size 26 section at Lane Bryant...something is wrong here...and it is a problem that CAN be remedied..but it will take dedication.

I wish women would realize and understand that when you break free of all the barriers you set for yourself,(ie FAT) you can conquer the world. Do you think fast food type companies want you to realize this? Well of course not. They don't want to lose their number one customers...black and hispanic peoples in all likelihood.

Delishmish said...

Our bodies are our gardens... our wills are our gardeners.

William Shakespeare
1564-1616, British Poet, Playwright, Actor


What a great quote

Janice said...

I think that thick or thin does not matter. You can be malnourished no matter what size you your body type is. I think that Black women's attitude about cooking is contributing to their increase in obseity, diabetes, breast cancer and other illnesses. We proudly state that we don't cook or don't want to be in the kitchen. This mantra of female independence from the stove is hurting us. If you don't cook and eat out constantly then you are giving up your power to control your nutrition. It is difficult to know how much sugar, salt, fat, and claories are in the fast food or restaurant meals. Learning Ways to Healthy Cooking is a good way to empower yourself and your health. Black women at one time cooked for this nation. We were the caretakers of nutrition. Now we run from the knowledge of how to cook. We must change our attitude about cooking in order to change our health. All diseases are related to nutrition. Sign up for a free nutrition class or Weight Loss Challenge. Also contact me if you are interested in becoming a weight loss coach. Visit my website for more info at www.Betterway2Betterlife.com.

shocol said...


You hit the nail on the head. I believe Americans in general, not all, lack knowledge about nutrition. It seems to be readily available to the wealthy. Everyone else has to seek it out. I'm not sure it will ever become common knowledge because it would turn the US food industry upside down.

Fitness Goddess said...

Interesting Article I found related to the issue,

(BlackDoctor.org) -- I try not to stare, but I can’t help but notice. It’s not that I’m judging you, I just can’t help but wonder what is really going on. I see beautiful, smart, intelligent, young women with their hair laid and their nails polished to perfection. They are hard working, industrious, career minded women who seem to have it goin’ on. Then there’s the noticeable issue that I seem to observe most: how BIG so many young women are!

Now please don’t get me wrong. This is no indictment on the women in “The Big Girls Club”. As some people adamantly point out that this is their right and choice to be. Mo’Nique has set the stage for this mantra where women should feel good about their plus-sized stature, and she is right. Here’s the thing: Do you really feel good about chronic health issues like hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and back aches? Do you feel good about stress, breast cancer, and early death? These illnesses are linked directly to diet and lifestyle, that we know we can change!

So to my “Super-Sized Sistahs,” I’m asking you with all the love in my heart and desire to share my passion for fitness with you: What is REALLY eating YOU? ..........
click link for more


Laylah said...

I am 29 years old, am 5ft 3in, weigh 300 lbs, and I have diabetes and pre- hyper tention. Being over weight no matter what race you are is horrible because it is unhealthy and it causes sickness and disease. I think I am beautiful because I am a kind and loving person, and I am very pretty two, but when I am in the club and I can't dance for more than two songs in a row there is a serious problem. I have made a lot of changes in my lifestyle and I have lost 20lbs, and best believe there is much more to come. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, but health risk like diabetes, breast cancer, hypertention, and high cholesterol are what unhealthy women are most likely to have to deal with. I hope that we women especially my sistaz can come together and get in shape because I am sorry I don't want to die at an early age because of fried chicken, pork, biscuts and gravy, cakes, pies, cigarettes, and sitting around thinking my overweight self is the bomb when I know there is much improvemnet needed. To me being fat and fabulous is a falsified reality!!1 Laylah Lauree

Aritul said...

My only gripe is that Ashanti is listed as slim! Gabrielle Union is waaaaaay slimmer than Ashanti. Way slimmer.