Monday, July 28, 2008
Buffie the Body: Healthy, My Ass
A couple of you told me to check out the article "Healthy, my ass" by Debra Dickerson a while ago. I just got a round to it today, so here are my thoughts. For those of you that aren't familiar with the article click here.
I am pretty familiar with Debra Dickerson. I read her book the "End of Blackness" a long time ago, so I'm not surprised at her point of view here. Anyway, back to the article...
Here's what really caught my attention
According to a Village Voice article by Ben Westhoff, there are a slew of "urban" magazines finding success with men of color by replacing the traditional photo spreads of well-known bony models and actresses with unknown, "round the way sisters." Looks and fitness -- not required. Gi-normous butts (and weaves) -- must have. Buffie, with a 45-inch ass, is the reigning queen of this scene and her popularity speaks to blacks' normalization of a very un-p.c. fatness. Besides being a cover girl, Buffie appeared in the movie "ATL" as Big Booty Judy and is "as recognizable in the black community as some supermodels."
I don't see how Buffie's the body is promoting obesity in our community. I see her body as unattainable and it certainly would not influence me to drink a ton of supplement shakes to fatten up my ass. I think her body shows the variety in WOC (women of colors) bodies. I think companies like McDonald's, our causing our communities much more damage then Buffie the body. McDonald's is trying to promote themselves as if they have healthy food. I have seen advertisements in Essence and during "Black in America" where McDonald's was really trying to promote their "healthy items"....I'll save that for another post. Back to Ms. Dickerson
According to the Voice, Buffie "eats nothing but junk food and sugary drinks, and she doesn't work out." Starting out at only 120 pounds 10 years ago, she developed her "attributes" by chugging supplement shakes in order to gain weight. "Black women don't want to be skinny," she said.
To my knowledge supplement shakes are healthy, so I don't see the problem. It's not like she had extra fat implanted in her butt. Buffie eats junk food and sugary drinks like a lot of WOC. She is no different than many women that I know.
It's fairly common knowledge that many black (and Hispanic) men prefer their women larger than do other groups, a reality that launched Buffie on her path to glory. It is perhaps less well known that that preference has contributed to extremely high levels of obesity among black women.
It does appear that Black men like women who are more than just skin and bones, I don't see the problem with that. Has this preference really contributed to extremely high levels of obesity among black women? She doesn't site any research so we can't be sure. We can be sure that are there a ton of other factors that contribute to obesity rates like; lack of access to safe areas, lack of education, lack resources (how to care for your hair, eat right), time, money for fresh foods, etc. I wish she spent some time focusing on some of this issues and offering some suggestions, that would have been more worth her time.
I don't think that Debra Dickerson brought anything new to the table. We already know that we are in danger with our alarming obesity rates. Blaming Buffie the Body or Black Men for our problem will do nothing for us. We have to help each other. I mentioned in a previous post that some of us are privileged. We have access to a gym, money to buy fresh fruits and veggies, and time to take care of ourselves. Those of us that are privileged have to help other women. Encourage your sister, cousins, friends to make arrangements to exercise. Help them find and use the resources that are available to them.
For example, in Chicago
-There are free exercise classes on Saturday mornings in the park
- You can use the Fitness in Center in Chicago Park districts for a minimal fee (my boyfriend uses it and it's like 30 bucks for 3 months)
-You can You tube almost anything (8 minute abs, 8 min buns etc.)
Suggestions for Free Activities in your City? (comment and I will add them to the post).
Thoughts or comments about the article?
What are you doing to help other black women?