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?


Black Diamond said...

First of all too many of our black women is over weight and think it is cute or healthy, black women is looking real stupid when we the ones dying from all these diseases and white women living longer than us. I blame the way we were brought up cooking so I blame us. And being thick is not a reason to gain unnecessary weight we can live longer healthier lives by being an average women weight not an average black women weight.

djmadmike said...

ive seen thick healthy women...the problem is what women identify as healthy ie fat turns into muscle or i get whistles and number lookin like this so why change. I'm not a fan on McDonalds however I can do 30days and not gain a pound eating it everyday. Between the salad and light lemonade i can survive, i mention this because it is a matter of choices we make!

Glennisha Morgan said...

It's nothing wrong with being thick if you are healthy. If you consider yourself, "thick" just ask yourself these questions. What am I eating? How much of it am I eating? Am I exercising? If you are eating the "good foods" and not eating enormous portions and you work out then you should be fine. Rather your thick or not.

mekare said...

"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."

THANK YOU!!!! When I read the article, I just thought the writer was being rude and wanted to put down black women. Really. That's ALL I got out of it.

And that makes no sense. There ARE other "video girls" who DO exercise (Melyssa Ford, Ky Toi Johnson.)

This article address NONE of the real issues that black women deal with in regards to weight. I just wish Mrs. Dickerson would step away from the typewriter. Quickly.

mekare said...

In regards to free activities, you can always take yourself or your dog to the numerous parks in your city.

You can join a YMCA/YWCA or a recreational center in your area for a low fee.

Fitness Goddess said...

Thanks for the Comments guys!
Keep those suggestions coming.

gorgeous black women said...

That is some straight bull. What's her waist measurement? 26, maybe 27 inches? You don't get that from eating crap. The fat did not all migrate to her booty, totally skipping her waist.

I don't want to look like her. I also don't want to look like Chanel Iman either.

Anonymiss said...

I read this article and hated it.
Debra sounds like an out of touch snob.

Laziness isn't the sole reason for why a number of us are unhealthy.

There are a host of factors:
- Portion control
- Food preparation
- Cultural diets
- Little to no access to FRESH and AFFORDABLE groceries
- Expensive gym memberships
- Little to no access of (safe) parks to exercise in
- Little to no access of health info
- Living and working in high stress environments

And like someone said, Melyssa Ford and KiToy Johnson are in excellent shape so that totally debunks her theory. Most, if not, all video vixens are in great shape. If we wanted to look like them, we wouldn't do it through eating. If anything, video vixens are "fat" in the right places (T&A and thighs).

And for her to be a sista and not understand our haircare issues is beyond me. Depending on the industry, it's demanded of Blk women to be as "presentable" as our White counterparts. The best hair for exercise is non-relaxed (low maintenance) hair but not everyone has the luxury of working for someone who doesn't mind your braids or afro. Luckily I do :-)

Darra said...

How can a woman who is not obese contribute to obesity among WOC? It doesn't make sense. Just because Buffy is shapely does not mean that she is obese. If you look her up she is 5'7 and wieghs 157 lb which is a decent body wieght for her hieght. The definition of obese is Extremely fat; grossly overweight. She is definitely not extremely fat . I agree that laziness and bad nutrition are the reason why many WOC are extremely overwieght not Buffy.

Miss Lez said...

This article was very helpful and hard to find. It helps me to monitor my curves. Some people consider me fat, while others say i am a good size. My Career is Yoga, my curves are that of a typical Black woman. When i tone, it is automatically my arms and legs. I find i am compared to other skinny women. All i can do is monitor my food portions, exercise daily, add pilates, and love my black curves.
This can be such a complex issues.

The Curvy Yogi