Black “Fat”

  Are black women fat because they want to be? What an interesting question. When I think about black women in weight it never occurred to me that there was a weight issue. In the article I was reading titled Black Women and Fat, the author brings up some interesting points. Black fat and white fat are not the same socially. It is more socially acceptable to have an overweight black women than it is an overweight white one. BUT WHY? Overweight is Overweight body fat is body fat right? So what’s the difference? I have an idea….



So, my take on why it may seem like black women like to be fat is because we are told that how its suppose to be. When I was growing up, my grandma would always talk about how she don’t have no narrow tailed children or grandchildren. All of her children have meat and hips and thighs. When we would come over she would say how small we look and that we should eat and eat and eat…and eat. So I suppose knowing that as a black women you are suppose to have hips and a butt was something I knew from when I was a child. Granted not every black women had this type of childhood so it is possible that their body image can stem from somewhere else.


Looking at the language surrounding black women that are larger it kind of seems like bigger bodies are praised. Words like “thick” and “big boned” are used to describe the sizes of black women. If someone says your “thick” or “Big Boned” you do not feel as bad about the way you look. But if someone said you were fat or obese then the feeling tends to be a bad one. Its good to be thick as a black woman. It seems as if it is a more desirable body type. Just being skinny or thin is out. WE WANT MEAT!



One of the biggest influences on black women and their body types is black men and rap music. I can not tell you how many times I have heard black men talk about how they do not want no small frail body on their women. They want some hips and thighs and butt “cushion for the pushin” (I giggled when I typed that) they want it all. It just seems funny to me because they body type among black women that is desirable is unrealistic. We got to have big breast, a small waist, big hips, and a big butt. Do you know how hard that is to make happen? (oh its hard trust me ive tried). Rap music, and music videos don’t make it any easier. Most of the women in the videos are “thick” and have hips and butts and thighs, and they are liked and desired by the opposite sex. These images and lyrics create an ideal body type for black women. An unrealistic body type.


Overall it seems more socially acceptable to be black and fat almost like the norm. Im sure that black women care about their weight its just that in black culture being overweight is not seen as fat, its good to have a little something extra. The realization about what is being promoted is something that we as a culture are going to have to work on. With the growing number of diabetic cases, obesity is something we are no longer going to be able to ignore. I do not believe that black women are fat because they want to be, because I do not believe we see ourselves as fat.


Of course this is just my take on it, im open to opinions and thoughts about this I want to know how you all are feeling.



About relmo003

Junior ODU Sociology Criminal Justice Double Major
This entry was posted in Body Image and Beauty, Race & Ethnicity. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Black “Fat”

  1. Wow! If you do a Google search on “black women and fat” there are a ton of people talking about this article.

    I think we should try and disentangle your two main questions. Why are black women fat? is not the same as: Why is it more socially acceptable for black women to be fat? The first question we can answer by looking at foodways and economics and genetics: all the different social and environmental factors that go into making our bodies. The second question is even trickier. I think male desire and media images have something to do with it. But its also about race in the United States and how our culture imagines “race” to be something inherent in the body rather than socially constructed.

    • relmo003 says:

      There is a lot of talk about this topic online. when i first began to read about it i could think of many examples of seeing black women that were overweight but were told that, that particular body type was more desirable. in the blog post i made i tried to state my side of it and what i thought the reason behind it all was. There are a slew of different opinions on why this could be, i just cant seem to find a clear understanding on it. i was hoping to get more feedback to see what other people thought, but you win some you loose some.

  2. nharr031 says:

    I agree that black fat and white fat are different mainly associated with what men like and the food that we (black women) grew up eating. Soul food such as corn bread and other southern favorites for Sunday dinner all contributed to the black female’s body shape giving us wider hips and thicker bottoms.

    I see a lot of big girls who live by the phrase “I’m not fat, I’m big boned”. This to me indicates they understand they are overweight but they enjoy their size and don’t mind living with the fact they are overweight and they know they are eye candy for black guy, or any guy who enjoy bigger women.

  3. Jeff Acheampong says:

    Big girls really do feel beautiful in their own skin these days and they criticize men for choosing the slimmer women. BET is all about that but I still choose thick women or smaller.

  4. alexisib says:

    This is everywhere! The two definitions of fat or overweight vary tremendously. ‘We have slogans like “fat is beautiful”, men rapping about wanting woman with “thick hips”. But, to answer you’re first question, I agree with you that weight issues stem from how we were raised. Since I was a child my cousins and aunts made fun of me saying I “eat like a bird” because I was a lot smaller then they were (I come from a big-boned family), for the longest time I was convinced I had to gain weight to be beautiful.

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