On February 27 Washington Post published an article that had the ability to challenge the perceptions of beauty that many communities hold as their mores on the subject. In terms of Black women it is wholly necessary for others to understand that the “condition” requires a resilience in and of itself. But when the matter of size enters the equation, many women of color confront standards of beauty that are not designed without them in mind at all. Given that reality many women of color buck the establishment merely by existing…so why not walk with your head held high?
Like many black women, Gibson describes her 5-foot-4, size 14-plus physique as “thick,” and considers herself ultra-feminine — no matter what the mainstream culture has to say about it.
She’s one of the most full-figured women in the gym, but she’s in love with her body. And it’s a sentiment that syncs perfectly with a recent survey conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation that focused on African American women. The poll found that although black women are heavier than their white counterparts, they report having appreciably higher levels of self-esteem. Although 41 percent of average-sized or thin white women report having high self-esteem, that figure was 66 percent among black women considered by government standards to be overweight or obese.
Historically black women have endured far worse than trying to fit in. There will be and have always been someone who appreciates our curves just as they are- in all of their glory.
And black women have tools for resisting tyranny, especially from a mainstream culture that has historically presented them negatively, or not at all. Freed from that high-powered media gaze, generations of black women have fashioned their own definitions of beauty with major assists from literature and music — and help from their friends.
Who in the hell are effeminate often Caucasian males (designers and fashion officiants) to tell voluptuous women that the world wants a “less” feminine formed female? Endowed ladies of color are resisting the notion and instead embracing their peace. Men of color and real men in general often prefer “meat and potatoes” on their plates.
Among Neil’s clients, white women “are self-conscious about the numbers. They say I want to weigh 110, 115, 120.” Black women, who always say they want to keep their curves, “give me sizes — 6, 8, 10, 12.”
“White women are not coming to a trainer saying I want to be a 12. Every white woman who wants to work out and train wants to be petite, petite, no curves, no hips, no butt, nothing, just toned,” he says.
A contributor on Twitter stated that “No matter our sizes we all need to make better lifestyle choices”, including food, health, exercise, and mental stability.