The new year has come and like many folks, my number one resolution is to lose weight. Between my new job, traveling and writing, I started relying more on happy hour with co-workers to relieve stress, rather than hitting the treadmill. I finally admitted to myself that it was time to get it tight and right for 2010, when I reached for my favorite dress ― a strapless corset sheath dress ― and that puppy wouldn’t zip up.
But not everyone was so supportive of my desire to lose 15 pounds.
– “You don’t want to lose that much; black men like a big booty. You want a man right?”
– “Kellee, don’t forget that you are black. We are not meant to be skinny”
– Or my personal favorite: “Girl, I like my women thick.” (Dude, I am not your woman.)
Since when does wanting to have a consistent workout regimen and eating vegetables make me a race traitor? When did I say I wanted to morph into a black Kate Moss? And since when does a man finding me physically appealing trump me wanting to be healthy?
Perhaps I missed that memo when I was taking a boxing class.
It’s not like I mind a little jiggle or even a little cellulite, but in order for me to keep my curves, I have to work out and eat right. When is the last time you saw a woman with an hourglass figure and a muffin top?
That’s what I thought.
I completely understand where this resistance comes from. For way too long, white standards of beauty have been forced down our throats and we have been told that being stick thin is more attractive than being voluptuous. So for our own sanity we have rejected that notion and preached that beauty comes in all sizes ― hips, thighs and all.
But there is a fine line between self-acceptance and plain stupidity. And unfortunately, too many of us are not walking that line very well. Perhaps letting Monique bamboozle us into believing that being “phat” is so amazing is part of the problem (Ironically, even she lost weight). Maybe gawking over photo-shopped silicone-injected video vixens stacked up top and on bottom doesn’t help either.
Don’t get me wrong, being thick can be a wonderful thing, but not at the expense of our health. And people, we are not healthy.
According to the Office of Minority Health, 72 percent of African-American men and 80 percent of African-American women are overweight or obese. And as a result of this epidemic, we disproportionately suffer from heart disease, diabetes, stroke and chronic illness. This cycle of unhealthy and sedentary living is being passed on from generation to generation.
So keep sucking your teeth when you see my organic almond milk and my yoga mat, I can live with that. But please stop using “thickness” as a crutch, and stop labeling what’s good for us as “white people stuff.” What’s next, reading?