Are Black Women Too Fat for Dating and Marriage?

| 08/21/2011 | Comments (18)

 
As if it weren’t bad enough that Black women and their bodies are under attack by mainstream White media and Republican conservatives, now Black actors are getting in on the action.

The weekend of August 12, 2011, actor Boris Kodjoe took to Twitter to share his opinions about the statistical obesity rates of Black females in the U.S. His statements followed sharing of a nightmare he had: a 300 pound woman wearing a thong was grinding on him while eating a fried chicken leg.

Really, Boris?

My grandfather always told us “it is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Too bad those words of wisdom didn’t reach Boris’ ears.

Anyway, after going back and forth with female followers and apologetically stating that he loves all women, Boris summed up his thoughts by telling Black women that they need to stop making excuses for being overweight and not exercising:

Here are his Tweets so you can review them for yourself:

 

I will concede that the essence of what he is saying is correct – portion control and exercising wherever you can make it happen 3-5 days per week is a great way to manage your weight. However, the chief issue I have with his Tweets is the Fat Excuse #2 that associates a larger body frame with poor health and undesirability as a romantic partner.

As a personal trainer and author of a soon to be published book on fitness for thick women, I was disgusted by Boris’ Tweets. He needs to stay in his acting envelope. I feel that taking the time out from his busy acting schedule and role as a husband and father to criticize Black women was just plain foul. He comes across as just another black man trying to tell Black women how we don’t measure up to the standards of Black men.

One time I would like to see Black women rise up en masse and stop living their lives to please and gain the attention of Black men. Every man of every race for some reason believes that the way HE thinks is the way that all men think. Thus, a man such as Boris Kodjoe flatly telling women that all men want their woman to be slim is untrue. It is difficult for men to accept that the way they think applies only to them. Really, if it were true that thin women are more always deemed by men to be most attractive, more desirable and most marriageable, then every thin woman would be snatched up and involved in a happy relationship or married!

I don’t know about you, but I see a lot more plain Jane’s and heavy women in happy relationships with loving men than I do thin women, which means his thinking is rather silly.

In addition to my work in the relationships industry, I have been involved in the health/fitness field in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 10 years. I know FOR A FACT that a woman being overweight does not equate to her being unhealthy, nor does it mean that no one wants to love her!

Unless a woman is naturally thin, it means she has probably eaten a nutritionally barren diet her entire life, terrified of gaining a pound lest she become “undesirable” to men.  Other women have wasted away all their lean tissue (including organ and connective tissue like ligaments and tendons) by skipping meals and crash dieting. Some women are so anxious and psycho their nervous and digestive systems are in a shambles.

But they don’t care about that because they are thin!

Thin women also have diabetes, cancer, hypertension, strokes and heart attacks as much or even more than heavy people. I see this first hand. So the popular mentality that American men have that because a woman is heavy she is automatically unhealthy needs to go.

Lastly, if Mr. Kodjoe were truly so concerned about weight, exercise and its benefits to health he might have tried directing his comments to Black MEN, not Black women.

Black men are keeling over dying of heart attacks, having strokes, and suffering loss of sexual ability due to drugs, alcohol, lack of exercise, smoking, poor nutrition, drugs and cigarettes. Why not focus on making men healthier so they would be here to raise their children and love their wives?

I think its sad how Americans have bought into the mass media diet industry marketing campaign, and automatically associate large body size with health issues and thin body size with health. I mean AUTOMATICALLY. I keep wondering when people understand that the diet and diet drug pharmaceutical industry and everything associated with them is a multi-billion dollar money making machine? If you notice, smoking as a cancer related death has not gotten even HALF the promotion as that of fat = health failure.

Boris Kodjoe is an actor, husband and father. He makes his money by pretending to be something and someone else. His profession requires him to look a certain way to present an image and secure roles. But he has no expertise in the health or fitness field. He is neither a physician, nurse, physical therapist nor even a trainer. He has no authority to make any statements about anyone’s weight being anything and have it be viewed as credible. But if a Black man says “jump!” then five million Black women leap up in the air just because a Black man told them to. At some point Black women need to wake up and smell the funk!

What is considered “fat” is cultural and it is certainly individual. And I am also saying that what is deemed healthy should not be automatically associated with weight; heaviness and health can go hand in hand. All that being considered clinically obese does is reportedly increase RISKS, but it does not mean you are unhealthy nor does it guarantee that you will succumb to any medical affliction. Likewise, being thin and considered at LESS RISK does not mean you have a pass to a long life and no health problems. People really need to let go of their assumptions and prejudices about weight.

Understand the true issue here: Black women are under attack. Boris’ Tweets and dozens of other articles by Black men talk about Black women and their weight, using weight and dress size to determine a woman’s value as a mate and worthiness of love.  Black men have deemed us to be unmarriageable, too fat, too loud, too materialistic, too picky, too educated, too into thugs… too everything – for Black men’s tastes.  It’s time to let those criticisms and judgments go.

Stop worrying about what Black men think and certainly do not structure your existence or choices in life to please them. Do you. Be proud of and love yourself no matter what your physical body size.

Even if you are heavier than a height/weight chart says you should be, it doesn’t mean you are unhealthy. Just exercise, because the best thing for the human body and heart is movement no matter what your size. Enjoy your life and the people that you share it with and you’ll be just fine!

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Deborrah

Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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Category: Looking Your Best

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Comments (18)

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  1. EricJohnson10 says:

    this article is spot on! It’s just so sad that most black just don’t take better care of themselves…period! Then most just get their usual, and predictable negative attitude when this topic is openly discussed. Sorry, but it is what it is! To be honest I’m sick, and tired of seeing all these fat, overweight black women…that are for the most part in utter, and complete DENIAL! Sorry, but simply just having a big butt just doesn’t cut it anymore! Try instead acting like LADIES for a change? Have some respect for yourselves, and drop both the HIAR HATS..along with your typical all too well know big negative black women’s attitude. Last, AIDS is also a serious issue as it relates to black women…which have 2 out of every 3 cases of aids for all races of women today in the US! So, my brothers why even go there? It’s nothing but a potential death sentence. With women like these…who needs any enemies?

  2. alanah_williams_purple says:

    I’m not going to even read this article because after looking over Boris Kodjoe’s tweets, I must say that I absolutely 100% agree with him!!  Ladies put the chicken down and go jog!  I’m seriously sad to see how black women are overly critical of any and every critism about them. Boris is telling the truth! Sisters, we DO need to be more concerned about health, the black communtiy period. Boris was not bashing. Far too many sisters think that being “thick” means huge/flobby arms, wide/disformed butt, a stomach that sticks out farther than their butt, etc etc. GET REAL!! That’s never been cute and never will be in this day and age. Black women wake up. We’re soooooo busy defending ourselves from the evil world that  we’re literally becoming delusional and neglectful of OURSELVES!!  Our attitudes, our weight, and tacky weaves truly is an issue. Not all black women but too many of us.

  3. Dana says:

    I would have given Kodjoe some respect if he talked about obesity and African Americans as whole, or talked about obesity and African American men. Why go on Twitter and tweet about African American women? He’s not a doctor, and he’s not an African American woman.

  4. joeclyde says:

    So instead of trying to talk about issues that are affecting many Black women. You want to turn this into another Black men vs. Black women article?

    So if a White man said the same exact thing. Would you listen then? Probably would have said “Where are the Black men protecting us?”

    • eLLe85 says:

      The “issue” doesn’t just affect or impact Black women. It impacts a hell of a lot of Americans, including Black men. BORIS made it “another Black men vs. Black women” debate when he foolishly tweeted in the first place. Don’t get mad because Black women have to look out for ourselves, we already know black Males won’t do it, so somebody has to. What you need to do is not bring up white men or anyone else, how about addressing what the article is about though? How about addressing Black men presumably such as yourself– who have distorted thinking and views and have delusional and sick ways that have single-handedly destroyed the Black Community? How about that?

  5. Bellydancer says:

    Thank you Deborrah for pointing out that some of those items used to determine weight, height and BMI are flawed when it comes to Black women. Other scientist have also discovered this. I tried to post something yesterday but I don’t think it went through so forgive me If I am repeating my self.
    I actually gained more weight after getting diabetes from the medications I was prescribed, one making me gain 36 pounds in less than 18 months. I had to stop taking it and now have to take a diuretic to flush the fluid gain from my body. Some of this weight gain that black women are getting can be from medicines and you have to fight with your doctor to get off of them.

  6. BlackNarcissus says:

    Boris Kodjoe shouldn’t be giving out health advice, or making general statements about what all men like. However I didn’t see where he said black women are too fat for dating or marriage, or that larger women are completely undesirable. Neither did he say black men are attracted to women who look like twigs.

    Fat, thin, and thick are relative terms. But because a lot black men say that they’re attracted to thick women, some black women seem to think that, that means they can get as big as they want, and will still be considered attractive to most black men, this is not the case. Whether wrong or right there are plenty of articles online posted about black female obesity, that aren’t paid attention to. I don’t think the health thing is the main issue in regards to Boris Kodjo’s comments. I think women are making a big thing out of his comments, because of his statements about big women not being attractive.

    I find it interesting that black women see no problem in putting down black men in every way possible, and having all the ridiculous standards in the world, but have a problem with a black man saying that he’s not attracted to a certain type of woman.

    • Deborrah says:

      Nobody cares that he is not attracted, that you are not attracted, that JoJo and Pea Pod are not attracted. That is not the issue here. The issue is that one man assumes that his viewpoint is the one for every single man in the world. Which women wisely know to ignore because there are men that LOVE boney women that look like little boys, and there are men that LOVE big fat women, and there are men that LOVE everything in between.

      Its just a matter of personal preference. But when men talk about women and their physical size, they make it seem like every woman that is big is totally unqualified unilaterally for a relationship or marriage. Like she HAS to be slim to even be considered. Again, that is not the case across the board, or even the majority of men. Young men maybe because they are still caught up in picking a wife with their dick. Older men know that bodies change with childbirth and aging and they love women in all their glory.

      It’s funny too because until the 1960s, the rubenesque figure was in fashion. Men loved women with curves, and the more the better. Thick thighs, juicy hips, tummies and boobs. Arms were not muscled either. But after the Twiggy era of the 1960s, everyone went to the other side and started preferring boney women with straight hips and no bustline. Then things swung into the athletic 6 pack abs look on women.

      Bottom line, every woman no matter how much she weighs is attractive and sexy to somebody! My thing is to get women to understand that they can still be a size 18, 20 or 22, but must exercise to tighten that stuff up. Women’s bodies should jiggle, but only in a few select spots! And I would never say nor condone any stupid ass man making the types of negative comments Boris Kodjoe made, thinking he was “helping” Black women feel better or do better. Attacking people when you have no clue why they are the size they are, is ignorant.

  7. Bellydancer says:

    What really makes me mad is that once I became diabetic and went on medication I gained 86 pounds over the years one medicine made me gain 36 pounds in less than 2 years. I finally stopped taking it because of the extreme weight gain. I also ended up on another medicine to combat the affects of another. So when people say silly shit like oh your weight gain caused diabetes even though it does run in my father’s family it drives me crazy cuz the extreme weight gain came later due to the insulin and drugs.
    It took almost a year to lose and keep off 20 pounds because I am still on medicines that make water weight. Men like Boris need to STFU about women’s weight gain since a lot of that shit is caused by family stress i.e black men especially.

    • Andrea says:

      All but 3 of the type 2 diabetics I have known over the years were thin/skinny…. In the beginning, at least. What happened to you does not surprise me.

      • Steph says:

        As a health professional I can give you a simple explanation. The reason most Type II diabetic are skinny in the beginning is that the body lacks the ability to store sugar in its cells and as fat properly ie the high level of sugar in the blood. So a person with uncontrolled diabetes can tend to be thinner.
        The purpose of diabetic meds is to help the body store sugars properly again, because if the cells don’t get their sugar bad things happen(ie the weight gain because even the fat cells with get more sugar once on meds).

  8. Andrea says:

    I agree with you. I have 2 doctors and 7 nurses in my family and they have all said the same thing regarding weigh and health: It is not the only indicator.

    Also, doctors already know that being fat doesn’t cause cancer. In fact, as the average American weight (for men and women) has increased, the rate for ALL cancers has decreased. This is a proven fact!

    Doctors do not share this fact with their patients, because they don’t want to encourage patients to be fat. This is a personal preference issue. Doctors are biased and prefer thin patients. There was a study done a few years ago that proved that a majority of doctors, or at least a majority of the doctors interviewed, resented caring for heavier patients.

    Diabetes has nothing to do with weight either and everything to do with nutrition, or lack thereof. Not surprisingly, many overweight people of all ages eat badly. However, when overweight diabetics eat healthier and lose weight and their diabetes disappears, it’s always the weight loss that gets the credit. Not the improved nutrition.

    Boris Kodjoe should stick to acting and leave the health advice to those who know what the hell they’re talking about. He was obviously just looking for some free publicity, and using Black women to get it.

  9. Vel L says:

    Does Boris actually mention black women in any of his tweets? (I didn’t visit his channel, just looking at the ones in the screenshot.)

    If Boris’s motives for this was to tear black women down and make them feel unworthy of love, then Boris is wrong and not a decent person. However, you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water. Just because his motives may have been misogynistic or abusive, it doesn’t mean he’s completely wrong.

    I don’t think a woman should do something just because a man says she should or announces that it’s what he likes. However, I think a woman should want to do what’s best for her. Being obese increases the risk of all sorts of health ailments, as you briefly mentioned, but sort of glossed over or dismissed. Why would someone want to do something that they know will more than double their risk of developing diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heartburn, infertility, arthritis and early death? Exactly what benefits are there to being obese? You’re really not doing the black women who are obese a favor by pretending they are at far higher risk of developing these conditions and/or dying prematurely. Of course you don’t have to be obese to get these conditions, but everyone, including obese women, should be doing what’s possible to avoid these undesirable conditions and premature death.

    Obesity isn’t a natural state. That’s why you never see obese animals in nature, and people weren’t obese before modern times in the western world. There are various signs of poor health that people subconsciously, naturally look out for and avoid when seeking a mate. A woman who is thin and in poor health will show signs of her health status that men will subconsciously pick up on…maybe her eyes have lost their shine, her complexion looks washed out, her hair is dull, stringy, or falling out, or her menstrual cycles stops and men don’t sense the right hormones. Maybe she isn’t in poor health, because not all people who have one or more of those symptoms are unhealthy. Still, these are indicators people subconsciously look for, like obesity.

    “Just accept yourself” should be about accepting the best, healthiest version of you. That is self-love. Yes, you shouldn’t believe anyone who says you don’t deserve love or marriage, but you should love yourself enough to want better for you.

    Just my opinion.

  10. It's All Gravy says:

    this story just proves time and time again that you can’t tell a woman shit unless it’s a compliment

    • Deborrah says:

      The problem here is that men think because they say something that its important enough for women to listen to. And even more silly, they think that its important enough for women to act on. Both thoughts are in error. Yall just like to hear yourselves jabber. It doesn’t mean much of anything. That’s why we don’t listen to you. We listen to compliments, but even then only with one ear. In the back of our minds we know you are complimenting because you want something.

  11. Flower Mack says:

    This is what I have personally observed, over the last 20-30yrs and it includes 90% of my friends & associates: Many (I would not say all) African Americans, do not concern themselves wholly with what they eat, how it affects their health and do not make excercise a part of their lifestyle. This is a fact. Only when one is stricken with diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, a stroke, or other life threatening health issue, then maybe lifestyle changes may occur.

    When one races up to a larger size, no conscious effort is given to the fact that one needs to check their habits contributing to the weight gain and pro-actively do something about it. BEFORE you get to that size 18. Also, our race seems to think that having big boobs and a big (huge) butt is something to die for.

    Furthermore, these bad habits are placed upon the children, and now we have record highs of diabetes 2, obesity and high blood pressure, as evidenced in kindergarten and elementary school-aged children.

    Preparation of food and portion control are the keys, along with excercise. You have to move. No way getting around it.

    As far as Black women being overweight, there are equally as many Black men who are overweight. I wish FOR ONCE that we would look @the REALITY of HEALTH and know that we are in charge of it and NOT make any excuses to defend an unhealthy lifestyles. Health charts are established scientifically for a reason.

    • Deborrah says:

      In my upcoming book The Thick Chicks Home Workout Program, I discuss the issue of height/weight charts and how they are wrong for African Americans. I have scientific proof of the reasons why they should be modified or used with caution, and BMI should not be considered at all for Blacks. Get more information and add your name to the Interest List at the link.

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