A Few Highlights...

It's Michel. I was fried at the end of yesterday. Long week. But ready to "blog it out..."

SPEAKING OF FRIED — you all had A LOT to say about the Debra Dickerson — Jasmyne Cannick conversation on Monday about why so many black women are overweight. Dickerson's theory is that the culture kind of supports it; Jasmyne countered that the fried and true foods of the traditional "soul food" diet are often all that's available in many black neighborhoods.

Many of you all agreed with Jasmyne:

Well I can't speak for all african american men but being over weight is not safe for our women and it is not so much the weight that is gain, it is the food...

Another perspective...

I am not African American, but I can totally relate with what Jasmyne Cannick said. As someone with a very low income it is incredibly difficult for me to afford healthy food — unfortunately, most food that you can buy on a budget is not particularly good for you. Also, I think that serving fried foods and beans with lard and pork and greens is not just an African American thing — my grandmother is from Kentucky, and one of the "healthy" things she tries to give me is hamburgers with both the buns and patties fried in butter.

OUCH — love you grandma, but not that much.

But many of you did implicate the culture...in the same way Debra did. Here's an example:

...think the problem lies with how we have gone from a race of people who once valued our sisters as prize possesions [sic] to the now denigrating of their worth. If the hiphop media continues to exploit them, eventually their self esteem and respect is totally lost.

Another...

I totally agree with the author of the article. While it is true that African-American women are built differently from European women, that is by no means an excuse for the rising rates of obesity in our community. We have somehow substituted the word "thick" for the term obsese [sic]. There is no reason that we have 12 year old girls wearing a size 12 in womens...

And yet another...

Could there be any corrolation [sic] to the fact that black women are one of the most underrepresented groups in GYMS. Actually working out, not just walking slow on the treadmill...

OK — ouch again. And many of you shared some personal experiences about how you felt about your weight and how you feel the society encourages you to feel about your weight:

As an African-American woman with a very petite frame, (a healthy size 0-3), I find that society does condone/encourage obesity in black women. I have often been critized [sic] by black men and black women alike for not being "thick" enough. My culture makes it seem as though I'm not sexy enough...The comedian Monique has a book entitled "Skinny women are evil". If I weren't secure with myself, I would have severe body issues, even though I'm a healthy, physically fit woman.

Wow. I actually met Mo'Nique and asked her about this. Trust me she was joking, but I take your point. I think she thinks that this society devalues large-sized women...and, call me crazy, but do movies and TV really ever depict large-sized women in flattering ways? Aren't they always depicted as "extra" — big, loud, sex starved?...Especially when they're also of a darker complexion? Or, if they're white, they're often used as the butt of humor — rude and redneck.

Again, am I crazy? Anyway, that's my take on the thing, but I sure do appreciate having yours.

Have a great weekend...eat your peas. And a shout out to the all the Dads and the granddads who are holding it down.

Happy Father's Day!

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