“Fat, Black, and Female” Blackness and Weight in the media

This was a piece commissioned by the lovely Kivabay for a body positivity series talking about weight and intersectionality. This piece has inspired many others that will appear on this sight intermittently over the coming months.

This is a guest piece commissioned for #BigBodyPosi

I like to tell my friends that being fat, black, and a woman is like being the Captain Planet of overused stereotypes, but without the neat rings. Laziness! Welfare queen! Anger! Mamie! Domineering! GO BLACKNESS!With your powers combined I am stereotype!” (Now if only I had a cool goddess to bum around with). Being a FBW is a pretty tough draw, and I realized pretty young that the media made it clear those traits had specific connotations when combined.

Finding well-rounded black female characters has always been hard though it has been getting easier in the last 30 years, but add “fat” and along comes stereotyping; we’re loud because all black women are loud; not feminine because if we were we wouldn’t be fat…and besides black women have never been allowed to be seen as feminine; unlovable not only because we’re fat, but because we’re dark; and un-educated because fat people and black people are intellectually inferior. At the same time we’re motherly invulnerable strong independent black women who don’t need no man! These generalizations don’t leave much wiggle room to be people. I graduated cum laude from college and collect Sailor Moon memorabilia. I have FBW friends who speak three languages and run track. Yet our media images are still based around these descriptions, ignoring our individuality. We are silent sisters visible only in misshapen shadows that deny our personhood, our varied humanity, in favor of stereotypes….”

Read more here

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