Stretch marks, dark scars, folds and rolls, hyper-pigmentation, random fatty deposits, dimpling skin, constantly kissing thighs and a ground-moving shake when I walk into the room. Maybe my seasoning hand is too heavy, perhaps my portion sizes are larger than what can hold on an average western plate and alternatively I’ll agree - I could bake my chicken instead of frying it.
The pleasure in what I am, what I do and more immediately what I look like is not shared by everyone or even a sizeable majority. My desirability and value is priced in accordance with popular culture’s body of the week, likely to be thin and porcelain. Notably with a few more fat, black and femme bodies visible in pop culture, some would hope the body-positive movement has somehow challenged the old and frankly boring narrative of the ‘hilariously overweight, undersexed but somehow likeable’ fatter friend. But in likelihood at best it has only evolved into a more marketable plumpness.
I have long appreciated and often times needed the multiple and varied references from my own global black culture wherein larger than average bodies are not an instant signifier of poor health or unattractiveness. Before Drake declared he likes his girls ‘BBW’ fat black women have been lovable, fuckable and happy. We don’t need to be lauded just respected. Some of us are satisfied knowing that the only change in our before and after pictures may be the colour of our lipstick. There is no tangible correlation between my pleasure, purpose and shape.
If I'm ugly and therefore unattractive because of these facts, I haven't noticed. Like Lucille Clifton, most days will find me in a high enough spirits to pay a ‘Homage to My Hips’ choosing comfort over figure-flattering every time.
Body in Context: Panel
Saturday, October 15th