No One Wants a Bone But A Dog
“Only black men like fat chicks.”
You’ve probably heard this phrase before, or encountered this stereotype on TV or in real life. As reports Robyn McGee in this article, there is a long-held trope that African American men tend to go for heavier ladies more regularly than other men. McGee even points out that the eponymous title of this post is, in fact, is a traditional saying in the African American community.
It is true that of all the guys that have hit on me in my life, most of them have been black (or Latino, the other stereotyped lover of the lumps.) But I have also been hit on by white guys and Asian men alike. In fact, I dated an Asian man at one point. However, just because I observe (in real like and in reel life) more black guys go for thicker women does not mean they are the only men that will.
Even more prolific is the idea that only African men will go for a heavy woman. Apparently, a full woman is most appreciated among African cultures. In this piece, Chux Ohai explores the phenomenon of why African men (particularly Nigerian) are attracted to fully-built women. Actually, it’s a pretty much a widely-held idea that heavy women are accepted and appreciated in any non-white culture (excluding East Asian) because of how being fatness relates to fertility and being able to take care of a family. Movies like Phat Girlz and Beauty Shop, in which both Prince Charmings happen to be African men just perpetuate this myth that only an African man can appreciate a “real” (read: fat) woman.
But notice that the women in these films (and others such as Last Holiday) are also black. No surprise there: it’s certainly not just African /Latino men who prefer a thicker woman. As described in this Washington Post piece, “women of color” are also much more accepting of their own bodies than white women. A fuller body is a stronger body, a body more capable of “handling a real man,” (whatever that means.) You won’t find a really popular white, heavy starlet as the lead in her own movie because a thick white woman is just not accepted in our society as much as a heavy black/Latina woman is. In this essay, Joseph Kerr notes that even as early as the turn of the 20th century, popular vaudevillian performer Sophie Tucker, a large woman and one of the most popular enterainers of her time, was forced to take on the “mammy” role in black minstrelsy shows because the audience would be more comfortable seeing a heavy woman play a black characters than a white character.
Talented women like Kate Winslet (once much curvier before she decided to shed some extra weight), Camryn Manheim, Marissa Jaret Winokur, (of Broadway’s Hairspray), Ricki Lake (erm, let’s forgo that talent thing for this one), Kirstie Alley, Roseanne Barr, Beth Ditto (lead singer of post-riot grrrl band The Gossip), Delta Burke, Kathy Bates, and countless other female performers are known for their weight issues before they are known for their acting (and singing) abilities. Contrast this to women like Janet Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Raven-Symone, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, and comedienne Mo’Nique who are noted for their talents before their thicknesses.
So back to the issue at hand. Is it true that it is rare for a white man to prefer big women compared to men of color? I wouldn’t go a far as to say “rare” (perhaps “rarer” would be more appropriate), but just from observation I would hold it to be true that a majority of white men just don’t appreciate a built woman the same way they would an athletic woman. This may not always be the case, as you will find fat admirers in any ethnicity, race, and culture, but I don’t doubt for a second that more black/Latino/Central-South Asian men have been attracted to me in my life than white men.
I theorize this may have a lot to do with the Industrial Revolution, when the need for large families dissipated. If a slim-hipped, slender woman becomes your wife, so what? She will only have to birth and take care of only a handful of children anyway, if that many.
So here I shall leave you with two of my favorite music videos, Sir Mixalot’s “Baby Got Back” and Anthony Hamilton’s “Sista Big Bones”, which I hope will illustrate my findings. Although there are certainly songs written by white men praising big women (many in a more comical than romantic/erotic way), I believe that these two songs depict a common, positive sentiment among African American men who are interested in larger women.
~ by Rob Anne on April 12, 2007.
Posted in "No one wants a bone but a dog", African Men, Anthony Hamilton, Aretha Franklin, Baby Got Back, Beth Ditto, Black Men, Camryn Manheim, Celebrities, Delta Burke, Fat Chicks, Fertility, Hairspray, Heavy Black Women, Heavy Latina Women, Heavy White Women, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Kirstie Alley, Latino Men, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Mo'Nique, Movies, Music, Queen Latifah, Raven-Symone, Ricki Lake, Roseanne Barr, Sir Mixalot, Sista Big Bones, Social Tropes, Sophie Tucker