Thick. I hate the description. If we’re being honest, it’s synonymous with “meaty” and if we’re blunt: overweight. Still, some consider the description a compliment when it’s really just a body standard derived from what a man considers sexually pleasurable, rather than an actual standard of beauty. It has everything to do with the way a woman’s body is rated and viewed by men.
Jill Scott said it best in the lyrics of “The Thickness” included on her 2001 live album: “Whoa! She a big chick, Big ol’ legs, Big ol’ thighs, Big ol’ hips, Big ol’ ass, Big ol’ tits…Shh, Don’t you complain about my other women, Just drop that big thick ass on my stiffness, Make me nut all up on your gut with the quickness, Don’t stop, Won’t stop, Lift it, Yeah, girl, lift it, Lift it, baby, Drop it again, ‘Cause I ain’t your tribesman no more, I ain’t your friend, Come on, girl, just let me in, Let me into all that thickness, That sweet and round, brown, supple bigness…”
It makes me wonder, is the thickness to blame for the astronomical rates of unplanned, teenage pregnancy? Is it really that irresistible? While cultural differences about the definition of beauty do exist, I worry these preferences are used to justify the larger female frames in Black and Latino communities, even though these communities top the list when it comes to obesity and disease.
Are we thick because our men think its attractive or because we don’t workout enough and eat too much of the wrong things? And while we’re at it; what makes one person thick and the other fat? What exactly is the poundage that defines the two? When does thickness cross the line between a healthy weight range for one’s height and frame and being just plain unhealthy?
It seems like the finest line in the world.
Do we consider being called “thick” a compliment because it justifies a lack of discipline in diet and exercise or do we really care that much about what men think of us?