The Fat Studies Reader

By Esther Rothblum; Sondra Solovay | Go to book overview

6
Widening the Dialogue to Narrow
the Gap in Health Disparities
Approaches to Fat Black Lesbian and
Bisexual Women's Health Promotion

Bianca D. M. Wilson

… perhaps you question the size of my hips—
the second largest continent in the world sired these hips
of course they would be as large—
the oldest civilization on earth gave birth to these hips
of course they would be as wide—
… make you release before you were ready to hips—
when you want to hold a woman's hips
when you want to feel the difference between you and my hips
when hard hips want to be soothed by charmine hips
these are my hips—so let the legacy live on

—C.C. Carter, “Herstory of My Hips”

This poem, written by C.C. Carter, a contemporary Afro-Latina lesbian artist, deeply resonates with me. My personal experiences as a fat woman who participates in Black lesbian and bisexual women's communities have shown me an appreciation for body diversity that is atypical of mainstream American culture. I use the term fat to refer to anyone who sees themselves as larger, heavier, or rounder than average, as well as to refer to the population of people who are categorized as “overweight” or “obese” according to medical guidelines (which change periodically). In a Black lesbian and bisexual women's cultural context, we see evidence through Web sites, photos, and poetry that there is a consciousness that women of all sizes need to be valued and respected, and that larger women can represent ideals of beauty, health, and spiritual-physical balance. My empirical research on Black lesbian sexual culture has also echoed these sentiments, as I have found desire and attraction to larger body sizes as a key domain of Black lesbian sexual life (Wilson, 2006). As such, it is not surprising that I experience a stark contrast between my life and work in Black lesbian and bisexual women's communities and that of my professional life within health behavior

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