Women in Africa and the Diaspora: What Happened to Ms. Fat Booty?

“How can you be African and not have a butt?” My friend jokingly said. “All African women got a booty girl. How’d you miss that gene?” I let out a forced laugh but I was hoping she would change the subject. Instead she continued, “I’ve seen your mom before, how did you not get any of that?” as she motioned to create the shape of a “full figured” woman in the air with her hands. By this time all I wanted to do was to walk away from the conversation, but I continued to mask my annoyance with forced laughter. This time I threw my head back just to make sure she wouldn’t sense my uneasiness. After a few minutes, I made up a story that I had a class and quickly walked away.

Unfortunately this was a familiar conversation for me. Compared to my mother and my other cousins, I am fairly petite. I was the last of my cousins to leave my training bra and transition into a real bra. While all my cousins could fill up their jeans, I still struggled to find a perfect pair that would accentuate the “African pride” I didn’t have.  I dreaded family functions because my aunts would all make jokes about my body in comparison to other girls my age. While everyone looked their age or older, I still looked 12 at the age of 18. Although I never expressed the impact of these comments, I often left these family functions with my self-esteem trailing behind me.

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Women in Africa and the Diaspora: What Happened to Ms. Fat Booty?
“How can you be African and not have a butt?” My friend jokingly said. “All African women got a booty girl. How’d you miss that gene?” I let out a forced laugh but I was hoping she would change the subject. Instead she continued, “I’ve seen your mom before, how did you not get any of that?” as she motioned to create the shape of a “full figured” woman in the air with her hands. By this time all I wanted to do was to walk away from the conversation, but I continued to mask my annoyance with forced laughter. This time I threw my head back just to make sure she wouldn’t sense my uneasiness. After a few minutes, I made up a story that I had a class and quickly walked away.
Unfortunately this was a familiar conversation for me. Compared to my mother and my other cousins, I am fairly petite. I was the last of my cousins to leave my training bra and transition into a real bra. While all my cousins could fill up their jeans, I still struggled to find a perfect pair that would accentuate the “African pride” I didn’t have.  I dreaded family functions because my aunts would all make jokes about my body in comparison to other girls my age. While everyone looked their age or older, I still looked 12 at the age of 18. Although I never expressed the impact of these comments, I often left these family functions with my self-esteem trailing behind me.
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