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Survey Shows Black Women Happy With Their Bodies

In a joint project by The Washington Post and The Kaiser Family Foundation, the organizations analyzed 800 Black women in America and found that 66 percent of overweight or obese Black women had high self-esteem compared to 41 percent of average-sized or thin White women. The cause of the positive mindset has scientists and sociologists boggled trying to figure out where the confidence stems from. While we may have some ideas, the Post writes:

The notion that all women must be culled into a single little-bitty aesthetic is just one more tyranny, they say. And black women have tools for resisting tyranny, especially from a mainstream culture that has historically presented them negatively, or not at all.

Freed from that high-powered media gaze, generations of black women have fashioned their own definitions of beauty with major assists from literature and music — and help from their friends.

According a post-Kaiser poll, 28 percent of Black women say that being physically attractive is “very important,” compared with 11 percent of White women. They also discovered that 90 percent of Black women thought living a healthful lifestyle is very important, outranking religion, career, and marriage. “Yet two-thirds [of Black women] report eating at fast-food restaurants at least once a week, and just more than half cook dinner at home on a regular basis,” the eye-opening article reads.  

What cultural and sociological factors account for this higher self-esteem? Also, while our community's acceptance of bigger body types and the self-esteem it cultivates is laudable, does it have a negative impact on our collective health?

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