CIVIL WRITES: What Makes A Woman A “Big Girl”

This question has plagued me for some time now. I’m constantly wondering how cognizant are overweight women about their size. Not that I’m obsessed with the Big Girl per se (If you’re overweight and comfortable as such, that’s your prerogative), but more so intrigued by overweight women who behave as if they’re not; the ones who speak and even dress as if they’re four sizes smaller. These women wear T-shirts that stop before their naval (belly on hang). These women blame their weight-gain on their children, despite their youngest attending the second grade. These women say, “I know I shouldn’t be eating this” between bites of white bread and French fries. “I’ll work it off at the gym tomorrow.” How do you add more to your workload when you’re already fifty pounds behind on your subtraction? They speak the words of slim women who only have to maintain their figure.

See lately I’ve been stumbling on a variety of readings pertaining to Americans and their physical health and fitness. The statistics are astounding. In 1974 8% of Americans age 18-29 were obese. Today that number hovers at 24%. Though what stood out most was that 70% of all African-American females older than age 18 are overweight. That’s as crazy as it is alarming, but it made me wonder how sisters deal with it. I wondered whether delusion was a method of coping (if a woman could be depressed about her weight and choose the backwards comforting of Haagen Daz I don’t think my assumption is invalid). But how can a woman begin working at not being a Big Girl if the Big Girl criterion hasn’t been established?

In my younger days I thought plus size was any women in double digits. I’m not so sure about that anymore. I’ve seen some sexy size 10’s. Ethnic women are not only statistically the most shapely and comfortable with their size; they’re also the masters of masking “problem areas,” especially the mid-section. When a women’s blessed with baby-sliding hips and bra-cups that runneth the illusion of an hourglass (even if it’s more carafe than coke bottle) can garner enough interested male eyes to distract that woman from her size 16. Or having been fluffy for years that women has learned to work wonders with girdles, belts with death grips and that voodoo trick of an undergarment Spanx (I always wondered if women viewed wearing Spanx as the equivalent of a man stuffing his underwear before hitting the club. The Catch 22 is if the mirage is efficient you will be literally exposed. Later he removes the sock from his briefs; you unlatch your tummy. Now what? Honest relationship?).

Deceitful styling aside, some plus size women rock their weight lovely. But the fact is most women…no, most people are more attractive with less body fat. So I’m infatuated with the size 14 who actually doesn’t feel she needs wardrobe trickery. Who will snap on a mini-dress fit for Beyonce or Melyssa Ford. Stiletto standing at the bar with boobs pouring out of the top like a Mickey D’s arch; cellulite on blast; triceps gettin’ jiggly with it; enough visible love handles for five Valentines Days. Most guys don’t wanna date a slinky, but these women either don’t care or aren’t aware. Maybe in their head the voluptuous girl and the Big Girl could never be the same girl.

I’m willing to offer what I request so I’m making the effort to be cognizant of my actions. I don’t want to overzealously tag women “Big Girl.” But I need to know the criteria; does it differ between you lady and you gentleman reading this? My confusion stems from having witnessed countless females view older pictures of themselves, amazed at how much heavier they were––“I cant believe I was this fat.” It never fails, though, my initial thought is usually the same “Today she looks at that picture and sees a Big Girl. But who did she see in the mirror the morning before that picture was taken?” 


Bonsu Thompson, The Rolling Stone 2001 “Hot Interviewer” has penned for mags like DetailsXXLPenthouse, SLAM and KING as well as notable brands such as MTV, VH1, Rocawear and Translation. Wanna keep up with the Brooklyn scribe? Follow him via



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