It has not always been this way

“All the fellas want a fatty girl. A fatty girl.” Ludacris, LL Cool J and Keith Murray happily slapped some verses on the track to uplift the ever so shapely sistas with “perfect” crushed coke bottle shapes.This is because an hourglass figure is many men’s fantasy. Subsequently, it became many women’s goal. For some, sex appeal automatically translates to a scandalous and scantily clad, fleshy body on display.

Some of us never have and never will fit that mold or have that shape.

My name is Imani and I’m one of those people. I’m a quarter inch or so shy of six feet tall and a size five or six. I can still fit my high school and some middle school clothes. While I now see it as a gift, early on my physique seemed to be a curse.

The uber tall, leggy, quirky, slim girl has made her way back into the mainstream’s good graces due to shows like America’s Next Top Model.


Body types and other ideals of beauty come in and out of fashion every decade or so. During the nineties, the “heroin chic” skinny model was everywhere. Then it went out of fashion for a minute, for the new millennium’s celebration of back and body.

We’re not fads. We’re people (I’m sure many of you have heard that light skinned people or dark skinned people are out of “style” at some point). This genetic trendiness gets to be a little ridiculous.

But back to the days when I figured out that being slimmer wasn’t necessarily an asset.

I was stuck in a heinous place called middle school and reminded constantly of how a sista was “supposed” to look versus how I looked. Sixth and seventh grades were the worst years of my life and largely because of my body type.

I dripped tears onto my diary daily recounting the days’ events, which almost always included some prepubescent guy rejecting me for another twelve year old girl- with some Ds on her.

As if school wasn’t a constant enough reminder of thick being more desirable than slender, I decided to listen to music and watch tv. Big mistake.

“Fatty Girl” came out. “Goodness gracious/ Good God Almighty/You got a badonkadonk/Girl don’t hurt nobody.” Thank you, Keith Murray from the curvy ones and one big eye roll from the less endowed.

(Side note: I still jammed to and will jam to that song although I know it doesn’t pertain to me.)

“Fatty Girl” is not an anomaly. De La Soul penned the song “Baby Fat” which showcased beautiful, curvy sista after beautiful, curvy sista parading down the runway.

Ja Rule celebrated Ashanti’s 5’5″ thick thighed body. Nelly rapped about his “thicky thick” girl and every other music video had some half dressed, super stacked female gyrating all of her voluptuousness across the screen in stilettos.

This was an unavoidable tap on the shoulder reminding me that I was okay, but if I was a foot shorter and weighed the same amount, I’d be fiiine (or at least well on my way).

I used to stuff myself with Mc Flurrys at 1:00 AM. I drank weight-gaining shakes from Smoothie King. My homegirl told me that peanut butter put on weight, so I ate peanut butter sandwiches daily for three months trying to add a little shake to my shape. It seemed like nobody wanted to get jiggy with the skinny and none of my weight gaining attempts worked.

By no means do I want skinny pity, but I do want to show that we all have size and or appearance issues to struggle with.

Now I’m quite comfortable and confident, but I agonized over my looks for years, because I was taller and smaller than most, while our culture loves the curves.

Some of us will never be thick. Some will never see a six pack in the mirror. Some of us can sit a cup on our backsides. Some of us would drop a teaspoon back there. Some of us look like Buffy the Body.

Others look like Buffy the Bony. But, we all have a unique degree of beauty to tap into and share with the world. It’s not so much about how we look, but how we present ourselves, accept each other’s differences and accent our best features.

With that said, this goes out to my skinny girls. When the fellas want a fatty girl, we can still stick our (modest) chests out and say “who me?