Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Treating Black Women like they matter Improves their Health

Black women are often taught to put Black men first, last often always. To the extent that women can lose a sense of who they are, especially by the time it comes to parent.

Apparently, responding to them as real beings who matter. Counselling them, addressing their needs/ offering hope to that end, giving them even periodic advice, encouragement, attention relieves some of those tensions, alleviating depression. Wowsers.

Under what pretext was this tested? A study of a "weight management programme" charmingly called "Maintain, don't Gain." The aim is to stop especially black women gaining any weight through changes in diet and habits. The purpose is to prevent moving into higher risk weight categories.

It featured 185 "obese" low income women with BMI's between 25-35 [yeah].

What is it about this crusade that it never starts with the fattest people? If you are going to perform this kind of study and claim it as establishing something close to an evidentiary principle. They would be the most in need and reveal the most about any underlying technique.

Don't worry about the trope about how black women struggle to lose weight because black people are indifferent to/ glorify 'obesity'. It is a tiresome and lazy falsehood. Why aren't white attitudes to women as trophies who do nothing but reflect the glory of middle/upper class white men's ability provide or whatever, pointed to as a thing?

Not being as wholly unbalanced and deranged about weight as other races/classes does not equal fat positive. That is not metaphor. The investment in calorie restriction by western model countries has departed the shores of sanity. Yes, middle/upper class white people can do that too.

Being disinclined towards the strange and suicidal impulse to fight and repress hunger-which is part of our means of perpetuating life-as if its a pathology, is perfectly rational.

The fervent belief that white people are where human reason lives, doesn't make it so. Nor does the assumption of black people's unreason mean we don't retain rational after others have lost theirs.

I also note that the pressures of racism, are skirted over. There's an increasing urge to submerge racism [amongst other things] into "obesity." Part of the flexibility in pathologizing beings rather than naming an actual process.

The burdens of sexism aren't mentioned either.

Misogynoir, refers the different interplay between the two in black women. Being black does not invest with magic to swat this away as if its not there. Women don't sit around feeling sorry for themselves, but they aren't able to completely conjure away all feelings of being trapped by the trip wires of race and sex from doing its work on their nervous systems.

That trapped between multiple stresses factor is seen in working class women of all races who tend to be fatter. Whereas men are more likely to have a more varied spread of weight across income/class. If you wish to turn medicine into a quasi religious form of sociology, being on the receiving end of structural and social discrimination should be deemed risk factors for ill health.

The usual squawking is about "sedentary", including those working minimum wage type jobs. But what does that really mean? Contained, constricted thwarted, blocked, trapped is what it means. There's evidence that this changes the effect activity has on your body.

Some of the probable reasons for black women's purported greater difficulty have not been revealled in black women. Ellen Langer's highly underrated and revelatory study-which always felt like an exposé- points to how cynical and damaging that branding of "sedentary" has been.

I'm glad these women got 12 months of much deserved and clearly needed attention, affirmation and a sense that they matter. That their needs are valid and worth being catered to as say, the ladies who lunch. Weight stablisation doesn't introduce the threat to restrict the body's ability to nourish itself properly-including enough to cope with the demands being made on it, I make no bones about that.

This cannot be denied despite this all bodies are the same default that is often the assumed basis around any discussion of weight.

Black women have amongst the lowest suicide rates of all. Situational or structural depression, i.e. awareness of conditions you are in, rather than a condition being led more by personal trauma/upset + susceptibility.

This is itself suggested by;
These findings [of reduced depression] were not related to how well the women did in the weight management program nor whether they were taking depression medication.
It will be interesting to see whether and how this does get constructed into a "model." Whether it's to prevent disease or if it will be seen as a way to depression in poor black women and others. If this study shows anything, its that low income black women, especially, need more self-affirmation not less.

[h/t to New Black Man (in exile)]

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