America’s Obsession with Being PHAT!

~Shemeka Michelle Show No.24 - March/April 2013


I’m not exactly sure when I first heard the word PHAT. It was probably in middle school used by a group of semi-cool (hahaha don’t try and come for me) guys that called themselves the Bally Boys. They made it very clear that it wasn’t the usual fat that meant overweight. There was no guessing that for a female, being PHAT was the supreme thing to be! I went home and asked my mom what the difference was and she told me that being PHAT meant a woman had plenty hips, ass and titties. However, I only weighed about 70-80 lbs and considering my friend Kenita and I had the only bald vaginas in our 7th grade P.E shower room, I knew I had a long way to go before I would make the hot chicks list.

Finally the summer before my senior year in high school, my breast grew, I had some booty, my hips began to spread and I developed nice thighs. By some standards, I was the SHIT!  Although I still had a slim frame, I was finally PHAT! As the years passed, my PHATness (not really a word) magnified. However, as time went on and I gave birth to three children, my body changed. “You’re losing your ass” is what a former classmate and long time friend said to me. I agreed with him because it was true but I made a mental note that I needed to do something about that. “Are you sure you aren’t pregnant?” my mom asked as she noticed my once defined abs were fading. “I’m not pregnant” I responded but, I made another mental note that I needed to fix that too. “I’m not having kids if it’s going to make my breast look like THAT!” exclaimed my middle daughter. Immediately I was reminded of the pressure I feel to get a breast lift and implants.

As I look at the beauty represented on T.V and in the magazines, I realize this is a widespread problem.  Women of all races have succumbed to all kinds of fakeness or the politically correct term beauty enhancements; breast, eyelashes, hair and asses just to name a few. Many times, beauty is determined by big titties, a small waist and a big ass. There’s an unending race to the PHAT finish line. Black women have even been programmed to think that white women are winning simply because their butts are bigger than in times past. Now more black women are running into facilities, even injecting themselves with cement for attributes that normally developed naturally. More often than not, women are considering their fake body parts as their greatest attributes. Many men perpetuate that belief as their attention propels these altered females to the forefront. However, these same men will then ridicule black women for not loving themselves for whom they are (that’s probably another blog though).

I refuse to continue to feel the stress of those standards. I recently posted a picture for my 41st birthday. Shemeka41While I look pretty good for my age and it could’ve been seen as a slight by some women, it was really my way of saying to them “celebrate the real you”! I look at my unaltered body and I see wrinkles and cellulite but most of all I see a beautiful woman (inside and out) who has made it through things in life that many haven’t made it out of. Growing up, I watched women around me age gracefully. Although their faces would acquire wrinkles and their bodies would change as the years went by, they seemed to embrace their beauty and it seemed as if the men did too. Certain things were celebrated as aging but also as getting better. I want to follow in their footsteps. I’m celebrating getting older. I also still want to be seen as PHAT….Phenomenal, High-minded and Talented!





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