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Thursday, April 20, 2006

‘Hungry for More’




by Robyn McGee, foreword by Joycelyn Elders, MD

Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer
OW Contributor

There sure are a lot of cute clothes hanging in the stores now, aren’t there?
You browse through the racks, thinking how great you’d look and the compliments you’d get.
You’d do almost anything to get into those clothes. Would you have surgery? Read the new book “Hungry for More: A Keeping-It-Real Guide for Black Women on Weight and Body Image” (c.2005, Seal Press, $13.95, paperback, 219 pages, includes index) by Robyn McGee and you might change your mind.

Almost exactly five years ago, Robyn McGee got an early-morning call that changed her life: her beautiful older sister, Cathy, died from complications related to gastric bypass surgery.
Cathy had been overweight all her life, and “Rob” remembers that it bothered both of them. She admits, regretfully, that she teased Cathy about excess weight when they were children. As adults, the sisters were close and Rob accepted Cathy for the loving, generous, smart woman that she was. She also knew that - at size 26 - Cathy always dreamed of being thin.
After her sister’s death, Rob, who is Director of Women’s Resources at California State University, began to examine the issues that women of color have with body image. What she learned is shocking.

According to the CDC, 70 percent of black women are overweight. Diabetes and heart disease are on the rise, which may be directly attributed to those extra pounds. Robyn says that full-figured women have always been accepted and even desired in the black community. Why is the problem so pronounced today?

To explain why today’s woman has to watch her eating much closer than did her grandmother, Robyn points to modern lack of exercise and easy availability of high-calorie foods. Your grandmother did hard physical work, but it may not be safe for you to walk around the block. Generations ago, Robyn says, African Americans ate at the “bottom of the food chain”, which, while spare, was vastly better than another order of fries from the fast-food joint.
So what can you do when you dream of Halle Berry but your body is more Barry White? Whatever you do, Robyn says, don’t think of surgery first. There are other options out there.

Find them.

“Hungry for More” is not a treatise against surgery. Instead, using her own family’s story as a warning, author Robyn McGee advocates a more cautious approach to body image for women of color. McGee doesn’t only talk about obesity, though. She also talks about hair, keloids, anorexia, bulimia, skin color and bias, and how Hollywood has too much influence on the way today’s young black women see themselves.

And that last issue gave me pause. I was saddened and horrified to read a quote that was buried in the introduction of this book: a young African American woman about to graduate from college said, “If I could afford to go to the doctor, I would be beautiful”.

If you are concerned about your weight - or that of a woman you love - read “Hungry for More”. It will make you lose your appetite for quick-fix surgery.

http://www.ourweekly.com

Link Posted by jebratt :: Thursday, April 20, 2006 :: 0 comments

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