Black Women Ask: How “Big” Is Too Big When Dating Interracially?

Courtesy of CW’s Black Women Deserve Better Facebook Group, participant LaToya asked this question a few days ago.
I was wondering if any “larger” than thick sisters have more trouble than their skinny counter parts when it comes to dating men of different races? Do you find that when white, asian, indian or hispanic men choose a black mate she’s either skinny or thick? Do the big girls find it harder to date outside of their race? Are they considered less attractive? If so, why?

 Read our conversation and my take on what can be a contentious subject after the jump…..

We need to establish a few key points since some of the BWE bloggers have made it a point to mention and actively encourage black women to get their weight to a manageable size not simply to “catch a man” but for health purposes. We do need to be considerate but realistic because the only ones who suffer from soft-pedaling core issues are often the black women who can afford it the least. Due to such tendencies to back away from examining things fully it’s very easy to get defensive. It’s one reason why I have been very cautious about what and if I say anything about it.

Sometimes we’re more focused on throwing out objections. Not to mention the over-generalization and blatant misrepresentation some of us have engaged in when discussing our size. Yes, there will always be exceptions and defending ourselves is a natural response to something that needles us. Inevitably that is the sticking point for many women who may shut down, especially those influenced heavily in the indoctrination zone of the “dead” black community. Especially when it comes to “rainbow dating”.

We have to be able to get past the rudimentary head-in-sand or hand-on-hip response if we are to continue growing. How we as women view each other is also something to give thought to. The women participating in that conversation are seeking heterosexual relationships so I have to ask why do we rely so much on the opinion of other women about our appeal to men? We’re not dating each other! As much as we may think highly of each other, the bottom line is the mate a woman is seeking has much more weight (yup I’m throwing out the puns) when it comes to whom he finds most appealing to begin with – and likewise.

I’m not interested in tearing any woman down. Nor coddling her to an early grave. I think very few of us are actually all that confused about what we need to do, but we may not have made it a priority or think it’s possible to fit certain standards when our collective and individual images have been devalued for so long. It simply feels like we’re being rejected on a whole (if the focus is on rainbow men) when we’re “accepted” by men of a similar background. More likely there’s a larger group dynamic at place where certain males on the decline will accept women they’d reject if they were in the dominant position.

There is a certain amount of healing and inner work that must take place as we expand our dating choices and perspectives, moving mentally and physically into new zones. Then there’s the inevitable work and extension of efforts that are required to get there. You know..the less pleasant aspects from having a reality check and making the necessary adjustments. If we choose. We basically need to find a single home, career, life partner, etc. (but always many streams of income/asset development) to satisfy our needs at major junctures of our lives but to get to that we need as many options as possible.

On the flip side of this debate is a question I asked: if the shoe was on the other foot would we (assuming we’re coming from a healthy self-esteem and relationship outlook) be clamoring for similarly-situated men and would we accept the reasoning for their condition? What would our standards be? The bottom line is who wants to scrounge for scraps in a dumpster when you can be seated at the head of the banquet like the Queens you are?


I’ll be away today but leave a comment, talk amongst yourselves and if you’re a new participant to this blog give me some time to approve your message.  Thanks!

58 comments to Black Women Ask: How “Big” Is Too Big When Dating Interracially?

  • ak

    Look they say that women in general are less visual and less sexual than men in general BUT I don't see where 'they' said that women are less visual and less sexual than men on the most miniscule or microscopic basis!

    It's normal as a girl becomes a woman and becomes even older that she will look more past just a man's looks and looks at his personality and the way he treats her, the people in his life and himself, and that's healthy and good. BUT to deny certain standards of attraction which ALL people have within themselves, sometimes it's just instinctive and you just can't help it, is fruitless and a bit weird.

    And as hard as it may be to believe, sometimes 'a beauty and a brain' can go hand in hand with each other for either gender. Cindy Crawford was a high school valedictorian and more than ready to do something other than modelling if nothing worked out for her, or so I heard from an interview and Naomi Campbell was all into her school books quite happily while she attended a prestigious London school of the arts when she was younger.

    I agree that if a woman goes to the extremes of her 'Hollywood Idol checklist' when it comes to prospective men yet meanwhile she's always 'down' and sad and complaining about how she's 'so lonely' then uh yeah, it's time to look past those superficial physical or whatever qualities just a bit. But even when Jamie Foxx portrayed Ray Charles in 'Ray' he felt up women's arms to judge their 'atrractiveness' to him, and when he felt up the arm of the fat chick, his face just fell.

    People have to have, you know, some kind of standard for well just about everything and everybody in life really because it's normal, and not every woman will find 'Hollywood Idol' looks attractive in her men either anyway. Take me for instance, a fat guy, I dunno about that one. Yet if even he said he 'didn't want a big woman', it's just supposed to be OK? Well OK then. LOL

    I have to be able to want to lay down with a husband I plan to have children with, and I'm sure he wouldn't want me to just fall apart on him one day with my head looking like a bird's nest. It's just that I'm not a 21 year old spring chicken anymore and I know that prospective husband material has to be vetted, and I need a man I can rely on to be respectful, protective, intelligent, financially solvent, with drive and motivation, and with proof of these things. I never said I wanted a good-looking, empty headed, and sexist jerk; I can't lay with that either! LOL

  • Fat blockers faith, they have been life savers for me when my head was just not in the place to be disciplined, at least each failure didnt have to show up on my waistline and mean restarting from scrach.

    it is better to build the discipline no doubt however i am a twenty first century woman and i will take advantage of every modern invention available to help me along.

    there is an expense of course and some are classed as medical devices however there are some 'herbal' alternatives! Orlistat is quite effective and is actually used alongside a healthy eating and fitness regime to double your efforts! You can read up on the side effects online!

  • Lisa99

    To Liza… you said…


    Yes, why should you be with a guy because he is nice when you’re not attracted him. I bet you will find very few men out there who will date a woman he wasn’t attracted to just because she’s. Yeah, he might have a one-night-stand with her, if she makes herself available. I’m so sick and tired of the double the standards.

    I don’t think anyone here was saying that they only wanted to date good-looking men who were broke. I have never dated a loser of any race. Yeah, believe it or not but there are good-looking men of means. I’ve dated a few and some of them can actually be decent and treat you well, too (gasp). Why can’t you have both? He doesn’t have to be perfect looking but there has to be an attraction. I just hate the negative preconceived notions automatically applied to good-looking men/women.

    Also, I don’t need a man in order to have a good/nice life because I’ve been able to provide that for myself (and don’t pay any man’s way either). And not because I’m playing the Strong BW role here. It’s because it gives me the freedom to choose who I want to be with, without me having to need to be the with them. But, at the same time, I don’t have a problem and I really don’t judge women who do look to men for that.

    Here's the thing. I used to feel that there was this awful double standard involving men and women and their desire to have a good-looking partner… but then I started looking a lot more closely at the types of couples I saw out and about.

    Yes, there were some in which the woman was markedly more attractive than the man. But in most cases, the women weren't models either. I find that while men will decide quickly if they're attracted to a woman, most mentally mature men don't need perfection in a woman to be attracted to her. The men who have the mindset of dismissing a woman immediately if she's not of a certain type (say, leggy and blonde) usually stay single for a while as well. Yes, men expect to be attracted to their girlfriends/wives, but 90% of them aren't marrying the image they likely had in their minds when they were initially asked to think of their ideal look in a woman.

    I see very few couples in which both partners are very good looking. Most just look like normal people — they're cute moreso than gorgeous, they might have a great feature like nice eyes, thick hair, shapely legs, dimples, etc., but neither will be making the cover of GQ or ELLE any time soon.

    I don't think anyone in this thread said that a good-looking man can't also be a good provider, kind man, etc. This isn't a Tyler Perry thought board here. My statement — and Evia's — is mainly focused on HOW people are defining good-looking when it comes to the dating/mating process and specifically, how many BW define it when it comes to IR dating. Would I have married Rupert Murdoch or Leslie Moonves like those two Asian women did? NOPE! But there is a vast array of choices on the attractiveness spectrum between Brad Pitt/George Clooney and Rupert Murdoch and if a dude is a 7 or a 6 on most people's looks scale, but he's a 10 in my eyes? That's perfect for me.

    I think that's the point. Don't worry about others' perception of the man's physical appearance or that he doesn't fit a certain image you usually like. How are YOU attracted to him?

    And finally, just to address the last paragraph… I could have also stayed single for the rest of my life and supported myself and had a good life. I did for a long time and I wouldn't have given that up for anyone. But um, I guess I don't understand the point of that comment… isn't it pretty much a given that we know that most readers on this board can do bad by themselves, but the point is that if you WANT to marry, then find a man who will only add to what you've already created on your own??? I mean, this is a thread about dating, so why wouldn't we talk about the best qualities to look for in a man? This isn't a discussion about whether or not anyone needs a man.

  • Zoopath

    @Evia: I totally agree with what you'er saying re: average looking QLL men! They are so slept on it's not even funny. As long as I can *grow* attracted to a man, that's all that matters. If I feel the need to gaze upon a lovely countenance then I can go look at myself. Being beautiful is not even close to a man's most important role in my life. Anoter untapped gold mine is short(er) men. They have the best customer service out there! My rule when dating was that he could be my height (5'3'') if he was a super-earner but as long as a guy was taller than me then we has eligible. As man's looks are not, repeat *not* what is going to make you marriage last long term.

  • Because of your diet and exercise, your hair grows faster,


    I used to be able to wear braids for approaching 3 months. these days before one month i have to take them out because the undergrowth is unsightly. the hair is literarily pouring out of my scalp, never happened before even when i was a spring chicken lol! I am not complaining even though you can imagine the cost and time to get braids each month!

    you can control fibroids, infertility etc with excercise (and nothing too strenous either). when you look at the myriads of things that ail bw and how easily they can be resolved with moderate excercise and healthy eating, we would be fools to not give it a go.

    I know many bw are resitant out of the fear of failure and having their only life 'crutch' removed from them, but still….

  • Patricia Kayden

    Here's an interesting article on how obesity has caused Black women to become shorter over time.

    Losing weight is HARD, but it is well worth the health benefits.

  • tertiaryanna

    Faith, you and the BWE bloggers have been on fire, and this message is truly helpful.

  • MsMellody

    Ive been fat – Ive been skinny (I got down to a size 8 for 15 min. last year) You what I found out? That thin people – GET EVERYTHING!! LIFE IS GREAT! Men look in your face and smile, people who couldn’t stand to be in the same room with you are now all up in your face. Clothes are cheaper, your skin doesnt feel tight, you sleep much better, you stop snoring. Because of your diet and exercise, your hair grows faster, your hormones go back to normal, so those chin hairs and mustache go away – YOUR LIFE CHANGES – for the better! I’m not kidding with you – people will hire you because of the way you look. You will feel better.

    To Tracy --

    That was the best response I have YET to read!!! You are so SO on point with that "revelation" of " You know what —people look at you!!!

    And isnt that what all women want and enjoy -- That POWER of MAKING people look at you- even unconsciously having that POWER feels great. To know that when you walk into a clothing store that you can pick just about anything on the racks and slip effortlessly into it…the power of making a maitre' de ( sp?) seat you and your date first/best table because he caught your eye and liked it when you winked at him ( one of my fave things to do ) the power of walking into a room and all the heads turn toward you -- and like Tracy said — even when someone "can't stand you" they still must fight the urge to look at you in an approving way ( I have experienced this also!! -- I really enjoyed seeing this woman in my condo building fighting the urge to frown when EVERYONE else in the condo meeting was ooo-ing and ahh-ing at seeing my new weight loss- that was the BEST!!!)

    So YES is the answer to the question -- you as a single woman will do better if you lose weight, make it a goal, make it measurable, give yourself a deadline. Gather the necessary tools and then just get it done!!

  • Tracy

    Hey there!

    I'm so happy to read these comments! Women that get it -- Yes!!

    Ok since I have been on both sides of the spectrum and I have and am currently dating IR -- I will let you in on some secrets! Some you already know…

    As for what non-black men like -- a majority of them like curves, especially here in the Midwest where subzero temps are as common as rain. You want that big butt next to you in December.. BUT>>>>here is the thing. When I say Curvy, here is your model -- Christina Hendricks or Tocharra (the new Tocharra)….that is a 12-14 or a tall 16! Yeah, that's not near what BW consider curvy. They like toned but still a little soft arms and legs and please have a waistline!

    They want you to take care of yourself, but they don't want to hear about your fitness plans for the month. Just do it….and get it over with.

    Im not saying you have to be this great beauty -- you dont. But you do have to take care of yourself. Dating is fun, but if you are not in shape physically, you wont be up for it mentally. Ive been there, if your routine is going home from work and lumping on the couch, come Friday or Saturday nite on your date, that is where you will be. I know "He should want me for me".But with no rest, greasy sugary foods, and no exercise, YOU…are gonna suck. So put some effort into life, and reap the rewards.

    Ive been fat -- Ive been skinny (I got down to a size 8 for 15 min. last year) You what I found out? That thin people -- GET EVERYTHING!! LIFE IS GREAT! Men look in your face and smile, people who couldn't stand to be in the same room with you are now all up in your face. Clothes are cheaper, your skin doesnt feel tight, you sleep much better, you stop snoring. Because of your diet and exercise, your hair grows faster, your hormones go back to normal, so those chin hairs and mustache go away -- YOUR LIFE CHANGES -- for the better! I'm not kidding with you -- people will hire you because of the way you look. You will feel better.

    You will want to go out and change your dating destiny instead of spending Friday and Saturday nites on Facebook talking about dating.

    How long does it safely take to lose it? I lost over 90 pounds in a years time -- walking, eventually running and eating right. Not starving, not depriving myself, just not overeating.

    Will you gain the weight back -- yes you will! IF you stop exercising and eating right! As I have learned, this is a lifetime thing, not a quick fix! I have put back on a few pounds in the last few months. I. HATE. IT.

    Only because I now know how it feels to be healthy and normal. I miss my energy , my clarity. I want my one chin, my cheekbones and my guns back -- and I will get them back.

    Yes, you can be happy and be overweight -- but you can also be complacent! Know the difference!

  • Physical attraction is important but beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. I’ve found that in my life the men I’ve found attractive weren’t always attractive to other women. I do also think that an average looking man’s character and other capabilities can ultimately make him more attractive physically, that’s why I believe it’s important to “give a guy a chance” so to speak. But I think this can also speak to values as well. As a woman who values physical fitness and nutrition, I’m not going to want to be with a physically unfit man who brings HoHos and Twinkies into our home, sorry.

    Furthermore a woman- especially if she is concerned about having children- should be mindful of her man’s age. New scientific research is suggesting that a man’s age at the time of conception can have some bearing on the physical and mental health of his children: I plan on doing a post about this in the new year. This isn’t talked about much because it goes against the patriarchal status quo, but age matters for men too.

  • Pamela

    What saddens me about the weight discussion is that you rarely hear the side of possibly placing burdens on your future husband by not taking care of excess weight. I lost 1/3 of my former self after two years of working at it. I had lost at least half of it before I started dating my husband last year. Even before he came on the scene I had the horror of watching my Dad SUFFER and DIE a HORRIBLE SLOW death all because he refused to eat properly. He was one of those men that felt that they could do what they wanted but the women had to have it right, especially when it came to how they looked and took care of themselves. The arguments that happened because he made excuses about eating all the crap he did were amazing. After he had a stroke which caused him to permanently lose his ability to walk and somewhat reason he apologized to us but it was too late. Two years of pure hell. As much as I miss him I was so relieved when he died on March 11, 2008. But he should have been around to give me away last December 18th.

    When I mentioned this on the thread referenced here I was horrified by one comment where the gal had a problem with people saying that being overweight can be unhealthy. As little as I watch TV I even know it has been reported and well known for decades that blacks have high percentages of cases of heart trouble, diabetes, high blood pressure and their cousins because of what we eat. It is not unique to blacks. ANYONE that eats unhealthy will more than likely have these problems. I'm not one to curse but was tempted to after reading the comments. Either the gal was really young or in serious denial. Did she not understand that things may not work quite the same the older you get????

    When i was overweight and a caretaker for my Dad I determined that I would do whatever I could to get the weight off (healthily of course). I was not planning on ending up like that if there were things I could do to prevent it. This decision had nothing at all to do with catching a man. HOWEVER later I realized that doing this would hopefully benefit the man as I got older. You can be overweight young and in many cases you will not have any problems. BUT KEEP LIVING. When I was a caretaker I gained half the weight in a year. I was so absorbed with helping my parents out that I ignored myself. As noble as that was my body did not care one twit about that. It was beginning to scream bloody murder. I knew I had better do something quick and in a hurry. Thankfully I was able to stop the madness before some undesired diagnoses were given to me.

    I thought that trying to appeal at the health issue would count for something. To think that there is barely a mention about it was deplorable. If you are not healthy, especially with something chronic, it can cause stress in a relationship. I guess I approached romance more on a pragmatic level. It is lovely to have that chemistry between you and the one that you love. BUT YOU WILL LIVE LIFE day to day and face whatever challenges and joys that come your way. To me the best thing a person can do is to change things in their lives (whatever they may be) that will reduce NEGATIVE stress. Preventing illness is one that all can do.

    I am one that ALWAYS wanted a man to look good. No shame about it. However after walking through the horror with my Dad I added to my list that he better be one that cared also about his health. At the time I had determined to be one also. Losing weight cannot prevent all sickness but there are too many to name that losing weight is known to prevent in the vast majority of people.

    I guess living for a few decades has influenced my view of romance. There is more to it than just attracting the man. There is a relationship to cultivate and build as well. The less stress you have on a relationship the better.

  • Faith, tell it like it T-I-is. Weight should not be a KEY factor in snagging a man; your health is. That said, FAT is NOT FULL-FILLING (lol) at least when you're trying to increase your chances to find a mate. Men are VISUAL creatures. Like Deborrah Cooper often says, men want to imagine what you might look like naked. Something to "chew" on.

  • Pam in FL

    I agree with the other ladies on here; there are a lot of women, and especially black women, that will describe themselves as "thick", "BBW", "curvy", "chunky", etc., when the reality is that they're fat. They're at least fat, and many of these women are a ways past fat, they're obese.

    Who are we kidding here? No one, really, and that includes men of different races. Do you think they can't see it if you're fat?

    And, there is no reason to ask the question, "Will it be harder for me to get dates with non-black men if I'm fat, because all of us, including the one asking the question, knows the answer is, "Yes".

    Hey, it's not that I'm not sympathetic. I was fat. I was packing 185 pounds on a 5"5' frame, and I told people I was thick and had some meat on my bones. I was lying to myself; I knew I was fat. But I couldn't say it, I couldn't admit it to anyone else, only to myself. I am now at 132 (this morning), which isn't bad for a 39 year-old woman. The plan is drop a couple more pounds AND get much stronger through weight training and aerobic excercise, and then I will be a hot middle-aged lady.

    You want me to be real about this? OK, here's real. I couldn't get a second look from any man that I found attractive at 185, or at 160. I met and got engaged to my fiance (he's white) at 139 lbs., and he is someone that almost all women find attractive, including me. I still have the same winning personality, the same great smile, the same intelligence, etc. but it's in a much better wrapper now, and thank god for that, since that better wrapper made him stick around for a while after he first met me and find out about all of that other good stuff. That is what is real.

  • sisterlocgirl

    Well. . .this fat acceptance notion is leading many aaw to early graves. I think a better way to look at the situation is to look at your muscle-fat ratio or body composition. Too many folks get hung up on the number on the scale rather than true fitness or health. That being said, you know a fat roll from a curve. I heartily recommend working out at home because that way you can work out in rollers in the rattiest stuff you have and still reap the benefits. Some days my workout gear scares even me, but I get that workout in doggone it lol. Just understand ladies abdominal fat is metabolically active in a very BAD way that can lead to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and cancers. Are you still willing to make excuses when you have to shell out an extra $5-6,000 a year to treat your diabetes? And that's just ONE disease. Diabetes and hypertension tend to travel together, so calculate the cost of denial and get to work. Either you can add exercise and healthier diet choices to your life or play Russian roulette and hope you don't have the heart attack, stroke, end up on dialysis three times a week or in the graveyard before your time. Trust me, I see this scenario play out every day on my job ( kidney doctor ). I'm just saying. . .food for thought.

  • Eugenia

    Faith, I'm a lurker but I decided to comment. Good advice, this not only good to find a mate but just good for bw in particular. Heart disease is a killer of bw and that goes with being overweight. I say just don't diet, staying a healthy weight is a lifestyle change, I remember I asked my doctor about it and that's what she said if you're going to lose weight and keep it off, you have to change your lifestyle. Diets don't work or they only work to a certain point, you can keep a balanced, healthy diet and exercise and you don't have to exercise a lot, then it becomes second nature. I also say if you exercise, do something you like and then stick with it. I can't run bad knee, but I can bike like a fool and I do, I also dance and roller skate, all things I love. Also I just wanted to mention that some bw are suffering from depression which can affect weight enormously if you are, seek some professional help. At the end of my marriage I was I from suffered panic, anxiety and depression and packed on some pounds. I'm 5'8" and my highest weght was 203 lbs, yea I was fat but when I separated from my husband and got the help I needed, I dropped 23 lbs, I got about 15 more to lose and I'll be comfortable in my skin and also in my wedding dress. My fiancee loves me like I am, he thinks I'm fine but I don't think I'm fine and I have type 1 diabetes so being overweight could be terminal for me, for sure so I want to lose the rest.

    Good luck to the ladies, challenging their weight and changing their lives and romantic outcome.

  • Evia Moore

    Faith, the answer is YES,YES, YES, excess weight reduces the number of suitors a black woman has if she's trying to date IR. With all other things being equal or almost equal, the probability of any woman attracting more suitors or more DESIRABLE and Quality loving and lovable (QLL) men increases as her weight decreases.

    As a matter of fact, I think this would be a great time RIGHT NOW for AA women who could slim down to capitalize on the typical American man's attraction to slimmer women BECAUSE so many non-black women are overweight in this country. Black women--who have naturally high definition curves anyway, could clean up out there if those curves weren't hiding under the excess weight. This is a winning strategy that black women could implement NOW that would give many of them the edge in the mating market.

  • Neecy

    Point Blank men AND women want healtnhy fit attrative looking partners. i am overweight with an attractive face and great personality and while i may find someone to "love me for me" i am not ok with settling with that thought. I want someone to really feel good about me as their partner, be attracted and such. Frankkly, i don't want to date an overweight out of shape unhealthy looking man, so I don't expect men or anyone else for that matter to want to either.

    While I am still very attractive, i feel i could look waaaay better if I lost the weight I needed to to look healthy and fit again.

    This whole "love your curves" moevement irks me b/c IMO it encourages BW to stay complacent about their obesity. The word "curves" is thrown around so loosley these days, anyone can claim they are "curvy" when they are either boney boy bodied shaped or obese. obesity is not CURVES people. Its fat rolls. too many BW are being hoodwinked into their own sabotage. Being overweight myself, i don't even buy that crap. Curves are curves, fat rolls are fat rolls. PERIOD. No healthy fit attractive male wants an overweight obese woman of ANY color.

    We BW need to understand this -- especially crossing the color lines.

    I am not going to starve myself or get myself to an unhealthy weight to appeal to twisted men. We all have varying degrees of what weight and size is best for us -- we need to find it and work towards that goal. But I do and will get myself to an attractive state where my body looks and feels good.

    We all know what is considered attractive weight and what isn't. BW need to stop tip toeing the line about this. The word and term "thick" has gotten out of hand. it used to be women who were fit but curvy in the right places. Nowadays too many BW throw the term "thick" around to loosley as well.

    BW when in shape have some of the best most feminine bodies around IMO. We have the perfect amount of booty, boobs etc. But that stuff gets out of hand when we let ourselves go. trist me, I am one of them. Underneath all of this flesh is a hot arsed body. How do i know? i once had it.

    Sistas we need to stop asking questions we already know the answer to. If you are overweight, you need to undrestand it does hinder you in the dating and mating dept. Not ot mention your health is at risk.

    Stop aiming for thick, start aiming for what you know without a doubt is FIT and attractive without fat rolls.

  • You improve your odds of getting the best quality man when you are within a healthy weight range for your height. Just as dating should not be a charitable endeavor for you… trust and believe it is not a charitable endeavor for that pool of quality men in which you aim to fish.

    A man is going to get the most attractive compatible woman he can. So yes, your razor-sharp wit, love for hearth and home, and sweet disposition is important. But so is the size of your waist, the glow of your skin and the whiteness of your teeth.

  • […] behind they may still have to work out their navigation into new territories. So when some asked, How Big Is Too Big When It Comes to Interracial Dating it was with trepidation. Being tied to the old model will not work in this new era. There’s no […]