34-24-40. Those are the measurements that I go by and I am sure many others do too. Our body shape can be described as an hourglass figure in magazines, a Coca-Cola bottle by men or just simply “thick” by onlookers.

Those onlookers are something else, aren’t they? As we walk to go about our business, its become “normal” to be stared at, approached or even followed by admirers of this “coveted” body shape. And the attention is almost always sexual to the point that you’re presumed to be promiscuous or atleast “good in bed” if you’ve got a big butt. A voracious sexual appetite and curves just go hand-in-hand, don’t they?

And let’s not talk about finding clothes to fit your “exceptional” waist-to-hip ratio. No matter how popular curves are on the sidewalk and the stage, they’re still a rarity on the catwalk and in clothing stores. Get ready for the gap in the back of your jeans to be an ever-present, nagging reality. And don’t put on a pair of leggings unless you want the attention that comes with it.

In black and Latino communities, it seems like curves will always be in style. But that favor comes at a price. Being objectified in the media, on the streets and in our homes in the name of being “thick” is not as pleasurable as one would think. And that objectification has only gotten worse in recent years.

The fascination with curvy body types is now being embraced by wider audiences. Women without curves are seeking a number of methods including plastic surgery to look like video vixens, booty models and some shapely pop stars. But do they know what they’re getting into?

Don’t get me wrong. It feels great to be complimented and desired for a curvy shape but don’t ignore the objectification, (often) negative attention and fit problems that come with it.

Do you have curves? Have you experienced the downside to a shapely frame?

-Tunisia Z. Wilson


  • http://afrolistasandthecity.blogspot.com Vonmiwi

    We’ve been trying to fit our round behinds into square pants for years.

  • http://www.splendidstyle.tumblr.com Joanne_

    PREACH!!!!!!!!! people think it’s so easy!

  • http://singaturestyle.blogspot.com/ Sing

    I totally agree with this article. For me, it’s more of a burden than anything. Buying bigger size dress just to make sure the bottom fits and the top portion being extra loose. A tailor really is my best friend at this point. It’s rare I can find the perfect fit in slacks, jeans or dresses.

  • Lorvine

    story of my life.

  • http://www.hairspiration.blogspot.com natural belle

    there are certain trends i can’t touch! peg leg trousers, skinny jeans the list is endless! everything ends up looking like i’m a bowling pin….as i age things just keep growing lol oh well

  • Tomi-chan

    Until I started running I was a pretty solid 36-26-43 so that little bit about finding bottoms that fit DEFINITELY applies. Now I’m 36-25-39 and it’s getting easier to find pencil skirts, but I cried a bit when I bought my first pair of shorts. Never in my life had I owned shorts before.

    And apparently my body speaks for my sexuality.

  • Jennifer

    My definition of curvy happens to be top heavy and not so much on the lower end, for some reason a largest chest was always looked at as one of the best perks to a womans body. Now its booty! Eventually, it will be legs or something else.

  • Merci

    I started running as well, and loves the way my body has toned up. I have never worn shorts because I have a butt and thighs. I recently bought my first pair of shorts in June and I love them.

  • Brittany

    Clothes never fit Being 36-28-40 I feel the pain. I can never wear shorts because thats too much attention. I feel there should be more curvy clothes because I am not plus size.

  • binks

    Amen to this article, I love my body now but for a long time I wanted to trade it for a more slender frame due to all the negative attention especially at a young age. Nothing is worst than being highly developed and getting grown men trying to talk to you that is around your father/uncles ages when your 12. And I remember going through the stages of hiding in my clothes or buying bigger sizes because the things I wanted to wear I couldn’t…sighs. But as my mother always told me the grass isn’t greener on the other side so work with you got and as Sing said above make your tailor your BFF

  • Jennifer

    Ugh! The dress thing. I have been adjusting my neckline all morning. I hate to have to spend $30 more to take in the upper body when I buy clothes. I have taken to wearing strapless bras and letting the shoulders drop a little.

    Also, I feel harassed whenever I go for a run. My path takes me past some city workers and they way they look at my body or the comments they make are kinda creepy.

  • http://nocturneadagio.blogspot.com LainaLain

    Where I grew up being ‘thick’ was like the best thing you could be. And seeing as how I’m neither here nor there, I felt really self-conscious.

  • au napptural

    ITA with those negatives listed- but the catcalling, etc. is the fault of patriarchy and sexism, not our curves. My stick thin friends get called out the same way (and so did I at 14, 15, 16 when I had the body of a 10-year-old boy). It’s not about us.

  • NoMoreCandy4U

    I’ve always loved my curvy body, the problem I had was my small waistline. Finding clothes with belts was no fun and I loved belts and jeans was always a problem. I’ve always been secure in my body, big butt, tiny waistline and the right size breast, that was a long time ago. Today, I’m still curvy but with more thickness but still looking good. Just stay healthy and love your curves.

  • jacquie holland

    so many women want those curves…be thankful because there’s nothing worse than having a flat, pancake behind!!

  • FaithPeach

    I’m a shorter sista, around 5’4 and curvier but always active with exercise, etc. Even still, my behind has always been a c-shaped part of my body that gets unwanted attention. What I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that no matter how anyone else views my body/shape, I’m loving what I see and when I exercise and eat right, it’s just confirming that this body will be with me a long time, lol.

  • http://naturalbeautyembraced.tumblr.com/ Eileen

    throwing my hand to the ceiling.i’ve always struggled with this like A LOT of african american women do.i can’t tell you how many times i stood in the store staring at the rack seems FOREVER or that shelf that holds those cute jeans or pants,wishing my backside would shrink.i love my curves but find it frustrating that folks haven’t caught on to the fact there are some that have a little more at the bottom than others.maybe just M-A-Y-B-E one of these folks will stop playing and take ever shape & size into consideration not to mention these males that ogle or walk past you only to try and do a quick peep at you from behind thinking you can’t see them.smh

  • Onlooker

    All of these comments are pointless without pics


  • Nayners

    I always hated when men used the term “thick”. Thick just means that the woman is overweight which is so unhealthy. I’ve always struggled with keeping my weight down, simple because I love to eat! Dated a guy when I had just taken off 20lbs. He thought I was too thin, kept bringing me double stuff oreos. I got rid of him quickly!! I haven’t been able to figure out if curvy means overweight.

  • Nayners

    The other downside to people making overweight & obesity sound “cute” by calling it “thick” is why we are getting sick. That’s why hypertension and diabetes is spreading like wildfire in our community. We have to try to be fit, and eat better.

  • http://naturalgraceinlace.tumblr.com Grace

    Some of these problems can be solved by moving to neighborhoods with different norms. If you’re in one where it’s normal for men to catcall and be obnoxious in how they approach women, try to get out if you can. It can mean higher rents but more peace of mind. There’s nothing wrong with having a roommate, or three, to live in a better place. Not saying it can’t happen in safer neighborhoods but it wouldn’t be a norm and if you caught someone staring they would usually have the sense to look away instead of continuing to stare and -uggh- lick their lips. Otherwise it’s a great shape to have, and if you have a decent tailor (or even try to learn how to hem and sew on your own) there’s no downside.

  • danielle

    Agreed- I can take almost anythign you throw at me, and honestly, I welcome a larger booty, just not a clearly fake looking one. Curves are power, and if you don’t have them you can fake them with clever usage of clothing and silhouettes. Now I am going back to my deadlifts, cus I got a pool party to attend and my cakes need to be popping.

  • http://motionandrest.wordpress.com steph302

    As far as fashion goes, it would be nice if pants came sized by length, hip, waist the way men’s shirts are sized by neck and sleeve length.

  • http://www.abarbiedefined.com kearea’

    working in retail, i’ve come across women who were sizes 00-20 and could all be considered “curvy” because they had prominent hips/thighs/butts. so being called “curvy” has nothing to do with weight. its about your shape (coke bottle, hourglass, etc). you ever wonder why kim k and halle berry keep being called curvy and they’re only a size 2?

  • http://melindasperspective.blogspot.com Melinda

    I’m not a curvy woman but I do get the “look at her booty” remarks anyways.It’s what boys do.

  • eSPy

    Ok women have to deal with being objectified in GENERAL… EVERY body type.
    So dont try to make it seem like ONLY “thick” women have this problem… This issue is part of being a WOMAN.

    Now, there is a THIN line between thick and FAT. Im sure a lot of women commenting have surpassed the thick stage… Just saying. If you are 5’1″ and weigh 160 you are not thick, you’re FAT Im sorry.

  • Sara

    AMEN. A few weeks ago, it took me nearly three hours just to find a pair of pants that look right… and that’s not right. Cmon, fashion designers! Open up that back door a little more so we have some booty room to BREATHE!

  • Jess

    LOL. Its not easy being beautiful, huh?
    For years I was a size 0, and super jealous of thick girls. I was always suprised (and annoyed) when women with body types I envied would tell me they wished they could look more like me. I guess people will always find something to nitpick about. The grass is always greener on the other side.
    Some women will die to have bodies like yours. Embrace it.

  • Jess

    So true. Men go after women, no matter what their shape.

  • Jess

    Thick does not mean overweight. Some women are in denial and try to put themselves into the thick category even though they know in their hearts that they are overweight. Same thing with the term curvy.

  • Zoe

    The downsides of being curvy are always apparent to me the most when I go to clubs or parties (which is why I l don’t like going out that much). And the attention I get is not just exclusive to one race (which may be surprising to some). I’m 22 5’2 and 33-26-38. Don’t get me wrong I love my body but it really irks me when all guys want to notice when they meet me is just that. As if I’m a sex object. I know my deririere is large for my size but it would be nice if I could me someone who looked past that. *sigh*

  • Melissa

    Just be happy with what you have ladies because we are all women, with curves or no curves. My problem is that I am busty, 36E. Even though I wear a size 6, my blouses are a size 10 or 12 because I have to fit the largest part of my body. I have to get my blouses tailored. I hate buying suits because the bottom fits but the blazer is tight on the chest area so I just wear it open. It adds up going to the tailor. Ladies, if you have a nice bottome or hips, wear your shorts to the gym as long as you feel comfortable in them. Just by being a women, we will get attention from men, but we want the positive attention.

  • Bronze

    Ladies…I really do believe the harassment is worse now than it ever was. Men are just down right looney now days. Thug culture has changed the game big time. I guess it depends on where you live and where you party. I live in the SF Bay Area and frequent house clubs—–no problem. Most of the men are just trying to separate the chicks from the dudes w/boobs. But I would never set foot into a rap club in Houston, TX……oh lord! I’d be scared 2 deaf. Those men are mean, rude, sexist, aggressive and don’t mind pulling your weave out.

  • Bronze

    OMG!!!! That is FUNNY!!! Did you see the segment on the TODAY show where they discussed the obsession w/booties….I WAS LIKE WTF????? LIKE..OMG Becky….like how you have been obsessed w/ blond hair and blue eyes since 4ever?????

  • Bronze

    Who u callin’ over there?

  • Miss Lady

    We’ve got to adjust our culture. I’m shaped like a woman, but I don’t have no big ole booty, and Black men act as if I’m less than a woman because of that. I do have the luxury of not being sexualized all the time though. As long as the men in our community define our personhood in our figures, there will be a lose-lose situation.

  • http://www.tumblr.com/annaleishamae Annaleisha

    I agree, men are getting worse. Although I expect that to happen. Its to the point now where I try to dress to avoid attn. I have been experiencing sexual harassment since the age of 9/10.n I really don’t feel safe walking past a group of (W.I/ or West African middle aged men) I feel they are the worse perverts. I think that the majority of them (where I live and by the sound of it other places too are filth.)

    I agree with a previous post about moving out of the area it is something, I will be doing AS SOON AS I can afford to. Those pathetic adult males (they don’t deserve to be called men) have no clue of the impact. They taint other men who may be good ppl. I have become wary of W.I and West African males.

  • Me27

    Totally agree with this statement. I’ve been saying this for years. It would make shopping for pants a hell of a lot easier.

  • Jane

    I’m glad I don’t have a big jiggly ass.