PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 01: Lizzo performs onstage during Made In America - Day 2 at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 01, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation)

(Image: Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known professionally as Lizzo, is an American singer and rapper.)

Feminists defend Lizzo’s beauty with a major claim that in some cultures in West Africa, such “big” women as big as Lizzo are preferred by men. And so the question goes? Which West African culture do they speak of? Mende culture? Fante Culture? Ewe Culture? Hausa Culture? Igbo Culture? Yoruba Culture? Soninke Culture? What culture do we speak of? More, which men do we speak of? Many questions!

Even if this were true, why then is it difficult among the feminists to accept that some Black Men, particularly of the West African derivation, are also particularly diametrically opposed to the idea of feminism itself? To this question, I find that the Black Feminists are unwilling to bend. And that is the half of the entire point.

The second half of this issue is tied to the idea of Lizzo. Why would a group of men, out of West Africa or elsewhere—whether you believe this narrative to be true or fabricated—find obese women attractive? Herein, one must split some hairs about the complexity of the question. Can Lizzo be pretty? The answer, without even a West African lineage, is an absolute yes. What would she need to do to become attractive? Lose some weight?

And here the topic becomes a whole lot hairier than before.

The health and physique of men and women are part and parcel of their culture. In other words, men and women’s health and physique are cultural products. Lizzo’s physique is as much a cultural product of America as the physique of the basketball player Lebron James. Both grew up on the same diets—from Walmart, Kroger, KFC, McDonald’s, Krispy Crème, Dunkin Doughnuts, Wendy’s, and such—with very similar value systems. If the women prefer the Lebrons, it seems quite strange that the Lebrons would refuse to find the Lizzos attractive. This is why I think that because the US itself is built upon disparate value systems, its cultural products remain incongruent to its cultural tastes.

Furthermore, American culture is fast-tracked on fast food. And Americans, no doubt, perhaps deservedly so, adore fast food. (Not that fast food is a thing to be adored). Lebron and Lizzo’s physique are the cultural products of American culture. Hence, it can only stupefy the candid observer that the women prefer the Lebrons (not the Biggies, not the male versions of the Lizzos), yet the men would rather prefer the female versions of the Lebrons (and not the Lizzos). It is a kind of Hyena Culture, meaning a culture turned upside down each and every way. Its tastes are incongruent with its cultural products.

Now, let us reach the actual debate: Is Lizzo pretty?

What would it mean to challenge the foregoing idea in American society that Lizzo is pretty, and what will be the implication should one challenge that Lizzo is not an attractive woman? Exactly what would it mean to say that Lizzo would be a very attractive woman, or that Lizzo would be pretty, if she lost some weight—if she were no longer obese? A lot! A whole lot. It would mean beginning to identify Lizzo as a manifestation of the recent distortion of the cultural production of African American society. A cultural production meaning that African American diets and for that matter the health and physique of African Americans are an African American cultural production.

This would mean that the recent obesity epidemic in America caused by such capitalist fast food regimes—Walmart, KFC, McDonald’s, Krispy Crème, Dunkin Doughnuts, Wendy’s and more—is distorting the cultural product of African American society. In other words, the recent takeover of the food production and supply chain of food products by such capitalist regimes have caused a distortion in the physical cultural production of African American society of which obesity is just one of its grotesque manifestations.

Data provided by the CDC of the USA indicates that American obesity rates in the early 1970s was 10 percent. In 2017-2018 the rate has risen for adults aged between 40 and 59, to 46 percent among men and 43 percent among women. A statistical deadbeat tie among men and women. Which is, obesity is as much a man problem as it is a woman problem. Obesity costs about two thousand dollars extra in health costs per year for individuals and it remains a leading cause for premature, preventable death. Yet, more than half of American society is obese, that’s the point.

It is against this backdrop that one has to scrutinize the branding of Lizzo as pretty for American Society. Why is the need to insist that Lizzo is pretty? Is it perhaps to dissuade the large masses of Americans that the capitalistic takeover of the food production and supply in America should not be scrutinized? After all, if Lizzo is deemed as pretty, what needs to change about the obesity epidemic in American society? Is there a need to look upstream at the causes of obesity in American society at all if the cultural product such as the Biggies and the Lizzos become the new beauty standards in American society?

What to do about this recent cultural distortion imposed on the American society by companies such as Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, KFC, McDonald’s, Krispy Crème, Dunkin Doughnuts and Wendy’s? Without the fast food distortions—the obesity epidemic of American obesity—enforced on American society there would be, more than likely, no “big” Lizzo to speak of. We would only be speaking of a pretty Lizzo in that scenario, and that topic would not engender the kind of debate it does today.

Defending Lizzo as pretty in her current physique, which is not without the effects of the cultural distortion caused by the new food regime in America, is not just a lazy mistake, the act has first order, second order and third order implications. First it seeks to establish that obesity is fine. Worse that obesity is normal. But, it is not. Second, it seeks to entertain the idea that if Lizzo is pretty in her current physique, then obesity must be normal and such companies—Walmart, KFC, McDonald’s, Krispy Crème, Dunkin Doughnuts, Wendy’s—which are largely responsible for the epidemic of obesity in American society should not be held responsible for the distortions they have imposed on American diets and therefore on American physique and health.

Lastly, by holding such a view, not only will these companies continue to distort American diets, physique and health, they will continue to lead the remainder of the working class of men and women, who are not yet obese, to the stardom of obesity while the still herding the already obese into the silent delusions of being pretty, yet morbidly obese. Working conditions in America, for instance, will no longer be under the discussion it needs to create an environment in which people have enough time to work, exercise and stay healthy.

Previous articleAmerica’s Lizzo & The Defense of West African Men.
Next articleWhy is Euro-American Capitalism So Predatory?
~ Success is a horrible teacher. It seduces the ignorant into thinking that he can’t lose. It seduces the intellectual into thinking that he must win. Success corrupts; Only usefulness exalts. ~ WP. Narmer Amenuti (which names translate: Dances With Lions), was born by The River, deep within the heartlands of Ghana, in Ntoaboma. He is a public intellectual from the Sankoré School of Critical Theory, where he trained and was awarded the highest degree of Warrior Philosopher at the Temple of Narmer. As a Culture Critic and a Guan Rhythmmaker, he is a dilettante, a dissident and a gadfly, and he eschews promotional intellectualism. He maintains strict anonymity and invites intellectuals and lay people alike to honest debate. He reads every comment. If you find his essays delightful, and you want to support the creation of more content like this, find Narmer's information below: CashApp: $Narmer3100


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.