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The African Perception of a Healthy Weight 

Another day, another time when I question the humanness of human beings. So I was on Instagram checking on my peeps when I came across this gorgeous picture of Toke Makinwa. I proceeded to like it, then scrolled down to see what people were saying. And every single one of the 100+ comments had to do with her weight. I read comments like “She looks sick”, ” Don’t loose anymore weight abeg you don’t look well”, “She’s too skinny now”, ” This is how anorexia starts!”

I sat there thinking, people actually have the time and energy to comment demeaning stuff on another’s Instagram, meanwhile they themselves probably have more issues in life. I would say in my eyes, it was rather the cut and fit of the dress, not her body that’s causing all the stir. 

Toke Makinwa is a successful author of the book titled “On Becoming” and a multi-media personality. My first encounter with her was on Ebony Live TV on the hit lifestyle show “Moments“, previously “Moments with Mo“.

But let me get to my inspiration for this post – The rise of cyber bullying, body shaming and Africans’ perceptions of the healthy weight. We live in an age where cyber bullying is over and beyond to the point that it’s now just normal. And I guess because she’s a celebrity, she’s an easy target for empty brains with quick fingers to type. The second issue here is many African’s perception of a healthy look. Once you’re “too skinny” you’re just labelled as unattractive or unwell. You might think “Do people still have that backward mentality?”. I’ve been skinny all my life, so trust me, they do! [ Quick Shoutout] Please watch ” Skinny Girl In Transit” if you have not already! I watched the series via YouTube. I highly recommend it. It’s hilarious!

I am very confident in my own skin, so I don’t have much care for what others may think if me. Thankfully many mellinials think ” model” when they see me. But then there are the aunties and uncles who are convinced that I do not eat and really need to add on some skin because I look too thin and weak.  There are many skinny girls who really do feel if they don’t gain some weight and look more curvy, no guy will look their way. And they lose self confidence. But basic biology taught me that we all have different metabolic rates. Some people convert what they eat into energy faster that others. 

Take me for example, I eat more than both my sisters and my parents but I do not put on weight [ Disclaimer: Not in anyway bragging, just trying to explain a concept ]. This is because of a fast metabolism. So with that understanding, I know that my body shape has got nothing to do with my doing, but everything to do with basic biology. Which is why people gain weight or lose weight faster than others while doing the same exercises or eating the same things. Every one has thier perceptions and that’s okay. So long as it’s not imposed on another. But then again, people don’t have filters these days. 

But back to Toke, she was not touched at all by all the shaming comments and proceeded to confirm this with super model, @realtarmar 

and later posted a goodnight picture further highlighting she ain’t got time for Wahala of any sort 😂.

Have you ever been body shamed or know of someone who has? What did you/they do? These issues are sadly realities in our society today, while the African perception of a healthy weight is been around much much longer. 

Let’s talk 💬

  • Joan 

22 thoughts on “The African Perception of a Healthy Weight 

  1. Not many touch on this and I appreciate you doing this. I have been body shamed and seen the effect it has on others.When I was 14 or 15 my aunt made comments about how I was big so I barely ate and lost weight. Afterwards I got comments on how I was skinny and when I wasn’t that hungry they automatically assumed I was on a “diet”. Tokemakinwa is just stunning, I’m glad she doesn’t let that get to her. When you hear it so much in your culture I feel it starts not to affect you so much. There will be other Africans that think I don’t need to lose weight or need to gain weight but I choose not to let their opinions dictate my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right! It’s like society dictates what is acceptable from the size we should be to what we should wear, eat, do…That’s why one can feel so unaccepted when they are actually perfectly fine. I’m so glad you don’t let opinions dictate your life💪. That’s how it should be and I’m living in that same way too 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Social media has given some people the feeling of entitlement. They feel entitled to dish out unsolicited advice and opinions, regardless of their hurtful intentions.

    Body size is rather relative, if the owner of said body is happy, then that settles it. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And if you copy these people and paste them in front of the person they’re speaking wrath upon they’ll probably have nothing to say. One just has to be confident in themselves and not allow comments to affect their self esteem. Thanks for sharing your opinion on this matter Nedoux 😊🙌


  3. So glad I stumbled upon this… So true!! Being skinny in Africa is quite tiring. You should be ashamed for being slim “you have no curves!” but never complain “you have the perfect body!” Eish, humans!! Lol
    Thanks for posting this :))

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This African perception has been around for too long! It’s just not right. I generally hate the fact that the internet makes people think that they have the right to comment on other people’s lives! People just say whatever they want

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right! And there is little one can do to protect from such trolls apart from blocking. I think self love is just the way to go, while ignoring comments which will come whether wanted or not 😅😄

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t count the number of times people have insulted because I was skinny but I don’t actually care anymore, I go about with my head high up…… Am sure Toke Makinwa risk of diabetes and hypertension has greatly reduce as a result of the weight loss. Am even sure she will be happier now.

    Liked by 1 person

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