black-women's-health

Did you ever wonder why so many sisters look so angry? Why we walk like we’ve got bricks in our bags and will slash and curse you at the drop of a hat? It’s because stress is hemmed into our dresses, pressed into our hair, mixed into our perfume and painted on our fingers. Stress from the deferred dreams, the dreams not voiced; stress from always being at the bottom, from never being thought beautiful, from always being taken for granted, taken advantage of; stress from being a black woman in white America. Much of this stress is caused by how the world outside us, relates to us. We cannot control that world, at times we can change it but we can assert agency in our own lives so that the outside world cannot over-determine our responses, cannot make our lives a dumping ground for stress.
—  Opal Palmer Adisa, “Rocking in the Sunlight: Stress and Black Women" 
A recent study on black women in America delivered a mixed, even contradictory message. The report from the Black Women’s Roundtable found that while black women in the United States are making strides in education and business and affecting political trends with stellar voter turnout numbers, they remain more vulnerable to health problems and violence than any other group. Their strength at the polls is not reflected in elected positions. So, the situation is — at the same time — hopeful and frustrating, many steps forward with persistent, historical hurdles still blocking the way.
What is at first glance confusing makes perfect sense, though. Despite the reality show image of sassy, in control and intimidating black women taking charge and needing no help from anyone, the American story is consistent with the study. It is a tale of black women as invisible, misjudged and resilient through it all –integral and nurturing, yet set apart. They have survived, thrived and led, in spite of obstacles that have often kept them vulnerable, a term seldom used to describe black women.
— 

Powerful yet vulnerable black women: A contradiction rooted in history

To raise awareness about the 80% of black women who suffer from fibroids, we’d love for you to upload selfies and other photos of yourself in a white dress in the comments section. And wear a white dress TOMORROW, Thursday, July 10, in commemoration of Fibroids Awareness Month — first in Georgia and eventually nationwide. In our 3-part series on fibroids, check out organizations fighting fibroids and read why Tanika Gray Valbrun founded The White Dress Project: We CAN Wear White: #FightFibroids #WeCanWearWhite #FierceHealth

It’s Women’s History Month, and today we’re honoring Byllye Avery, who has dedicated her life to improving the health of African-American women. She founded the Black Women’s Health Imperative — an organization dedicated to promoting physical, mental, and spiritual health for African-American women.

Learn more about her work >>

It is Not Your Job

when your little girl
asks you if she’s pretty
your heart will drop like a wineglass
on the hardwood floor
part of you will want to say
of course you are, don’t ever question it
and the other part
the part that is clawing at
you
will want to grab her by her shoulders
look straight into the wells of
her eyes until they echo back to you
and say
you do not have to be if you don’t want to
it is not your job
both will feel right
one will feel better
she will only understand the first
when she wants to cut her hair off
or wear her brother’s clothes
you will feel the words in your
mouth like marbles
you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to
it is not your job

Poem by Caitlyn Siehl
Photo by Sophie Seydel

crunkfeministcollective.com
How to Not Die: Some Survival Tips for Black Women Who Are Asked to Do Too Much
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” –Audre (the) Lorde High blood pressure runs in my family. I...

“We have to resist injustice and talk back to it, but not at the expense of being well. I don’t want to give myself over to the struggle. I don’t want to be superwoman in my twenties, strong woman in my thirties, and suffocated in my forties. We can’t let the work (and there is much work to be done) take us out. We have to be mindful about how we engage others and ourselves, especially when it comes to obligations and expectations of our time, minds, bodies, thoughts, experiences and hearts. I don’t want to give myself away. And the labor of love that is my life is not free, nor is it worth my emotional/physical/mental/spiritual health. I am disinterested in being a martyr.” 

‪#‎BlackJoyMatters‬
‪#‎BlackMentalHealthMatters‬
‪#‎SelfCareIsPoliticalWarfare‬
‪#‎ThePersonalIsPolitical‬

vimeo

this documentary is screening saturday 10/18 for free + i definitely need to go!! i’m sort of amazed there’s nothing tagged about this on tumblr already

“Through the use of first person narrative and rare archival images, this documentary provides a moving glimpse of the women who have skillfully brought scores of children across the threshold of existence. Narrated by Phylicia Rashad, this evocative and passionate film celebrates women who have committed themselves to holistic answers amidst powerful misconceptions about the practice of midwifery and virulent opposition from practitioners of Western medicine.” (x)

African American women find wellness in “Prime Time Sister Circles” at AAMP

FREE, 13-week, interactive wellness seminars will take place in four venues across the city. The workshops are designed to reverse negative health trends in African American women and their families

The nationally recognized Prime Time Sister Circles have launched again, beginning Wednesday September 4, at 6 PM, at the African American Museum located at 7th and Arch Streets. More than 100 women from around the Philadelphia region are expected to be on hand signing up to participate in the Prime Time Sister Circles, an evidence-based, socially innovative intervention program designed to improve the lifestyle of African American women aged 40-70. The women will sign up to participate in the free, two hour seminars that will meet weekly, in four different locations from September until December. 

The interactive lessons will focus on stress management techniques, increased physical activity, and improved nutrition. The classes are led by specially trained women from the Philadelphia community who are paid a stipend.  Last year’s inaugural Prime Time Sister Circles are being hailed a huge success having encouraged more than 100 graduates to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes healthier food choices, and portion control. 

Of the more than 100 participants, 68 percent lost weight and all of the women saw significant decreases in stress and hypertension levels. That is why organizers for the Prime Time Sister Circles are returning to replicate and expand the program in Philadelphia so other women can benefit.

In addition to recruiting new participants to the Prime Time Sister Circles, tonight’s event will also include free health screenings. Every woman who signs up will have their weight, height, blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI) measurements taken. These numbers will be used as a baseline reading for the 13-week Prime Time Sister Circles program and will be re-measured every two weeks to show successes. The African American Museum is one of four locations where the Prime Time Sister Circles will meet and the museum is also a sponsor of the event along with Philadelphia’s Black Women’s Health Alliance (http://www.pbwha.org). The Prime Time Sister Circles are free and open to any African American woman aged 40-70 who is interested in improving her own health  and  at the same time, reversing the negative health trends that are plaguing the African-American Community. 

Keep reading

“For emotional eating, my advice is to find out what are you craving — and substitute it with something else that has a similar taste. For example if you want sugar, get an apple or an orange; or make your own juice with ice and fresh fruit in a blender,” said Ledisi in an interview with Fierce For Black Women. Here’s more about how the eight-time Grammy nominee revamped her lifestyle to drop four dress sizes: http://bit.ly/OsSVG6. #FierceNutrition

reproductiveawakening.com
Reproductive Awakening: Narratives of Agency in Black America: An Exhibition

Designed around an exhibition featuring women artists, the project explores the historical, social and political significance of Black women’s struggle in the U.S. for reproductive autonomy and the impact of Black midwives in their communities. It focuses on birthing traditions and abortion rights through the 20th century to the present and celebrates an evolving advocacy that sustains the network of midwives serving African-American women.

Highlights include the keynote address by feminist activist, author and attorney Carol Downer on Saturday, October 4th. She’ll address ways in which European “witch” burning beginning in the 12th century, correlate with the demonizing of women healers and the economic and political monopoly that is modern U. S. healthcare. There will be screenings of Bringin’in Da Spirit, We Always Resist: Trust Black WomenA Period Piece and other films. Panels and workshops include those on midwifery, menses, menopause, “Placenta Medicine” “Choices, Rights, Autonomy,” and more.

Other exhibition-related programming includes The Red-Tent experience, (with one for preteens and teens as well), workshops on female sexual anatomy and holistic healing and wellness. Some events are free of charge, while others carry an admission fee. See reproductiveawakening.com for the full October schedule and a forecasting of November’s events.

A team of women and one man were brought together by Kinyofu Mlimwengu to develop and produce “Reproductive Awakening” for the community.

“This project was conceived as I developed my own awareness of the illusions surrounding women’s choices in reproductive health,” said Mlimwengu.  “It appears most women lack basic knowledge about their bodies. We become subject to medical and political opinion and judgment, none of which is affirming to women. It’s time to relearn what we lost through patriarchy, capitalism, and racism and effect change from within.”

The compact Museum of Women’s Resistance is located at 279 Empire Blvd between Nostrand and Rogers Avenues in Brooklyn. It’s housed at the headquarters of Black Women’s Blueprint, a civil and human rights organization that is co-sponsoring the “Reproductive Awakening” project.

When is enough enough?

Above is Jennifer Hudson on June 14, 2011 at the second annual amfAR Inspiration Gala at MoMA here in NYC. 

When she first revealed her new body to the world, Jennifer Hudson looked healthy and cheery with a new lease on life. Key word, healthy.

External image

(Hudson when she first revealed her svelte body)

As with any curvacious celeb that drops a few pounds, it seems Hudson has inevitably fallen into the temper trap that is body distortion. The public is shocked at the transformation and develops a slight obsession with it - rewarding the celebrity with endorsements, placing them on the Beautiful People list, and taking them seriously as an entertainer. 

Speaking of, she just landed a deal with Penguin Books to pen a weight loss memoir

What say you? Do you think JHud has lost too much?

Confession: I’m honestly the happiest and most at peace with my self than I have been in years. I haven’t cried in over a month, I’m more carefree, I’m not hung up about what people are thinking about me because honestly I don’t give a fuck, I’m eating healthier, my skin is glowing, and my melanin is popping. Lmao, this is a really random post, but I just felt like sharing it. This blog and its supporters has honestly helped me through a lot of my dark times, thanks y'all ☺️

eurekalert.org
Experiences of racism linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women

According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, African-American women who reported more frequent experiences of racism had a greater likelihood of adult-onset asthma compared to women who reported less frequent experiences.

"It's unbelievable that 60 million women have fibroids and nearly 300,000 a year have hysterectomies..."

It’s unbelievable that 60 million women have fibroids and nearly 300,000 a year have hysterectomies because of severe symptoms from this condition! I’m wearing the closest I have to an all-white dress today to advocate for more research to address this epidemic.“ - Fierce Social Media Director Joyce E. Davis. Are you wearing your white dress today? #FibroidsAwarenessMonth The White Dress Project: We CAN Wear White

fierceforblackwomen.com
Fighting Fibroids and Winning: Raise Your Voice

[LIFE] 

Battling uterine fibroids is one of the most significant health problems for black women of child-bearing age. This article is the first installment in a Fierce three-part series…

One of the most debilitating symptoms of fibroids is excessive bleeding — menstrual cycles so heavy that living a normal life becomes nearly impossible.

“My doctor told me that I had been so anemic for so long that I was risking a stroke with my next period,” Ashley says.

What It’s Like To Have HPV: How The Vaccine Failed To Protect Me As a Black Woman

It’s upsetting to me that Gardasil leaves many black women without adequate protection against HPV and cervical cancer. Conflating the healthcare needs of white women with those of black women keeps us from accessing adequate treatment in multiple areas, and this especially troubling when it comes to HPV. Had there been funding for a vaccine specifically designed for my black, female body, a shot that protects my body as well as it does white women, I might very well be HPV-free today. 

Read more