Ever since I was a little girl growing up in the South Bronx, I noted that I was going to be different from the other Puerto Ricans in my neighborhood. I wanted to be different and to get out of the neighborhood. I saw change, from my original self, as progress.
In that vein, I never knew what to make of the fact that I was given the nickname of “flaming legs”. At 5’4″ I am not very tall. As a matter of fact, I am right at the average height for women in the United States, However, for my family, I was tall. I was (and still am) the tallest woman in my family. That was different. And that was progress in part. Or so we are told by media and scientists alike. Being taller is a sign of a better economy and access to nutritional food. I know plenty of tall people, however, that eat hot dogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Are tall people really healthier? Of course not. I just had to throw it out there for the ludicrousness of it all. But back to me. I was called flaming legs and it was meant be insulting but I learned to wear it as a badge of honor. Those that called me that meant to say I was too skinny. I thought I’d rather be skinny than have a big old butt.
My whole family has the Puerto Rican rear. Don’t know what I am talking about. Look at Jennifer Lopez’s assets. Each cheek is insured for a million dollars. My family wishes that they could have made that money off her their assets. They could have been millionaires 100 times over. I, on the other hand, worked hard my whole life to not have those assets. I have dieted, eaten salads and exercised. I have fought my genetic predisposition.
Now, I have a boy. Then a study came out. The researchers found that those mom’s that are curvy with “fat bottoms” have smarter children. Ouch. Did I just doom my son? Should I have kept my fat bottom so that my son could have a denser, more active brain? Apparently, a lot of fat goes into building out babies’ brains and central nervous system. Thus, the fat we have stored throughout our bodies (and in particular our bottoms) helps babies develop their brains. Who knew?
Think about it for a second. Nowadays women scramble to lose, within weeks if not days, all the baby weight they gained while pregnant. That is, if they allowed themselves to gain weight. There are also those that try to barely gain anything so they can appear to be very cool. Celebrities in our society don’t hep matters much on this aspect. These celebrity moms and common folk are set on shedding the fat immediately, apparently, depriving their babies from much-needed fatty tissue. If one were to follow this logic, one could argue that celebrities have a higher likelihood of not very smart kids. But I will not follow that line of logic and will leave that thought there to be considered and digested.
When I was pregnant, one of the 100 tests they did on me came back a bit inconclusive in regards to Spina Bifida. I asked how does a child get that and was told that nutrition and bathing in hot water could cause such a birth defect. I immediately panicked as I love hot baths. I kept thinking ” oh no I cooked my baby!” That was truly one of the dumbest things I ever thought. But, in my defense, such a thought was prompted by the medical doctor.
Now, what do I make of this research and fat bottom women and their kids? Not much, as intelligence is also dependent on the environment (context) of lived lives. Also, my genes as Puerto Rican woman are of a curvy women. So, he is all good then. Despite my hiding it, I am a fat bottom girl and I have come to terms with it. It is all good.