Big Fat Fatty
Since becoming a health and wellness blogger for TPL, social media now strongly advertises body positivity campaigns to me with hashtags like #BigFatFatty. I'm going to take the radical stance that most people have worried/struggled with their body at one point or another in their life. Be it body size, race, gender, or ability, the Body Positivity Movement seeks to challenge unrealistic ideals of physical attractiveness according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The "Fat Acceptance Movement" falls under this umbrella of "Body Positivity" but is focused on getting rid of the social stigma of fatness in particular. Since August was Fat Liberation Month, I want to do a deep dive into this social movement.
For my June Audiobook Club meeting, we read and discussed Roxane Gay's "Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body." It's an extremely powerful book, made more compelling in audiobook format, I think, because it is performed by the author herself. From the very beginning the author's honesty and vulnerability is gripping:
"The story of my body is not a story of triumph. This is not a weight-loss memoir. There will be no picture of a thin version of me... This is not a book that will offer motivation. I don't have powerful insight into what it takes to overcome an unruly body and unruly appetites. Mine is not a success story. Mine is, simply, a true story."
There are trigger warnings for this book including sexual assault, eating disorders, and emotional abuse. Though the subject matter is difficult, I think it serves its purpose in educating readers on the extraordinary and everyday issues of living in a fat body. Everything from boarding an airplane, to buying custom clothing, to just being constantly stared at by strangers. This book, along with the others listed below, have influenced my personal opinion of the Fat Acceptance Movement and so I wanted to share it. These resources may help erode outdated and misguided prejudices against fat bodies or they may broaden your perspective, my hope is that they will at least create some empathy.
"Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body" by Roxane Gay
Deeply personal and powerful, Roxane Gay gives us the kind of non-fiction we didn't know we needed but that we are forever grateful to have read.
A Perfect 14, Performers/Contributors: Deluxe, Kerosene ; Mayday, Elly ; O'Brien, James Earl ; Vargas, Giovanna Morales ; Wells, Laura
As someone who grew up consuming fashion magazines and shows like "America's Next Top Model," this documentary set me straight. Something that has stuck with me was the comparison, "you would never tell a black person to bleach their skin to avoid discrimination so we shouldn't be telling fat people to lose weight to avoid discrimination."
From the opening line, "it is okay to be fat," Ellison grabs the reader's attention and leads up along the journey of Fat Activism since the 1970s. What I liked most about this book was that it was a Canadian perspective and that it focused specifically on women's issues, though Fat Activism is not exclusively a women's issue.
What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon
An immensely talented writer laying down the facts. Like a dagger to the heart, Gordon's concise statements are extremely powerful, "there is a minefield of abuse reserved for the very fat" and "fat people are frequently spoken about or at, but we're rarely heard."
I Do It With The Lights On by Whitney Way Thore
From getting trolled online to being fetishized, Whitney Way Thore's book gives us a personal narrative of growing up and becoming a 'fabulous, fat woman.' Cheers to Thore for including colourful pictures from her life, they made the book that much more relatable and charming.
Fat: A Cultural History of the Stuff of Life by Christopher E. Forth
The History Major in me squealed with delight over finding this book! Looking for a sweeping history of how Western culture has perceived being fat? This book is everything you thought you wanted and more.
Calories & Corsets: A History of Dieting Over 2,000 Years by Louise Foxcroft
Another treasure for folks looking to understand how we have perceived food throughout history. Foxcroft's writing is engaging and her research is impressive.
Lastly, for a hit of pop culture, a colleague pointed me in the direction of an article about the pressures of body positivity and how some celebrities like Lizzo [musician] and Jameela Jamil [actor] instead endorse body neutrality/acceptance terminology over body positivity, which may have some inherent flaws or be downright impossible for some folks.
Whether this topic is brand new to you or you think I missed a great title, share your thoughts below!