"Body positivity" is a term that I've heard thrown around here and there, and I thought I had a pretty good grasp on it. It just means that we should stop fat-shaming each other— right, ladies? Well, yes, it does mean that, but it is also so much more than that. See, I thought I was doing a great job of encouraging others to accept and celebrate their bodies the way they are, but it turns out that none of that really matters if you don't apply the same attitude to your own body. It turns out, I still have a lot to learn, so here are a couple of books that are helping me get started on this path of understanding and practicing body positivity in my own life:
(Also available as an eBook)
If you have body image issues, read this book. If you have a body, read this book. This is where I started on my quest for information about the body positive movement, and the author/blogger/advocate Jes Baker provides a really great introduction to the simple (and complex and revolutionary and empowering) idea that ALL BODIES ARE GOOD BODIES (not just thin, white, able-bodied, straight bodies—although those are great, too). In addition to Baker's work in this book, there are also guest essays throughout, and, at the end, an extensive list of online resources to jump-start your quest toward body positivity. By the end of this book, you may feel less like apologizing for your body and more like:
And that's a beautiful thing.
Mona Awad's debut novel addresses our society's body obsession in a way that is at once uncomfortable, witty, absurd, hilarious, and (painfully) raw. Whether or not you are or have ever been a "fat girl," you will likely find the novel's main character, Lizzie, to be relatable at some point. Even after Lizzie starts to lose weight, we get a glimpse of the continued pressure on a woman with a warped self-image. On top of the cultural issues Awad's novel confronts, we readers also get to experience a beautifully written work of fiction that has the capacity to bring someone like me to tears— not only because of the subject matter, but also because of the exquisite language that reveals itself throughout.
So, please, humans of all shapes/sizes/identities, maybe start by reading some of this material to counteract the bombardment of warped body images and societal pressure we're faced with each day, online and in the real world. #LoseHateNotWeight