When I first saw this book on Netgalley, I felt that I had to get it because it’s such an important book, and I also wanted to know about the body positivity and fat acceptance movement. And I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to read this one.
To understand why I felt this book was so important, you should know a bit about me. I was once a very thin girl when I was young, who slowly became fat and I have been on a fluctuating journey with my weight since then. And it was mostly due to hormonal dysfunction in my body, and there was nothing much I could do except keep up with my medication. However, this also meant that I started listening to everyone around me talk about how sad it was that I had become fat, that I should try to control my diet and not put on more weight, that I was spoiling my already fragile health by not doing anything and how would I ever get married if I didn’t lose weight. All of this had a huge affect on me – I have gone on drastic diets, thought I was looking pretty just because I reduced some pounds, assumed I was normal now because I could atleast find some form fitting clothes (though the fact remains that mainstream fashion brands don’t know how to handle curves) and then felt utterly devastated when I put back the weight I had lost. And the last thing I did among all these disastrous things was going to a 15 day weight loss camp because my family insisted that was the only way I would ever lose weight – being forced to starve yourself or eat tasteless food and listen everyday to lectures about how we will die soon of numerous diseases because are fat and need to do something about it. But after that, I just gave up. I will not say that I got enlightened about the body positivity movement or learnt how to love myself the way I am – I just found myself too tired to care about what everyone else thought about me or to conform to any societal standards.
And that’s why this book is important for me at this age, even though it’s focused more in catering towards youngsters. In the world I grew up in, I don’t know if this would have helped a teenage me, but I definitely need it now. This collection of essays, poems and art by fat activists and artists is necessary because first and foremost, it’s about making you realize that every body size is natural and every person deserves to be respected and treated with dignity, irrespective of their size. It’s about understanding that our worth doesn’t depend on us conforming to the society’s beauty standards. It’s about not letting the prejudiced words of others affect us and loving ourselves the way we are and living our best life. It’s about finding a community of people like us who understand each other and can help in facing the struggles we encounter everyday. And finally it’s about fighting for the right to exist and take up space in this world, without worrying about people who feel uncomfortable just because of our existence.
To conclude, I wanna say that this is brilliant collection of writings by a diverse group of people and I think everyone should read it. I loved how representative it was of race, sexuality, ethnicity and this is important because being fat is just one part of our identity and intersectionality is even more important. If you have ever struggled with accepting your body for whatever reasons and would love to find some resources, then this book has lot of information in that regard. If you want to know more about the body positivity movement or be a part of it, then this book is good beginner primer. Or even if you just want to read the experiences of other fat people who are a bit ahead of you in their journey of accepting themselves, do checkout this book. I promise you will find something in these pages that will resonate with you.
PS: Thank you to Amulet Books and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.