“Every person, regardless of size, weight or health status deserves a life free of discrimination.”
Words straight from the mouth of Virgie Tovar, author, activist and one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She holds a Master's degree in Human Sexuality from San Francisco State University with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender. Her writing has appeared in tons of print and online publications and she has lectured all over the country. She also runs Babecamp, an online course “designed to help those who are ready to break up with diet culture.”
“When women get to choose what their body size is, and they get to choose what they eat and they get to choose what kind of clothes they wear, this is indicating a major paradigm shift… I think you’ve consistently seen backlash from the culture any time a woman tries to stake autonomy.”
We are really excited to announce that Virgie Tovar will be giving a talk at the Rockridge Library on the evening of Tuesday, November 22 called Lose Hate Not Weight: Holiday Edition. She’ll be leading an empowering discussion of fat discrimination, body image and diet culture. Don’t miss it!
In the meanwhile, Virgie has created an amazing reading list just for us. These are books she loves with her own notes on why she loves them. The name of her list is:
Stop Dieting Right Now! You Are Totally Perfect!
by Sarai Walker
This book is such an unapologetically fat positive book with a fat main character who undergoes a compelling transformation - but unlike traditional transformation narratives that center women, this one focuses on a revolutionary internal shift. There's a retaliatory feminist subplot too. My personal fav! I did an event with Sarai and she really rocked my world when she pointed out that dieting was a manifestation of rage turned inward.
Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall
by Kjerstin Gruys
Kjerstin is a good friend and sociologist who loves to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange. Before going into academia she worked in the world of fashion, and survived an eating disorder. This memoir chronicles her year without looking in a mirror.
Bodies Out of Bounds*
by Jana Evans Braziel
This academic text is at once analytical and almost lyrical in its incisive analysis of the cultural anxiety around fat bodies and weight gain.
The Obesity Myth* (now called The Diet Myth)
by Paul Campos
A law professor takes a critical look at the science behind The Obesity Epidemic. This book is really great for the people who like engaging through the lens of empiricism - not my personal jam, but I've invoked this book on several occasions. Most compelling are his findings around the reality that bigger people will often do harm in the process of losing weight that may neutralize any of the presumed health benefits of being slimmer.
Big Big Love*
by Hanne Blank
This is a how-to book that lovingly offers advice about fat intimacy. This book takes on sex in a really upfront, sex-positive way.
Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion*
by Virgie Tovar
Hot & Heavy is a ground-breaking anthology edited by me, but the 30 essays are so magical that I can brag about the book. Each essay tackles the question "how did you learn to love your body?" and the answer is different for each of the contributors.
Shadow on a Tightrope*
by Barb Wieser and Lisa Schoenfielder
This is the first ever anthology on the issue of fat oppression written primarily by women in the 1980s. It is so moving and heart breaking for me to look back at the legacy of body politics and see that there were these lesbian feminists (primarily) who were dealing with the exact same things I (and other fat women) still have to deal with - medical discrimination, workplace discrimination, romantic isolation.
Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession*
by Don Kulick and Anne Meneley
The editors are anthropologists who collected a series of essays on the treatment of fat in different parts of the world - as both a chemical substance/ingredient and as something that is part of people's bodies. The book really shows that the way we think of fatness is socially constructed. In some parts of the world fat is considered a revered sign of feminine beauty. In other parts of the world women take pills that make them leak oil from food out their bodies uncontrollably so they can stay slim. One of my favorite lines to share during lectures comes from this book - "…there are no obvious or natural or universal responses to fat… it isn’t just a chemical or biological fact. It is also a supremely cultural fact."
Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls
by Jes Baker
This book collects the wisdom of so many to show that #FatGirlsCan live life on our own terms at our current size.
Thank you Virgie!
*These titles are available through Link Plus. If you haven't used Link Plus, you can find out more about it here.