What’s it all about?:
Growing up as a fat girl, Virgie Tovar believed that her body was something to be fixed. But after two decades of dieting and constant guilt, she was over it―and gave herself the freedom to trust her own body again. Ever since, she’s been helping others to do the same. Tovar is hungry for a world where bodies are valued equally, food is free from moral judgement, and you can jiggle through life with respect. In concise and candid language, she delves into unlearning fatphobia, dismantling sexist notions of fashion, and how to reject diet culture’s greatest lie: that fat people need to wait before beginning their best lives.
What did I think?:
First of all, thank you so much to Nikki Griffiths for getting in touch and inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to Melville House UK for providing me with a copy of this slim but incredibly powerful feminist manifesto in exchange for an honest review. I’m a huge supporter of women, no matter what their size or shape and pretty much jumped at the chance to become much more well versed in a topic that is always hanging around the periphery of my consciousness but I never give myself much of a chance to think about because, quite frankly, it can get a little bit upsetting and frustrating. Virgie Tovar takes our biggest fears about being female and of what is expected of us in a society increasingly obsessed with the way a person looks which apparently defines their entire worth to themselves and others. She completely smashes these often unrealistic expectations into raw, honest thoughts and advice that genuinely feels that it comes directly from her heart.
Virgie Tovar, author of You Have The Right To Remain Fat.
I described this book as being a “slim volume” but even that feels incredibly judgemental of me! I’d like to change my wording and call it perfectly formed instead. It explores topics that made me nod my head in agreement with Virgie’s insightful words (probably like one of those annoying nodding dogs you used to see, do those still exist?!) and other parts, I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t even thought about too deeply, particularly how a change of social class and race can also permeate into the general attitudes about size and how “unhealthy/wrong/embarrassing/distasteful” it is. The whole thing with diet culture and how it affects millions of women every day is truly staggering and I gained a whole new level of respect for the author as she shared her own experiences, being perfectly honest about how she used to succumb to the dieting demon, making herself ill in the process to be just a little bit thinner.
I don’t know how it has become so ingrained in the minds of society that thin = happy? Of course it’s not the case but somehow (and I’m as guilty of it as the next woman), we think we’re going to have a better life, perhaps be more attractive to the opposite/same sex, get more respect and have a better chance of achieving that promotion etc etc. I especially connected with Virgie’s thoughts about the diet industry at the moment – it’s dressed up as “getting healthier” or “taking care of yourself,” rather than losing weight, but we know exactly what they’re really referring to, don’t we?
As for my personal experience, I grew up as a super skinny young woman, with the occasional suggestion I had an eating disorder, I was so thin. (I didn’t). Then in my early twenties, I started to gain more weight and I would probably class myself as a curvy girl right now (UK size 14). How does this connect with the book? Well, I’m heartily embarrassed to say this but I used to pray that I would never gain weight, that I would always remain slim. I don’t know where I got the idea that it was a terrible thing to have a bit of meat on your bones, I think it was a mixture of what I saw in the media, how my friends looked and acted and how I saw larger people treated regarding their weight. Obviously I have struggled a bit with my new body image and have to admit to those gut-wrenching feelings of wanting to be just a little bit thinner. However, reading this book really did make me feel so much more empowered, both as a woman and about my weight. Whilst it might take a little bit of time to learn to love my shape the way Virgie does, she has taught me about self-love and respect which I sorely needed and opened my eyes to the hypocrisy and unfairness that women who are slightly larger suffer on a daily basis.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
Virgie Tovar is an author, activist and one of America’s leading experts
and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder
of Babecamp, started the hashtag campaign #LoseHateNotWeight, and
edited the groundbreaking anthology Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on
Life, Love and Fashion. Virgie has been featured by the New York Times,
MTV, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Huffington Post,
Cosmopolitan, and BUST. She lives in San Francisco.
Find Virgie on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6767364.Virgie_Tovar
or on Twitter @virgietovar
Thank you so much once again to Nikki Griffiths and Melville House UK for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. You Have The Right To Remain Fat was published on 16th August 2018 and is available as a paperback and a digital e-book. If you fancy more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!
Link to You Have The Right To Remain Fat on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40660123-you-have-the-right-to-remain-fat
Link to You Have The Right To Remain Fat on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Have-Right-Remain-Fat/dp/1911545167/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534446795&sr=8-1&keywords=you+have+the+right+to+remain+fat