I could be wrong, but I fully believe that Jes Baker (of The Militant Baker) named her body-empowerment book, “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living” because “Things No One Will Tell People Who Have Ever Felt Even a Smidge of Body Shame, So Basically Every Human Being Everywhere Ever” was too long. It could also be because Jes champions the word “fat” as a physical descriptor of a body type without moral implications and her induction into the body-love community came as part of a personal quest to love her own fat body. But considering that the book talks about bodies that are fat, thin, black, white, brown, trans, abled, disabled, tall, short, male, female, androgynous, famous, healthy, unhealthy etc. etc. I think the longer title more accurately describes the beauty that is this book.
I resisted reading this book for more than a month, despite it repeatedly popping up in my recommendations because I was put off by the title. “I’m not fat,” I mentally protested, “I don’t need to read this book. I don’t want to read this book.” But the subtitle nagged at me until I gave in and popped it into my queue. Since then, the audiobook–read by the author herself–became the soundtrack to my commute. And I loved every minute of it. The kind of love that makes you laugh and cry and challenge yourself and doesn’t always feel good but that you know will make you a better person in the long run. Because along with its positivity, this book is challenging. It challenges you to think differently about your body and how we often equate our physical appearance with our value as human beings.
In her book, Jes suggests applying the famous KonMari method of tidying to your life. Take a moment to consider each behavior and thought pattern and ask yourself, does this bring me joy? If it does, keep it! If not, drop that nonsense like a hot potato. For me, it goes something like: wearing makeup and pretty clothes to work, hell yea! Going to the gym a few times a week? Definitely. Restrictive eating that requires giving up dessert? No thanks! Spanx? Absolutely not. On the other hand, my best friend loves Spanx and will only go to the gym if a trainer will tell her what to do. You do you, girl.
But perhaps the most important thing that no one will tell fat girls that Jes dares to tell her readers is this: loving your body is not selfish or narcissistic. It is a radical act that can actually change the world. Because loving your body makes you happy and happy people just don’t murder their husbands…no wait, that’s Elle Woods. Still, you get the point.
Bottom Line: If you’ve ever criticized your body. If you’ve ever told yourself that if you just lose ten pounds, then you’ll be happy. If you’ve ever equated skinny (but not too skinny!) with healthy or worse, skinny (but somehow still with curves?) with pretty. If you just need someone to sit you down and tell you how it is, this is the book for you.
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