Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living (Jes Baker)

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Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living was my antidote for self-hatred. It was not effective.

For years I’ve avoided the body/fat acceptance movement. I’ve nodded along blithely as friends have extolled the virtues, I’ve agreed with the “fitness at every size” model. But I’ve held myself at arms length from investigating fat acceptance. Accepting being fat felt like failure, like I’d let myself down. After all, I’ve gained and lost significant amounts of weight in my adult life. I can do it again, and keep it off . . . right?

Jes Baker, The Militant Baker as her blogosphere persona, makes an impassioned plea for “unapologetic living.” I commend that. And I know that the ways I love myself, or not, and the ways I’m good to my body, or not, are deeply complex. I didn’t hate this book, but it made me wildly uncomfortable, like wearing too-small pants, constriction in my belly, waistband digging into my flesh, leaving ligature marks.

As I further delve into the joys and pain of having a body, and moving around the world in a body that is not always/often deemed socially acceptable or desirable, I was relieved to accidentally encounter Andie Mitchell’s It Was Me All Along. Quelling the voices that tell me that I’ll be valuable at ___ number on the scale, or ___ body shape, is a full-time job. Jes Baker says I should quit that job. I’m not so sure about that, but I think a transfer/transition may be in order. It’s just this one precious life, and how I feel, how I spend it, is up to me.

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