cover image Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist

Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist

Sesali Bowen. Amistad, $24.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-302870-8

Journalist Bowen’s bold and winning debut fuses an unabashed love of hip-hop with a feminist consciousness that is “educated, but always willing to throw these hands” and a celebration of the social power of “ratchet Black girls.” Blending cultural analysis and memoir, Bowen explains why being a shoplifter able to code-switch “in a way that could both impress and disarm white folks” was an expression of power, and how her and a white male friend’s different experiences after being arrested for stealing from Nordstrom’s highlighted “disparities of class, race, and gender” in the justice system. Bowen also discusses fatphobia within hip-hop culture, defends plastic surgery (“I want no part of a fake ass body positivity that allows people to uphold unrealistic standards, shame women for not meeting them, but still demand that we love and embrace our bodies”), and celebrates the “raw realness” of Megan Thee Stallion and other “misogynoir”-busting female rap artists. Throughout, Bowen uplifts “the resilience, defiance, and attitudes of Black girls,” while pointing out the “racial microaggressions” of mainstream, majority white feminist groups such as Planned Parenthood. This is a powerful call for a more inclusive and “real” feminism. Agent: Nick Richesin, Wendy Sherman Assoc. (Oct.)