You Have the Right to Remain Fat

Virgie Tovar. Feminist Press, , $14.95 ISBN 978-1-936932-31-3
Tovar’s eye-opening debut combines personal narrative and cultural analysis to expose the forces driving “fatphobia” in America. Despite feminism’s progress, “we have been living out woman-hating methods of control via our dinner plates,” Tovar insists. She adds that everyone is influenced by fatphobia’s pervasive reach, either through lived experience of fat-related discrimination or through the fear of future rejection. Tovar dispels myths about obesity by showing how they dovetail with larger cultural assumptions; in the chapter “Dieting, Family, Assimilation, and Bootstrapping,” she explains, “Dieting maps seamlessly onto the preexisting American narrative of failure and success as individual endeavors,” which she compares to her family’s experiences emigrating from Mexico. In “Bros Heart Thinness: Heteromasculinity and Whiteness,” Tovar asserts, “controlling women’s body size is about controlling women’s lives,” while she recounts crushing early experiences like being called fat by her schoolmate at age four. Ultimately, dieting is not the way to freedom, Tovar concludes, self-love is. This short, accessible book packs a powerful message that will appeal to anyone eager to uncover and dispel cultural myths about beauty. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/07/2018
Release date: 08/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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