cover image “You Just Need to Lose Weight”: And 19 Other Myths About Fat People

“You Just Need to Lose Weight”: And 19 Other Myths About Fat People

Aubrey Gordon. Beacon, $15.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0647-4

Podcaster Gordon (What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat) interrogates misperceptions about fatness in this helpful handbook for those “struggling to interrupt moments of anti-fatness in their daily lives.” Among other myths, Gordon debunks the notions that fatness is a choice, that obesity is the leading cause of death in the U.S., that fat acceptance “glorifies obesity,” that weight loss “is the result of healthy choices and should be celebrated,” and that “fat bodies are not to be seen, discussed, observed, or embraced.” Many sections conclude with a short list of questions for reflection, designed to help people of diverse body types recognize and combat anti-fat bias—for example, by not offering unsolicited weight-loss compliments. Gordon also highlights the links between anti-Blackness and anti-fatness and exposes the biases implicit in “body positivity” advertising campaigns by Dove and other corporations. Throughout, Gordon interweaves personal reflections on her own experiences as a self-described “fat lady” with sharp cultural and scientific analysis to make a persuasive case that “our bodies are neither reflections of our character nor comeuppance for bad actions.” The result is a lucid and impassioned guide to combatting negative stereotypes about body size. (Jan.)