I haven’t read all of these, but I’ve heard great things about every single one:
- Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective
- The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
- Bodies out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression by Jana Evans Braziel
- Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere by Kate Harding
- The Woman’s Comfort Book by Jennifer Louden
- Feed Me!: Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight, and Body Image by Harriet Brown
- Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity by Chloë Brushwood Rose
- Two Whole Cakes by Lesley Kinzel
- The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts by Hanne Blank
- The Care and Keeping of You by Valorie Schaefer
- Unbearable Weight by Susan BordoThe vast majority of body-positive books that I’m familiar with are aimed at women, though, so I’m afraid that I don’t have any recommendations that can apply to men and non-binary folk. If anyone else has some suggestions, please add them!
Some additions specifically for young kids:
- “What I Like About Me!” by Allia Zobel Nolan
- “Beautiful Girl: Celebrating the Wonders of Your Body” by Christiane Northrup and Kristina Tracy
- “Smile!” by Raina Telgemeier
- “The Skin I’m In” by Sharon G. Flake
- “101 Ways to Help Your Daughter Love Her Body” by Brenda Lane Richardson and Elane Rehr
And a couple more for the general reader:
- “The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls” by Joan Jacobs Brumberg
- “The Invisible Woman: Confronting Weight Prejudice in America" by Charisse Goodman
- “No Fat Chicks: How Big Business Profits Making Women Hate Their Bodies and How to Fight Back" by Terry Poulton
What writings talk WOC through their issues with body image?
While many of the above books do deal with women from multi-ethnic backgrounds, I realize that they’re pretty white-centric. Hopefully I can fix that tonight and share some more titles that are worth looking into.
- I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
- The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
- Marvelous Me by Lisa Bullard (About a little boy, but still a great book for young kids)
- I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont
- Ninth Ward by Rhodes
- Body Drama: Real Girls, Real Issues, Real Answers
- Skim by Mariko Tamaki
- The Color of Earth by Dong Hwa Kim
And while the following books aren’t technically going to fall under the label of Body Positive, they do look at the politics of beauty and race, mostly with black women. There are some great discussions of body image in here:
- A Hunger So Wide and So Deep: A Multiracial View of Women’s Eating Problems by Becky W Thompson
- The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies by Andrea Shaw Elizabeth
- Imagining the Black Female Body: Reconciling Image in Print and Visual Culture by Carol E. Henderson
- America and the Black Body: Identity Politics in Print and Visual Culture by Carol E. Henderson
- Recovering the Black Female Body: Self-Representation by African American Women by Michael Bennett
- Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts by Ayana Byrd
- Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd
- Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness by Ingrid Banks
*~Free Figure Revolution’s Body Posi Rally at VCU!~*
[Here’s the entire album of amazingness!]
hey guys, just a quick reminder
it is not ANTI-bodyposi to have a bad day
you are not a bad person for waking up and going “man, i do not feel pretty today.”
it is not hypocritical of you to love fat bodies and promote fat acceptance but then sometimes look in the mirror and wish you were a little thinner
everybody has bad days and it’s harder for some people than others to stay positive about their bodies
your feelings are valid even if they might be distorted by all the bullshit we’re fed and you are allowed to feel them
i know a lot of people struggle with thoughts like “i think body acceptance is really good and important but it’s hard for me to accept my own body”
those two feelings are not mutually exclusive and it’s okay to feel them both at the same time
the reason this community is here is to help you work through those latter feelings until you get to a point where you have way more good days than bad days
so don’t ever feel bad or like you’re a hypocrite or a bad advocate just because some days you are not feeling too great about your butt or your tummy or your teeth
1. Know that you are still blooming, and this is okay.
2. Write handwritten love notes to the parts of yourself you hate.
3. Find the comfort in holding your own hand.
4. Remember, even clouds cry sometimes.
5. Date yourself. Get to know yourself again.
6. Learn how to be alone without feeling lonely.
7. Do something that scares you every day, no matter how small. Watch your life change.
8. Stop wishing for a vacation and make your life into something you don’t wish to escape from.
9. Recognize that the best artists color outside the lines. You have the same freedom in your life. Break conventions.
10. Go to the florist on the corner and buy yourself some flowers. Spoil yourself. You deserve it.
11. Throw out your premeditated list of qualities for your perfect mate. That special person is not a recipe or equation. Humans are more than that.
12. Share your testimony. Our story is meant to be heard. Find your voice.
13. Wish to be more like rain than snow. Snow is frigid and hardens. Rain is vulnerable and soft.
14. Look at your veins. They are roots, and your limbs are branches. Your body is a strong tree. Don’t you dare cut it down.
15. Strive to have the humility as the sun. It shines brilliantly every day without needing anyone to notice.
16. Flip through old photos and reminisce about the past, but do not live there. Nothing new happens there.
17. Dust off the fingerprints of any past lover left on your skin. You belong only to yourself.
18. Become the person you’d like to fall in love with.
19. Loving yourself again will be like putting on eyeglasses. The blur will fade and you will see yourself for what you truly are: beautiful."
Bianca is an artistic jill-of-all-trades, a body-positive feminist, and a good friend of mine from my university years. Bianca and I got to be friends quickly after meeting in a coffee shop, and she has always inspired me by how she creates beautiful works, stands up to bullying, and strives every day to love herself and better the world. And a while back, Bianca answered some questions that I had for her about those fights.
(Trigger warning for self-hatred, rape, depression.)
then I better see you talk about how medical problems like depression, acid reflux, fibromyalgia, migraines and pneumonia will also negate a person’s beauty.
Because that supermodel over there? Whoops, she’s currently taking medication for constipation. I guess she’s not beautiful anymore. Your girlfriend just got the flu? Oh man, sorry, but now you’re dating a total uggo. Got a friend going through chemo? Well damn, they’re pretty unhealthy right now, I guess you wouldn’t dare to call them beautiful. By telling these people that they’re beautiful and by letting them have high self-esteem, you’re just glorifying these health problems!!!1!
Recognize that when you set “good health” as a requirement for beauty, it has more far reaching consequences then just shaming fat people. While you may think that you’re simply showing concern for people’s (supposedly) poor decisions in life, you’re instead creating a system where no one is actually good enough to love themselves or be proud of their body. It’s an impossible standard that even the most stereotypically beautiful and fit people can’t reach.
You don’t need to be healthy in order to appreciate your body and have worth. You don’t need to conform to anyone else’s expectations regarding health or beauty. It’s okay.
Just because you DON’T have fitness clothes doesn’t mean you can’t workout. Nature is free. Fuck a gym and their rules.