The life of a fat girl can be a lonely one. I’ve got friends, sure. I’ve got family. But when it comes to truly existing, mine is one of ostracisation and isolation. I live in a world where bodies like mine are very rarely reflected in media, nor are they considered within the world of consumerism, and on the whole, they are generally loathed and feared by the majority of the world.
I find myself unable to participate in those meaningless but fun conversations with colleagues; I don’t shop in the same shops as them, or relate to the people they relate to. They don’t understand my lifestyle or choices; in fact deep down, they probably pity me, or at very worst, they think I’m a parasite on the health service, a fat, gross, waste of space.
Pretty grim huh?
Well fear not, I do have good news, I promise. The ever growing online community of fat women, pioneers, advocates and activists are breaking through the stigma attached to living in a plus size body. They’re shooting fashion campaigns, starring in TV shows and, bringing me neatly round to the purpose of today, writing books.
It’s all about Virgie…
I’d heard of Virgie Tovar but I’m ashamed to admit, I’d never really familiarised myself with her work. I’d seen some awesome pictures of her online, admired her statement fashion sense, but other than that, I hadn’t read any of her work. Something I was happy to rectify with this book.
You Have the Right to Remain Fat is the small, succinct friend you never knew you needed in a world of deafening thin noise. It pops its head up and reassures you that your experiences and feelings have not been felt in isolation, and that, in fact, there are other people who ‘Get It’.
Virgie explores her life and the impact other people’s perceptions of her, growing up as a fat kid, then adult impacted her. Its anecdotal nature makes it easy to read, backed up with evidential facts and figures it has a sense of authority, yet a friendliness that is reassuring. Like your best mate has some hard facts they want to share with you, to make your life just that bit better.
For someone like me, quite far down my path of fat, so-to-speak, there was nothing in the book I didn’t already know, but what it acted as was a positive affirmation of everything I thought I had come to know over the course of my journey.
For those just starting out, this book is going to be an absolute revelation. You’re going read things that make you outwardly gasp and say “YES that is me! That is my exact experience”. You will slowly but surely start to realise that it’s not you, it’s them. That, all along you were perfectly wonderful and that your body doesn’t deserve the outright war the media and society has waged against it over the years.
Your body is fine. You are allowed to exist and be treated with love and respect.
The book is small enough that you will probably rip through it in a day, but what I loved about it, was that I wanted to go back and make notes. Highlight sections and quotes that really spoke to me. Like a pocket handbook of fat.
I think my only criticism, was that, as a British person, in places it was all a little bit American, some of the terminology, settings and such like weren’t always relatable, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of writing or the overall feel of the book.
If fat politics are your thing and you want to submerge yourself in all that encompasses I can highly recommend adding this little gem to your collection. It’s ever-important that our voices are heard and publicised, and Virgie gets her point across beautifully.
**This book was sent to me for the purposes of review**