BOOK REVIEW : YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN FAT BY VIRGIE TOVAR


"...diet culture’s greatest lie: that fat people need to wait before beginning their best lives."


To say that I'm a fan of the incredible person that is Virgie Tovar is a bit of an understatement to say the least, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to be sent a preview copy of her new book You Have the Right to Remain Fat. I believe it was around age 25 when I began rejecting diet culture and realising that fatphobia is something that is in no way to be accepted or even praised as is often the case in the popular media. Virgie was a huge part of fuelling the fire within me - her eloquence and obviously learned and fact supported words have for years now helped me realise that I do not and should not feel apologetic for taking up more space, for enjoying food, for loving fashion even as a fat woman. I owe a lot to Virgie, not only for helping me to heal both mentally and physically after a literal life long obsession with diets and feeling that I was second rate, that I should be embarrassed by my size and that I should hide myself away until I was acceptable to society; but also for teaching me so much about feminism, classicism, racism and sexism. In her words “controlling women’s body size is about controlling women’s lives”.

I wish I had had Virgie in my ear when I was a young girl - something that I though both back in 2013 and even more so now after reading this book. Like Virgie I grew up fat and fat is what I've known for my entire life - I don't remember the exact age when I was first bullied about my size but it was definitely while I was in the early years of primary school. One particular event that will never be removed from my memory was walking home after school with a group of friends at about age 12, only to have a group of adult men pull their van over solely to make fun of me for being fat in front of all of my mates before driving off again. That searing hot feeling of shame rising up from my stomach, the following silence, the pretending to shrug it off as no big deal and trying to coax my friends back into conversation while holding back tears. I remember being aged 15, so excited for my 16th birthday - not because of presents or a party of feeling more grown up but because at age 16 I could join Weight Watchers, lose weight and finally start life as a normal person. Spoiler alert - that didn't happen. These are just some of the reasons why I wish Virgie had been in my life back then and why I hope this book will make it's way into many people's lives and encourage them to support their friends and especially their children, giving them the knowledge and push to let others know that appearance should never be something to feel ashamed of and that we should all #losehatenotweight.

Being a long time fan of Virgie and her work as as I'm a good few years into my own era of fat positivity, this book is for me an affirmation and something to treasure and refer back to in those unavoidable moments of self doubt. For others though, this book will be life changing

At 128 pages long this is a wonderfully digestible book, small enough to get through in a day but packing powerful punches of information and anecdotes that will no doubt give validation to many people's own feelings and experiences. Reading this felt to me like having a wonderful chat with a close friend, that friend who you have a laugh with but learn so much from, the one that makes you realise that you are not not alone in your feelings and experiences. 

It would be easy for people who would be made to feel uncomfortable by the truths within this book to write it off as a way for a fat person to excuse their supposed failings, was it not for the amount of cited research and evidence Virgie includes. This for me is very important as the world seems to fling supposed facts and research about obesity around like nobody's business, so having evidential information to throw right back is for me an essential part of my arguments on this subject - mainly as anxiety has a lovely habit of removing all of my eloquence when in a confrontational situation. 

I'm not just talking about non-fat people either, I've witnessed first hand that fat people themselves can be the most fatphobic of all. I want to give this book to all of them, to everyone, to leave copies in libraries, on trains, in cafes, in waiting rooms. This passionate manifesto is one that needs to be shared, I just wish that the contents of this book would be as widely circulated as the diet myths.

Please do read this joyous book and take inspiration from Virgie - be radical and take joy in your body, don't accept the oppression that you're faced with for not fitting society's mould of an acceptable body type, celebrate your uniqueness, get angry, get radical, stop waiting and live your best life NOW.


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*This book was gifted to me, but all the opinions above are my own and are 100% honest - as always! For more information head to my disclaimer page.
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