You have the right to remain fat

Virgie Tovar, 1982-

Book - 2018

Growing up as a fat girl, Virgie Tovar believed that her body was something to be fixed. But after two decades of dieting and constant guilt, she was over it--and gave herself the freedom to trust her own body again. Ever since, she's been helping others to do the same. Tovar is hungry for a world where bodies are valued equally, food is free from moral judgment, and you can jiggle through life with respect. In concise and candid language, she delves into unlearning fatphobia, dismantling s...exist notions of fashion, and how to reject diet culture's greatest lie: that fat people need to wait before beginning their best lives. --

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 616.398/Tovar Checked In
New York, NY : Feminist Press 2018.
First Feminist Press edition
Physical Description
128 pages ; 18 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 123-125).
Main Author
Virgie Tovar, 1982- (author)
  • Introduction
  • What are fatphobia and diet culture?
  • Restriction doesn't work: it's not you
  • Dieting: family, assimilation, and bootstrapping
  • Dieting is a survival technique
  • Internalized inferiority and sexism
  • Bros [heart] thinness: heteromasculinity and whiteness
  • Fatphobia is the new language of classism and racism
  • What early fat activism taught me
  • In the future, I'm fat
  • I want freedom
  • You have the right to remain fat.
Review by Booklist Review

Tovar was a happily jiggly kid, but she eventually learned to be ashamed of her fat body. In this short personal and political manifesto, she lambastes diet culture (which she calls assisted femicide) and its slow evolution into the more benign-sounding healthy living. The so-called wellness industry preys on the internalized inferiority many women feel, and Tovar argues that this is just another way our society tries to control women's bodies by telling us that a fat person is a bad person. She also traces her journey through the very different circles of queer fat activists, who call for liberation from harmful societal demands, and the largely white, heterosexual body-positivity movement, which seeks assimilation and conforms to gender norms. She also touches on the struggles of dating straight men, like the way her more honest, fat-positive dating profile yielded far less interest than her more apologetic one. There is a lot of anger here, but there is also a lot of inspiration, and Tovar's call to action for fat women to embrace their bodies as is will resonate.--Susan Maguire Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Tovar (editor, Hot & Heavy) analyzes the marriage between fat phobia and diet culture, and how women are trained to blame themselves, not society, for body shame. The author recalls her childhood, when she was called fat before she knew what the word meant. Being fat is political, she states, as demonstrated by continued societal efforts to police women's bodies. Exploring the emerging discipline of fat studies, Tovar expands on the differences between fat feminism and fat activism, and how body size connects to class, race, and gender. She excels at critiquing diet culture; describing how it matches the American narrative of failure and success as personal endeavors and how dieting and fatphobia are ideologies that rely upon inducing inferiority. Women should stop being socially rewarded for weight loss and punished for weight gain especially since either could be health related, she concludes, while admitting that ideologies of oppression are impossible to legislate; even if you regulate the behavior, the ideology remains intact. VERDICT Combining aspects of feminism and women's health, Tovar's impassioned call to action challenges Western beauty norms and how women (and girls) develop self-esteem. Ideal for YA crossover.-Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by School Library Journal Review

Author, activist, and self-proclaimed fat feminist Tovar states unapologetically that we should embrace all bodies and that our cultural obsession with dieting and thinness must stop. She recalls the time a male kindergarten classmate sneered that she was fat and how she spent her formative years trying to shrink her body. A cycle of starvation and weight gain ensued until an epiphany struck. The problem was not her body-it was that society groomed her to view it negatively. The author flexes her scholarly muscles, coherently explaining fatphobia and diet culture, holding accountable white supremacy and misogyny, and conveying a much-needed message that many teens haven't yet heard. VERDICT An important, no-nonsense voice for self-acceptance that will resonate with most readers, especially those grappling with body image issues.-Lindsay Jensen, Nashville Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

A manifesto for fat rights and freedom from the tyranny of diet, exercise, and body-image conformity.Though Tovar (editor: Hot Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love Fashion, 2012) spent two decades dieting to no avail, she has since devoted her energies to the emerging fields of fat scholarship and fat activism while celebrating her "Ultra Mega Badass Fat Babe Lifestyle," which features "an anti-assimilationist framework that I [find] both familiar and wonderfully provocative." In a short book filled with flurries of sharp jabs, the author emphasizes that discrimination against the fat is as insidious and repressive as that based on race, ethnicity, or gender. "Fatphobia," writes Tovar, "is a bigoted ideology that positions fat people as inferior and as objects of hatred and derision. Fatphobia targets and scapegoats fat people, but it ends up harming all people.Because of the way fat people are positioned in our culture, people learn to fear becoming fat." If there can be a healthy balance between diet and exercise on one end and cultural tyranny on the other, the author has no interest in finding itor in recommending moderation in any form. Her more radical position is that emphasizing health and diet is just code for thin and that "diet culture is the marriage of the multi-billion-dollar diet industry (including fitness apps, over-the-counter diet pills, prescription drugs to suppress appetite, bariatric surgery, gyms, and gym clothiers) and the social and cultural atmosphere that normalizes weight control and fatphobic bigotry." Thus, campaigns against childhood obesity (a euphemism for "fat") isn't a response to a health crisis but another attempt to perpetuate the body-image tyranny.Whether or not Tovar convinces all readers that ignoring diet and exercise is the path to freedom, she offers psychological comfort to those who have been made to feel unworthy due to their body size and/or shape. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.