As I’ve talked about in other blog posts, I am a fat woman. I have always been “chubby”, but now, as an adult, it’s clear. I am fat. I have always been fat. And recently, I’ve been introduced to fat acceptance and liberation, which, in a nutshell, are the philosophies that fat people have the right to exist and live their lives without feeling pressured to change their bodies in any way.
You Have the Right to Remain Fat is a collection of essays by Virgie Tovar in which she shares her experience as a fat child and woman, particularly as a fat BIPOC. Using personal anecdotes, with a healthy sprinkle of statistics and studies, Tovar explains her journey from hating her body to loving it. Yes, even while fat.
While I read this book (mainly in the bathtub, which I’ve decided is the best place to read this book), I was struck by how many of Tovar’s stories that I could relate to. From the backhanded compliments (such as “You have such a pretty face!”) to feeling pressure from family members to shrink our bodies to the connection you feel when finding a community of fat women, Tovar’s stories show the universal experiences of fat women everywhere.
I found this book in an Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size Facebook group, where it was recommended among several other books I hope to read in the future.
Reading this book brought me a lot of self esteem and appreciation for my fatness. I find myself saying things like, “I’m so cute!” while looking at my tummy in the mirror, and even bought a few new bikinis! This book should be required reading for every fat woman, and honestly, every person. I wish more people understood what it is like to exist in a fat body, because if that empathy could be found, maybe fatphobia would finally disappear forever.