In the early days of my body positive journey, finding books that preached a message of self-acceptance was an absolute life line. Over the years I have compiled a list of books every body positive woman should read, and will often buy copies of my favorites to pass onto friends (Especially if they are falling down the self-loathing rabbit hole.) Books of self empowerment are like confidence in paper form. If I'm having a period of feeling worn down by fat phobia, I turn to my body positivity library of bad ass authors, to help recharge my feminist mojo.
Being a plus size woman, in a world that rewards thinness can be extremely isolating. Constant messages from the media that your body does not fit the societal ideal of beauty, can be difficult for even the most confident feminist to navigate. This is where discovering fellow travelers on the road to self-confidence, is rather magical indeed. Many light bulb moments about my own relationship with food, weight, and appearance, have occurred after spending a few hours with a kick ass book, by a body pos advocate. Here are 13 well thumbed titles, which boost body image at any weight, and need to be on your book shelf.
1. 'Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls' by Jes Baker
This amazing book by blogger Jes Baker, is an empowering manifesto on “unapologetic living” as a visibly fat woman. Guest essays covering race, mental illness, and disabilities ensure Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls doesn’t just include the voices of straight white women and is genuinely inclusive. Refreshing and inspiring.
2. 'Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight' by Linda Bacon
When fake health concerns over a woman’s weight are continually used as a way to body shame, Health At Every Size has the stats to prove wellness isn’t just about dress size. Passages from this book have served me very well when I have been lectured by Doctor Googles muttering about “type two diabetes” every time I eat a biscuit.
3. ‘The Beauty Myth: How Images Of Beauty Are Used Against Women’ by Naomi Wolf
I read this book at university and it’s fair to say it changed my life. Unlike a lot of the earlier feminist classics, The Beauty Myth has aged quite well. There are still lots of really important ideas about dismantling media propaganda, and how to navigate daily messages regarding what it is to be beautiful.
4. ‘Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls On Life, Love, & Fashion’ by Virgie Tovar
Virgie is one of my favorite writers in the body positive community right now. Her blog posts and essays rock my world. Unsurprisingly Hot & Heavy, a series of essays by activists, performers, and poets, is body pos perfection. If you are forever putting off things until you reach a certain weight, let this book set you free.
5. ‘Fat! So?’ by Marilyn Wann
Taking all the shame out of the F word, Fat! So? cleverly debunks many medical myths about being overweight. With its mix of essays, quizzes, and facts it’s also a great book to dip in and out of, whenever you need a quick hit of body positivity.
6. ‘Fat Ladies In Spaaaaace’ by Nicole Lorenz
OK this isn’t exactly a book, but as a celebration of body positivity, the beautiful illustrations in Fat Ladies In Spaaaaace are hard to beat. Relax while coloring in and smash sexist ideas of beauty at the same time. Result.
7. ‘Beautiful You: A Daily Guide To Radical Self-Acceptance’ by Rosie Molinary
I adore books that set tasks and activities and Beautiful You is packed with 365 ideas to help embrace self-acceptance and body positivity. You don’t get a gold star for completing them, just the warm fuzzy feeling that discarding self-loathing brings.
8. ‘Women, Food, And God’ by Geneen Roth
Having struggled with disordered eating, I really enjoyed the spiritual aspect of Women, Food, and God. The book places a lot of emphasis on learning the root cause of personal body satisfaction, and exercises for inner healing. It’s like a hug in literary form.
9. ‘Fat Chicks Rule’ by Lara Frater
This is a really fun book offering pointers on how to survive in a “thin-centric world.” From discussing fat women in history to recommending body positive entertainment, Fat Chicks Rule is beautifully illustrated and offers lots of advice on how to fight fat phobia.
10. ‘Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit & Joy In The Female Body’ by Tami Lynn Kent
Wild Feminine is a holistic take on how to love your body. Tami Lynn Kent offers stories, visualizations, and creative exercises to help reclaim the power of the female body. This book very much spoke to the wild woman side of my nature. Howl at the moon ladies, we are all imperfectly perfect.
11. ‘The Gifts Of Imperfection’ by Brené Brown
Containing ten guideposts, The Gifts Of Imperfection encourages the reader to work on the mind, heart, and spirit. The core message of this book is that everyone is worthy of love and belonging. Brené Brown is particularly wise about how to overcome insecurities and stop striving for perfection. As someone who has always been very self-critical, this really resonated wit me.
12. ‘Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement’ By Charlotte Cooper
If you are interested in the roots of plus size politics, Fat Activism is a great read. Chronicling the body positive movement, Charlotte Cooper discusses her own work organizing radical events such as The Fattylympics, and highlights different ways fat prejudice has been fought over the past four decades.
13. ‘Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting And Got A Life’ by Kelsey Miller
Big Girl records Kelsey Millers journey from self-loathing to self-loving and is very funny along the way. Shining a spotlight on cultural attitudes about body image, the author shares how she managed to reprogram her attitudes towards food and fitness.