You Have the Right to Remain Fat- Book Review

Just before my last trip I came across an email in my junk asking if I’d be interested in reading a new short book (manifesto) called You Have The Right To Remain Fat written by Virgie Tovar- you might not know the name but you’ll certainly recognise her – as an activist and expert on fat discrimination and body image she will have popped up many a time on your social feeds.

I’m a big reader and on our 5 day Kefalonia trip I got through 4 books plus this manifesto. Once I start I can’t stop so I have to really make sure I have time to do it- I don’t make time what with being social, working and my blog as it’s something that I’ve allowed to fall by the wayside somewhat. So I considered the email fate and took the book on my jolly’s with me.

The books message is clear from the title right? It’s certainly the hook to this 128 page pocket wonder. I took it to the beach and set some clear time aside to read it in one, although it’s shorter sharp chapters can be easily digested as you go if you’re fitting it into a busy lifestyle!

It certainly gave some food for thought, and without spoiling it but still inspiring I thought I’d talk around the three things that resonated with me the most.

I’ve started myself to think about phrases we use daily that have been ingrained into us like ‘oh I can’t have that piece of cake I’m being ‘good’ today’. What defines good in this phrase? Yet it’s something that will roll off our tongues without a second thought. It’s addressed in the book and talked around how we aren’t born to think thin is good , it’s cultural education that’s responsible for the ‘thin is good fat is bad’ monologue – so what can we do to tackle that?

Another thing it talks about is alienation of fats. The grouping of us like we are some separate entity to any other human being because of our size. Gawping at us like some circus spectacle and that kind of thing. I often catch people’s sly stares, more often when I’m in another country and even more often when I’m in my bikini. I’ve just had to deal with it and because they aren’t being so brazen with it I can’t confront them- imagine if they were genuinely just admiring my bikini? (I do have fab taste in bikinis if I say so myself!) It got me thinking more about this though and how I’d deal with it if it was more blatant- how to shut up the fatphobics!

The last one was about the more recent current of removing diet talk but actually just masking it in the public domain. Saying things are ‘healthy’ vs a restricted diet. Think juicing- it’s not called a juice diet , it’s called juicing to avoid the D word but people wholly partake in them to lose weight right? It got me thinking more about the word diet, what it means, and how it’s a dirty word to all shapes and sizes now but for very differing reasons.

All in all this was a thought provoking book for me with some real life examples (albeit a little Americanised but it was in America those experiences were had tbf!) that helped me understand more about fatphobia and diet culture and how I’ve not been alone in some of my experiences. Let me know if you grab a copy as I’d love to know your thoughts too!