Abbey’s recent post on Jes Baker’s new book, Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Guide for Unapologetic Living, inspired me to write a longer post on body-positivity. I think that Baker’s book is great, but if I had a criticism, I’d say that the title is misleading. Body positivity is emphatically not just for girls and women, nor is it just for fat people.
Simply put, the body positivity movement is about feeling good about your body in a culture that constantly sends all of us messages about how we’re not good enough. Body positivity goes way beyond fat and thin; it’s about intersectionality — the ways that different aspects of our lives and identities intersect with our body image; it varies for everyone, but this might include race, disability, size, age, sexuality, gender presentation and more.
Again, I think Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls is a dynamic and accessible introduction to and exploration of the concept of body positivity, but as Baker herself points out, it’s far from the only book out there on this subject. Here’s a look at some additional options:
Children’s Books for Talking about Body Image
- What is Beautiful? – Maryjean Avery
- I’m A Pretty Little Black Girl! – Betty Bynum
- Mixed Me! – Taye Diggs
- Brontorina – James Howe
- Halfway to Perfect – Nikki Grimes
- Real Kids Come In All Sizes: Ten Essential Lessons to Build Your Child’s Body Esteem – Kathy Kater
- My Princess Boy – Cheryl Kilodavis
- Chris P. Bacon: My Life So Far … – Lucero Len
- Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon – Patty Lovell
- My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess – Heath McKenzie
- Freckleface Strawberry – Julianne Moore
- What I Like About Me! – Allia Zobel Nolan
- It’s Okay to be Different – Todd Parr
- You’re Wearing that to School?! – Lynne Plourde
- 101 Ways to Help your Daughter Love Her Body – Brenda Lane Richardson
- The Skin You Live In – Michael Tyler
Disability and/or Health and Body Image
- Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight – Linda Bacon
- The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts – Hanne Blank
- The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health – Paul F. Campos
- Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience – Mary Eileen Cronin
- Disability, Gender and the Trajectories of Power – Asha Hans
- Surface Tensions: Surgery, Bodily Boundaries and the Social Self – Lenore Manderson
- Baring It All (DVD)
Gender and/or Sexuality and Body Image
- Not Tonight Dear, I Feel Fat – Michael Alevar
- Gender Outlaws – Kate Bornstein
- Trans bodies, Trans Selves : A Resource for the Transgender Community – Laura Erickson-Schroth
- Come As You Are – Emily Nagoski
- The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics and the Ethics of Queer Life – Michael Warner
- Black Genders and Sexuality
- Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme
- Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out and Just Plain Fail to Understand About Weight – Linda Bacon
- Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight—and What We Can Do About It -Harriet Brown
- The Body Project – Joan Jacobs Brumberg
- Embrace: My Story From Body Loather to Body Lover – Taryn Brumfitt
- Live Large!: Ideas, Affirmations and Actions for Sane Living in a Larger Body – Cheri Erdam
- The Good Body – Eve Ensler
- Size Matters: How Height Affects the Health, Happiness and Success of Boys—and the Men They Become – Stephanie Hall
- Looking Good: Male Body Image in Modern America – Lynne Luciano
- Love Your Body, Love Your Life – Sarah Maria
- Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance – Rosie Molinary
- The Adonis Complex: How to Identify, Treat and Prevent Body Obsession in Men and Boys – Harrison Pope
- Fat is a Feminist Issue: An Anti-Diet Guide for Women – Susie Orbach
- Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion – Virgie Tovar
- The Fat Studies Reader – Marilyn Wann
- The Body Reader: Essential Social and Cultural Readings
- Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image
- Breasts (DVD)
Media and/or Advertising and Body Image
- All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty – Audrey Brashich
- In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You – Shari Graydon
- Am I Thin Enough Yet? The Cult of Thinness and the Commercialization of Identity – Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber
- The Girl on the Magazine Cover: The Origins of Visual Stereotypes in American Mass Media – Carolyn Kitch
- Airbrush Nation – Jennifer Nelson
- The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women – Naomi Wolf
- Women, Celebrity and Cultures of Aging
- Miss Representation (DVD)
Race and Body Image
- Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America – Ayana Byrd
- Bright, Light and Damn Near White: Biracial and Triracial Culture in America – Stephanie Rose Bird
- Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness – Ingrid Banks
- Skin Deep: How Race and Complexion Matter in the “Color Blind” Era – Cedric Herring
- Hungry for More: A Keeping-It-Real Guide for Black Women on Weight and Body Image – Robyn McGee
- Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture and African American Women – Noliwe Rooks
- Style and Status: Selling Beauty to African-American Women, 1920 – 1975 – Susannah Walker
- Other People’s Skin: Four Novellas
This isn’t a fully comprehensive list, but it’s my hope that this is a good starting place for those interested in these topics. I also highly recommend spending some time with nontraditional media; amazing things are happening in the body positive community online. Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls has a fantastic online resource list in an appendix, and the #bodypositive, #bodypositivity, #medialiteracy and #effyourbeautystandards tags on Instagram and Tumblr are another good place to start.
Riots not diets,
16 responses to “Body Positivity Reading List”
Thank you for all the information. I really liked this post and found it helpful. There is a lot of money to be made from keeping people unhappy about their looks. I love the push back against it. :)
Thanks for commenting, I’m so glad you found this useful. Pushing back against this harmful norms is the only way we make progress, in my opinion!
I LOVE this list! Thank you for posting it. I’ll be using it as a reference in the future.
Thanks for the kind comment! Happy reading!
I love this. Thank you for providing a list of titles too–I’m going to add several of these to my TBR because I, too, believe that body positivity extends to all people–not just women, not just fat people.
Awesome! Which titles look good to you?
Pardon abbreviating the titles, but… All Made Up; The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise; Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls; and Not Tonight Dear, I Feel Fat.
And that’s just to start!
Awesome! “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls” is a really good starting point, I think! Let us know if you like anything!
Will do! :)
What a great resource this post is – thank you very much!!
Thank you! I’m glad you found it useful! If you read anything and enjoy it – let us know!
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Mirror, mirror off the wall : how I learned to love my body by not looking at it for a year by Kjerstin Gruys is a good memoir about body image: https://librarycatalog.einetwork.net/Record/.b32036474/Home?searchId=34339726&recordIndex=1&page=1
Thanks for this recommendation!
Loved it!!! thanks