Required Reading: 6 Books on Bodies & Diet Culture by Black Female Authors

In response to the recent brutal deaths of Black folks by police, sparked by George Floyd among others, the response has been a bit of a resource overload. Shared across social media are countless links to places to donate, articles to read, protests to attend, and lists of ways to show support on social media. But with so many suggestions, prioritizing what to read can be a bit confusing.

We combed through some of these lists to find the books written by Black women on our relationships with our bodies. Some of these books exist to point out how diet culture stemmed from white supremacy, some are memoirs, and others are here to help usher you along your journey to self-love. All are written by Black women, many of them also identify as fat women.

Here's what to get reading:

 

Fattily Ever After: The Fat, Black Girls' Guide to Living Life Unapologetically

by Stephanie Yeboah

Stephanie gets real and vulnerable in her book recounting the racism and fatphobia she has encountered throughout her life, and how she has managed to find self-acceptance as a Black, plus-size woman even in a world riddled with judgement and discrimination. She covers everything from online dating to misogyny, and doles out advice and beautiful illustrations throughout.

 

The Body Is Not An Apology

by Sonya Renee Taylor

Sonya Renee Taylor is a world-renowned activist and poet, offering radical self-love as the cure to the painful relationships we have with our own bodies due to the systemic oppression that thrives of off our inability to accept ourselves. This book is designed to help you recognize the body shame that has been indoctrinated and awaken others in the quest to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame. The result of radical self-love would usher in the opportunity for a more equitable world for all of its inhabitants. 

 

Fearing the Black Body

by Sabrina Strings

This book delves into how the female body has been racialized for over 200 years. The obesity epidemic targeting the poor black women that are a burden on the public health care system? Only the most recent incarnation of the fear of black women. The author takes the reader on a historical journey from the Renaissance to today, analyzing art, newspaper and magazine articles, and scientific and medical journals where fat bodies were once praised to show that fatphobia didn't originate with medical findings but with the Enlightenment era belief that fatness was evidence of racial inferiority. The beauty ideal of thinness at its core is racialized and racist. 

 

Blossoming

by Alishia McCullough

This book is an exploration of healing, self-love, and mental health, perfect for anyone on the journey towards self-discovery and acceptance. Each chapter evolves, much like the development of a butterfly, allowing the reader to grow and embark on a journey toward self-acceptance.

 

#VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE: The Fat Girl's Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini

by Nicole Byer

Comedian Nicole Byer wrote this book to not only share her very impressive bikini collection with the world but also to help others embrace their body as it is, find their bravery, and handle haters.

 

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

by Roxane Gay

TW: this autobiographical book describes a very painful and personal rape scene. 
Roxane Gay's Hunger is a beautifully written autobiography of how New York Times bestselling author Roxane's body became to be what it is today: very tall, fat, and covered in tattoos. Her journey through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood is relatable and touching, and is sure to have you tearing up. She writes about her intimacy and sensitivity with food and bodies and how in today's world, the bigger you are, the less you're seen. 

 

What are you reading these days? Something light and fluffy or something deep and political? Tell us and spark a conversation in our Facebook Group.

Required Reading: 6 Books on Bodies & Diet Culture by Black Female Authors

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