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Size Matters: Your Big Fat Reading List

Since the end of summer is rapidly approaching, I thought I'd suggest a selection of books on fat acceptance and fat bodies in general for you to finish the season with. Some of these I've read, others I'm in the process of reading. If I have any personal insights on the book I'll share them with you.

Now, let's get to reading. Or at least thinking about reading.

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Fat!So?: Because You Don't Have to Apologize for Your Size by Marilyn Wann

Fat!So? was the first book about fat acceptance I ever read. It started me on the path to really loving my body, although I had "relapses" here and there. Recently I got it out to read it again and the information is still pertinent after 12 years. I recommend this to anyone new to the FA movement or anyone who just wants to know more about being fat.
Here's the description off Amazon.com:

YA-The pervasiveness and dangers of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are undeniable; recent articles on the subject have appeared in periodicals ranging from People to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Wann, a 5'4", 275-pound Californian, states unequivocally that America needs an attitude adjustment. Fear of fat, she says, supports a $40 billion a year diet industry, destroys both relationships and self-esteem, and engenders "loathing on a national level." Her revolutionary idea? Eat right, exercise, and stop worrying about weight. Being thin doesn't automatically equate with either health or happiness, the author reminds readers. She includes information from physicians, health experts, and medical journals to support her assertion that fitness contributes more to longevity than the "the f-word." The book, named after her Web site and her zine, is an engaging blend of fact and humor. Charts, graphics, photos ("visual counterpropaganda"), testimonials, quotes, ideas for sassy comebacks, and much more can help teens of all sizes reevaluate their view of the "flabulous." Fat! So? is irreverent and thought provoking, informative and fun.
Dori DeSpain, Herndon Fortnightly Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Bodies Out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression by Jana Evans Braziel and Kathleen LeBesco
I've been reading Bodies Out of Bounds on and off for about a year now. I'll give you the description off Amazon.com:

Since World War II, when the diet and fitness industries promoted mass obsession with weight and body shape, fat has been a dirty word. In the United States, fat is seen as repulsive, funny, ugly, unclean, obscene, and above all as something to lose. Bodies Out of Bounds challenges these dominant perceptions by examining social representations of the fat body. The contributors to this collection show that what counts as fat and how it is valued are far from universal; the variety of meanings attributed to body size in other times and places demonstrates that perceptions of corpulence are infused with cultural, historical, political, and economic biases. The exceptionally rich and engaging essays collected in this volume question discursive constructions of fatness while analyzing the politics and power of corpulence and addressing the absence of fat people in media representations of the body.

The essays are widely interdisciplinary; they explore their subject with insight, originality, and humor. The contributors examine the intersections of fat with ethnicity, race, queerness, class, and minority cultures, as well as with historical variations in the signification of fat. They also consider ways in which "objective" medical and psychological discourses about fat people and food hide larger agendas. By illustrating how fat is a malleable construct that can be used to serve dominant economic and cultural interests, Bodies Out of Bounds stakes new claims for those whose body size does not adhere to society's confining standards.

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The Fat Studies Reader by Sondra Solovay, Marilyn Wann and Esther Rothblum

The Fat Studies Reader is a book I got recently but haven't gotten around to reading. (You'll find I have many books like that.) I'll give you a sample of a review to whet your appetite:

"With forty essays that span an impressive array of academic and popular approaches, this book is the first to collect the essential texts of the blossoming discipline known as fat studies, which explores why the oppression of fat people remains acceptable in American culture. . . . Fat studies is an arena where the personal, political and scientific converge, and with this book, readers can mount an informed challenge to the medical construction of obesity and size, the diet industry, insurance companies, public policy and popular culture. . . . It may be too soon for the movement to offer utopian alternatives, but these essays offer a rich supply of tools for the activist and scholar willing to start the revolution."
- Publishers Weekly


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Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby

Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere is an engaging book that picks up where Fat!So? left off. With new research and information refuting the unhealthiness of fat, it breathed new life into the fat acceptance movement. Here's a review from Amazon:

When it comes to body image, women can be their own worst enemies, aided and abetted by society and the media. But Harding and Kirby, the leading bloggers in the "fatosphere," the online community of the fat acceptance movement, have written a book to help readers achieve admiration for--or at least a truce with--their bodies. The authors believe in "health at every size"--the idea that weight does not necessarily determine well-being and that exercise and eating healthfully are beneficial, regardless of whether they cause weight loss. They point to errors in the media, misunderstood and ignored research, as well as stories from real women around the world to underscore their message. In the up-front and honest style that has become the trademark of their blogs, they share with readers twenty-seven ways to reframe notions of dieting and weight, including: accepting that diets don't work, practicing intuitive eating, finding body-positive doctors, not judging other women, and finding a hobby that has nothing to do with one's weight.

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Revolting Bodies?: The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity by Kathleen Lebesco

Revolting Bodies is another book I own that's in my queue. Here's the book jacket description:

Viewed as both unhealthy and unattractive, fat people are widely represented in popular culture and in interpersonal interactions as revolting as agents of abhorrence and disgust. Yet if we think about "revolting" in a different way, Kathleen LeBesco argues, we can recognize fatness as not simply an aesthetic state or a medical condition, but a political one. If we think of revolting in terms of overthrowing authority, rebelling, protesting, and rejecting, then corpulence carries a whole new weight as a subversive cultural practice that calls into question received notions about health, beauty, and nature.

Revolting Bodies examines a number of sites of struggle over the cultural meaning of fatness. The book is grounded in scholarship on identity politics, the social construction of beauty, and the subversion of hegemonic medical ideas about the dangers of fatness. It explains how the redefinition of fat identities has been undertaken by people who challenge conventional understandings of nature, health, and beauty and, in so doing, alter their individual and collective relationships to power.

LeBesco explores how the bearer of a fat body is marked as a failed citizen, inasmuch as her powers as a worker, shopper, and sexually "desirable" subject are called into question. At the same time, she highlights fat fashion, relations among fat, queer, and disability politics and activism, and online communities as opportunities for transforming these pejorative stereotypes of fatness. Her discussion of the long-term ramifications of denying bodily agency in effect, letting biological determinism run rampant has implications not only for our understanding of fatness but also for future political practice.

My purpose in making this list is not to provide my own personal review of each book, but rather to give you a glimpse at some books about fat that might be useful in your quest to learn more about fat discrimination, fat acceptance, and historical ideas about fat. I hope you find these books enlightening and satiating of your desire to learn more about the lives of fat people and the burgeoning field of fat studies.

Happy reading!

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Comments

13 comments have been made. Post a comment.

More Books:

When I was recovering from bulemia/anorexia a few years ago after a lifetime before spent at a size 14/16, here's some of the stuff I read for body acceptance: The Fat Girl's Guide to Life by Wendy Shanker, Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach, and Am I Thin Enough Yet?: The Cult of Thinness and the Commercialization of Identity by Sharlene Hesse-Biber. I shared The Fat Girl's Guide to Life with my mom and my sister because I got so much out of it.

This discussion is something that is close to my heart. During my eating disorder, I got down to a size 6. For me that's skin and bones. What's interesting is that I recovered and gained weight but never got back to my original size of a 14/16. Now all the women in my life who are bigger than I am feel like it's okay to comment on my size all the time. "You're so thin!" they proclaim. I don't like it. I feel a kinship with these women because I myself was a "big" girl for my entire life until about age 25, which was when I developed my disorder. I feel a kinship with these women because they are women and they are people as well--weight is such a divider amongst women, and attitudes amongst women about each other's weight are skewed on all sides. My disorder was actually more of a reaction to getting sober--I'm an alcoholic--at that age than issues with my body. I thought I'd dealt with that already. And having been at various places on the weight and size spectrum and having the different experiences of women in both the position of thinness and the position of fatness, I will tell you that being thin comes with it's own set of issues in this society. What's interesting is that when I tell fat women that I have been fat and had that experience, they act as if my current thinness negates all of that experience. This is a conversation that needs to keep happening.

Those sound

Those sound like good books, I'll check them out.

I'm so glad you're recovering from your eating disorder. ED is really tough to break. I hope you stay safe and healthy.

internalized oppression-when complements are not

I make it a practice to never congraulate someone on their weight loss when they are fishing for complements because I am then playing the game of CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE - which dieters don't need (no matter what size they are).

Similiarly, by commenting positively (or negatively) on a person's size and shape (either when solicited, and even more so when not solicited) one is playing into society's thin acceptance agenda -- and even though not intended, the comments send a CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE MESSAGE. As a woman who has battled and survived the war of body and size hatred, of course you are offended by these twisted 'compliments.'/ comments.

Generally when someone says something that is so "off the mark" with us, it usually says more about them, than us. I suspect these comments are reflecting their own internalized oppression and the place when they are still making peace with their size and shape compared to yours. They are truly trying to give you a complement, but only because they are still unconscounscly buying into the thin is better modle. So actually, when they are 'complementing you', they are dissing themselves. There are lot of reasons for you to be 'uncomfortable' with these comments.

In my experience, acceptance/liberation is a process. Internalized oppression can be a very subtle, slippery creature, and people who think they are beyond it can behave in ways that are being drive by internalized oppression. So, well-mening aware feminist activists (which means all of us) can make comments that are offensive without being aware of it. Education is the best remedy for this. That is the spirit in which I write this.

Their 'complements' separate you from them, they are fat, and you are "so thin." This also negates all the emotional traumas you have gone through with body shame and hatred -- because you are 'thin' - you have arrived at the holy grail. You know that is not true -- you were a size 6, and probably were more psychically tortured then and had more body shame and hatred then you do now at a bigger size than was your 'goal' for years. For me, the kinship has to do with the emotional psychic struggle and dance from body shame and hatred to acceptance. It doesn't matter what size or weight someone ever was -- it never did. Look at the annorexics who can't be thin enough. It is true that externally fat and thiner women do have different physical exeriences in our world -- size of physical accommodatons, etc, and all the trauma associated wtih that. For me, the kinship and the holy grail I've reached is a state of mind - acceptance. The kinship is the struggle, the battle, and the winning - getting from there to here - not physically, but emotionally.

Sincerely,

big fat thanks

Oooohhh. I read Fat!So? about a decade ago, and I am not being hyperbolic when I say it changed my life. It was my first real step towards fat- and body-positivity, acceptance, and activism (not to mention self-acceptance). Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere is also wonderful, and I've got Revolting Bodies? making its way to me from a friend. However, I didn't know about Bodies Out of Bounds, and I am putting in an interlibrary loan request for it right now; it sounds great. This is a fantastic list. Thank you so, so much.

other recs, and a question

Oh, also! In this same vein, I can't recommend Paul Campos' 'The Obesity Myth', Laura Fraser's 'Losing It', and Linda Bacon's 'Health at Every Size' strongly enough. Amazing, important, books.
Susan Stinson is a talented and passionate fat-positive writer of poetry and fiction. I try to recommend her to as many people as possible.

I'd also like to ask if any of the readers & commenters have read 'Fat: A Cultural History of Obesity', 'Shadow on a Tightrope', and/or 'Fat Politics'. If so, thoughts and comments?

Oldies, but goodies books -- lots of them

I got on this link to find current fat acceptance books. Thank you all for the books to check out.
Here I have some of my all-time oldie favorites: They are all available on Amazon.com --- also try your library -- some of them are old enough that the library may have gotten rid of them --- fortunately, folks are selling them on Amazon.com very cheaply, lots for 1 cent, and then $4 for s & h, some cost more.

'Shadow on a Tightrope: Writings by Women on Fat Oppression' Lisa Schoenfielder (Editor), Barb Wieser (Editor), Vivian Mayer (Foreword) 1995, 1983 This was written by members of the original Fat Acceptance Movement. This is a wonderful book. Available new or used on Amazon.com

This is copied from an Amazon.com reviews.
The first, the original book about fat-acceptance, April 25, 2008
By foible40 "Purple Tights" (Portland OR) -
Shadow on a Tightrope: Writings by Women on Fat Oppression (Paperback)
I was just getting into fat-acceptance when this book was being collected. It's an intensely personal, powerful testimony to the strength of the women who wrote it, and to every fat woman who's been on the attacked side of size prejudice.

I can't remember the name of the piece, but it's the text of a speech given to a group of womens' studies students. It made me cry, it made me strong. Read it and the rest of the book - you'll become more aware and a better person for it.

Another Amazon.com review
October 13, 2000
By . "hansendesigns" (rutgers, n. brunswick, NJ usa)
Shadow on a Tightrope: Writings by Women on Fat Oppression (Paperback)
This is a book that shows how far we have come in the war against fat-oppression. Unfortunately it hasn't been very far, however, every fat grrrl should own a copy!! It's a little piece of our history in this society where we must all bow to a powerful looks-based caste system. Hopefully the words of our foremothers will help you see that we don't have to live this way and we can still feel comfortable in our own skin. It's a must-have title for all who know that there is beauty in every person.

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Another oldie but goodie is Dieter's Dilemma: Eating Less and Weighing More : The Scientific Case Against Dieting as a Means of Weight Control- Paperback (July 1983) by William Bennett - you can buy it used on Amazon, it out of print. Way back in 1982, they made a scientific researched and refercened argument that diets did not work. This is a great book.

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Another great oldie: 'Making Peace with Food: Freeing Yourself from the Diet/Weight Obsession. This is a size acceptace positive book. It's aim is to help folks stuck in the diet/weight obsession. 1989. Available new or used from Amazon.com. They have great reviews for this book.

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Someone mentioned Fat is a Feminist Issue, I DO NOT recomment this. Orbach got it right that fat is a feminist issue, but then she blamed emotional issues for ones' size. The original cover had a fat woman's body, showing layers of fat that hid the person inside-- it's horrible. This was the only book commercially available when I was first accepting myself in 1978. Fortunately, we now have many choices of truly fabulous books --this is NOT one of them.
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One more book: 'Transforming Body Image: Learning to Love the Body You Have, 1985 Available used from Amazon.com There are a couple of reviews from Amazon.com

By Alison Starr (Dallas, TX United States) -
Transforming Body Image: Learning to Love the Body You Have (Paperback)
It is wonderful to me that a book from the 1980's can still speak to us about our body issues. The author's insights, honesty, and practical exercises help lead me to a more healthy view of my body. Though the exercises the author suggests need to be done in a group (even 2 people) the wisdom found in the pages of this text have given me a new outlook on life.

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This is a GREAT BOOK
'Beauty Secrets: Women and the Politics of Appearance' 1986, Wendy Chapkis This covers not just fat/thin appearance, much more.

Another oldie, The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness, Kim Chernin 1981 I ONLY RECOMMEND THE FIRST HALF OF THIS BOOK-- it is so goood that I recommend it despite that I suggest you COMPLETELY SKIP THE 2ND HALF OF THE BOOK. It's like two different women wrote it. She so 'gets it' in the first half. Then in the 2nd half she blames our emotions for our weight (like some of her books written after this one----I don't recommend them) -- the 2nd half is SOOO bad, but the 1st half is SOOOOOO GOOD. It came out in 1981. It's available on Amazon.com

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Ths is another great gem: Real Gorgeous: The Truth About Body and Beauty by Kaz Cooke, 1996

3.0 out of 5 stars Good...but not for the younger girls, December 2, 1999
By Marion Johnson (utah) -
Real Gorgeous: The Truth about Body and Beauty (Paperback)
This book is fun and very tongue-in-cheek and makes you feel good about those cute chunky thighs. The book is promoted for women "11-111", but it is NOT appropriate for girls in their early teen years. I bought the book for my 12 year old daughter, but I'm glad I read it first. I will not be giving it to her. Some of the drawings are a bit too graphic, and sexuality is mentioned as though the reader is sexually active. This book is OK for grown women, but not for young girls as it will only further bewilder them. ---

--

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com Review
Kaz Cooke knew women needed a book that cut through the confusing and cruel messages about body image, beauty, eating disorders, diets, and cosmetic surgery. "Mostly, we needed a book that wasn't trying to sell us anything except self-confidence and the truth," says Cooke. "I couldn't find one so I had to write one." Written in the spirit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of body acceptance, Cooke playfully challenges some of the most oppressive misogynists of the 20th century: the beauty, fashion, and diet industries. Simultaneously funny and reassuring, Cooke boldly asserts her opinions and research on push-up bras (they dig and hurt), cellulite (it's a cosmetic company-induced condition, not a medical condition), and fashion models ("some of the most insecure, tortured souls around"). The cartoon illustrations offer comic and compassionate accents to this poignant discussion.
From Publishers Weekly
Australian filmmaker and newspaper columnist Cooke shoots as straight from the hip as Dr. Ruth when discussing body image. Although her jocular tone and clever cartoons often make this book more appropriate for young teens than adults (e.g., "Like a little old caterpillar programmed to become a butterfly, our grown-up shapes are already decided before we are born."), her no-nonsense pronouncements on the ultimate uselessness of moisturizer and the eating disorder- inducing tactics of the fashion industry are wonderfully refreshing. Some of this ground has already been covered, but Cooke's irreverence is all-inclusive: she reels off statistics and examples (particularly damaging are quotes from fashion magazines); doesn't wince from explaining why, scientifically speaking, "No cream or lotion in the world will firm or shape or enlarge or reduce your breasts"; and even supplies practical advice on how to deal with (or answer back to) people who feel compelled to comment on others' bodies. Cooke tries to be funny and very often succeeds, but she is never coy or condescending, and there is plenty of serious stuff mixed in with the cheery advice. Dissections of advertisements and their phony techno-speak are priceless, and her cartoons have the same mordant wit. A complete list of resources rounds out this hefty, funny reference.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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The Body Image Trap: Understanding and Rejecting Body Image Myths (Self-Counsel Psychology Series) - Paperback (Jan. 1992) by Marion Crook available new and used

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Making it Big, A Guide to Health, Success and Beauty for the Woman Size 16 and Over [Hardcover] 1980, available on Amazon.com used

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Bodylove: Learning to Like Our Looks and Ourselves -- A Practical Guide for Women [Paperback]
Rita Freedman (Author) 2nd edition 2002 came out in 1988 Available new and used on Amazon.com

Editorial Reviews
Review
"I strongly recommend this book to their women clients who are working on body image problems. In fact, most women could benefit from reading Bodylove."
— Elayne Saltzberg, Women in Psychology newsletter

“Bodylove lends itself to several uses – a self-help approach, a workbook for therapist and client, and even a supervision tool for clinicians to explore personal issues."
— Denise Clark, MA, National Anorexic Aid Society newsletter

"An insightful guide… Any woman who has ever looked in the mirror and sighed should find it helpful."
— Mary Ellen Donovan, co-author of Women and Self-Esteem

Product Description
This book is for women who want to become less critical of their appearance, less preoccupied with weight, and more in love with themselves — physically, sexually, and emotionally. Combining vivid case histories, practical techniques, and simple exercises, Bodylove addresses family expectations, self-esteem, aging, and social values.

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Beauty Bound [Hardcover]
Rita Freedman (Author) 1988
Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Most women take for granted that part of being female is looking the part, seldom questioning the social conditioning and sexist role-modeling this bespeaks. The props and paint, the shaping up, the obsession with youth are, the author writes, part of a social myth of female beauty which serves to keep women in their place as "the fair sex," powerless, weak and properly submissive. Stiletto heels, incessant dieting and elaborate cosmetic rituals are no different from such cultural keep-her-in-her-place dictums as Chinese foot-binding or veiling the female form in Arab countries, observes Freedman, a New York psychologist. Designed to appeal to men's, not women's, taste, the prescriptions for female beauty mean that most women "put on their face" in the morning, dislike some part of their bodies, perhaps even resort to cosmetic surgery. Freedman discusses her subject in a low-key, convincing way that provides excellent historical background on the ways concepts of beauty have shaped women's sense of self. Major ad/promo. November
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excellent Book, November 7, 2004
By Rachael Wade "Rach-O" (Burlington, WA USA) - See all my reviews

From Amazon.com
This review is from: Beauty Bound (Paperback)
The book, Beauty Bound, written by Rita Freedman is a novel that will not only raise your self esteem, but also help to see life from another point of view. A lot of people can relate to this book because it deals with the number one issue in woman's lives. This issue is the constant obsession with trying to be beautiful and perfect.
Beauty Bound gives a variety of real life stores from real women who have had problems with themselves. If you were a woman reading this book, it could really help you get over trying to be beautiful and trying to impress others and make you feel like you're not the only one. It will help you to realize that all the material things and looking like models isn't the only thing that matters in life.
This book shows you the reality of all the beautiful woman on TV and in magazines. They aren't as perfect in the pictures and movies as they are in real life. The book makes you realize how dumb it is to care what others think of you when all you really should be doing is caring how you feel about your self.
The majority of all women have once in their life faced the issue of wanting to be beautiful. Whether you think you have or not, believe me, you have. The question is why? Why do women everyday spend hours upon hours putting on make up and doing there hair? To impress people that they don't even know? To impress people that they do know and who already love them for who they are? The answers to these questions are in this book.

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Fat can be beautiful: Stop dieting, start living : one-third of all Americans are overweight, of these, twenty million are born to be fat - Hardcover (1974) by Abraham I Friedman used on Amazon.com

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When Food Is a Four Letter Word : Programs for Recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, Obesity, and other Appetite Disorders 1984 [Paperback] So--this full title has some problems --- but I remember this
Paul Haskew
So--this full title has some problems --- but I remember this book offering some great info -.
used available on Amazon.com

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When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself from Food and Weight Obsession [Paperback]
Jane R. Hirschmann (Author) 1995
Editorial Reviews
Product Description
"Will empower all women to stop believing that our bodies are the problems, dieting the solution."
--Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.

Author of The Dance of Anger

In this revolutionary new book, bestselling authors Carol Munter and Jane Hirschmann explore the myriad reasons why women cling to diets despite overwhelming evidence that diets don't work. In fact, diets turn us into compulsive eaters who are obsessed with food and weight.

Munter and Hirschmann call this syndrome "Bad Body Fever" and demonstrate how "bad body thoughts" are clues to our emotional lives. They explore the difficulties women encounter replacing dieting with demand feeding. And finally, they teach us how to think about our problems rather than eat about them--so that food can resume its proper place in our lives.

"Many women will find in these pages exactly what they need: determined, optimistic, and resourceful coaches, pausing at the right moments to acknowledge the difficulty of change, then passionately urging them to press on."

--Susan C. Wooley, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

Codirector, Eating Disorders Center

University of Cincinnati Medical Center

From the Inside Flap
"Will empower all women to stop believing that our bodies are the problems, dieting the solution."

--Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.

Author of The Dance of Anger

In this revolutionary new book, bestselling authors Carol Munter and Jane Hirschmann explore the myriad reasons why women cling to diets despite overwhelming evidence that diets don't work. In fact, diets turn us into compulsive eaters who are obsessed with food and weight.

Munter and Hirschmann call this syndrome "Bad Body Fever" and demonstrate how "bad body thoughts" are clues to our emotional lives. They explore the difficulties women encounter replacing dieting with demand feeding. And finally, they teach us how to think about our problems rather than eat about them--so that food can resume its proper place in our lives.

"Many women will find in these pages exactly what they need: determined, optimistic, and resourceful coaches, pausing at the right moments to acknowledge the difficulty of change, then passionately urging them to press on."

--Susan C. Wooley, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

Codirector, Eating Disorders Center

University of Cincinnati Medical Center
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Fat pride;: A survival handbook:The Non-Diet Book for a More Attractive, Confident, Successful, and Happier You
[Hardcover]
Marvin Grosswirth 1971 It is available used on Amazon.com Take what you like, leave the rest -- was good for its time.

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One Size Fits All & Other Fables : Get off the diet treadmill and develop body confidence..at any size! [Paperback] came out in 1993 3 available on Amazon.com

Amazon.com review
Wow-A Great Book for Women Who Happen to be Fat!, October 16, 2006
By Aimee Thor "Aimee Thor" (Xenia, Ohio) -
One Size Fits All and Other Fables
Bring on the largesse and the love with Liz Curtis Higgs book! I was touched to the core of my fat self while reading this book. I love her humor and her sensitivity to what us real women face, especially those of us who are less-than-perfect-model-looking! Amen...halleljuah...and glory be to God for this great book!

Amazon.com review
April 17, 2000
By Christine (Columbia, MD) -
One Size Fits All and Other Fables
I love this woman! She has made me laugh and made me realize that not everybody is meant to be a size 6! Love your body and yourself, life is too short to be caught up in diets and the ongoing battle to be super skinny! Buy this book, you will truly love and enjoy it!

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Journeys to Self-Acceptance: Fat Women Speak [Paperback]
Carol A. Wiley (Editor) 1994
Editorial Reviews
Review
An unmerciful prejudice exists in this society towards people who are overweight. Unmerciful, because fat is looked upon neither as a disease, which removes the burden of individual blame, nor as one of the many acceptable varieties of the human condition. Instead fat is seen as an aberration for which its owner is responsible and therefore considered less than adequate as a human being. The implication is that if you are fat it is your fault, and if you are such a miserable failure in this aspect of your being, then how can you be competent in anything. Between the pages of this book is a different message, one we should all listen to. It is sent through the words of 24 women who share their experiences, many painful, of being fat, and of how they came to an understanding and acceptance of themselves. Whether or not you have a weight "problem," there is a lesson here for each of us to suspend judgment of others and to take pride in who we are. I hope it opens your eyes as it did mine. -- From The WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women; review by Dena Martsky
Product Description
Provides first-hand accounts of women talking about what it is like to be fat a "fatphobic world", and dispels myths and stereotypes about obesity.

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THIS ONE IS A GEM I
Stop Dieting--Start Living!: How One Angry Woman Finally Gave Up Dieting, Regained Her Self-Respect--And Stopped Feeling Ashamed, Guilty, Rejected and a Failure [Hardcover] Sharon Patton Green 1982

There are about 9 used copies available on Amazon.com The title says it all --its a great book.

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WARNING- it has 'weight control' in the title: This is a 'take what you like and leave the rest book', I think this is one of the first 'liberated eating books' It has some good info, with some bad

The Psychologist's Eat-Anything Diet: The Scientific New System of Permanent Pleasurable Weight Control for Liberated Eating [Paperback]
Leonard Pearson (Author), Lillian R. Pearson (Author), Karola Saeckel 1973

Editorial Reviews
Product Description
The Diet to End All Diets After you finish this book you will be able to: - Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want - Realize there are no forbidden foods and taboos - Free yourself and your entire family from the tyranny of food - Pleasure yourself with food and drink - Donate your scales to the Salvation Army - Throw away your calorie charts and diet lists - Forget about proteins, carbohydrates, fats and all the other diet standbys - AND STILL LOSE WEIGHT AND, EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, NEVER GAIN IT BACK! It may sound impossible, but it is absolutely true, as dramatically proven by the thousands of men and women who have benefited from psychologist Dr. Leonard Pearson's pioneering program. Here is the diet plan that works where all others fail. Here is the totally new concept that takes the pain out of weight loss and keeps all the pleasure in.
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BIG AND BEAUTIFUL. OVERCOMING FATPHOBIA. Ruthanne Olds 1982 a few available on Amazon.com used

An inspiring book., September 14, 2007
By Amanda D. Doerr "mysti_paracelsus" (OKC, OK USA) -
: BIG AND BEAUTIFUL. OVERCOMING FATPHOBIA.
I really wish I still had this book. It was inspiring. It wasn't preaching against losing weight. It's message was learn to love and respect yourself and the rest will fall into place. She had done the yo-yo diet and exercise thing for years and just ended up gaining more and more weight each time she went through the cycle. Then when she started to actually like herself at whatever weight and took care of herself, her body found its own optimal weight and she fetl healthier than she had her whole life. (She did end up losing some weight, but it was a natural result of her new lifestyle.) One of the best parts of the book was how it taught you to dress for larger body types and look fabulous.

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Body Traps: Breaking the Binds That Keep You from Feeling Good About Your Body [Paperback]
Judith Rodin 1992

From Publishers Weekly
This illuminating social ?since she's a psychologist? analysis of vanity may reduce readers' trips to the mirror or aerobics classes. Rodin, dean of the Graduate School at Yale and a psychologist specializing in eating disorders, does not discount the mounting pressures that drive women and, increasingly, men to be perfectionists about their looks. She concludes that physical appearance has become the social yardstick by which we measure a person's value and offers practical antidotes to this fixation: mental ? not physical exercises, right? exercises that help people better accept themselves, deal with eating disorders and develop more meaningful standards that enhance self-esteem. The author might have given more thought to communal as well as individual measures to counter empty, appearance-oriented values. Still, for those who want to throw off the tyranny of the mirror, this is the book. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Available new and used on Amazon.

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This one is not on Amazon.com, if you ever have a chance to get it -- it's a gem. The title and year published says it all.
It's Fun to be Fat: Your Guide to Healthy, Self-Acceptance, Beauty, Popularity and the Full Life by Vinne Young, 1953 A.A.Wyn, Inc, New York

Now she was 'ahead of ther time' --- she set the stage for us
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I hope this is useful.

Awesome

I'm glad you got introduced to a new book! You're very welcome.

fat acceptance books at the bitch community lending library

Thanks for providing us with this reading list, Tasha! These are all wonderful books. I also want to point out that we have four of these books available at The Bitch Community Lending Library (everything but Bodies Out of Bounds). To anyone reading this from Portland: stop by to check one (or all) of them out!

Ashley McAllister, Outreach Coordinator

A lending library is such a

A lending library is such a cool idea. Recently I thought I might set up something similar for my fat acceptance and body image media. It'd be so fantastic to be able to share such powerful things with people!

The Fat Jesus

I recently read The Fat Jesus by Lisa Isherwood, who is a professor of feminist liberation theologies. Theology is way out of my area of general knowledge so I can't really comment terribly intelligently on it, though the book was extremely interesting in its examination of the intersection of religion/theology and food/diet culture. I guess it's not particularly pop culture related, but it was my first dip into the topic and I found it an interesting read, more of a cultural history on the relationships between women, food, and spiritualities. Also although it's probably not shelved in FA, I think it certainly espouses it (or what I know of it, and I am also admittedly not as educated as I should be!). From Amazon:

From Eve's apple to female saints nourished by the Eucharist alone, to the recent phenomenon of evangelical `Slim For Him' programmes that encourage women to lose physically and gain spiritually, the ways in which women relate to food, particularly in a religious context, are many and fascinating. In this engaging and accessible book, the author explores their complex connections and paradoxical messages, in which women are at once nurturers and temptresses, visionaries and hysterics, controllers of the meal table and excessive consumers.

Lisa Isherwood traces the links between beauty, slenderness and the Judeo-Christian God to ask why is there no fat Jesus and considers new ways of imagining desire, wholeness and self esteem in light of a Christian tradition that values asceticism and restraint. Drawing on case study material she also looks at the issue of eating disorders and their spiritual dimension, and the twin problems of obesity and over-consumption.

Clearly accessible for general readers, as well as those with a particular interest in theology, sociology of religion and gender studies, this book provides a fascinating cultural history of the complex ways in which food, women and religion interrelate.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions so far!

This is an awesome list...

This is an awesome list... IMHO, "The Fat Girl's Guide to Life" and "Fat!So?" are definitely the best intro-level books out there and a great place to start, and "Bodies out of Bounds" is a personal all-time favorite of mine. The only one mentioned so far that I don't have yet is the "Fat Studies Reader", which is on my Amazon wishlist as we speak... can't wait to get my hands on it!

I hope no one minds if I add a couple (as if we don't already have enough to read!):

Confessing Excess: Women and the Politics of Body Reduction by Carole Spitzack
-This one is academic, but interesting and pretty readable. While it's not specifically about fat acceptance, it gives a really great perspective on how and why women are made to feel the way they do about their bodies, and directly relates to the ideology behind fat prejudice. The description on the back of the text reads, "Looking at the discourse on female weight reduction in American culture, 'Confessing Excess' analyzes contemporary dieting and the weight loss literature by taking up the themes of confession and surveillance. Spitzack argues that dieting is characterized by confession (of 'excess') which women internalize and which necessitates ongoing surveillance or monitoring of the body. Informal conversations and in-depth interviews also juxtapose women's everyday dieting experiences with the discourse of dieting texts. By evaluating the cultural construction of women in this manner, the author illuminates the power strategies that offer self-acceptance at the price of self-condemnation."

Unbearable Weight: Feminisim, Western Culture, and the Body by Susan Bordo
-All you ever needed to know about constructions and representation of the female body in almost any thinkable context. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Bitch readers have already read this one at some point (it was required reading for my Images of Gender in Popular Culture course). This book covers such a plethora of body issues, it's astounding, and a little overwhelming. Again, not specifically about fat acceptance, but another great discussion of attitudes concerning women's bodies as public domain, and how sizism, sexism, racism, classism, ableism, etc. are rampant in the policing of the female body.

Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology - Donna Jarnell and Ira Sukrungruang, editors.
- This is a more lighthearted, easier read. It's a collection of personal essays from a wide cross section of people, all dealing with experiences of fatness in different, and often moving, ways. I guess I would call it the Chicken Soup for the Fat Person's Soul.

Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession - Don Kulick and Anne Meneley, editors.
-This is a weird one, but I mean that in a good way. Amazon.com's product description: "An eclectic and highly original examination of one of the most dynamic concepts-and constructs-in the world. With more than one billion overweight adults in the world today, obesity has become an epidemic. But fat is not as straightforward-or even as uni-versally damned-as one might think. Enlisting thirteen anthropologists and a fat activist, editors and anthropologists Don Kulick and Anne Meneley have produced an unconventional-and unprecedented-examination of fat in various cultural and social contexts. In this anthology, these writers argue that fat is neither a mere physical state nor an inert concept. Instead, it is a construct built by culture and judged in courts of public opinion, courts whose laws vary from society to society. From the anthropology of 'fat-talk' among teenage girls in Sweden to the veneration of Spam in Hawaii; from fear of the fat-sucking pishtaco vampire in the Andes to the underground allure of fat porn stars like Supersize Betsy-this anthology provides fresh perspectives on a subject more complex than love handles, and less easily understood than a number on a scale. Fat proves that fat can be beautiful, evil, pornographic, delicious, shameful, ugly, or magical. It all depends on who-and where-you are."

And last, but certainly not least....

Tipping the Scales of Justice: Fighting Weight-Based Discrimination by Sondra Solovay, JD
-Incredibly awesome and important work by the co-editor of the Fat Studies Reader. I'm especially intrigued by the legal protection of (some, but not all) fat people under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Straight-forward case studies (little to no legal jargon, don't worry) and in-depth analysis. IMO, A must-read for anyone who has dealt with discrimination based on weight.

I'm reading Crystal Renn's

I'm reading Crystal Renn's autobiography Hungry, and man oh man, combined with reading this blog series, it has seriously opened my eyes and has really started helping me love my body and just be happy.

Her book is basically reiterating the same things in this blog, everything that you've said, Tasha, in your recent entries too, and she touches on clothing as well. I'm about 3/4 of the way through with it, and I'm loving it. I'm really finally starting to get it, and to really understand what you're talking about.

Size Matters: Your Big Fat Reading List | Bitch Media

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