The Body Is Not an Apology – Review

I made it through this book probably in about a day or two — and that’s not because I was rushing. Nearly all of the ideas resonated with me, and I so appreciate when black people put their bodies front and center (literally, check out Sonya’s cover… fabulous!).

A lot of what is in this book I already knew, but it was articulated so well that I found it inspiring and insightful. Corporations make money off of you hating your body, particularly women. If you weren’t told you need to be thin through the media and other direct and indirect messages — would you be so obsessed with weight? Calorie counting? Looking at “thin spiration” (I hate that shit) on social media? It’s essentially, in my opinion, another ploy to erase women. Shrink yourself. Let us police your body and your mind. We’ll tell you what is beautiful and what you need to spend your time and energy worrying about (and spend money on!) to control you. It’s true. “Lack” marketing works. People spend their money to make up for what they perceive they lack. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it, but this book helps, I believe, to become more aware of when we are making purchases from unhelpful mindsets.

I am also so tired of people equating weight with health. The BMI can be an okay guideline, but it is SO outdated and not relevant for every body. Plus, I think people just need to stop making comments about other people’s bodies internally and out loud. The more judgmental you are about yourself, the more judgy you’re going to be with others. I’ve always found that when I’m in a better place, other people aren’t on my mind as much.

I also particularly like the section near the end with action steps on how to embody change within yourself and in the world. I love me some good “to do” lists instead of just lofty sounding ideas.

For example, I personally have been trying to follow larger people on my social media, what the majority of people actually look like and not people who work out for a living (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just tired of filling my brain with fake ideals). Because yes, even fitness models touch up their photos. I’m trying to normalize fat bodies for myself, because I am becoming more aware of how entrenched fat phobia is for me, and likely for you too! Additionally, I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone and wear whatever I want this summer and not wait until my body is more acceptable to “the masses.”

Whew… anyhow… this book speaks to a lot of larger issues too (no pun intended)

Let’s get real. People have been lead to fear and hate black/brown bodies the world over and it has got. to. stop. As a researcher myself, we see how black children are treated as older, more adult-like, more threatening, and subsequently get steeper punishments… and are murdered. So looking at body politics goes well beyond self esteem enhancing practices. It’s literally life and death.

I also really appreciated the quote included in this work by Brandon Wint about queerness:

Not queer like gay. Queer like, escaping definition. Queer like some sort of fluidity and limitlessness at once. Queer like a freedom too strange to be conquered. Queer like the fearlessness to imagine what love can look like and pursue it.”

I love this. I love it because it shows how being queer can encompass so much more than sexuality. It’s about defying binaries and expectations that go along with them. I’ve often thought to myself that I’ve not been very attached to identifying as a woman. So when I share my pronouns, I often include “they” as an option too, not because I’m trying to be “cool,” but because I really feel like that also fits for me. Yes, I identify as a woman, but… there’s more. It’s so refreshing to read material where people are embracing queerness, or not fitting inside any box.

If I teach the diversity course at the university again, I think I will include some of the action steps that Sonya outlines. Very helpful. This is a quick but powerful read. Check it out!

Much love to you


PS — I am hoping to start a short video series on developmental trauma this summer. Hope you all would be interested. I am teaching a trauma class in the fall, so it’ll be good practice.

Alright, I’m off to swim laps.

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