Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Book Review: Hot and Heavy
Hot and Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion is one of the latest anthologies from Seal Press. Thirty-one essays in three different sections make up this book; with topics ranging from life, love and of course fashion. Stories include feeling comfortable in the gym and enjoying wiping one's brow with the hem of your shirt; something most people wouldn't think twice about but for the author, it was a life changing moment of being vulnerable. Another author wrote about working in the sex industry and how a change of location made all the difference:
"In the United States, having a fat body-never mind having a fat body and being sexual-is an invitation for people to invade your emotional and physical space on a daily basis...I moved to London, England...The difference was obvious from the start...No one commented on my body...I thought I had found the Promised Land for fat hos."
The essays run the gamut of personal situations, but regardless of geography, sexual orientation, disability status, race or relationship status, the writers speak to universal truths about negotiating a fat body in today's society: it usually sucks. The women talk about their ways through the daily fatophobia; self love, partner love, finding that perfect outfit that makes one jump out of bed with delight, sex, good food, etc.
These women tackle the near daily reminders that they are not good enough with fierce fuck you-ism. It's refreshing to read and heartening to hear that these writers don't take the shit flung lying down. Admittedly, some pieces were lacking in the overall fierceness, but the rest of the essays more than made up for it. There is even a how to guide in the Epilogue, to help aspiring women achieve fierceness.
And as much fun as the collection was to read, it's heartbreaking that these women have to fight at all. It's disgusting the treatment they endured, simply for being different. Books like this one and many many more will hopefully start to turn the tide and continue being part of the change that society and a mostly American culture needs, to stop being hateful and discriminatory and flat out mean.
This collection would make a great addition to any bookshelf, as a constant reminder that love and a life full of beauty and kick ass is possible and that being perfectly content with your body is a great way to live.
(Photo credit: Seal Press/I received a review copy of this book, but all opinions are my own.)