Today, I am joined by a lovely guest post by my friend Cassie. Personally, I've always reached for books when I needed a question answered, or help with something. Cassie has come on to share five of her favorite books that have helped teach her about body positivity, which she hopes can help you on your self-love journey as well. Enjoy —
To struggle with body positivity, to me, is to be human.
The more people I talk to and the more women I meet, the more I become aware that all the scars of dieting, bingeing and trying to pretend I wasn’t hungry or insecure is something that brings me together with others rather than apart.
I can’t tell you how many times I watched Lily Myers’ “Shrinking Women,” filling in my family members for hers before I realized I needed help seeing past the mirror. For me, the body positivity journey has been a recent one, but it all came together with books.
I’ve been an avid reader all of my life, but picking up a self-help book wasn’t something I did until a few years ago, feeling too self-conscious even to buy one at Barnes and Noble, as if admitting I wasn’t perfect somehow made me weaker. But with each of these reads, it was easier to be comfortable in my skin and to help other feel comfortable in theirs.
SparkleFat by Melissa May
This book is about being loud, proud and totally unapologetic. As the first body positivity memoir I read, it was a wake-up call. I realized I wasn’t the only one out there struggling internally. In this compilation of poetry about her body, Melissa holds nothing back and revels in the quirks and uniqueness along the way. I highly recommend this read for the snarky wit and all over goodness you’ll feel after realizing you’re not alone. When you get a chance, check out her Button Poetry video “Dear Ursula” (for those outside of U.S. viewing, try a secure connection Virtual Private Network). It’s a slam spoken word that will leave you cheering.
Health at Every Size: The Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, Ph.D.
My fellow health warriors, this is your textbook. From statistics to body know-how, this book includes all of the data that will reinforce body positivity by giving clear instructions on how to treat your individual body right. It will change your perspective on food, weight and the crazy world around you. More importantly, it will arm you with the facts, so next time someone makes an offhand, off-color comment about your weight, you’ve got the perfect answer.
The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf
I grew up consuming the pages of Vogue and old black-and-white movies starring Audrey Hepburn. My idea of the perfect body was influenced by the idea that women were only supposed to look one way. “The Beauty Myth” on my first read was revelatory, on the second, comforting. This old-school text is one that continues to remind me that learning to love yourself is a journey.
Read My Hips: How I Learned To Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large by Kimberly Brittingham
Beautifully written stories are always on the top of my must-read list, and Kim Brittingham’s memoir is one that feels not only real but also above and beyond relatable. Like most women I know, Kim suffered through years of dieting, struggling with positive body acceptance and learning to self-love. It’s one of those memoirs that gets down into the personal, so that she can share essential tips on how to become the best you.
Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
This book is a fierce, fun look at a part of the body positivity movement that will resonate with you (it certainly did for me). It includes essays by many different writers. With Jes’ blogger know-how and the help of guest pieces by body acceptance warriors, the pages dive into the individual struggles of various people on their path to personal acceptance. It’s a body warrior truth bible that will help shift world views, change weight perceptions and make mental wellness a number one priority, and that’s the reason I read it again and again.
Body positivity is a phrase people like to use against me when I say I’m not dieting anymore, as if body positivity is somehow negative. The more I read, the more I realize it’s only them projecting their insecurity onto me. Personally, I’ve never felt better.
About the Author
Cassie Phillips is a self-diagnosed bibliophile who relies on books to travel, imagine and learn. A regular contributor to Culture Coverage, she’s a body positivity crusader on the side, hoping to change the life of every person with the right book.