You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar

Weekly Trip to the Library

If you are wearing something today that is physically uncomfortable because you believe it makes you look better, or if you refused to eat something you wanted to eat because you worried what it might do to the way you look, that is a sign that you feel inferior to others.

Virgie Tovar, the author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat is a Mexican American women. Yet the discrimination she has endured for being fat are brutal compared to those she has experienced for her race and gender — which she says were subtle by comparison.

It is the author’s experience that women don’t diet because they want to, but because they feel they have to.

The author, coined the term fat phobia. Just like with racism or antisemitism, discrimination of heavy weight people is bigotry. Unfortunately, we often don’t recognize the oppression of fat people because the discrimination of fat and desire to be thin has been so naturalized into our society for the past 20 years.

The real problem is the diet culture, yet we are told — and we believe — that the problem is our inability to be thin. The real problem is we live in a country that promotes size-based bigotry.

The truth is that right now women and girls are starving themselves every day. They are going on their first diet before they are ten. They are being told to wear things that hide or “flatter” their body. They are being food policed and fat shamed by classmates and coworkers. They are avoiding to be photographed because they don’t look thin. They blame themselves for being romantically rejected believing they have to lose weight. They are accepting unacceptable relationships because they feel like they don’t deserve any better.

The author explains that she had been taught that dieting was the path to freedom and happiness. It took her a long time to realize this was one of the greatest lies ever told.

We are taught that thin is synonymous with beauty, power, and love. But, in fact, it is not. Beauty is not something women earn; it is something people are. Power is not achieved through pursuit of homogeneity; it is something that is innate within us and is strengthened by nonconformity. Love is not something people earn through obedience; it is each person’s birthright. We cannot starve our way into being loved.

Just becoming thin doesn’t make someone happy and successful. You have to allow yourself the freedom to love yourself at any time and at any size, “Because you can’t find self-love by walking a path of self-hatred,” says Virgie Tovar.

As nannies its very important that we don’t allow the children left in our care to make fun of us or others who are curvy or different. When someone makes fun of a heavyweight person that is more than rude, it’s discrimination. Just like with misogyny or racism, staying silent is saying you agree with the bigotry. Make sure to speak up and let kids know it’s absolutely unacceptable for them to make comments about someone’s size and tell the parents that their children are making unacceptable, discriminatory comments so they can help nip the comments in the bud as well.

Virgie Tovar is a wonderful writer. She is intelligent, yet I found her book easy to read. She doesn’t waste words. Her book is short and to the point, and I highly recommend it.

You can purchase your own copy of You Have the Right to Remain Fat by clicking any of the links in the article or below:


You Have the Right to Remain Fat

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