[Bookending Summer] Teatime: Every Body Is A Beach Body

Hello and welcome to my first Bookending Summer prompt! I loved participating in Bookending Spring earlier this year, and I was so excited to be picked as a host this time around. (Fun fact: this was actually the last prompt I came up with, after Clo @ Book Dragons suggested something to do with body positivity.)

Swimsuit season is here, but you don’t need any special diets or workout routines to prepare. Media plays a huge role in making us think otherwise, though — discuss what constitutes body positivity in books, what you’d like to see more of, any recommendations for body-positive books, et cetera.

This post is part of Bookending Summer 2019, which is organized by Sam & Clo! Today’s prompt, “Every Body Is A Beach Body,” is hosted by yours truly — so if you do this prompt don’t forget to link back to this post!

Before we begin …

My intention in writing this post isn’t to offend or to pretend that I’m more informed on the issue than I actually am, so hopefully it doesn’t come across that way.

Please correct me if anything I write here is incorrect and/or harmful; I have little personal experience in this area but genuinely do want to learn and do better in future.

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What is body positivity?

In the process of researching body positivity for this post, I realized I had an incorrect idea of what the movement entailed. So just to make sure everyone’s on the same page: body positivity was not meant to be about “all bodies”, despite how it’s been co-opted and refocused. It is by and for fat people. Of course everyone deserves to feel positively about their body! But the idea that “body positivity is for everyone” has been compared to “All Lives Matter” — it’s not objectively untrue, but it’s missing the point entirely. 

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How should body positivity be included in media?

Changing the status quo is always tricky, but as with any other type of diversity my basic position on the issue is that, ideally and eventually, fat characters should be represented in a variety of experiences.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with storylines related to self-acceptance or facing down bullies, and for some readers those plots will be cathartic and relatable. But plus-size people are people: their physique doesn’t define them, and it’s certainly not the only story that they can or should be included in. 

As a queer person of color, I love fantasy where diversity is just another aspect of the worldbuilding — when I’m reading for escapism, it’s nice to see a world without the allocisheteronormativity or discrimination that I deal with in real life. So it’s not difficult to imagine that this could also be applied to body image and fat characters.

Unfortunately, I actually can’t think of any examples of body positive representation in anything I’ve read or watched lately. It’s definitely something I’ll be working to rectify, but recommendations for where to start would be greatly appreciated!

Have you read any great body-positive books recently? What would you like to see more of, with regards to body positivity, in books published from here on out?

If you do this prompt, please don’t forget to link back to my post!

11 thoughts on “[Bookending Summer] Teatime: Every Body Is A Beach Body

  1. I’ve read two books (off the top of my head) that deal with body positivity in a really good way. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli made me feel heard as a reader. Molly is overweight and shy and I could absolutely just see my 16 year old self in her shoes. I loved it.
    The second book was The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding. Abby, our MC, runs this amazing plus-sized fashion blog, and the story is about her building her own self-confidence to not be ashamed of the way she looks. It was really empowering.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic post! I’ve read a few books this week that feature fatphobia – one was so full of it I DNF-ed the book, the others were more passing comments but still present nonetheless, so it’s great to see a post highlighting the need for body positivity and fat rep in books! If you like non-fiction, I highly recommend Sofie Hagen’s Happy Fat and Lindy West’s Shrill.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely prompt! I would definitely recommend you to read There’s Something About Sweetie and Leah On The Offbeat, both have body positivity rep. I also really like The Earth, My Butt and Other Round Things 😊 I haven’t read Dumplin but I hear it has good rep too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 so many times I see a fat character only being wanted after they lose weight or how they’re only seen as ‘being healthy’ once they’re losing weight – like there are healthy, plus-size people; and if you don’t know about them, you’re not looking properly.
    And you know what? I think all main and supporting casts (books, movies, tv series) should have plus-size people in their line-up. Like you’re gonna have dragons or witches in your story but only have thin people in your story? So definitely believable.

    Liked by 1 person

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