Body Love Movement: Jes Baker and Self-Worth

Jes Baker‘s new Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living follows up on this author’s previous articles, blog posts, and TED talk, on the topics of body acceptance for all and the body love movement.

From the publisher’s description: “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls is an invitation to reject fat prejudice, fight body-shaming at the hands of the media, and join this life-changing movement with one step: change the world by loving your body.”

Why does Jes Baker self-label as “fat”? In part, she says, it’s about proudly reclaiming an adjective that’s too often been used as a pejorative but is simply a descriptor. “We don’t need to stop using the word ‘fat,’ states the author in The Huffington Post, “we need to stop the hatred that our world connects with the word ‘fat.’ So I use it, because I have decided that it’s my word now. And the more I use it positively, the more stigma I smash.”

Can anyone really disagree with the concept of worth not being about one’s size? The body love movement? Well, yes—many do and have, which is readily seen in just one glance at the torrent of judgment and disgust in the comment section below Baker’s TED YouTube video. This being the kind of thing that larger women battle every day, it’s no surprise that many have issues related to lowered self-esteem.

An expert who’s previously written about body acceptance and who’s positively reviewed Baker’s book is Linda Bacon, PhD (update 2020: now Lindo Bacon). In Health At Every Size, they explode various myths about weight issues and health. “Accepting your body,” Bacon has said, “is not just about physicality, it’s about accepting who you are, not continuing to wait until you become the person you imagine being.” That is, the fantasized smaller person who isn’t necessarily going to be more healthy or fit or live longer or keep the pounds off after all.

Publishers Weekly offers more info about Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls:

The book builds on Baker’s viral Attractive and Fat campaign, which called out Abercrombie & Fitch for fat shaming. Baker recommends websites, blogs, books, and hotlines for anyone—of any gender—who’s intent on living without self-loathing despite the social pressures around body image. Her message is powerful, particularly her suggestions of things ‘fat people’ should insist on doing that others often tell them they can’t (e.g., sitting in a booth, riding a bike, wearing a bikini). Equally strong are the essays from guest authors, including ‘Body Love and Disabilities: Intersections of Identity’ by Shanna Katz Kattari and ‘The Case for Male Fatshion’by Bruce Sturgell. Readers will be challenged and empowered by Baker’s ideas, inspired by her quest to promote body positivity, and entertained by her candid, witty storytelling.

Some of the things Jes Baker encourages women of all sizes to do are seen below in the book trailer:

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