Author: Sofie Hagen
Publisher: Harper Collins, Fourth Estate
Publication Date: 2nd May 2019
In Happy Fat, comedian Sofie Hagen shares how she removed fatphobic influences from her daily life and found self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife.
From shame and sex to airplane seats, love and getting stuck in public toilets, Sofie provides practical tips for readers – drawing wisdom from other Fat Liberation champions along the way.
Part memoir, part social commentary, Happy Fat is a funny, angry and impassioned look at how taking up space in a culture that is desperate to reduce you can be radical, emboldening and life-changing.
I hadn’t heard of Sofie before reading Happy Fat but I’m so glad I have now. I honestly wish I could make everybody read this book because I really do think it is THAT vital and needed. It covers so many aspects of life as a fat person, whether they are a bit fat, fat, superfat or any other level of fatness. Even just writing the word ‘fat’ over and over to describe someone makes me feel uncomfortable which just shows how much negativity has been attached to an essentially descriptive word by society. Taking away that shame-inducing association is part of what fat activists like Sofie are trying to achieve.
Reading this book was actually quite an emotional experience because there were so many sentences that just rang so true. I’m probably what would be considered ‘a bit fat’ because whilst I can certainly relate to some of what the author discusses, I cannot pretend to know what it is like to have to worry about fitting into airplane seats or toilet cubicles. However, that is the whole point of Happy Fat – to make people aware of the prejudice and unwelcome/unasked for criticism and hostility fat people have to endure from a world that places so much importance on the way we look, and has generated a very specific body type as the ultimate ‘ideal’.
Happy Fat is Sofie’s own personal experience but she also includes interviews with other individuals from the fat community. This gives the reader plenty of different perspectives to think about which is so important. The topic of fat bodies is so controversial and full of misconceptions that it’s crucial to understand where all the hate comes from and how we can begin to counteract it. This book is an excellent place to start finding ways some of the stigma can be reduced and how we can get rid of some of the frankly damaging fat-phobia in our society. Happy Fat is an informative, frank, warm and incredibly necessary read. Highly recommended.
I received this book through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.
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