Wendy Shanker — The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life

Shanker is a diva on a mission. She wants to talk about the politics of fat and the politics weight loss. Her hilarious, honest take on one faboo woman’s body politics challenges conventional wisdom about weight, fashion, and the economic forces of the weight loss industry. Plus, she’s suggesting something wicked radical — part of what enrages folks about a fat woman’s body is that they’re rejecting the Contract. You know — the Contract? The one that says women work for beauty so that men will like/desire them? With the little codicils that say that women’s appearance is only valued based on what the men around them think? She’s suggesting that the fat, happy-with-herself woman throws all that into a tizzy. This is why, for her, fat is still a feminist issue.*


The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life

This isn’t the most useful advice book — Shanker is mostly offering up self-esteem tips, facts about fat and the diet industry, and her own experiences. The websites and authors she refers are buried in the chapters (which, unfortunately, don’t have titles that immediately refer to the contents) and I CANNOT figure out what citation style she’s using in the notes. HOWEVER, I gotta say that I laughed out loud multiple times. Plus? Try reading this on the bus or by yourself at a diner. The reactions from the people glimpsing the cover reveal that there’s still a lot at stake when you’re using — or reclaiming — the word “fat.”

*Shanker is drawing on Susie Orbach a lot here. I really like it when authors acknowledge their major influences. :)


Fat Is a Feminist Issue

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