Title: Fat is a Feminist Issue
Author: Susie Orbach
Pub Date: first published 1978
My Rating: ★★★★☆
View on Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
This is the original anti-diet book is back – in one volume together with its best-selling sequel. When it was first published, Fat Is A Feminist Issue became an instant classic and it is as relevant today as it was then. Updated throughout, it includes a frank new introduction by Susie Orbach that brings this book to a new generation of readers whilst offering a current perspective for its original fans. With an increasingly dominant diet industry, costing the consumer millions of pounds each year, Susie Orbach’s best-selling classic is as important as ever in helping women to love their own body and face the demands of 21st-century living with confidence.
Fat as an issue is a very dear to my heart. I am a fat woman and I struggled, and sadly still struggle because of this. It is really hard to be a fat woman in a world that is praising thinness as the ideal of health and beauty. It’s hard because people closest to you are often the ones that project their fears of fat onto you and constantly hurt emotionally because of this. We are surrounded by people that ‘care’ about our health, and don’t hesitate to tell us about it. I believe that a successful, fat woman, especially successful on the Internet is one of the strongest people on the planet. Hoe much shit she has to endure to just live and enjoy her life.
Fat is a Feminist Issues tackles all the emotional issues that come with being fat, or just from believing that your body is not ‘perfect’ and should be slimmer at all cost. It tackles emotional eating. This is in an essence the topic of the book – why we overeat and how to deal with it. It all starts when Susie Orbach joins a feminist group that is working on body image and overeating problem. Because of this group, she manages to understand why she sometimes eats more than her body needs, why she eats when she’s not hungry. She then becomes an expert in helping women with overeating problem, and the book is both collection of self-help exercises and histories of women that Orbach worked with. It brings a lot of examples why fat truly is a feminist issue because our overeating has a lot to do with how we are raised, what is expected from us, and from society’s pressure for one kind of body to be ideal and visible in public spaces.
This book helped me a lot, I had quite a few illuminating moments when I was reading stories of some women, and Orbach explanations and deep dive into why this issue, if not dealt with, results in overeating as a dealing mechanism. However, what bothered me when I was reading this book was that no women which history was told in the book, was really fat. They were at most 10 kilogrammes (22 lbs) overweight. How can I relate to that? Women that is 10 kg overweight can still benefit from thin privilege, it’s unlikely that she will have to deal with the same issues like 25, 40 or 50 kg overweight women. Or am I wrong? I was just disappointed that there was no story of a fat woman… The other thing that bothered me is that the book gets a bit repetitive at times.
I recommend this book to anyone who is trying to work on their eating problems. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it will help with eating disorders, but I believe it might help in therapy. Also, if you have a group of like-minded women that want to work out their emotions connected with eating, this book is for you. It’s a basic manual on how to start a help group.