Book review and matching OOTD: Hot & Heavy

How awesome is Steve? He got me Virgie Tovar’s new anthology, Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love, & Fashion, for Hanukkah!

Dress: Sealed With a Kiss Designs, leggings: American Apparel, shoes: Naot, bangles: Torrid and Deb, necklace: I Am Joolienn, earrings and headband: So Good

The dress is sort of a Hanukkah present to myself. I’d been eyeing it for a long time, and couldn’t resist when it went on sale half-off for Black Friday.

The color combination I liked most was black/”nude,” but it was sold out, so I decided to be daring and go for blue/”nude” instead. I’m glad I did–I already have a bunch of black dresses, and it’s fun to try something different.

Ideally, I think it would look best with bare legs and fancy shoes, but it’s too cold for the former and I don’t own any of the latter, so leggings and MJs it is. I did recently order a pair of extra-wide pink wedges from Simply Be (when they, too, had a half-off sale), so here’s hoping they’ll fit!

Now, on to the book review.

I read the whole book in three hours, and it’s wonderful. It’s filled with stories of the complex, beautiful, ass-kicking lives of fat women: from burlesque dancers to yogis to mamas to sex workers. There’s even an interview with Deb Malkin, the founder of ReDress. The diversity of the stories illustrates how many different paths there are to liberation, and provides inspiration for seasoned fat activists and newcomers alike.

However, I do have a few criticisms. A fairly minor one is that I found three typos, which just seems…unprofessional. Also, I have mixed feelings about the use of “girls” in the title. We still don’t have a good term that’s the female equivalent of “guys,” and that sucks.

What bothered me more was that although the anthology includes many fat female experiences, it leaves out many others. Not all the essays mention gender presentation or style, but those that do are uniformly femme-centric. There were countless references to glitter, which is awesome–but what about dapper fat butches in bowties? What about fatties who prefer flannel to sequins?

Also, although there are many queer authors, there are none who are transgender or genderqueer. I noticed a similar lack of disabled authors. The book would have been much stronger had it given voice to all female fatties, not just femme-y, cisgender, ablebodied (and mostly middle-class) ones.

Despite its flaws, I highly recommend this book as a holiday present to yourself or someone else. The world needs more fierce, fabulous fattery. I hope that there are more fat activist anthologies to come, and that future ones will include a wider spectrum of fat experiences.

I’m Laura, and I approve this message.

13 thoughts on “Book review and matching OOTD: Hot & Heavy

  1. Aaaahhh! That’s two outfits in a row! Fabulous! Lol. I wonder if it’s the thing you talk about where some styles are underrepresented in fatshion. Maybe I’ve just been looking at people in the wrong style. I just adore that dress!

    I’ve hesitated to pick up the book because I’m not sure it really speaks to my experience. If I ran into a bunch of hot, heavy, fierce girls who wanted to talk to me about fashion I would try my hardest to disappear into the walls. That sounds terrifying! I hate the “girls” thing, too. “Women” works just fine for me, thanks.

    • Yay, thanks! That’s a big part of why I started this blog–I felt like a lot of the fatshion blogs out there had a really mainstream style that didn’t speak to me, and I wanted to give visibility to quirkier, more alternative styles.

      I’m so in love with this dress and want to wear it every day, so you can look forward to more outfit pictures involving it. 🙂

      Haha, I can see why you would feel that way about the book! I still recommend it, though–there are a lot of thoughtful essays, and some good stuff about how different women learned to love their bodies. The fashion stuff is actually a pretty small section of the book. I appreciated that, even though I’m such a big fatshionista–because I think fatshion is only one of many paths to fat liberation, and I’m glad the book gave voice to lots of other paths.

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