The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
Those open to reconsidering the ways they view themselves and others.
In a nutshell:
Author Sonya Renee Taylor offers up the idea that society’s ills are based on hatred of bodies that deviate from ‘the norm,’ and that by moving beyond self-acceptance to self-love, we will be able to create “a world that works for every body.”
“Our societies have defined what is considered a ‘normal’ body and have assigned greater value, resources, and opportunities to the bodies most closely aligned with those ideas of ‘normal.’”
Why I chose it:
A friend directed by to Ms Taylor’s Instagram account, where she often posts videos. I saw she had a book and wanted to check it out.
Ms Taylor’s premise is that we need to stop judging bodies, not simply as a way to accept and love ourselves, but to literally change the world. Throughout this relatively short book stuffed full of history, sociology, philosophy, and concrete action, Ms Taylor supports her idea that the setting of a default ‘normal’ body and the resulting judgment of bodies that deviate from that norm is what causes harm. She provides opportunities for reflection on how the reader has developed their relationship with their own body, as well as how that in turn influences how they interact with others in the world.
She starts by laying out the concept of radical self-love, then moves onto the history of body shame that propels so many of us to apologize for our bodies – size, gender, ability, neurodiversity, race, etc. – followed by ways to build radical self-love when the world around us pushes just the opposite. Ms Taylor then takes us through the idea of implicit bias and need to remain aware of the ways we continue to judge ourselves and other bodies, and finishes it up with a very practical toolkit.
I love this book. Ms Taylor’s way of writing is accessible and fun. I want all of us to read it and to really think about what it would mean if we were to implement the concepts within it.
Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it: