Hot and Heavy: An Interview with Virgie Tovar

virgie-tovar¬†Many people struggle to embrace and love their bodies. This is particularly true for women. Society has created a standard of beauty that most of us feel we can’t meet. Fortunately there are body love activists who are working to redefine beauty and help people love themselves.

One of those activists is Virgie Tovar, editor of the book Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love, & Fashion, a collection of essays dedicated to “all the fat girls who feel they must apologize, and to all of us who don’t.” Many of the authors explain why they believe that loving your body is a political act, and that fashion is a form of resistance. I caught up with Virgie to talk to her about her book, and some of the forms of activism that are described in the essays.

1. How were you able to recruit other women to share their stories with you?
Because body size is such a vulnerable topic and fatphobia is so rampant, often fat women are suspicious of people they don’t know asking to hear their story. I got to know many of the women in Hot & Heavy throughout 2010 and 2011 because I had been studying fat in graduate school and every week someone new would ask me, “have you heard of (insert somewhat secret fat positive event/pool party/conference/clothing swap/craft night)?” As I was doing the research I was going on my own personal journey as a fat woman, farther and farther into body positive politics and fat community – what I call the “Fat Underground,” a loose collective of activists and allies who have amazing politics and ambitions around ending fatphobia. I fell in love with these people. They became my friends, and I was able to ask them directly to contribute to the book and then they asked their friends. I really wanted to introduce the world to these women who had really changed – and saved – my life. [Read more…]

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Why You Need to Get on the Social Media Bandwagon

This past weekend I presented a workshop to social activists in Phoenix about how to incorporate social media into their activism strategy. I knew even before the workshop that this was going to get a mixed reception, since this particular organization doesn’t have a website, let alone social media accounts. However, I fully believe in the power of social media, both for businesses and nonprofits to be able to connect with their target audiences. So when I received the invitation to speak to this group, I accepted.

Before the discussion even got started, one audience member stated her concern about internet privacy and said that she would never get on Facebook because she’s concerned about identity theft. I politely redirected the focus and kept my rants about the intrusion on civil liberties to myself. But here’s some info to chew on: you have no privacy. Every phone call you make, every e-mail you send, and every book you check out from the library is being monitored by the government thanks to the USA PATRIOT Act. Google it – and bear in mind that Google will store a record of your search.¬† Next time you see a photo radar camera, think about your lack of privacy. Whether you get involved with social media or not, you don’t have any expectation of privacy. So unless you want to wear a tinfoil hat and live in your basement for the rest of your days, you may as well get over your fear of government intrusion. Because let’s face it . . . even after your corpse is buried under six feet of dirt, the government probably has ways to intrude upon your rest in peace, too.

Now . . . back to the discussion of why you need to get on board with social media, and what you can do to start cracking that nut. [Read more…]

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