Hot and Heavy: An Interview with Virgie Tovar

virgie-tovar┬áMany 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…]