Diversity Discussion: Why Better Body Image (+other rep) In Books Will Help You Love YOURSELF This Valentine’s Day.

I’m totally not bitter that I’m all alone this Valentine’s… pfttt.

Jk I’ve got MULTIPLE YA husbands…

Okay, so I’m not doing one of those smushy-feelings-y-posts on Valentine’s Day… I’m far too bitter and untrusting for all that kind of emotion*

Anyways. So firstly I’d like to link back to Sam’s post because she did an amazing post about body image in books that spoke. to. me. and was just amazing. Secondly, I’d like to state that yes, body image/size IS a type of diversity and this is my opinion and MY story and… deal with that yeah?

Also, as usual, this will probably end up as me ranting… but we’re all used to that now, yea? Cool.

*no, I don’t have a soul — i lost it a few years ago. ha. I just never had one. 

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My personal story with body image is that ever since I can remember I’ve been insecure about the way that I look. I’m probably not ‘fat’, I’m probably more what you’d call ‘curvy’. But I had ALWAYS compared myself to everyone else, and that alone made me think that I needed to look like them.

But when I would read, I was also reading about people who were skinny and so comfortable in their own skin because they were skinny. I never read about someone who wasn’t skinny and comfortable that way.  and it’s not that I was avoiding the books that had ‘larger’ characters, it’s that there weren’t any!!

None of the popular/hyped YA books had ANY body rep and for me, it was just another thing that made me think that I needed to change.IMG_1882For the same reason that PoC or those who are LGBTQIA read books with their representation, I want to read a book about a girl/boy who is larger than the ‘average’/’norm’ and not have her/him fat shamed, or made fun of, or even made to feel like he/she isn’t perfect the way that s/he is! I want to relate to them. I want to be shown that yes, we’re just as worthy as everyone else.  And the same would go for someone that was ‘skinnier’ than the rest.

As Sam said in her post, some people cannot control their body type with exercise or dieting. Some people naturally find it really hard to put on weight, some have wide hips and you can’t change that. Like you can’t change your skin colour, your ethnicity, or your sexual orientation; all of this needs to be embraced, not shunned.

I want to read more books with those who aren’t “AVERAGE” embracing themselves.IMG_1882Another reason that we need positive body image is that not everyone in the world is the same, and they shouldn’t be in books either. In the world, we aren’t all the same colour, we don’t all follow the same religion, and we don’t all have the same bodies!! We don’t all look the same, we’re all unique. And, to be honest, if we were all the same, imagine what a dull bucket of a world we would be living in.*

AND we can learn to love ourselves more, and what we look like, if we see others that are embracing what they look like too.

When I see people who embrace their bodies and love what they look like, it makes me want to be able to love myself too, so I work on it!!

I want to read books where people aren’t ashamed of what they look like, or who they are and really, is that asking for a lot?

*sounds worse than a book with one of those endings that makes no sense, i.e a letdown.

Chat with me: what diversity do YOU personally look for in books? Do you think that there needs to be more characters that love themselves? Have a nice Valentine’s Day everyone ❤️❤️

Luuuuuu

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40 thoughts on “Diversity Discussion: Why Better Body Image (+other rep) In Books Will Help You Love YOURSELF This Valentine’s Day.”

  1. I LOVE THIS POST! We definitely need more diverse body rep – like you said everyone is different so just like with poc, lgbtqiap+ rep, mental health etc books should show that! There’s no reason for everyone to have the same body type. That would be weird too haha. And there are sooo many people with insecurities when it comes to their bodies, seeing themselves represented positively in fiction would help so much! I don’t remember who, but I remember last year someone posted a list of books with fat MCs that are coming out this year. I wish I remembered who, but at least there are some books coming out this year 😀
    Personally I love any type of diversity – if it has ANYTHING I’m more likely to pick it up (of course I don’t mean like one gay side character lol)

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  2. beautiful post, Lu!! I’m actually pretty skinny (one the brink of underweight) so I can’t even imagine what it must be to be a bit “chubbier” and get fat-shamed. I think it’s important to represent ALL people of ALL races, ethnicities, religions, sexualities, body types, body shapes, genders, etc. especially today in a world where people are so horrible to people who aren’t skinny and therefore “can never be beautiful”. love this post!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️ I think that there just needs to be all body shapes represented?? And not everyone who’s skinny is anorexic—> that’s another thing that I see A LOT. And yes the human race is made up of so many different ethnicities and religions and it’s STUPID to only represent a few of them

      Liked by 1 person

      1. oh frick I hate when all skinny characters in books have some kind of eating disorder. like ??? yes that happens and it needs to be portrayed as well but a lot of people are just born with specific body types/shape, whether curvy or skinny or in between!!

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I’m not surprised that it makes you uncomfortable!! I’m not skinny, but I’m curvy and I find it hard to see visible signs on losing weight, and when I would eat small salads (because I was trying so hard to lose weight but obs I didn’t know how to properly!!) people would always say to me that I would become anorexic because of eating these small portions and I was like,,, no I won’t?? I could, but the chance of me getting to that stage was minimal because my sister had just been diagnosed at the time and I know what a balanced diet is!! Also,, people see me eat healthy meals, and they assume I’m trying to lose weight???

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  3. i decided i was “fat” when i was very young and i still deal with body issues. women in my family are super curvy and with the societal pressure to look “skinny” and be slimmer, it’s kinda been awful. it’s hard for me to find clothes that, as a Muslim girl, I’d feel modest and beautiful in with the way that my body is shaped.
    as i’ve grown older, i’ve learned that i do love my body and my curviness is GOR GE OUS ♥

    I think my first encounter with beautiful portrayal of body image and loving ones body was nina zenik in six of crows ♥♥♥

    in the story that i’m writing, i’m trying to put religious diversity, different racial backgrounds for my characters, and body image love.

    “I want to read books where people aren’t ashamed of what they look like, or who they are” ♥♥♥ PREACH!!

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  4. This is so great! I def struggled with body image and exactly like you’re saying, the rep wasn’t there when I was younger. I like to think it’s getting better? But it’s still absolutely not good enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AGREEEEED. Body positively is really needed in books now, and we need to leave behind the stereotype of only skinny girls being confident or being loved. REPRESENTATION FOR EVERYONE PLZ. Great postttttt ❤️

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    1. THANK YOU SO MUCHH!!!

      DRJGDKGNKJGRWEJRNTGLJEW andddd there needs to be rep for those who are really skinny, insecure about that, but can’t change it without them being called anorexic ❤

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  6. I am just going ahead and jump in front of your face – really, imagine me doing that right now – saying you have to check out BIG BONES by Laura Dockrill. Fat MC who’s COMFORTABLE in her own skin.
    [Just saying that the start of the novel does have a couple of offensive sentences but I feel like those were necessary to get across a certain message by the end of the novel.]

    Apart from that: I was fat. Was, yes; because I decided to get a gastric bypass surgery almost two years ago and went from 130kg to my current 81. I’ve never felt better in my life even though there are some side “effects” that I’m not that happy with, but I’m still way more happy than I was back then.
    The pressure to be skinny is enormous – luckily I can say that it wasn’t because of that I decided to have surgery, but because I literally was not able to lose weight in a normal way. We need more books that show it’s okay to be different when it comes to weight as well. We simply do. It’s why I jumped at the chance of reading that eARC and I don’t regret it at all.
    Yes, books with body image / looks should count as diversity. They do in my book. In the end, people that “fit in that category” [I hate putting people in boxes but sometimes we “have” to.] are different; also need a voice; also need to hear other people’s stories to hear it’s okay and that they’re not the only ones.
    This, immediately, is also why I want more books with deaf people. I’m not deaf, nor do I know deaf / hard-hearing people but.. I just want to find more books on that subject, you know?

    Reading diverse books, any kind, can definitely help you love yourself more, find yourself more, accept yourself more. It’s one of the most important things books are able to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG KATHY THANK YOU FOR THE RECOMMENDATIONS!!!

      OMg yes I’m so glad that you DIDNT feel the pressure to lose weight to “be normal” because it’s the worst thing in the world to feel like you have to change!

      I just think that sometimes diversity is a little narrow minded sometimes, IRONIC I KNOW, as in it focusses mainly on POC, or LGBTQIA+ and I understand that because there are pressing matters, but as you said, there’s little rep for Deaf or visually impaired or smaller minorities such as Asian or Hispanic or Muslim members of society!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!
        Oh, and I haven’t read it yet but I think “This is just my face” by Gabourey Sidibe might be interesting as well!

        Exactly! It’s so hard to just feel.. okay with yourself and the way you look in this world. We’re constantly confronted with “how it’s supposed to be” according to the media and the influence of that is ridiculous..

        I completely agree. Honestly; in the context of books, diversity pretty much equals humanity. Nobody’s the same; there are so many things, elements, characteristics, anything that make a person a person. Every single human being is diverse. There!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is going to sound out of the blue but I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a main character with small boobs. Also, every character has perfect skin. I’ve had acne for years but the only time pimples are ever mentioned is when authors are using it as a devise to describe a character as a weirdo or loner…It’s so frustrating

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! The only one that I know of it’s Dumplin’, have you heard of that one? I really need to read it, but I’ve heard brilliant things about it! And in Simon Vs there was a character who was meant to be “fat” but she was pretty mean so…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such an important post! Diversity in body types is something I would love to see more of in books. Have you read The Upside of Unrequited? The MC in that is a bit bigger than average, and I thought it seemed really well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m married and I have multiple YA boyfriends for valentines too, haha.
    Curvy girls in books are fine but girls who hate their figures is a different matter. It rebounds upon my own body image problems. So yeh, you’re right- curvy girls who love themselves is needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. YES YES YES!! Body diversity absolutely NEEDS to be addressed more, especially in books where much of the audience is still at such an impressionable age. I remember as a kid I was desperate to read just about any book that featured a fat character, and wouldn’t you know it…all those books were ABOUT that character being fat, how miserable they were and what they were doing to change it. Wow. Ugh.

    In my books I try to feature at least 1 lead character that is fat/chubby/curvy/NOT super thin. I think it adds a dose of realism, and I love writing about characters that break the norm a little bit more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. EXACTLY. People are SO impressionable!!! IKR, I want a book with a fat character that isn’t trying to change themselves so that they “fit in” better. Omg yes it totally makes it more real because not everyone in this world is going to be super thin/like a super model!

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