What do Hot & Heavy, colonization cupcakes and George Clooney circa "Facts Of Life" have in common? I don't know. I mean, I just love that picture of George Clooney. No, but really. How do Hot & Heavy and Thanksgiving intersect and why am I taking H&H with me tomorrow?
First, Thanksgiving is the second big holiday in the trifecta I (and many others) celebrate - Halloween, T-day and Christmas. And even though it's the second, it seems to be the official kick-off to the annual ritual of increased discussion and news coverage around food shaming and diet talk. I know for a lot of people the holidays are fraught with anxiety on multiple levels: family, past, food, money. I'm packing H&H when I head over to my family's place tomorrow because - as some of the bloggers on the blog tour have expressed - the people in the book are my friends; they are chosen family and they feel like home. When I take the book with me I can flip to the page of the friend I need most in that moment. I remember the sound of their voice, the way they look when they laugh, what they would say when my family was erupting into the strange drama proffered by my aunt's internet boyfriend who she met at the Greyhound bus station one time and who now refuses to talk to any of us while he eats mountains of my grandmother's food and pretends to have a secret job but has no driver's license and insists he's Cherokee. For instance.
Rachel Kacenjar ("2Fat2Fuck") comes to mind. And so does Deah Schwartz ("Take Off the Damn Shoe!") with a little bit of Margitte Kristjannson ("Who Wears Short Shorts?") and Sydney Lewis ("I Came to Femme through Fat and Black"), of course. Whenever I see Syd we eat ridiculous packaged baked goods and drink many lady cocktails while she regales me with the many quotes from Toddlers & Tiaras or Honey Boo Boo that sum up complex theoretical concepts like heteropatriarchy or radical queerness through tea cup pigs and go-go juice.
Second, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is essentially about celebrating the seizure and occupation of land that was once ungoverned in many senses. And I see our bodies - and the self-loathing many of us carry for our bodies - as part of that same legacy of colonial occupation. I think about the ways that Hot & Heavy and all the people and stories in it are guiding our way back to that state of liberation, to the "time before."
Third, if the casual fatphobia gets so blood boiling you can't remember your well-rehearsed retort or you're just too tired to defend your body/your lover's/your friend's body (please don't feel like you've failed!), or you're just not a retort-hurling kind of person, find a paragraph or a quote you love, circle it several times with a bright pink marker and pass it around the table.
So, yeah, if you add a hitachi to the equation we're talking about a full-blown party. I encourage you to reflect on the wondrous things your body has done for you this year or month or week. Whether H&H is how you self-care tomorrow or not, be loving and gentle and delicious with yourself!
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.