The Body Is Not an Apology

Review From User :

A book that makes you cry in chapter one is one that will stick with you, indeed. I loved this book. From the language of it to its message to its format, it spoke to me so much and I can envision just how wide-reaching this sort of messaging could be.

I assumed this book was only going to be about body positivity and self love, but Sonya has spun all forms of diversity and marginalizations as aspects of the body. In this way, race, disability, sexuality, and gender are all intersecting forms and variations of types of bodies. In this way, racism/homophobia/sexism/etc. is a form of body terrorism (her coined term for prejudice against someone's body or their perceived appearance), and it can be corrected through being at peace with your own body (radical self love) and then creating a community that accepts their bodies and others' as well so that in the end, no one is judged by their body.

Let me say, I just love that idea. I love that Sonya attacks these issues from the angle of acknowledging your own hypocrisy and privilege first. Most feminist books I read talk about how we, feminists, have one set of ideas we want to promote, but there are Others who are against our agenda, and the more opposed to one another we are, the more weaponized our vocabulary becomes. This book instead shows that often we're the perpetrators of the system because humans perpetuate the system and we ARE human.

The writing of this book was just fantastic, as well. It's very mature and academic at times with the language and quotes that are punchy and poignant, but at the same time, Sonya inserts conversational bits and anecdotes to dispel too much of a lofty tone. Interspersed are little discussion questions to ponder and tidbits of information off to the side, and those interruptions almost made this read like a group book where I could stop and put the book down to discuss. I could see this being highly implemented in classrooms.

Part of me is skeptical about whether even the toughest, most masculine men will ever buy into the idea of radical love solving all prejudice and hate, but it's that skepticism that this book encourages me to challenge. And I think that's an important focus of this book: question every thought and impulse you have. Don't let yourself be passive in a system that is upheld by the passivity of people who maintain default structures of white heteronormative body ideals. For that message alone, I was sold.

Even though I'm pretty comfortable with my body so I think I'm already well on my journey, for such a short book, I think this is required reading no matter how you feel about yourself. This was validating in a personal sense but also gave me the inspiration to spread love instead of wielding my feminism like a sword. I anticipate that final chapter of advice will resonate with me for a long time.

Media Size : 3.5 MB