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Fat Girls in Black Bodies by Joy Arlene Renee Cox (Book Review)

Hey Lovelies!

This review is long overdue. So I decided to read this book during a time when I was looking for some much-needed body liberation. In the middle of a global pandemic, I was struggling to feel confident with the size and shape of my body.

I was quarantined at home for nearly a year and I am ashamed to admit that for a while I wasn’t eating properly, I felt unmotivated to workout and I was comparing myself to others on my social feed. But I soon realized how harshly I was treating my body and that was unkind and unfair of me.  

So often we are taught that cravings are undesirable and to be thin is to be pretty and healthy. But rarely do we normalize the idea that you can be fat and healthy. What a concept? To be a thick black girl in this world with rolls and stretch marks is remarkable.

The prevalence of black women that suffer from eating disorders is unacceptable. According to ANADBIPOC with eating disorders are half as likely to be diagnosed or to receive treatment."

This is why I felt that it is crucial to read books like Fat Girls in Black Bodies on Audible that seek to challenge the stigma against body image. 



In the book, Fat Girls in Black Bodies Joy Arlene Renee Cox combats fatphobia and racism by reclaiming space for women at the intersection of fat and Black. 

To be a womxn living in a body at the intersection of fat and Black is to be on the margins. From concern-trolling–“I just want you to be healthy“–to outright attacks, fat Black bodies that fall outside dominant constructs of beauty and wellness are subjected to healthism, racism, and misogynoir.

The spaces carved out by third-wave feminism and the fat liberation movement fail at true inclusivity and intersectionality; fat Black womxn need to create their own safe spaces and community, instead of tirelessly laboring to educate and push back against dominant groups.

Structured into three sections–“belonging,” “resistance,” and “acceptance”–and informed by personal history, community stories, and deep research, Fat Girls in Black Bodies breaks down the myths, stereotypes, tropes, and outright lies we’ve been sold about race, body size, belonging, and health.

Dr. Joy Cox’s razor-sharp cultural commentary exposes the racist roots of diet culture, healthism, and the ways we erroneously conflate body size with personal responsibility.

She explores how to reclaim space and create belonging in a hostile world, pushing back against tired pressures of “going along just to get along,” and dismantles the institutionally ingrained myths about race, size, gender, and worth that deny fat Black womxn their selfhood.

The inspirational


This book strives to dismantle adultification bias which is the form of racial prejudice where black girls are treated as being more mature than they actually are by a reasonable social standard of development.

The book demands that we must develop communities that give black girls room for growth so they don’t have to be labeled as “too grown” or mature when they still need nurturing and protection. 

There is no reason why we should have to deprive ourselves from joy because we feel as though we don’t fit a standard of beauty that wasn’t even modeled after our own black heritage. That isn’t right! Body shaming is never okay under any circumstances.

We all need to recognize our own beauty privileges and question the bias against fat Black bodies to better understand ourselves and come together in unity.

We can no longer avoid the topic surrounding fatphobia and colorism. There is power in embracing our bodies, fat bodies, and fat girls in black bodies alike.

This book has uplifted my sense of self-worth and I take pride in my shape and size as a young Black woman.

We all need to take a page out of this book on body positivity to overcome insecurities based on stigmas and biases that promote self-hatred and discrimination.

Moreover health care professionals should take other factors into consideration before writing off fat black womxn as being unhealthy.

More families should support rather than neglect and mistreat fat black bodies. There is power in self-acceptance and embracing body diversity.

We all possess levels of dynasty and royalty that have an abundance of potential to enact change. So fix your crown queen and show yourself some love!

Top Five Quotes

“You can’t undo things in life but you can learn how to process them differently.”

“We only become better by providing space not hoarding it for ourselves.” 

“We do not need a replacement hello kale and quinoa for what is already present we do not want to lose our heritage based on assumptions about our consumption.” 

“Gluttony is not the reason for fatness, genetics matter and body diversity is okay.”

“Have you seen this skin in the sunlight? The golden undertones that highlight my skin are glorious! The rolls that make up my person are warm & inviting no one that has been embraced by them leaves unsatisfied. In my hands there is healing in my presence I house joy.”

Have you read Fat Girls in Black Bodies? 

Do you want to learn how to reject stigmas and lies about fat Black women?

Have more questions and want to join our book club?

Let me know in the comments below, let’s chat! 


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