Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Roxane Gay's memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Roxane Gay speak at the Bay Area Book Festival earlier this year. I find her to be a thoughtful and thought provoking speaker, writer, and scholar.

I have yet to read Roxane Gay's memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, but it sounds like an amazing read in more ways than one. 

On that note, I actually came across a well written article on Bustle about Roxane Gay's new memoir titled, Roxane Gay's "Hunger: A Memoir Of (My) Body" Is A Different Kind Of Success Story by Marie Southard Ospina. In the article, Marie Southard Ospina wrote the following:
"I try not to be prescriptive in how readers approach my work," author and scholar Roxane Gay tells Bustle in an interview. "But I do hope people walk away from this book with a greater understanding that we all live in the world, and in our bodies, differently. Those differences should be understood with empathy and treated with respect." Gay is referencing her recently released book, Hunger: A Memoir Of (My) Body. In 304 pages, this hardcover chronicles much of the author's personal history, with particular emphasis on the cultivation and evolution of her fatness. It is, all at once, a raw, personal journey and a relatable piece of literature for those othered because of the shape and size of their figures alone.
Although Gay has, from the get-go, wanted it to be clear that Hunger "is a memoir, not a manifesto," and that she is "only one voice," there are irrevocable parallels between her story and those of many individuals living in noticeably large, imposing bodies.
Gay doesn't sugarcoat the realities of fatness: Of being the blunt of every joke on television, of receiving poor medical care because a doctor cannot see beyond a number on a scale, of being heckled by passerby, of the struggle to find well-fitting or even simply nice clothing, of being treated as a beast and not a person, or filling oneself to the brim with self-hate through it all.
I am glad that Roxane Gay isn't sugarcoating the realities of 'Fatness' and sharing her thoughts and views on the subject matter.

My favorite passage from Marie Southard Ospina's article is the following one:
Gay's deconstruction of fatphobia is subsequently a success, and an encouragement to others, for not framing the body as the prime problem. The problem is the prejudices that allow fat bodies to be hated, to be mocked, or to be dehumanized entirely. The body is not the villain of the story. The villains are the institutions and individuals who insist on framing it as such. It isn't rolls of flesh that are disgusting. It's the fact that we are made to feel unworthy of our personhood because of them.
As human beings, I think we all need to be treated with respect, dignity, and understanding, whether we're fat or not... I think it's tragic that people who are overweight have been marginalized, frowned upon, bullied, and/or dehumanized due to their weight/fatness. I think that our society's perception and treatment of extremely over weight people needs an overhaul. 

Click on the very top link to read the full story.

1 comment:

  1. I can't remember not being fat, but when I look at my childhood and teen photos, I see I wasn't as fat as I thought I was; in fact, I would love to get back to the size I was in my teens and twenties! I would even love to get back to the size I was when I first joined Weight Watchers, when I was 30! I wonder, if I had realized then that I really wasn't so fat, if I would have maintained the weight I had, and refrained from overeating.