The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
“To build a world that works for everyone, we must first make the radical decision to love every facet of ourselves.... ‘The body is not an apology’ is the mantra we should all embrace.” (Kimberlé Crenshaw, legal scholar and founder and executive director, African American Policy Forum)
Humans are a varied and divergent bunch with all manner of beliefs, morals, and bodies. Systems of oppression thrive off our inability to make peace with difference and injure the relationship we have with our own bodies.
The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world - for us all.
This second edition includes stories from Taylor’s travels around the world combating body terrorism and shines a light on the path toward liberation guided by love. In a brand new final chapter, she offers specific tools, actions, and resources for confronting racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. And she provides a case study showing how radical self-love not only dismantles shame and self-loathing in us but has the power to dismantle entire systems of injustice. Together with the accompanying workbook, Your Body Is Not an Apology, Taylor brings the practice of radical self-love to life.
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|Listening Length||5 hours and 11 minutes|
|Author||Sonya Renee Taylor|
|Narrator||Sonya Renee Taylor|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 11, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,166 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#11 in Feminist Theory (Books)
#22 in Self-Esteem (Audible Books & Originals)
#41 in Mental Health (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2021
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* I read multiple versions of this book. There are minor differences between them, but chapter five (the last chapter) is significantly different between them. I found value in both versions.
So. Why the low rating?
Personally, I was recommended this book by my Registered Dietician, who I'm working with to continue the process of recovering from an ED in my teenage years. She told me that this is kind of the new "bible" for self-love and self-acceptance and reframing the way that women think about their bodies. So, I went in, hoping that it would at least give me the tools to do <i>some</i> of that.
It did not.
Instead, what it gave me, was paragraphs of self-gratuitous expose on the author's own journey, and while that's totally fine, it was also interspersed with Wikipedia-esque lists of facts that, while astonishing if true, don't do much to actually educate you on the subjects they try to "hit home" about.
There's also a distinct lack of acknowledging possible counter-arguments. And maybe this is just left over from my years of being a literature major, but MOST good essays at least attempt to pre-empt the naysayers and provide more evidence to the contrary. They take care to qualify their claims and the sources they cite, so that diligent readers might take the time to do their own research. This book glosses over the issues with the HAES (Health At Every Size) movement, and provides very little context for the huge amount of discourse that's gone on around it since the movement's inception in the 90's.
It also pushes "Intuitive Eating" without addressing the possible issues this approach might have for people who are emotional binge eater/restrictors.
And, towards the end of the book, the author seems to make it plenty clear that the ONLY way to engage in TRUE radical self love was to become an active, vocal proponent of the movement itself. So that by the time I got to the end of the book, I felt like what I'd read was a very long-winded propaganda pamphlet, urging you to GO VOTE or UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU to DONATE TO GOVERNMENT BONDS. But instead here, we're being told to go forth in to the world and loudly, vehemently try to educate those who would dare to disagree with the sentiments put forth in this book.
Perhaps I shouldn't have gone into reading this with certain expectations, but I found myself feeling strangely "lonely" after finishing this book, wondering to myself, "Am I just going to be stuck hating my body forever if I don't go out and do everything this book says? Is there no personal, internal work that I can do to achieve this 'radical self-love' that the author seems to think is THE answer?"
And yes, it sounds ridiculous when you take a step back because healing and recovery is ALWAYS a personal journey. IT ALWAYS has to take place internally. So to insinuate that you have to go do certain things as part of this movement in order to achieve true radical self-love is... questionable, to say the least.
Now, I'm not saying that you can't gleam good, powerful, even transformative information from this book -- you absolutely can. It's just that most of the information provided is not new information. It's not even all that differently contextualized. If you grew up in a society, ANY society, that has the internet, you'll have come into contact with most, if not all, of the sentiments in this book. They're just presented in a slightly more slam-poetic way.
If that's your tea, then amazing!
But if it's not, it's susceptible to coming off as didactic and even downright condescending at times.
All in all, even though it wasn't a bad book, per se, I would say it was a bad "match" for me. I found myself more aggravated than enlightened, and it made me question all the progress that I'd already made in my own recovery journey.
I’m so glad I have now. This book is one I will, as my friend did with me, recommend to everyone. It is worth your time, and your work.
This isn’t a body positivity book, but it does have aspects of that. This is a present day and historical account of straight up body terrorism and how we are all both steeped in it and accountable for it. Taylor walks us through a journey to self-awareness using the body. We all have one, and it makes the messaging digestible for all.
The endgame: radical self-love in the face of white supremacy, capitalism, and our own implicit bias.
“Liberation is the opportunity for every human, no matter their body, to have unobstructed access to their highest self, for every human to live in radical self-love.”
I'm certain it will provide the reader one "a-ha" moment after the next in terms of how diet culture has shaped our thoughts/actions/pursuits. It will empower one to ditch the endless, fruitless (& often all-consuming) aim of changing their body to meet some ridiculous standard and start simply LIVING. It provides a foundation upon which the reader will feel emboldened to be their whole self, unapologetically.
It's a must-read for everyone in my opinion.