Of Bodies and Beach Reads

I don’t ever plan on wearing another bathing suit. To me, beach reads are stay at home, out-of-the-sun books. As soon as my graduate summer seminar ends this week, I plan on reading Roxane Gay’s newest book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

Hunger is a story of Gay’s life with obesity, but it also delves into her gang rape that happened when she was only 12. The reasons why people eat too much or weigh too much are complex, yet people feel that shaming overweight people will somehow have a positive effect. That is unlikely, and in an interview with Trevor Noah, Gay says, “The bigger you become, the smaller your world gets.”

While I do not suggest that my own weight problem is analogous with hers, I do hear comments like, “I have a friend, and she’s kind of big like you.” Or, “You know, your knee would hurt less if you lost some weight.” These were said by co-workers, and, quite honestly, I agree with Roxane Gay—they have no right to speak about my weight issue.

So, my summer reads are done inside where this “beach body” cannot be discussed. Instead, I plan on listening to Roxane Gay read her story in the dark, away from those who think they have the right to speak for my body.

The video of her interview on The Daily Show and an interview with Gay can be found here.