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  • What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat

  • By: Aubrey Gordon
  • Narrated by: Samara Naeymi
  • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (160 ratings)

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What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat cover art

What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat

By: Aubrey Gordon
Narrated by: Samara Naeymi
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Summary

From the creator of Your Fat Friend and co-host of the Maintenance Phase podcast, an explosive indictment of the systemic and cultural bias facing plus-size people.

Anti-fatness is everywhere. In What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat, Aubrey Gordon unearths the cultural attitudes and social systems that have led to people being denied basic needs because they are fat and calls for social justice movements to be inclusive of plus-sized people’s experiences. Unlike the recent wave of memoirs and quasi self-help books that encourage listeners to love and accept themselves, Gordon pushes the discussion further towards authentic fat activism, which includes ending legal weight discrimination, giving equal access to health care for large people, increased access to public spaces, and ending anti-fat violence. As she argues, “I did not come to body positivity for self-esteem. I came to it for social justice.”

By sharing her experiences as well as those of others - from smaller fat to very fat people - she concludes that to be fat in our society is to be seen as an undeniable failure, unlovable, unforgivable, and morally condemnable. Fatness is an open invitation for others to express disgust, fear, and insidious concern. To be fat is to be denied humanity and empathy. Studies show that fat survivors of sexual assault are less likely to be believed and less likely than their thin counterparts to report various crimes; 27 percent of very fat women and 13 percent of very fat men attempt suicide; over 50 percent of doctors describe their fat patients as “awkward, unattractive, ugly and noncompliant”; and in 48 states, it’s legal - even routine - to deny employment because of an applicant’s size.

Advancing fat justice and changing prejudicial structures and attitudes will require work from all people. What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat is a crucial tool to create a tectonic shift in the way we see, talk about, and treat our bodies, fat and thin alike.

©2020 Aubrey Gordon (P)2020 Beacon Press

Critic reviews

“Everyone who has a fat family member, friend, acquaintance, or coworker should read this insightful book.”
Library Journal, Starred Review 

“Gordon provides candid storytelling and critical analysis in this validating and inclusive read.”
Ms. Magazine 

“Writing from a personal and cultural perspective, Gordon goes beyond cosmetic complaints to undress the depths of anti-fat bias and discrimination, ultimately rallying for a social justice movement to form and broaden the scope of the conversation.”
CultureShift 

What listeners say about What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat

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An important book.

This is not a comfortable read, especially for those of us who have faced prejudice and attempts at shaming us.

But it is a very important addition to the canon of literature about the fat experience.

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3 people found this helpful

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  • 22-06-21

Required Reading

This book should be required reading for every teacher, doctor, healthcare provider, politician, policy maker and celebrity. It is calm, precise, relatable and packed with information that could mean the difference between a human society of our dreams or our nightmares.

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Read it

If you’ve ever had to navigate the world in a fat body, you will probably find echos of your own story here, and feel heard and understood. If you haven’t experienced the world in a fat body then reading this, I hope, will help you grow your own understanding and compassion for real people of size. Hopefully together we can build the just world Aubrey dreams of.

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audio was weird sometimes

overall, I liked this book. very good insights and data regarding anti-fat bias.

audio sounded weird at times, like, the reader moved away from the microphone.

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Really poor repetitive

very single dimensional, list of really bad things and fat shaming, and really crappy "friends", get better ones. While her first hand experiences and sad and enlightening there is lack of research based evidence, nor was solutions particularly offered. found it frustrating and the one dimensional extreme negativity, with offence always taken, is that the author? Or does that reflect in all plus sized people? is Homer Simpson that much of an issue? how did his creators relate to your thoughts? we simply don't know. I am open to understanding, but the book is telling me a list of bad things without rebuttals or data or solution. how should homer Simpson look? should he have a full head of hair too?

nevertheless the list of repetitive comments has made me note some VERY IMPORTANT points, little snippets that made me think , and will be very useful in my work, it's just not a book worth.

if you've listened to the podcast, and I have only a few, the negative, wrong wrong wrong sarcasm stylists are evident throughout.

more data driven than angry list rants please.

ps the reader is easy to listen to

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Repetitive

As a formerly obese person I was really interested to read this, but unfortunately I found every chapter to be repetitive and uninformative. It's basically a list of all the ways the author has been fat shamed, and all the times her friends didn't believe her.

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Brilliant!

I love the podcast Maintenance Phase & I love this book. It covers a lot of ground brilliantly &
ends powerfully. I would have liked Aubrey Gordon to read it, but the reader on this does a great job.

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Fantastic

Would've preferred Aubrey herself to narrate, but otherwise zero complaints. Clear, concise and full of feeling. A must read for anyone working in public health.

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Excellent

Aubrey Gordon done an excellent job at explaining complex phenomenon of fatpobia. She presented the topic both through professional research and heart breaking personal stories.

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Amazing - so well written

This book is one every person should read. The truth behind a deeply ingrained cultural bias that hurts everyone. The last acceptable overt bias. Brilliantly written and thoroughly researched, it is an eye opener that will hopefully change the way you think about fat, diet culture and your own attitudes toward your body and everyone else's.

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