I received a free copy of The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I turned 30 just a few months ago, and similar to most people who enter a new decade, the months leading up to it were both a stressful time and an intentional time for me. I went through an incredible year of growth during my 29th year. I moved to a new state. I decided on a career change that led to me going back to school. I went to therapy, and that in and of itself was a big definer of the last year of my twenties. A big part of my personal growth journey had to do with learning to love myself and my body. I spent so much of my life convincing myself that I was unlovable. As a person of mixed race, I had trouble finding my bearings in America. I thought I was ugly because I wasn’t white, and sometimes even now, I have to remind myself that you don’t have to be tall and blonde to be considered pretty. It wasn’t until I found both a partner who was willing to work with me through my insecurities and a therapist who validated my feelings and helped me work through my anxieties that I was able to truly begin to love myself and convince myself that I am, in fact, pretty dang beautiful and absolutely incredible.
The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color by Virgie Tovar offers its readers an unapologetic guide to questioning popular culture and cultivating radical body positivity. It’s a book that I wish I would have had as a teenager. In the society I grew up in, it felt wrong to be anything but skinny and white. Even though I had many identity crises and struggled to accept myself in many aspects, I feel lucky to finally be in a place where I get to celebrate the things that make me different and that there are people out there who are celebrating my differences with me.
In this book, Tovar discusses how the expectations of society can be a huge burden on our self-love and self-acceptance. She works to break down the shame that many teenagers, and people in general, feel when they’re growing up in an America that doesn’t always accept people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and those that aren’t able-bodied. She challenges her readers to do exactly what the title says – create a self-love revolution and challenge unrealistic and unfair beauty standards that social media and the entertainment industry have thrust upon us.
I have a Filipina mom and a black American dad, and I spent so much of my life truly believing that I was ugly. Growing up in the places that I did, I was always a minority. I was called names like “Oreo.” People felt entitled to know my race and would ask questions like, “What are you?” I had friends who would say things to me like, “I forget that you’re black.” I hid from my black identity. I was ashamed of it. Because of that, I felt like I was ugly. I looked for love in all the wrong places instead of turning to myself for the love that I actually needed. Even through years of learning to love myself, my body, and my skin tone, there are still moments where I flashback to the teenage and young adult me who had trouble believing in her beauty. This book is something that I not only wanted to read, but it’s something that I needed to read, so I could continue to strip away the image of beauty that society has projected onto me and to remind myself that the person I am is already beautiful.
The one caveat that I had with this book is that I simply wanted more of it. A huge portion of the book focused on fatphobia. This issue is brought up in pretty much every chapter. While I do think it’s an important issue to be discussed, some of the things she brought up were repetitive. I wish she would have spent a little more time discussing issues of racism, gender inequality, and ableism. These issues were brought up in the book, but the issue of fatphobia overshadowed some of the other messages that came up in the book. I also thought the book could have benefited from gathering perspectives of other women. When I first saw the cover of the book, my expectation was that I would get to read about multiple women who have faced adversity while being different in America. I think this would have been a good way to really drive the message home and discuss some of the issues I mentioned a little bit more in depth.
Overall, I think this is an important book for teenagers to get their hands on. It’s so important for us to learn to celebrate what makes us different and unique and to not focus on our perceived flaws and to, instead, embrace them.
Want to win a copy and start your own self-love revolution? Winners will be randomly selected on May 12, 2020. Enter below: