I received a free copy of The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Growing up I didn’t know something like body positivity existed. But being self conscious about my body, that’s a different story. For as long as I can remember it has been engraved in me that the way I looked mattered. I grew up in a very traditional Mexican household and raised with strong traditional views. One of them being I had to find myself a husband who would work, put babies in me that I would then stay home to take care of and serve him. So that meant I had to look a certain way to be desired by someone to marry me and make me a wife.
I have had issues with my body image for as long as I can remember. I can’t pinpoint when it started or why or by who but I just remember being in middle school hating my body. Wishing I looked like the other girls. Wishing I looked like Rachel McAdam in The Hot Chick. I even remember telling my mom I wanted to look like her and she said, in Spanish, “well you better get on a diet and lose weight.” Those words hurt. But if my mom said it then of course it was the answer to my problem. I went on diet after diet after diet trying to be skinny, trying to fit into clothes my older beautiful sister could fit into. No matter what I did I was never skinny enough.
I wanted so badly to be the version of beautiful that was portrayed on screen. I questioned why I wasn’t blonde, why I wasn’t tall and thin. I hated being Mexican because I understood to the world and society we weren’t considered beautiful. At least not in the movies I remember watching. I never had a role model to look up who had my same color skin or similar sounding last name. So how I could I consider myself beautiful if everyone around me was telling me that everything that made me wasn’t beautiful. I was lost in beauty magazines and their different 1,200 calorie diets. Which by the way please don’t ever follow anything that tells you to eat 1,200 calories or less… like ever! I never had something to turn to to help me understand I was more than what my body looked like.
The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color by Virgie Tovar, offers an unapologetic guide to help you question popular culture and cultivate radical body positivity. I wish had someone like Virgie Tovar growing up. Someone who lives unapologetically themselves without worrying about what the world thinks. To help me navigate through life as a Latina woman who wasn’t necessarily the skinniest of all girls, but to have something or someone tell me I didn’t need to be like them. that who I was was enough. That I didn’t have to chase a number to be happy or feel loved.
Navigating Body Positivity as a Latina Women
In my adult life I quickly learned two sides to this, the way you look doesn’t matter but being confident in yourself isn’t good either. At the end of the day people who are strong, good people, and have better things to worry about won’t care about the size of your jeans or how many stretch marks you have. Those things aren’t what define you as a human being. Once I realized that I gained a confidence in me that I never had. But then I quickly learned that confidence, in a woman, who doesn’t fit societies standards of beauty is not something a lot of people encourage.
I’d be asked to tone it down or I found myself hiding my confidence because I was worried about what others would say about me. Eventually I decided that they way I portrayed myself was up to me. As long as I wasn’t hurting myself or anyone else that me having confidence was a great thing!
This book was really powerful because it gave a reminder of how far I’ve come in my journey with my own body. I helped me realize that I am a beautiful Gay Latina woman who never has to apologies for who she is. It taught me ways to navigate this newfound love for myself and my body at every stage.
Breaking the Norm
Tovar talks a lot about her childhood and how she observed how much her mom and grandma did for their household and how the men would expect it or complain if it wasn’t done properly. I know this all too well. I don’t ever remember seeing my mom sit during the day. She was always cleaning, cooking, and serving my dad when she got home. Even though I grew up with this way of life I knew it wasn’t something I wanted for myself. Thankfully I dodged the bullet and married a wonderful woman instead who also holds my same values. We have two little boys who are currently in our care through foster care and for as long as they are with us it is our responsibility to teach them how to break the norm. That no one was born to serve them they are not superior to anyone. They are equal human beings in this world and we all should love and contribute the same way. That the way someone looks or the size of their clothes is not ever something that defines them.
Where to get The Self Love Revolution
If you are struggling with yourself to find some inner peace or guidance on practicing self love I highly recommend “The Self-Love Revolution”. Tovar makes you feel like you are two besties hanging out. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read the book and what your thoughts were.
I hope you find love and peace within yourself and know that you are beautiful and you are enough.