“‘You Just Need to Lose Weight’: And 19 Other Myths About Fat People” by Aubrey Gordon is a short reference book that discusses 20 common myths and misconceptions about fatness in an attempt to equip the reader with facts, talking points and things to consider when addressing anti-fat bias (aka fatphobia).
As a long time listener and supporter of “Maintenance Phase“, Gordon’s excellent wellness and weight loss debunking podcast with Michael Hobbes (of “You’re Wrong About” fame) very little in this book was new to me. It was a distillation of many of the ideas and topics discussed in the podcast, formed into a book that is specifically meant to be a teaching aid of sorts. It is also much more of a “call to action” book than Gordon’s previous book, “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat”.
If you haven’t listened to “Maintenance Phase” I highly recommend it. You can either start with the first episode here, or jump in with one of their best episodes, on Goop. If you are looking to get into Gordon’s writing, I recommend reading “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat”. It’s much more of a reading book than a reference book. Once you’ve read that, there’s a good chance that you’ll want to keep a copy of “You Just Need to Lose Weight” around, if only to squelch tiresome Karens who tell people that “you just need to lose weight, it’s for your own good, I’m just concerned about your health”.
On a more personal note, just to highlight why I find this topic personally important (beyond me wanting to be a better, more accepting person in a better, and more accepting world):
My mother was misdiagnosed by a whole phalanx of very good doctors because all they could see is a fat person standing before them. They ignored her blood work, they ignored her biopsy, they ignored her medical history and our family’s rich and varied history with blood cancers. She nearly died because of their insistence that her problem was that she is fat. Well, she is fat, but her problem was that she had two types of blood cancer and one of them was going for her liver. The only two doctors that actually gave her a proper diagnosis were a resident that didn’t even see my mother (she just looked at the actual tests and you know, read them), and a liver doctor who is himself fat.
Bias kills. Learning about it is a moral duty, regardless of whether the bias is tied to race, gender, gender expression, size, age, disability, social class or anything else. It literally kills.