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Combatting fatphobia and racism to reclaim a space for womxn at the intersection of fat and Black
To be a womxn living in a body at the intersection of fat and Black is to be on the margins. From concern-trolling--"I just want you to be healthy"--to outright attacks, fat Black bodies that fall outside dominant constructs of beauty and wellness are subjected to healthism, racism, and misogynoir. The spaces carved out by third-wave feminism and the fat liberation movement fail at true inclusivity and intersectionality; fat Black womxn need to create their own safe spaces and community, instead of tirelessly laboring to educate and push back against dominant groups.
Structured into three sections--"belonging," "resistance," and "acceptance"--and informed by personal history, community stories, and deep research, Fat Girls in Black Bodies breaks down the myths, stereotypes, tropes, and outright lies we've been sold about race, body size, belonging, and health. Dr. Joy Cox's razor-sharp cultural commentary exposes the racist roots of diet culture, healthism, and the ways we erroneously conflate body size with personal responsibility. She explores how to reclaim space and create belonging in a hostile world, pushing back against tired pressures of "going along just to get along," and dismantles the institutionally ingrained myths about race, size, gender, and worth that deny fat Black womxn their selfhood.
About the Author
DR. JOY ARLENE RENEE COX is a Philadelphia native, born on the blessed thirty-first day of December. Joy is a claircognizant Capricorn that thrives through connection and love, rooting for the underdogs in life to take their rightful place as overcomers. She is also a doctor; she received her PhD from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in 2018. Her field of work is centered on fatness, identity, and social change.
Reflective of the name she bears, Joy has the cheeks to outsmile her detractors. Reflective of her work in print, she has the research to back up her claims. While the spotlight has never been a position she'd prefer to stand in, Joy does believe in speaking up and advocating for what's right. She is the host of the pro-fat, pro-Black podcast Fresh Out the Cocoon and has been featured in articles by the Huffington Post and SELF magazine. Joy has also been on several podcasts, such as Positive Nutrition with Paige Smathers and Food Psych with Christy Harrison. Dr. Cox is simply a conduit through which love, wisdom, and justice flow. Her pride is in her people and her values. Her strength is in her disposition and her intuition.
“Fat Girls in Black Bodies is essential reading for anyone interested in body liberation. Weaving together memoir and scholarship, Joy Cox shines a light on the intersecting oppressions faced by fat Black womxn in contemporary culture, and the power of community to help heal the wounds of injustice. I’m grateful to have this important book informing my work as a Health at Every Size healthcare provider and activist.”
—Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN, author of Anti-Diet
“For my fat Black sisters who have ever felt invisible or been mistreated by the world, or even your own people, you will find both healing and inspiration in this book. Joy Cox speaks to the complexity of our pain while reminding us of the vastness of our power. By sharing her wisdom, insight, and lived experience, she delivers a compelling charge for fat Black women to reclaim our personal autonomy and actualize social and communal change that will bring about liberation for us all.”
—Ivy Felicia, The Body Relationship CoachTM, founder of Fat Women of ColorTM
“Fat Girls in Black Bodies is a must-read for fat Black girls and those who seek to uplift our humanity in a sizeist, racist, and sexist society. Both a love letter and a call to action, Joy brilliantly weaves together the latest research, pop culture, and personal narratives of some of the most radical fat Black influencers, healers, entrepreneurs, academics, and activists, herself included. I laughed, I cried, and I felt seen. I’m honored to be mentioned in this work and cannot wait to share it with the world!”
—Makia Green, creator of Dear Fat Girls
“There is an enduring myth, especially amongst non-Black body positivity advocates, that fat Black women are somehow immune to the impacts of anti-fat stigma. Dr. Joy Cox knows better. Her examination of fatphobia within the Black community, as well as her insights on the cumulative impact of the stress of dealing with that in-community bias while also enduring external judgment on top of racism and sexism, is an important contribution to the dialogue on body liberation. The inclusion of additional voices from her popular podcast adds to the richness of this debut. I look forward to so much more from Dr. Joy.”
—Tigress Osborn, NAAFA Director of Community Outreach and Co-Founder of PHX Fat Force