In partnership with the Guille-Allés Library
Here's the deal: Our bodies are so much more than aesthetics. They do so much for us, most of which we aren't even aware of. And yet, we may often find ourselves wishing they were different: smaller, bigger, lighter, darker, more able, smoother, softer, prettier... And it's not our fault really. For years, we have been conditioned to focus on how we look, not on who we are, to compare ourselves to filtered versions of others, to be 'beach body ready', to believe that we are less than because of the number on the scale. And we're tired of it. When we created The List, this was a huge part of our mission: To fight against diet culture. To show people that they are more than their bodies. To show that everybody in every body is unique and special and worth celebrating. And to play a small part in helping people learn to love and accept themselves once again.
That's why we were thrilled when this list arrived in our inboxes from the team at the Guille-Allès Library this month. There is a huge movement happening online at the moment - some may say not big enough yet - that encourages us to love ourselves, every part of ourselves, to feel body postive and move towards body acceptance and even ambivalence. Because how great would it be to just not care anymore? Society is changing and these books are a part of that change.
We're handing the reigns over to Beth and Laura from the library for their recommendations this month.
TW: This article contains mentions of eating disorders and disordered eating.
Megan's body image issues began when she was five years old. She spent her childhood chasing thinness, and at fourteen found herself spiralling into anorexia. After recovery she spent years dieting, bingeing, losing and gaining weight. But then she found body positivity, quit dieting, and finally escaped the 'cult of thin'.
Now, she's determined to let as many people as possible know the truth: that we are all good enough as we are.
Laura says: "In a world that teaches us that our bodies are a problem to be solved, her message is clear: be kind to yourself, celebrate your body and ditch the negative mindset. A must-read for anyone suffering with poor self-image."
Florence's debut book explores all progressive corners of the feminist conversation; from insecurity projection and refusing to find comfort in other women's flaws, to deciding whether to date or dump them, all the way through to unpacking the male gaze and how it shapes our identity.
Florence's book will help you tackle and challenge the limiting narrative you’ve been bombarded with your whole life, and determine feminism on your own terms. After all, you are the love of your own life.
Beth says: "I love everything about this book! It’s the best piece of non-fiction I’ve read in a long time. Florence Given is a great teacher of body positivity and self-confidence!"
‘Am I Ugly?’ is a captivating and deeply personal memoir that describes Michelle’s childhood experiences of life-threatening health problems, long stays in hospital and fifteen complex surgeries that left her scarred, both mentally and physically. The narrative follows her journey from illness to health, and from childhood to adulthood as she deals with her body confidence issues to embrace both her scars and her body – and help others do the same.
Laura says: "Michelle visited Guernsey a couple of years ago and gave a talk at the Library. Her honest, life-affirming story of discovering strength and beauty at the end of struggle is both inspirational and uplifting."
Reserve Am I Ugly? or borrow through the Libby app
Part inspiration, part memoir, 'Untamed' explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet the expectations of the world, and instead dare to listen to and trust in the voice deep inside us. From the beloved New York Times bestselling author, speaker and activist Glennon Doyle. This book was the hit of 2020 for a reason. If it wasn't on your 'To Read' list before, it needs to be.
Beth says: "This is a really inspiring memoir, I would recommend!"
What if every girl loved their body? Bodies come in all different forms and abilities. All these bodies are different and all these bodies are good bodies. There is no size, ability or colour that’s perfect. What makes you different makes you, you – and you are amazing!
‘Love Your Body’ introduces the language of self-love and self-care to help build resilience, while representing and celebrating diverse bodies, encouraging you to appreciate your uniqueness.
Laura says: "This is an upbeat, empowering children’s book that teaches girls that they are worthy of love and respect, whatever their size or shape or the colour of their skin. Highly recommended!"
In ‘Happy Fat’, comedian Sofie Hagen explains how she removed fatphobic influences from her daily life and found self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife.
From shame and sex to airplane seats, love and getting stuck in public toilets, Sofie provides practical tips for readers – drawing wisdom from other Fat Liberation champions along the way.
Part memoir, part social commentary, ‘Happy Fat’ is a funny, angry and impassioned look at taking up space in a culture that’s desperate to reduce.
Beth says: "Sofie Hagen is such a trailblazer in the body positivity movement. This is well worth a read!"
Most of us notice things about ourselves in the mirror that we aren’t impressed by. Probably far more than anyone else would by the way. Sometimes the solution to an issue is much simpler than we think, and it may just provide a much needed boost in confidence.