“Plus-Size: A Memoir of Pop Culture, Fatphobia and Social Change” by Mekdela

Plus-Size: A Memoir of Pop Culture, Fatphobia, and Social Change

BookBaby (2022)
ISBN: 978-1098398361
Reviewed by Jen Oliver-Rigsby for Reader Views (7/2022)

“Plus-Size” is a series of essays that deal with Mekdela’s personal experience of dealing with body image and how different media outlets add to the positive or negative body image issues for women, especially Black women. Media outlets, such as movies, television shows, and books are discussed with Mekdela using specific examples from each. Most of these examples should be recognizable by most readers.

Most American women have faced some sort of discrimination or had some aspect of their outer beauty commented on or judged by both men and women. Many of the beauty standards set in America are based on thinner White women. Most of these standards are not realistic for today’s women and these standards can lead to many issues for women of all ages, colors, sizes. These issues can be physical, mental, or emotional (i.e., eating disorders). Mekdela does a decent job at looking at her own life as a curvy Black woman and how these standards have been reflected in several different media outlets.

Readers need to remember that this is a collection of essays and not chapters that are supposed to go together. Each essay addresses a different aspect of body image standards, how they are reflected in everyday life, and what needs to change. Every woman is different and should not be held to the same standard. A thin person does not mean health, just like an overweight person does not mean sick. Mekdela does a great job in keeping her self-confidence despite what she has seen and viewed in movies and television and how some think that because she is a curvy Black woman, she is unhealthy and that she needs to be a size 0. She points out what she has experienced and emphasizes the subtle things that are thrown in media outlets that most do not even pick up on.

Many women will be able to find something that fits their life story. Women are judged harshly by American society and eventually by themselves thanks to the media outlets that constantly tell women that if they are not a size 0 then there is something wrong with them. “Plus-Size” tells women that they are their own person and to not feed into what the media shoves down their throats.

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