As a young, queer, plus-size person, Essie Dennis has spent a lot of time feeling like they weren’t enough – not queer enough, not feminine enough, not perfect enough. When they took to social media to share how they felt, they were overwhelmed by how many others felt the same.
I look too masculine to be non-binary
I look too feminine to be a lesbian
Am I too fat for drag?
Inviting you to challenge accepted beauty standards and the concept of ‘the perfect body’, Essie takes everything they have learned on their journey to self-acceptance and body satisfaction to help guide you towards loving your queer body. From gender, sexuality and reclaiming your body, through to food, politics, social media and fatphobia, this radical book starts a conversation about body image and mental health that queer people are so often left out of.
I really do feel that I read this book at the right time for me (not that I think there would ever a wrong time for me to read this). I have always had issues with my body – before I realised I was queer, and still now. While I have always had love and support from friends and family, I haven’t granted myself that same support and self-love. This book prompted to do some deep thinking on my own self-image and how my queerness is tangled with it, and how I haven’t been treating myself the way I should. This is something I really appreciate.
I found Queer Body Power to be really insightful and written in such a way that I didn’t feel I was being lectured. Essie Dennis has such a warm and friendly tone to the way that they write, it meant I didn’t feel like I was reading a ‘non-fiction’ book but that I was involved in a conversation. This conversational tone was really brought forward with the inclusion of stories from other queer people. Reading the range and diversity in the stories they had to tell added a depth to the book which I loved.
The exploration of how societal expectations to do with the concepts of femininity and masculinity can be harmful to one’s sense of self and body-image was so interesting to read. It really made me think about the way my presentation has been constantly changing, and how that change was possible reflective of a label I was trying to fit into at the time – however damaging the goal was to my physical and mental health. I loved the selection of focus chapters that they decided to explore. Especially those on gender roles, food, fatphobia, and fashion.
Queer Body Power is a book I think everyone should read at some point – queer or not. This book made me smile, it made me cry, and ultimately it made me think about my own body issues and their source. Thank you Essie Dennis for writing and putting together this honest, raw, and thought-provoking read.
Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for sending me this free eARC (eAdvanced Reader Copy). I am leaving this review voluntarily. This title will be published 21st March 2022.