Virgie Tovar coined the #losehatenotweight hashtag. She also has a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender from University of California at Berkeley – and honestly, you can tell. Everytime she opens her mouth something super smart falls out. That said, there is nothing snooty about this smarty. Virgie inspires smiles, glitters, giggles, and ya know, shifts in the axis of cultural capital – as soon as she enters the room.
One of the nation’s leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image, Virgie intends to spread one message throughout the world; That you, yes, YOU, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Always bringing awareness to intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics, Virgie also openly shares her truth and her words resonate, bringing audiences to tears and to laughter, because they recognize her story in their own. Honestly, Virgie regularly bares it all – heart, soul and midriff – in support of the body positive cause and we couldn’t be more proud to have included her as one of the voices in Fattitude.
And now, Virgie answers the Summer of Big Fat Love Questions:
1. What inspired you to speak out against weight bias?
Diet culture literally takes over where spoon-feeding leaves off. We’re being expected to self-monitor through dieting and weighing ourselves, we’re being monitored by media and sometimes loved ones and told what/when to eat. We’re being told that what we’re feeling isn’t actually hunger; it’s boredom or loneliness. There’s a name for this – when you make someone feel like they can’t make good decisions for themselves or understand reality. It’s called Gas Lighting. I’m tired of seeing it. It’s a traumatic process, and many of us never recover from this system of domination and control. When you control someone’s relationship to food and movement (aka “exercise”) – things all humans need to survive – you control how they think of themselves, and you control their destiny. When you gas light someone into believing that they don’t know what’s best for themselves, you take away their fundamental human right to choose. I say Fuck. That. Shit. Women are offering uncompensated labor – the labor of calorie counting, sucking it in all day, wearing clothes that are too tight, the physical labor of exercising, the emotional labor of pretending like it all DOESN’T SUCK MASSIVE BALLS – for what? For nothing much, as far as I can tell. Metaphorically, there’s a big tab on the table. And it’s got patriarchy’s name on it. I’d like patriarchy to pay for my goddamn dinner. Right now. I speak out against weight bias because I’m tired of misogyny going to the bathroom when it’s time to pay the bill.
2. Why do you support the Fattitude the Movie?
That there are talented, skilled people who are doggedly committed to doing whatever it takes to make an incredible feminist film is truly unique. This is a moment in history. Not just film history, but politically. I remember seeing the preview for the film during the first round of fundraising and thinking “Wow! I thought this was going to be a crunchy feminist film made with iMovie, but this has incredible production value!” I lurve crunchy feminist films made on iMovie, don’t get me wrong, but I could see this film screening in a movie theatre and that this topic could emerge into the public sphere with two feminists at the helm is very, very exciting.
3. What was your favorite thing you discussed in your interview for Fattitude the Movie? The part where they asked me to give my opinion on Drop Dead Diva and I tried to offer analysis while not laughing at the UTTER ABSURDITY of the idea that it’s only okay to be a fat girl if you’re actually a thin lady who dies and accidentally ends up in a fat woman’s body but everyone knows it’s not really your fault. What!?
4. Tell us, what’s Grosser than Gross? Umm… peanut-allergy induced butt pimples, followed by men wearing top-siders with no socks.
5. What’s your favorite body part and why? I don’t know if nails are exactly a body part, but I’m going to say nails. Mine are super long and pointy right now, painted aquamarine and I love hearing them clack on the keyboard. They make me feel a little dangerous and a little sexy.
Are you as in love with Virgie as we are? Would you be interested in attending her Babe Camp? If so, then you should donate to Fattitude right now because once we hit $1000 in donations we will giving away a space in this year’s camp which starts July 6th, 2015!
Also, If you haven’t already you should pick up a copy of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion, (Seal Press, November 2012) – which Virgie edited. The book is chock full fierce and fabulous fat women and their body positive communities!