I received a free copy of The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
When I found out we were pregnant with a girl, I had a fleeting moment of panic. Not just because we were adding another little one to our family, but because of what my future daughter will have to face as she grows up in our society. There is a lot of pressure to look and act a certain way and a lot of the time, our “acceptance into society” depends on that. Did you experience that growing up? As an Asian-American girl in a predominantly Causcasian community, I know I did. I remember hating my stick-straight, jet-black hair because it didn’t sparkle in the sunlight like my blonde-haired, blue-eyed classmates. It wasn’t until college and graduate school where I felt I blossomed and confident in the woman I have become.
How I found out about self-love
As I hold my little Asian-American baby daughter in my arms and look down at her stick-straight eyelashes as they flutter against her cheek, I’m hoping to instill a powerful feeling of self-love as she navigates through the tough teenage stage and then the amazing early adult years. When that time comes (hopefully not too soon!), I will be able to have my daughter read, The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color by Virgie Tovar. In this book, Tovar challenges and questions what society deems as “beautiful” and empowers the reader to develop a sense of body positivity and unconditional love for themselves. I was so inspired after reading this book that I wanted to write lessons to my daughter on self-love.
A Note About the Book and Author
While reading The Self-Love Revolution, you can just get a sense of how real Virgie Tovar is. She has a master’s degree in sexuality studies with a focus on the intersections of body size, race ,and gender. Virgie describes herself as a fat activist and advocates strongly against fat discrimination. In this book, she tells it how it is and does not hold back. There were some parts where I literally laughed out loud at her words, gaining some weird looks from nearby people. In doing so, I felt connected to her in a way that makes you think you are talking to your best friend and she’s the one telling you to love yourself unconditionally. I want that for my daughter and for every young girl growing up in this modern society.
So without further ado, here are my key takeaways from The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color by Virgie Tovar and the lessons I want to give to my daughter.
You are an expert
The introduction of the book starts with this quote: “There’s a myth that girls don’t understand their bodies and that you can’t trust your body. The truth is that you know your body better than anyone on this planet ever will. This makes you an expert.” No truer words will be said throughout this book. YOU are the expert of YOUR body. Listen to your body and what it may be trying to tell you. If there is any inkling that something is off, whether it be a person or a gut feeling, listen!
Different is beautiful
We are not born knowing what is beautiful and what is not. Instead, it is a learned behavior that is molded from where we live, who we interact with, the shows we watch on television – our culture. But it is important to know that just because we don’t fit this “mold” or “beauty standard”, it doesn’t mean we aren’t beautiful. Beauty comes from within – how we view ourselves as strong and powerful women. Celebrate each and every difference in each other.
Give and receive love unconditionally
In the book, Virgie Tovar says, “Hard truth: love that is conditional on how you look isn’t love at all”. This goes for romantic love and platonic love. Never change who you are or what you look like for anybody except for yourself and only if it makes you happy. But also keep this in mind for the people who you love. Accept them for who they are and what they bring to your relationship. Give love unconditionally and receive love unconditionally.
There are many more lessons in Virgie Tovar’s book, The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color than the ones listed here, but these are my favorite. I recommend adding this to the reading list for every woman and especially every mother who has daughters. While this book is geared toward the teenage girl, it also allowed me to reflect on my own perception and definitely of self-love. As my daughter grows up, I hope to instill these important lessons to her everyday life so she will become a strong, independent, and confident woman who knows self-love and empowerment. Which is your favorite lesson? Comment below and tell me why!