Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Leah Vernon is Unashamed

Have you ever heard of the body positivity movement? In 2012 the idea that you could, should, and would love yourself despite societies uninclusive and unrealistic standards began to surface across the internet. It was championed by plus-size model Tess Holiday and echoed through art and culture by icons like Lizzo and yoga enthusiast Jessamyn Stanley. The goal of the movement is to address unrealistic beauty standards and to build the confidence of oneself and others. This particular action is unique in that recognizes that size is just one of the many ways that our bodies are judged by others. Race, gender, sexual orientation, and ableness also play a big role in our discrimination and treatment of others.

I personally understand what size and gender discrimination feel like, but I've never had any real understanding of how race played into this equation until I read Leah Vernon's new book Unashamed: Musings of a Fat Black Muslim. Leah is an Insta famous blogger, model, and writer that has championed the body positivity movement by sharing her story with her followers through social media. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and although we have very similar stories, we have had very different lives. We both grew up fat and loud in religious families that didn't accept us for who we were, but the world still treated us very differently. It was very interesting to learn more about how being Muslim and black affected her experience of being fat and loud. It was even more interesting to learn about her journey into self-acceptance and eventually self-celebration. I cried more than once while I was reading this because there were entire sections where I felt like she was taking the thoughts right out of my head and putting them on the page. It was refreshing to find out that another fat girl struggled with anorexia, bulimia, and self-hatred before realizing that it was all bullshit. It was empowering to find myself in her story while recognizing how different the world treats people based on their skin color and the religious coverings that they wear on their heads. 

If you are not familiar with Leah you should be following her here and if you want to learn more about being UNASHMED you should read her new book when it comes out on October 15th. You can purchase your pre-order copy on Amazon here. And, if you want to meet the woman in person you can head up to Playground Detroit for Leah's book party on October 19th. Her book will be available for purchase at the event. RSVP to keep up with all of the details here.


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