A couple of years ago, Sasha and I designed a capsule collection for a line of pyjamas. It was a rewarding experience and we really loved the process, but I have a major regret: the collection was not inclusive. That is, the collection did not include a range of sizes that represent the body types of the people who read this blog – so the body types of all people, period. This was brought to my attention by many of you who were interested in the pieces, but were disappointed to find that certain sizes weren’t available. So, just to be clear, that’s two f-ckups: the collection was limited and, therefore, inadequate, and also, I wasn’t aware of it until the mistake was pointed out to me. It’s ignorance upon ignorance.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my ignorance lately while reading Roxane Gay’s new book, Hunger. Hunger is a memoir about Roxane’s relationship to her “wildly undisciplined” body. It’s a gorgeously written memoir about what it’s like to live in a world that favours thinness and how we all, consciously or unconsciously, contribute to that imbalance. One of the reasons Roxane’s work has always moved me, and changed me, is because in her writing, her first target is herself. She’s not here to make outward accusations. She sees herself from the inside with an unflinchingly critical, sometimes cruel, observation of self. It’s not just honesty, it’s deconstruction. How did this happen? How did I happen? What did I do? What didn’t I do? What should I do? What if I don’t want to?
Hunger isn’t a book that yells at people for size insensitivity. Hunger shares with you the effects of it on the people who have no choice but to internalise it because of assholes like me who sell pyjamas and make them feel invisible. It addresses the cost of our collective fatphobia and, through Roxane’s deeply personal insights, it challenges us to confront our part in upholding this discrimination.
Last week, to promote the book, Roxane Gay spoke to Rolling Stone about why Hunger was so difficult to complete and how she needed to go back to the places and times in her life that she was running from to be able to tell the story of her body. As says, “The story of my body is not a triumph”. Hunger, then, is not about winning. She tells you right off the top that nobody’s coming away from this feeling like there’s been a victory. But that’s not the point. The point, I think, is acknowledgement, to acknowledge that her story is worth knowing. And the more we acknowledge it, maybe the closer we can all come to doing better.
Hunger, by Roxane Gay, is available now. Definitely worth your time during the upcoming long weekend.
Yours in gossip,