The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love
Sonya Renee Taylor
The Body Is Not an Apology moves beyond a focus on self-esteem and acceptance to combating self-hate and body terrorism through the concept of radical self-love. Radical self-love is our inherent state of being worthy and enough. The concepts in this book are a practice – a muscle that we must exercise to deprogram a lifetime of messages from society, media, culture, as well as family, friends, and enemies, that there is something inherently wrong with us as we are. Why is the beauty industry valued at over 500 billion dollars a year? – because we have been taught that we need to pluck, paint, diet, dye, and shape ourselves into an acceptable version of a body. Who decided what an acceptable body is? Don't look at the man behind the curtain!
Sonya Renee Taylor's book reads like a friend chatting you up, but shares concepts that can serve to launch an exploration of how self-hatred has impacted your life while providing steps to begin forging a new path – a path that starts with loving yourself. It's also a quick read that offers reflections throughout that can also function as journal prompts.
"Whenever my critical eye focused laser-like on some perceived imperfection of my own or some other human's being, the words would arrive like a well-trained butler to remind me, 'Hey, the body is not an apology.'"
"No matter how 'enlightened' our ideas, none of us is immune to the social, political, and cultural indoctrination of body shame."
"Racism, sexism, ableism, homo-and transphobia, agesim, fatphobia are algorithms created by humans' struggle to make peace with the body. A radical self-love world is a world free from the systems of oppression that make it difficult and sometimes deadly to live in our bodies. A radical self-love world is a world that works for evey body. Creating such a world is an inside-out job. How we value and honor our own bodies impacts how we value and honor the bodies of others."
"Children do not arrive here ashamed of their race, gender, age, or differing abilities. Babies love their bodies! Each discovery they encounter is freaking awesome. Have you ever seen an infant realise they have feet? Talk about wonder! That is what an unobstructed relationship with our bodies looks like … just knowing that there was a point in history when you once loved your body can be a reminder that body shame is a fantastically crappy inheritance. We didn't give it to ourselves and we are not obligated to keep it."
"Health is not a state we owe the world. We are not less valuable, worthy, or lovable because we are not healthy. Lastly, there is no standard of health that is achievable for all bodies. Our belief that there should be anchors the systemic oppression of ableism and reinforces the notion that people with illnesses and disabilities have defective bodies rather than different bodies. Each of us will have varying degrees of health and wellness throughout our lives, and our arbitrary demands and expectations as they relate to health and size of people's bodies fuel inequality and injustice."
"We may be trying to convey how we don't judge people based on racial identity, but 'color blindness' is an act of erasure. Not only does it make invisible all the experiences a person has had that were shaped by their racial identity or color, it implies that to truly respect another human being we must obscure their areas of difference."
"When our personal value is dependent on the lesser value of other bodies, radical self-love is unachievable."
"Remember, we are not our beliefs. We can examine them without judgment and shame."