Bad Fat Black Girl

Amistad. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780063028708. $24.99. SOC SCI
Part memoir, part cultural analysis, this first book by journalist Bowen (who coined the term trap feminism) is an introspective work on making feminism more inclusive, and a searing indictment of mainstream versions of feminism that leave so many people behind. Bowen begins with an overview of the intersection of feminism and trap music, then offers meditations on blackness, queerness, and fatness; for Bowen, they all overlap in the forms of racism, sexism, and fatphobia. The entire work is remarkable, but especially its engagement with discourse about body positivity and beauty and fashion standards that are upheld by mainstream society. Bowen is perhaps at her best when exploring the nuances of what it means to call a Black girl confident and analyzing how the label is applied to Black women artists like Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion. Similarly, she deconstructs the hypersexualization of Black women in popular culture and mainstream media, and unpacks why Black women (particularly those who are sex workers) are often devalued.
VERDICT Expertly interviewing personal anecdotes with pop culture, Bowen has written a necessary work that centers Black women in the modern history of feminism. Pass along to fans of Hood Feminism, by Mikki Kendall.
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