Virgie Tovar

Virgie Tovar

Bio

Virgie Tovar, MA is an author, activist and one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, November 2012) and the mind behind #LoseHateNotWeight. She holds a Master's degree in Human Sexuality with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender. After teaching "Female Sexuality" at the University of California at Berkeley, where she completed a Bachelor's degree in Political Science in 2005, she went onto host "The Virgie Show" (CBS Radio) in San Francisco. She is certified as a sex educator and was voted Best Sex Writer by the Bay Area Guardian in 2008 for her first book. Virgie has been featured by the New York Times, MTV, Al Jazeera, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Huffington Post, Bust Magazine, Jezebel, 7x7 Magazine, XOJane, and SF Weekly as well as on Women’s Entertainment Television and The Ricki Lake Show. Her most recent speaking engagements have included University of Washington, Earlham College, Hollins University, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, California College of the Arts, Sonoma State University, and Humboldt State University. She lives in San Francisco and offers workshops and lectures nationwide. Find her online at www.virgietovar.com. And on instagram. 

Virgie Tovar Articles

image credit Virgie Tovar

TakeThe Cake: 9 Body Positive Resolutions For 2019 

Resolution season is rough for many of us.

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"Seeing big women portrayed as centerpieces in two different films in the same week was something I had never experienced."

Take The Cake: I Want To See Fat Women In Every Film

*Spoiler alert: some character-specific plot point reveals for the films

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Fighting for fat rights isn’t just about fighting for access to clothing or the demand to be seen as beautiful. Image: Virgie Tovar.

Take The Cake: Medical Fatphobia Almost Killed My Friend

We forego doctor visits because we know with near-total certitude that we are going to be told to lose weight. That we don’t need care — we just need to “cut back.”

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"It is not necessarily pleasant to be defensive, but that's okay with me. My defensiveness was a strategic decision, well-earned."

Take The Cake: I'm Not Ashamed Of Being Defensive

Truthfully, I really want to be able to walk into every new interaction with the hope — the expectation — that everyone knows how to treat everyone else with full humanity. But the culture’s gonna have to do a lot better before I emotionally disarm. Until then, it’s probably a good idea to expect pursed lips and side eye from me.

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Vulnerability should be something we thoughtfully protect with boundaries. But never allowing anyone in harms our precious sense of humanity and our right to love.

Take The Cake: Vulnerability Is Haaaaaard

My sad little girl brain remembers exactly what it feels like to risk everything and get rejected. It happened so many times for me during childhood and then later in my early dating years. I’ve created elaborate systems of avoidance, emotional self-control and pre-emptive rejection. And frankly, girl, I’m tired of it. It’s a lot of goddamn work.

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I saw myself and I knew there was nothing that fatphobia or my inner asshole could do to take away the beauty and the magic that was right before my eyes.

Take The Cake: How Being Photographed In My Underwear Changed The Way I Saw My Body

After years and years of fatphobia-induced body dysmorphia, it’s hard to actually just see my body with anything approaching objectivity. But when I finally looked at the photos of myself in my underwear, I knew there was nothing that fatphobia or my inner asshole could do to take away the beauty and the magic that was right before my eyes.

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In my limited experience, I have always felt that BBW events were spaces designed by fat women for men — frequently thin ones.

Take The Cake: My First BBW Bash

My jaw clenches in judgmental discomfort whenever I think of any event with "BBW" in the title. To me, the term "BBW" is coded. When I hear that word, my eyes begin a preemptive roll as the keywords "heteronormativity," "hookup," "gendered labor," "mansplaining," and "ugh" scroll past the neon pink kiosk in my brain.

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image credit: Virgie Tovar via Instagram

Take The Cake: “Polite” Fatphobia Is Actually More Damaging   

So as you can see, “polite” bigotry is just bigotry. It's manipulative. It's aggressive. And it hurts people. Speak up against polite fatphobia!

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image credit: Virgie Tovar via Instagram

Take The Cake: Love Letter To The Fat Babe At The Club

I hadn't been to a club like this one — the kind full of straight men who are probably homophobic and at least a little coercive, who smell like Old Spice deodorant and have enough disposable income to keep an open tab (the kind of men I'd been taught were "a catch") — for a very, very long time. I tried to remember exactly how long. A decade? More?

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Um, yuck.

Take The Cake: 'This American Life' Is Really Bad At Talking About Fat

Though there was useful commentary, deeply personal stories, and some incisive observations, my problem with the episode is that it ultimately repeats a harmful framework:
Fat people (nearly all women) were on trial and up for observation (their privacy already considered non-existent) — not the fatphobic bias that had so clearly shaped their lives.

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