The body positive movement has rapidly gained traction in recent months. Social media feeds are no longer just full of ‘clean’ meals of steamed kale, ridiculous amounts of eggs and impossible body standards but now with people showing off their real bodies and the real foods which have created them. People are now encouraged to be proud of their ‘jiggly bits’ and commentators such as Sofie Hagen are at the forefront of this revolution.
Hagen is a comedian, journalist, podcaster and now author of Happy Fat, a book exploring her relationship with her body and which tries to debunk some of the myths surrounding fat and why it is not to be feared but rather embraced.
It is difficult to define this book’s genre as it slips from autobiography, to scientific report, to interview and at times to nothing more than a rant about the various problems Hagen encounters in her pilgrimage (she refuses to use the word journey anymore) against the fatphobes. This constant change of styles is quite jarring on the reader and certainly doesn’t make for a seamless read as we are jumped back and forth from an interview to a childhood experience and then onto a reference to a medical research report.
One of the issues caused by this constant to-ing and fro-ing is that many points are merely repeated over and over which, rather than hammering home the point which may have been the intention, instead just serve to irritate the reader.
Despite this Hagen does successfully manage to engage the reader to her cause with a likeable personality which emanates from the pages; most particularly in the final chapters of her book which is a force for good in a world where 12-year-olds think it’s a universal truth that they are supposed to hate their bodies. Her overriding sentiment is that you absolutely “do not have to be thin to be happy” and that we must all try to be nicer to ourselves, instead of constantly body shaming the bodies which allow us to live full, wonderful lives and which are ultimately shamed enough by society’s unrealistic expectations.