These are three novels that I really enjoyed – all three are about body confidence, learning to love yourself, and have majestic fat girls gracing their covers. And I’m absolutely obsessed.
I mean, just look at them!! Every time I see these covers I feel like I’m bathing in sunshine. It might sound a bit melodramatic, but I genuinely didn’t think that I would ever see models and drawings of people who actually looked like me on the front cover of a book. There’s all sorts of reasons why – I didn’t think you could have a fat girl as a protagonist of a novel, and even if you did, surely no one would want to see her front and centre. And even then, if she was on the cover, it would emphasise her fatness, and how she would be *sarcasm* so much happier if only she were thin.
What I think is so great about many of the covers that have come out in the past few years is that these girls are so joyful. Sweetie and Willowdean in particular just make me so happy to see because they are literally bursting with joy. I love seeing Sweetie looking so unapologetically happy, with her wide smile emphasising her double chin. And I adore Willowdean’s arms raised in triumph! There’s nothing negative about her beautiful dress and figure here.
On the topic of fashion, I also love how many of these fat girls are dressed. The main character Emily in No Big Deal is described as being extremely stylish, and there are lots of great descriptions in the book of how she dresses. (This totally makes sense, as the author Bethany Rutter works in fashion, and is always looking fabulous.) And although there isn’t a real focus on fashion in Big Bones or If It Makes You Happy, I really like the way that both the girls are styled on their covers. And even on covers where fashion isn’t the main statement – such as To Be Honest – the cover model is still dressed in a way that shows that she is a teenager – she’s not dressed in frumpy, boring clothes that hide her figure. Instead, she is dressed in a way that totally emphasises her natural beauty.
But other than just their fabulousness, I love the girls on these covers because of what they stand for, and who they represent. First and foremost, for fat girls themselves. Everyone deserves to be represented in a positive and loving light. But also for everyone else. If straight-size people see more and more fat girls on book covers, where they are clearly owning their bodies, it might begin to fight any inclinations towards fatphobia. These girls are normalising the idea that they can be fabulous and fashionable and dealing with all sorts of other life stuff outside of their weight. This fights against so many narratives about fatness that are still put into the world.
Everyone wins when fat girls are allowed to star front and centre in narratives that are not focused on weight loss or self-hatred. And that’s why I stan. HARD.