YALSA Symposium Pre-conference: Body Positivity and Size Acceptance in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m fat.  Yep.  And I have green eyes (and hair, right now), and I’m tall, and have a tattoo.  These are all descriptors of me.  Our fearless leader, Angie Manfredi, opened the session much the same way (except she doesn’t have green hair).  For me, someone who’s been an on-again-off-again size activist for years, it was the perfect way to set the stage.  Angie’s unapologetic view of herself and her infectious energy created a few hours that went by far too quickly.  I would have happily spent all day.

She began talking a little about size acceptance (and by that we mean *any* size, not just large) and continued on to a full literature review.  Her list included titles that were (by her definition, and this author’s as well) actually positive, from authors who had good intentions but just missed the mark, and those titles that featured body issues but were sending problematic messages.  She also talked about adult titles with teen appeal, some recommended reading for adults and a few choice titles about disordered eating too.  I appreciated her list immensely (if you’ll pardon the pun).  She only included YA titles published in the last 5 years (acknowledging that there were other good older titles) so it was fresh. Continue reading