Big, big love

Book by Celestial Arts

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Big Big Love, but a few concerns.

A thoughtful discussion of what it's like to be fat and how to live a happier life, this is a wonderful book for anyone of size or who would like to know more about being of size. Numerous fat issues are examined with an informative and nonjudgmental tone and helpful advice is offered. If it weren't for the lack of a bibliography, this would be rated higher.
Published:
Pros:
Casual nonjudgmental Tone
Covers a wide array of subjects
Offers practical advice.
Cons:
Lacks a good works cited section.
Misses some of the more obscure factions of fat culture.
Rating by reviewer:
4
extremely useful review

Content / Style / Audience

Hanne Blank book “Big, Big Love” discusses and examines a number of issues relevant to the fat community and its admirers. Set in a casual tone, this book covers more than just the social and mental issues dealing with the fat community, but it also does what few sex and health books, actually give specific advice and positions. The only drawback and it is sadly a big one, there doesn’t seem to be much of a bibliography, which detracts from its sociological arguments.

What this book does is describe the shit we fat people put up with from those who don’t understand and explains ways of living with the treatment for those who understand it all too well. It starts by addressing some of the myths associated with fat people, everything from “no one is attracted to fat people” to “fat women love to give oral sex because they’re orally fixated.” With ten different myths addressed, odds are most readers will have believed at least one of them and that’s the point it’s getting at, how hard it is to be fat.

Rather than just complain about the treatment of fat people however, it takes a more productive tone, offering advice on dealing with these and other prejudices society harbors for those of size. Everything from figuring out bodies types and shopping for them to understanding how to like your naked body and the benefits and perils of being considered a sex object are covered. There’s even a section to describe the different factions within the fat community, which is useful for everyone but the most studious scholars of fat culture as many factions are quite obscure.

While the ideas might not work for everyone, it does present possible solutions to contemporary issues felt by fat people and different view to consider. Those trying to understand what it’s like to be fat, either for a partner a friend or their own curiosity will find these sections of the book useful as well, although reading about the fat experience will teach the same as living it. It's just not recommended as a gift, since that's broaching a delicate subject rather tactlessly, point out the book, maybe discuss, but only give it as a gift if that person would want it.

One area where the book excels is in its “Getting physical” section. There are numerous issues with having sex if one or both partners are fat, from getting into position, penetration, modifying positions and even masturbation. All issues are addressed with practical, but broad solutions which should be able to help most readers.

Issues with penetration, one of the most difficult for fat people, especially fat couples, is handled in a number of ways. First it describes better ways to get positioned beforehand, such as finding sturdy surfaces, not being embarrassed about having to move a roll or two and experimenting to discover what works. Then the book describes the multiple methods of penetration and how it relates to fat bodies.

There's even a section on BDSM and how that relates to the fat community. As fat people are usually submissive in real life, there are a lot of issues regarding whether or not this should continue in BDSM, not to mention weight limitations or utilizing weight in the play. These issues may not appear in some BDSM books or forums, so this section is especially valuable for the sheer rarity of the information.

Nor does the book shy away from mentioning quality sex aides. Solutions for the problems include utilizing liberation wedges, Fleshlights for masturbation, choosing the right sized dildo and finding a good harness. All couples are included, from straight to gay and pan couples, in both the advice and illustrations. Useful, fat positive links are provided at the end of the book so any type of reader with any fat related problem will have a good chance of finding a solution to their problem.

One of the best parts about the tone of the book is how it isn’t judgmental; it describes issues and offers solutions without judging those with the problem. Even the more controversial aspects of the fat community, such as “fat as Fetish” and Feederism/feedism are handled with accuracy and understanding. It’s nice to see that this book doesn’t vilify the more extreme/esoteric aspects of the community the way general society vilifies the fat community.

The only problem is that some of the more smaller and more esoteric fat factions aren't included. Some people enjoy being humiliated for their weight, some women are gainers, some men and women love man boobs. Including some of the more uncommon aspects of fat culture may help others understand it or discover they're not alone.
    • Good mix of styles and content
    • Non-fiction

Design

Some interesting illustrations are included and the picture on the cover is nice. Not much to report other than that.

Personal comments

The main issue I have throughout this book is that the lack of detail and organization regarding the information reported. Other than the Big Big Love Survey, of which the methodology is not revealed, and some interviews, no other data is cited. This is troublesome as there are many claims that require a citation for them to be believed.

The chapter debunking sex myths for example, while informative, could have used citations or an explanation to how the myths were debunked. This is especially true in regard to medical issues such as “fat men have tiny penises” myth which describes how layers of fats can bury the penis for about an inch, but that doesn’t mean fat makes a penis smaller. While interesting and informative, a citation to a medical journal or even a WebMD article would have helped.

The book is rife with statements such as “fat women are treated worse than fat men” which is likely true, but lacks evidence. Some of the data is derived from the Big Big Love survey and surveyed, but it needs to list the number of surveyed respondents (n) as small n surveys may not be representative enough of society to draw conclusions. There are other statements and whole sections which are based in common thoughts, rather than academic research and thus are weaker without citations.

This could just be the grad school in me though and other readers may not have the same problem with a lack of citations. Still, it would have helped to be able to see where this information was gathered and presented.

Experience

There's one part in the book which states: "we are legion" referring to fat people. This is a biblical allusion to demons, which may not be the best message the book wants to convey.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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Comments
  • deltalima
    deltalima  
    Whoa, this is a great review. Thanks for sharing
  • ScarletFox
    ScarletFox  
    This is a really great review, thank you!
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