When author Virgie Tovar first began her work as a self-described "fat activist," she couldn't find any plus-size two-piece bathing suits. They were not available in mainstream shops, and stores that specialized in serving the plus-size community only carried them with modest ruffled skirts. “It is an act of bravery in this culture to wear a bikini as a fat person,” Tovar says.
In 2012, Tovar published her book “Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion.” Not long afterwards, she was ecstatic to walk into a Forever 21 fashion store in San Francisco and find a real bikini in her size -- one without the modesty ruffles. “To go out and participate in summer is really an important healing act of radical visibility,” Tovar says. “It is important for people to realize that every body is a beach body. All you need is a beach and a body.”
Tovar is at the forefront of the body positive movement. The San Francisco author has become one of the nation's leading experts on fat discrimination and body image. She's also the founder of online course called Babecamp aimed at bolstering women's sense of self-esteem about their bodies.
Having traveled a long journey with her own body, including starving herself while she studied abroad in Italy, Tovar has come to appreciate her curves and the freedom that comes with radical self-love. “Your body, regardless of what it looks like, is yours," Tovar says. "That is the exciting thing about freedom,."
Body Positive Activism in the Bay Area