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Radical Belonging: How to Survive and Thrive in an Unjust World (While Transforming it for the Better) (Paperback)
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2020 Foreword Indie Award Winner (Gold) in the LGBTQ+ Category
2020 Foreword Indie Award Winner (Silver) in the Self-Help Category
"Belonging has been a formative struggle for me. Like most people with marginalized identities, my experience has taught me that it's hard to be yourself and feel like you belong in a culture that is hostile to your existence. That's why my body of work as a scientist, author, professor, speaker, and advocate for body liberation always comes back to the impact of belonging or not belonging.
Radical Belonging is my manifesto, helping us heal from the individual and collective trauma of injustice and support our transition from a culture of othering to one of belonging."
Too many of us feel alienated from our bodies. This isn't your personal failing; it means that our culture is failing you.
We are in the midst of a cultural moment. #MeToo. #BlackLivesMatter. #TransIsBeautiful. #AbleismExists. #EffYourBeautyStandards. Those of us who don't fit into the "mythical norm" (white, male, cisgender, able-bodied, slender, Christian, etc.)—which is to say, most of us—are demanding our basic right: To know that who we are matters. To belong.
Being "othered" and the body shame it spurs is not "just" a feeling. Being erased and devalued impacts our ability to regulate our emotions, our relationships with others, our health and longevity, our finances, our ability to realize dreams, and whether we will be accepted, loved, or even safe.
Radical Belonging is not a simple self-love treatise. Focusing only on self-love ignores the important fact that we have negative experiences because our culture has targeted certain bodies and people for abuse or alienation. For marginalized people, a focus on self-love can be a spoonful of sugar that makes the oppression go down. This groundbreaking book goes further, helping us to manage the challenges that stem from oppression and moving beyond self-love and into belonging.
With Lindo Bacon's signature blend of science and storytelling, Radical Belonging addresses the political, sociological, psychological and biological underpinnings of your experiences, helping you understand that the alienation and pain you are experiencing is not personal, but human. The problem is in injustice, not you as an individual.
So many of us feel wounded by a culture that has alienated us from our bodies and divided us from each other. Radical Belonging provides strategies to reckon with the trauma of injustice; reclaim yourself, body and soul; and rewire your nervous system to better cope within an unjust world. It also provides strategies to help us all provide refuge for one another and create a culture of equity and empathy, one that respects, includes, and benefits from all its diverse peoples.
Whether you are transgender, queer, Black, Indigenous or a Person of Color, disabled, old, or fat—or your more closely resemble the "mythical norm"—Radical Belonging is your guidebook for creating a world where all bodies are valued and all of us belong—and for coping with this one, until we make that new world a reality.
About the Author
Dr. Lindo Bacon holds graduate degrees in physiology, psychology, and exercise science. A compelling speaker, writer and storyteller, Dr. Bacon delivers a unique blend of academic expertise, clinical experience, and social justice advocacy, all couched in a raw honesty and compassion that touch and inspire. Dr. Bacon is coauthor of the paradigm-shifting Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, or Just Fail to Understand about Weight. They also wrote the iconic and bestselling Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight.
A former professor and researcher, for almost two decades Dr. Bacon taught courses in social justice, health, weight and nutrition; they also conducted federally funded health studies and published in top scientific journals. Dr. Bacon's advocacy for body respect has generated a large following on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, health and nutrition listservs and specialty blogs, and the international lecture circuit.
"This book is a wholly necessary contribution to our world. An expansive guide to the impacts of living in an oppressive world, this book offers an antidote to mainstream ‘bootstrapping' self-help culture and illuminates real solutions for how we can thrive while pushing to create a world where social justice is present for everyone."
—Matt McGorry, activist and actor on Orange Is the New Black
"What Bacon offers in Radical Belonging is paramount: an opportunity for readers to reimagine healing, relationships, and connection, and to refocus our activism on community care."
—Melissa A. Fabello, PhD, author and former managing editor of Everyday Feminism
"Radical Belonging offers hope that we all are capable of transforming our pain into healing and growth—not through narrowly individualistic approaches that would have us ‘pull ourselves up by our bootstraps,' but through the much more effective avenues of compassion and community."
—Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, dietitian and author of Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating
"I read Radical Belonging through tears. Tears of solidarity from the vulnerable personal stories which give a voice to anyone who has ached to belong. Tears of sadness from seeing our hostile culture laid out in such painfully plain terms. Tears of happiness at feeling deeply ‘seen' in a way that is rare. And tears of gratitude for being able to read a book that couldn't feel more appropriate or needed than it is right now. Thank you Lindo Bacon, for boldly gracing our world with this collection of perfect words during this imperfect time."
—Jes Baker, activist and author of several books, including Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
"Dr. Lindo Bacon has written the book I didn't know I so desperately needed. Radical Belonging seamlessly weaves together what we know about physical health, mental health and social health, all through the lens of a candid, vulnerable, wrenching memoir. Dr. Bacon's work shows that health isn't just a matter of ‘calories in, calories out,' bloodwork, or after-visit summaries—it's also fundamentally shaped by how we are rejected or embraced by the world around us."
—Your Fat Friend (@yrfatfriend on social media), anonymous essayist
"Powerful, beautiful, tragic, poignant, maddening, heartbreaking, educational! If you have had any connection whatsoever with trauma in your life (spoiler alert: if you are human, you have) you simply must experience this book!"
—Jon Robison, PhD, author of The Spirit and Science of Holistic Health and How to Build a Thriving Culture at Work
"This book is an easy read in the best possible ways and full of diverse examples tracking many marginalized identities. Readers will also find some real talk on why self-love alone won't save us and why we need to weave stronger community support for one another. That's the key here—interconnectedness. And Lindo Bacon is actually discussing how that might work—rather than just telling us it's a good idea."
—Kimberly Dark, professor and author of several books, including Fat, Pretty, and Soon to Be Old: A Makeover for Self and Society
"What does it take to truly feel a sense of belonging? As a storyteller, researcher and social justice advocate, Lindo weaves together a compelling and compassionate guide that will forever change the way you see yourself and others. The world needs Lindo's roadmap to promoting connection and liberation with awareness to make this world more inviting and inclusive for every body."
—Judith Matz, psychotherapist and author of several books, including The Diet Survivor's Handbook
"Radical Belonging dismantles the victim-blaming myths that can keep us isolated and stop us from connecting with other marginalized people. Instead, we get a road map to use intersectional experience to create community in which we truly belong."
—Ragen Chastain, fat activist, athlete, and author of Fat: The Owner's Manual: Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World With Your Health, Happiness, and High Self-Esteem
"Bacon reminds us that in order to move toward a more just world, we must first reconnect with the very parts of ourselves that we have wanted to excise. It is a challenge that we must accept in the interest of collective healing."
—Sabrina Strings, PhD, associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, and author ofFearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia
"From start to finish, Lindo Bacon made me feel at peace with Radical Belonging. A work that successfully validates our diverse lived experiences and reveals the true problems are located within our oppressive culture, not our bodies. Let this book be a meaningful homecoming for one and all."
—Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, EP-C, author of Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out—and Never Say Diet Again
"Lindo Bacon's refreshing honesty, compassion, and vulnerability in sharing their personal story make Radical Belonging an accessible read for those who are on their own healing journey as well as for professionals. I am especially enthusiastic about this book's potential to radically transform the way people connect with one another, something I believe is absolutely necessary for the survival of the planet. Chapter after chapter, I could feel my hope for the fate of the human race expand. I will be recommending Radical Belonging to every single person I know."
—Connie Sobczak, author of Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice!) and cofounder of The Body Positive
"Radical Belonging is a lifeline out of the excruciating pain of personal and societal separation. Lindo Bacon's heartfelt book identifies the necessity of belonging, the personal and cultural cost of separation, and a guide to building belonging within ourselves and our communities. I have been waiting my whole life for this book."
—Stephanie Zone, PsyD, professor and psychologist