Evette Dionne explores the minefields fat Black woman are forced to navigate in the course of everyday life. From her early experiences of harassment to adolescent self-discovery in internet chatrooms to diagnosis with heart failure at age twenty-nine, Dionne tracks her relationships with friendship, sex, motherhood, agoraphobia, health, pop culture, and self-image.
Vulnerable, richly detailed personal stories ... Her critique of online dating as a fat person is more trenchant because she recognizes her own internalized fat-phobia ... Especially compelling are Dionne’s more theoretical exercises: when she imagines childhood in a world without a trace of fat-phobia ... If there is a missed opportunity in Weightless, I wish she’d have asserted more clearly not just that fat people shouldn’t be subject to criticism and discrimination, but also that they have a right to exist — period ... We see traces of latent fat-phobia poking through an otherwise incisive and gratifying critique. Of course, Dionne acknowledges her internalized bias; and so her book is to be taken as an “excavation” by someone who is, by her own admission, a work in progress. This, too, is a gift of Weightless: the chance to witness what it looks like to do the hard, continuing work of self-inquiry in pursuit of a better world.
Bracing ... Dionne incorporates extensive research into Weightless ... All of these topics point to one sobering fact: Profound disgust toward fat people in American society circumscribes their lives in potentially lethal ways. However, despite these grave threats, Dionne is not hopeless. In fact, Weightless is a testament to resilience and an offering of realistic optimism ... With Weightless, Dionne is the model she so desperately needed, and one that other fat girls and women deserve. Her assertion of liberation for fat people brings us one important step closer to achieving it.