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Publisher's Summary

Exploring the intersections of Blackness, gender, fatness, health, and the violence of policing.

To live in a body both fat and Black is to exist at the margins of a society that creates the conditions for anti-fatness as anti-Blackness. Hyper-policed by state and society, passed over for housing and jobs, and derided and misdiagnosed by medical professionals, fat Black people in the United States are subject to socio-politically sanctioned discrimination, abuse, condescension, and trauma.

Da’Shaun Harrison - a fat, Black, disabled, and nonbinary trans writer - offers an incisive, fresh, and precise exploration of anti-fatness as anti-Blackness, foregrounding the state-sanctioned murders of fat Black men and trans and nonbinary masculine people in historical analysis. Policing, disenfranchisement, and invisibilizing of fat Black men and trans and nonbinary masculine people are pervasive, insidious ways that anti-fat anti-Blackness shows up in everyday life. Fat people can be legally fired in 49 states for being fat; they’re more likely to be houseless. Fat people die at higher rates from misdiagnosis or nontreatment; fat women are more likely to be sexually assaulted. And at the intersections of fatness, Blackness, disability, and gender, these abuses are exacerbated.

Taking on desirability politics, the limitations of gender, the connection between anti-fatness and carcerality, and the incongruity of “health” and “healthiness” for the Black fat, Harrison viscerally and vividly illustrates the myriad harms of anti-fat anti-Blackness. They offer strategies for dismantling denial, unlearning the cultural programming that tells us “fat is bad”, and destroying the world as we know it, so the Black fat can inhabit a place not built on their subjugation.

©2021 Da'Shaun L. Harrison and Kiese Laymon (P)2021 North Atlantic Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“This modern classic relishes in collapsing conventional and clichéd orthodoxies. As formative as Harrison’s proclamations are, it is Harrison’s pacing that gives the book the lingering feeling of the most sensual whisper.” (Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir)

“Da’Shaun Harrison is an insightful visionary, world-builder, and ingenious writer who brings us into deeper understandings and frameworks of the intersections of anti-Blackness and anti-fatness. Belly of the Beast brings us closer to ourselves because it brings us closer to the truth - that anti-Blackness is the foundation to how violence shapes our relationships to our bodies and each other. Harrison not only intervenes in the terror of White supremacist paradigms but develops the tools to imagine and build a new world. Belly of the Beast eats, and it leaves no crumbs.” (Hunter Shackelford, author of You Might Die for This)

What listeners say about Belly of the Beast

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Heavy listen but good

I had to take some breaks because it was kinda a heavy listen, but it is very good. The fat transgender struggle was particularly profound.

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Must read for folks invested in freedom

This book is amazing and a must read for anyone invested in freedom and in fat liberation specifically. We cannot be free without fat liberation. This book is full of theory, history, care, and love. It is one of the books I’m glad to say has changed me. Thank you so much for this labor of love Da’Shaun Harrison!

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Great Read!

I absolutely loved this book. Da’Shaun is an eloquent writer. I really loved reading this book because it was easy for me to comprehend, understand, & start conversations around. It made me feel smart because I really understood what they were saying & the information stuck with me. The words were striking and resounding. I literally couldn’t wait to put this book on again. I love your voice, Da’Shaun! I posted this on my IG & Twitter cuz I seriously need everyone to read this book!❤️

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Best book on fat politics

This is the best book on fat politics for both introductory audiences and experts. Harrison packs so much information and depth into this concise work, while centering the Black masculine experience his insights shed light on many dimensions of fat experiences. This is truly a universal work because of its particularity and grounding outside of whiteness as a dominating ideology. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! As a white fat disabled queer non-binary person and fat activist and educator this book spoke deeply to me. I highly recommend checking out Harrison’s other work on their website as well. They are one of the great minds of this century. I’m so grateful for this book.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-06-22

Incredible book

Well written and incredibly thought provoking book. Worth listening to multiple times, especially if you are interested in social justice (in its truest sense).