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Sonya Renee Taylor bestows honor to her ancestors during Feminist Book Club chat


Pronouns have become an essence of identity, education, and connection. The February book choice for Feminist Book Club (FBC) was The Body is Not An Apology by radical executive officer of the platform that shares the book’s title, Sonya Renee Taylor. The conversation radiated radical self love. Taylor talked about how she was encouraged to be naked on her book cover by her editor. Champions in your circle only! A member shared that when their child saw the cover they asked, “Is that a fairy, Mommy?”

This conversation was the first time FBC used captions on Zoom. FBC founder Renee Powers began the conversation by encouraging members to share their pronouns and location. With our global community, Taylor, calling from New Zealand, shared that she uses the pronouns she/her/we. “We” was an acknowledgement to her ancestors. She also named Lucille Clifton, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Toni Morrison, and Audre Lorde as her ancestors. The chat was electric at these revelations. 

The Body is Not An Apology is celebrating 10 years as a movement and community. Taylor’s response to seeing her workbook for the first time was precious, exciting. She is seeing her work reverberate in multiple mediums. 

Cancel culture was a prevalent conversation topic. Taylor affirmed the word accountability. You can cancel with boundaries and consequences. “Life does not get to be consequence free.” There also needs to be compassion and some resiliency. We are in a learning culture, even with two words that dominate our social conversation. 

Question after question began with adoration for Taylor. Then questions flowed about how do we reconcile with a patriarchal, capitalistic, fatphobic society? Taylor, ever the reassuring godmother, shared that “when you negate who you are, it makes you malleable to a patriarchal system.” There were breaths of awe across the gallery of members. Ads manipulate us to make us feel unworthy, which dominates a thin world. If you do not like what you are seeing, “just turn the doggone TV off!” The chat? Like butter. How are we emotionally and spiritually aligned? Make the connection between the physical, spiritual, and emotional. Healing our relationships with our body leads to liberation. 

We have gifts, trauma, and harm. “We did not arrive here by ourselves.” Self love is a practice. What do I need? Ask yourself that question. To withdraw from the idea of “normal,” Taylor says default and standard. She mentioned My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem as a guiding light for responding to your body as an aside from her book of course. 

Sonya’s laugh is a balm. Her face illuminates a body oil that rises from within. She wore colorful beauty supply earrings that complimented her tunic. If you ever want to know heaven on earth, it is the earring wall at the beauty supply. That is my Game of Thrones. 

I leave you with this question Sonya asked: What drives you towards change?

Ashley Paul is a hopeless wanderer, baker, runner, and photographer. She is passionate about supporting high school juniors and seniors to write compelling stories for their post-secondary careers. Her favorite genres are young adult, literary fiction, and memoir.

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