As a child, Lindy West was told she was off the charts. In this exclusive extract from her new book, Shrill, she explains how societys fixation on thinness warps womens lives and why she would rather be fat than big
Ive always been a great big person. In the months after I was born, the doctor was so alarmed by the circumference of my head that she insisted my parents bring me back, over and over, to be weighed and measured and held up for scrutiny next to the normal babies. My head was off the charts, she said. Science literally had not produced a chart expansive enough to account for my monster dome. Off the charts became a West family joke over the years I always deflected it, saying it was because of my giant brain but I absorbed the message nonetheless. I was too big, from birth. Abnormally big. Medical-anomaly big. Unchartably big.