ableism

Food Psych #195: Why Fatphobia Hurts All of Us with Sofie Hagen

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Comedian, author, and fellow podcaster Sofie Hagen joins us to discuss her new book, Happy Fat; how fatphobia affects people of all sizes; why health isn’t a matter of individual responsibility (and why framing it as one is oppressive); how science often gets twisted by diet culture and the media, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to define “health” outside of diet culture.

Sofie Hagen is a stand-up comedian, author, podcaster, fat activist and blogger. A modern legend in her native Denmark, Sofie burst onto the British comedy scene by winning Best Newcomer at Edinburgh Festival 2015. Her 2016 follow-up, Shimmer Shatter, was a second total sell-out, which followed again with another sellout show in 2017, Dead Baby Frog. Sofie has spoken to millions as host of her successful Made of Human podcast, as well as Secret Dinosaur Cult and Comedians Telling Stuff. Her first book, Happy Fat, is published in the UK by 4th Estate on May 2, 2019. Find her online at SofieHagen.com.

We Discuss:

  • The many factors that contributed to Sofie’s negative relationship with food growing up

  • Why fat people are resilient, not weak

  • The different levels of fatphobia, and how they relate to thin privilege

  • The discomfort of acknowledging our privileges and biases

  • How we all have a role to play in social justice

  • Sofie’s history of depression and binge-eating disorder

  • Sofie’s and Christy’s experiences in therapy

  • Why the “individual responsibility” narrative is oppressive

  • How body positivity has been co-opted by diet culture

  • Sofie’s rebellious nature as a child

  • How she was introduced to feminism and body liberation

  • Her new book, and what it was like to share it with people around her

  • Responding to people who are indifferent or opposed to body liberation

  • The parallels between The Wellness Diet and how Hitler talked about health

  • The history of diet culture and weight stigma

  • Fatphobia in progressive spaces

  • Why fat jokes are cheap and harmful forms of comedy

  • How fatphobia affects everyone

  • Jes Baker’s body currency theory

  • How diet culture and American culture reinforce the harmful belief that we all can be “above average”

  • Science and research, and how it’s often twisted by diet culture and media

  • Corporate sponsorship of “o-word” research

 

Resources Mentioned

Some of the links below are affiliate links. Affiliates or not, we only recommend products and services that align with our values.

Listener Question of the Week

How is “health” defined in the Health At Every Size® paradigm? How are fitness level and health related? Is it possible to be healthy without being fit? What is the difference between “having health” and “being healthy?” What is the difference between diet culture’s and HAES®’s versions of health? Is it possible to be fit and not in good health? Can people with chronic conditions have health? What are some of the factors that contribute to a person’s health? What are social determinants of health, and how much do they contribute to health?

(Resources Mentioned:

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Food Psych #180: Body Policing, Social Class, and Diet Culture with Sonalee Rashatwar

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Anti-diet social worker and sex therapist Sonalee Rashatwar joins us to discuss body policing, the non-consensual nature of dieting for many kids, how body size gets treated as a marker of class status and cultural assimilation, how gender identity changes people’s relationships with food, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about whether there are any reasons to focus on fullness other than fatphobia, and whether a particular statement in the book Intuitive Eating is fatphobic.

Sonalee Rashatwar (she/they) is a licensed clinical social worker, sex therapist, community organizer, and public speaker based out of New Jersey. They are paid for their labor as a sexual assault counselor with specialties in ethnic identity development, sexual trauma, general sexuality or gender issues, and fat identity or body image issues. She is a sought after speaker on topics related to fat trauma, sexual colonization, reproductive freedom, consent culture, race as a body image issue, and unlearning diet culture. Her fame hit an all time high when she was featured on Breitbart in March 2018 for naming thinness as a white supremacist beauty ideal. In additional to her paid labor, they organize with two South Asian collectives around creating healing spaces for radical youth political education. As a nonbinary bisexual superfat donut queen, Sonalee brings their whole vulnerable self to all of her work and does not attempt to live within artificial boundaries of professionalism. Her spirit breathes for black, brown, and indigenous liberation. Find them online at SonaleeR.com.

We Discuss:

  • Sonalee’s relationship with food and her body growing up in an Indian-Hindu family in New Jersey

  • How patriarchy affects how we view our fathers

  • Dieting as a form of cultural and racial assimilation

  • How different social classes experience and uphold diet culture and other forms of oppression

  • The caste system in Indian communities

  • Healing from sexual trauma

  • Reclaiming agency in sex

  • Body policing based on gender presentation and size, and Sonalee’s experiences of this in her family and relationships

  • What helped her to resist pressure to have weight-loss surgery

  • Capitalism, and how it contributes to oppression

  • What disability justice can teach us about activism

  • How Sonalee’s size affects their ability and access

  • The medical model vs. social model of disability

  • How they are rebuilding their relationship with their parents

  • Setting and enforcing boundaries in our relationships

  • What fatness and being fat means to her

  • Our bodies as heirlooms

 

Resources Mentioned

Some of the links below are affiliate links. Affiliates or not, we only recommend products and services that align with our values.

Listener Question of the Week

If you take away the fatphobia, why does the book Intuitive Eating emphasize that eating past fullness is something that ought to be avoided? How can chronic conditions, particularly ones that affect the digestive system, change how fullness is perceived? Why do some people consistently eat past fullness? What is The Restriction Pendulum?

Resources Mentioned

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