Food Psych #184: Why Diet Culture Is a Form of Oppression with Virgie Tovar

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Activist and author Virgie Tovar returns! We discuss her newest book, You Have the Right to Remain Fat; the intersections between fatphobia, sexism, and diet culture; how dieting is a form of oppression and assimilation; the influence of American history on diet culture; body liberation as a collective movement; and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to navigate the dating pool while working to accept your body and maintain your feminist values.

Virgie Tovar is the author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat and is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp, a 4-week online course designed to help women who want to break up with diet culture. She started the hashtag campaign #LoseHateNotWeight and in 2018 gave a TedX talk on the origins of the campaign. She pens a weekly column called Take the Cake on Ravishly.com and is a contributor for Forbes.com. Tovar has been featured by Tech Insider, The New York Times, NPR, Al Jazeera and Self. Find her online at VirgieTovar.com.

This episode is brought to you by NurX, the game-changing company that’s here to make getting birth control easier. Visit nurx.com/foodpsych for a $20 credit, and you can get birth control delivered securely and confidentially to your door in less than a week.

This episode is also brought to you by Blinkist, where thousands of non-fiction books are condensed into key takeaway information that you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes. Start your FREE 7-day trial by going to blinkist.com/foodpsych.

We Discuss:

  • What Virgie has been up to since her last appearance on the podcast, including her new book, You Have the Right to Remain Fat and other writing projects

  • Diet culture as a barrier to feminism

  • How weight-neutral messaging is being co-opted to market weight loss

  • How fatphobia, sexism, and other forms of discrimination have not gone away, but have only become subtler and sneakier

  • Internalized inferiority, and what it looks like in our culture

  • The effort required to pinpoint subtle forms of marginalization

  • One strategy to help bring a different perspective to diet culture

  • The link between diet culture and fatphobia

  • The dietary reform movement of the 1800s as a precursor to present-day diet culture

  • Dieting as a form of oppression and assimilation

  • The National Fitness Test and its nationalist roots

  • Common narratives in American culture and history, and why they are problematic

  • Gaslighting, and how it shows up in the body-positive movement

  • Why body liberation is a social justice movement rather than an individual pursuit

  • What was lost when fat liberation morphed into body positivity

  • How seeking personal relief often brings people to anti-diet work

  • The link between internalized inferiority and unexamined privilege

  • Gentrifying vs. pupil energy

  • Why collective liberation is important

  • How separating ourselves from our thoughts can help with liberation

  • Virgie’s latest project, Camp Thunder Thighs

  • Her five principles/practices for meaningful change in our relationship with our bodies

 

Resources Mentioned

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

  • Virgie’s previous Food Psych® episodes #45 and #100

  • You Have the Right to Remain Fat

  • Sander Gilman’s work

  • James Baldwin’s work

  • Camp Thunder Thighs

  • Virgie’s website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

  • This episode is brought to you by NurX, the game-changing company that’s here to make getting birth control easier. Visit nurx.com/foodpsych for a $20 credit, and you can get birth control delivered securely and confidentially to your door in less than a week.

  • This episode is also brought to you by Blinkist, where thousands of non-fiction books are condensed into key takeaway information that you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes. Start your FREE 7-day trial by going to blinkist.com/foodpsych.

     

Listener Question of the Week

What are some tips for navigating the dating scene as a person in a larger body? How can a person stop feeling hurt by being rejected for their size? How does one reconcile their feminist critiques of dating culture with feelings of loneliness? How does dating culture reinforce patriarchal ideals? Why is it important to work on self-acceptance in the context of dating? What are some qualities to look for in a potential partner?

(Resources Mentioned:

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