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

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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