Hello fam. How ya doing? I hope you’re doing well and enjoying a day filled with delicious foods and internal sunshine.
With the weather warming up and a mini-toe surgery leaving me unable to do much else in terms of movement, I’ve recently taken to going to long walks with my dog and listening to podcasts. After blowing through a couple series in their entirety, I started listening to Food PsychFood Psych per recommendation of a few others.
Overall, I really enjoy listening to the podcast. It’s thought-provoking, delivers important messages so many need to hear, and is entertaining enough to hold my attention. That said, I do not agree with every message delivered in its entirety (and am a firm believer you should not only watch/listen to things you completely agree with, because that’s called living in an echo chamber, and it’s important to understand other POVs, IMO), and I seriously believe that the podcast is missing an important part of body acceptance.
I can totally get behind the anti-diet movement (for those unfamiliar, it basically points out how society has normalized diet culture, and now it’s more abnormal than not to not be constantly dieting); I’ve felt that way about diet-culture for a very long time and have recently become an advocate of intuitive eating. I am learning to be better at letting go of external cues and just eating what works for me when I want to and I’m all about that life.
But the entire podcast focuses mainly on accepting bigger bodies, “thin privilege,” and how thin people don’t feel the pressure to change their bodies. And I can say, first-handed, this isn’t true. I have felt enormous shame for being the scrawny kid growing up, and even to this day, everyone from strangers to doctors to potential employers feel entitled to comment on my size, make pointed assumptions on how I got to be my size, how I should change, and what my physical or professional capabilities are based on my body type.
I must be weak, emotionally vulnerable, mentally ill, and childish, right? And no one would ever find a woman who looks like a 12-year-old boy to be desirable…or at least that’s what I’ve been told. And heaven forbid I order a salad somewhere, even if that’s what my body is craving, because obviously, you know, that means I have a problem.
I have honestly been asked in job interviews how old I am, and been told that “no one should look like that, it’s not natural or healthy,” regarding my shape and size. Uh, okay, cool.
The sad part is, I’m not even that abnormally sized. And in fact, in my 6 years living in NYC, my body never came up as an issue. But after living in the Midwest this year, I gotta say, I feel the heat very regularly. It reminds me of being in middle and high school again, where people would tease me for my size and I was on the “itty bitty titty committee.” Moreover, eating disorders are SERIOUS disease, and not something to take lightly or assume or wish upon anyone.
Not to minimize any pain any others feel about shame they receive for their body shaming, but I argue thin privilege is not the privilege it’s made out to be in this Podcast series. Thin people get shamed all the time, and damn it, our feelings get hurt too.
Bodies change and fluctuate throughout the lifespan. Maybe in a few years I’ll look different. Maybe not. But this is my body today, and I’m tired to being made to feel shameful of it just as much as anyone else.
I’ve written about this before in this viral piece for Spoon, and years later, I still feel the same.
I will continue to listen to the Food Psych series, and truly DO enjoy it. However, I wish they would feature thin shaming at least just once. They constantly bring up “health at every size,” yet seem to not acknowledge the fact that smaller people may also just be that way and may be healthy.
In fact, at times, I feel as if they almost demonize being small. In a society that is so thin-obsessed, the acceptance of eating what’s right for your body and not fighting your body’s natural size is so so important. But I wish they would acknowledge both ends of this spectrum. People know what they look like, and size isn’t, in my opinion, anything to be commented on.
Anyways, those are my thoughts. Wishing everyone a day of body acceptance and self-compassion!