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Today Virginia is chatting with Jeff Hunger who is an assistant professor of social psychology at Miami University in Ohio, who studies weight stigma. Our focus of this episode is Jeff’s work on anti-fat bias, understanding how we internalize it, the difference between implicit and explicit bias, and how we start to separate out concepts like body image struggles from the larger conversation of anti-fat bias. We cover a lot of important ground. Including Taylor Swift.If you want more conversations like this one, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And become a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.And don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSJeff on Instagram and TwitterVirginia's previous reporting on weight stigma in healthcareVirginia can't be a cool foodie because she has to feed small childrenA recent review on how we reduce weight biasA good introduction to ACT, and here’s an example of research on its utility in reducing weight stigma (ironic warning for weight-normative language there!)Weight bias is still going up. Study on fat-shaming celebrities and implicit biasThe very heated debate about Taylor SwiftWhen Lizzo used an ableist term (and fixed it!)Stan CultureWho gets to call themselves fat?Denied rights to our own bodies.When a kid comes home and reports that someone called them fat Mary Himmelstein's research on weight-based bullyigWhy Dan should build Virginia a hidden kitchenNo really, hidden kitchensThe appliance garage conceptIt’s just gotten bigger and bigger and more absurd.Elsie Larson's hidden libraryWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form. Fill out this form to help us plan for the Fat Talk book tour and launch. Thank you!CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.comToday Virginia is chatting with Emiko Davies, an award winning Australian-Japanese food writer, photographer, and cookbook author based in Italy. Her most recent book is Cinnamon & Salt, and she also shares her recipes on her Instagram and in her Substack newsletter,Emiko’s Newsletter.If you are already a paid subscriber, you’ll have this entire episode in your podcast feed and access to the entire transcript in your inbox and on the Burnt Toast Substack.If you are not a paid subscriber, you'll only get the first chunk. To hear the whole conversation or read the whole transcript, you'll need to go paid. It's just $5 a month or $50 for the year—and you get the first week free!Also, don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKS Julia Turshen on anti-fatness in the food industryLuna drinking a bowl of minestroneEmiko's tiramisu recipeVirginia's New York Times Magazine article about her daughter's feeding differences (also her first book)Beautifully Me by Nabela Noorthe challenges of plus sized kids clothing family meal planningdumpling soupWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism.
Today Virginia is chatting with Naureen Hunani, the founder of RDs for Neurodiversity, a neurodiversity-informed online continuing education platform for dietitians and helping professionals. Naureen also has her own private practice in Montreal, where she treats children, adults, and families struggling with various feeding and eating challenges through a trauma-informed, weight-inclusive, and anti-oppressive approach. If you want more conversations like this one, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And become a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.And don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSRDs for NeurodiversityOn the Division of Responsibility and diet cultureMelinda Wenner Moyer on core strength and sitting at the dinner tableFor little ones, Yummy Toddler Food has roundups of good baby and toddler highchairs, booster seats, and toddler tables.For older kiddos, we're hearing good things about this chair and these wobble stoolswhat is misophoniaAgainst ImpulsivityThe Heart Principle by Helen Hoang Want to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
Today Virginia is chatting with with Pam Luk, founder of Ember & Ace, a new line of plus size athletic clothing for kids. We get in what's wrong with the kids' clothing industry, and Pam has so many tips and hacks to making finding clothes for kids in bigger bodies more doable. If you want more conversations like this one, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And become a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.And don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSEmber & AceJeans Science.Virginia reporting on the weight/child custody case for SlateJulia Turshenwhat is a 10/12 pluswhy I just always buy two sizes of everythingTarget boots (yes, mostly sold out)Want to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.comIt's our October bonus episode! And since it's spooky season, and maybe nothing is more terrifying than retro gender norms, Virginia is revisiting an old essay about Halloween in Girl World. If you are already a paid subscriber, you’ll have this entire episode in your podcast feed and access to the entire transcript in your inbox and on the Burnt Toast Substack.If you are not a paid subscriber, you'll only get the first chunk. To hear the whole conversation or read the whole transcript, you'll need to go paid. It's just $5 a month or $50 for the year—and you get the first week free!Also, don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSThe original Halloween in Girl WorldIf you’re in the Bay Area, check out this amazing abortion film, which is screening at the Berkeley Video & Film Festival on Saturday! (Here’s Virginia's conversation with Mary about the film and body autonomy activism.) Election Day is looming. Remember any dollar you give to the Burnt Toast Giving Circle now goes towards The States Project’s Rapid Response Fund, to support quick-response work like last-minute electoral opportunities, ballot curing, helping with recounts, and more, in every state where we have a chance to gain (or protect) a blue majority. That police officer costume.The doe costume was not homemade.babies dressed as Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Rosie the Rivetera ready-made RBG costume on EtsyMighty Girl's excellent curated round-up of girl-empowering costumesCorinne and Virginia hate Halloweena piece Virginia wrote about Barbie Everything Everywhere All At Oncean interview with Michelle Yeoh Halloween costume idea for white ladies: Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie plus hot dog fingers
Today’s episode is our October Ask Us Anything with Virginia and Corinne Fay of @SellTradePlus! We get into unlearning fatphobia, managing treats with kids, and our very unpopular opinions about Halloween. If you want more conversations like this one, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And become a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.And don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSVirginia (Corinne) joined TikTok.The good seltzerHow to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davislazy can also be a very racialized term@LordTroyour last reader surveyBody Liberation Hiking ClubSTP's Philadelphia Clothes SwapChristy Harrison’s provider directoryCorinne's cheesy songEllyn Satter/DORKid Food InstagramAubrey Gordon has a great argument for why we should say anti-fat bias and not fatphobiaHow to Raise Kids Who Aren't A******s by Melinda Wenner MoyerThe $58 plus size Rockford Peach Costume on Amazon. Noihsaf BazaarCorinne is making this chocolate sheet cake with brown butter frosting.Lizzo playing James Madison’s fluteVirginia is into Lauren Leavell FitnessWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
Today’s episode is a delightful conversation with Shelly Anand and Nomi Ellenson, co-authors of the wonderful new picture book I Love My Body Because. If you want more conversations like this one, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And become a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.And don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.Shelley's first book Laxmi’s MoochErika Medina, illustrator of I Love My Body BecauseRoxane Gay's book HungerSonya Renee Taylor's book, The Body Is Not an ApologyTyler FederNabela Noor (Beautifully Me)More body positive picture books studies on representation of kids of color in children's booksNomi's Butter: The Cycles JournalCREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
Today’s episode, a conversation with blogger and fat liberation activist Linda Gerhardt, is the kind of story I can only tell on Burnt Toast. Because lipedema—despite impacting some 11 percent of women worldwide—isn’t a Sexy News Story. It doesn’t have the kind of hook mainstream media outlets want. Lipedema patients aren’t the kind of victims (i.e. thin white ladies) that America loves to rally around. But there are millions of them living quietly, in pain, unable to access healthcare or even clear answers because, as Linda puts it, “lipedema lives in this cursed intersection of medical fatphobia and medical misogyny.”If you want more conversations like this one—about the true costs of anti-fat bias, told in ways that center fat folks—please  rate and review us in your podcast player! And become a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.And don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.CW: This episode does contain some discussion of medical fatphobia and medical trauma, as well as prescription weight loss and weight loss surgery. If any of that wouldn't be good for you to listen to, please take care of yourself and give this one a miss.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.Linda blogs at Fluffy Kitten PartyLinda's (awesome!) Instagram is @littlewingedpotatoesThe Standard of Care for Lipedema in the United States by Dr. Karen HerbstRagen Chastain on why movement doesn’t have to be joyful and health is not a moral obligationVirginia is watching Bad Sisters (on Apple TV). CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This week, we're taking it old school with a solo Virginia episode! She's reading her most popular essay to date, about why you should stop romanticizing your child's lunchbox. (Note: We recorded this before the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health; check the transcript for some thoughts on these new developments.) If you'd like to support Burnt Toast, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And become a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. Subscriptions are on sale this week only, so you can take 20 percent off and join for just $4/month or $40 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.We've got an urgent call to action for the Burnt Toast Giving Circle! Details in the transcript. Help us fight for a blue majority in the Arizona state legislature. And don't forget to preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.The original essayHere's the Biden administration’s new National Strategy on hunger and nutrition, including school lunches. The pandemic school lunch scramble.Jennifer Gaddis on school lunchesSchool lunches are healthier than you thinkSo, what about processed foods?Meal planning mental loadstress-organizing my kitchenTomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle ZevinCome hiking with this amazing groupCREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This week, Corinne joins Virginia for another Ask Us Anything episode! We have a lot of thoughts about pants. So buckle up for that. We also talk about snacks. Pants and snacks, and I know, you're already in.If you'd like to support Burnt Toast, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And considering becoming a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.You can also now officially preorder Virginia's new book! Fat Talk: Parenting In the Age of Diet Culture comes out April 25, 2023 from Henry Holt. Preorder your signed copy now from Split Rock Books (they ship anywhere in the USA). You can also order it from your independent bookstore, or from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Kobo or anywhere you like to buy books.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.For previous Corinne episodes, start here and then go here and here. Corinne's amazing jumpsuitShould you get rid of your scale?Jeans ScienceUniversal Standard black leggingsUniversal Standard ponte pantUniversal Standard buttoned down shirt similar pink clogs to Virginia'sEileen Fisher lantern pantDraper James dressDacy Gillespiecashmere bike shortsCorinne’s Barbell Lift Off experiencethe conversation I had with SerenaCREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This week, Virginia chats with Chelsea Conaboy, author of an amazing new book, Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood.If you'd like to support Burnt Toast, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And considering becoming a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space. BUTTER & OTHER LINKSWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.Chelsea's NYT Op-ed: Maternal Instinct Is a Myth That Men CreatedChelsea's chapter book read-aloud picks: The Wild Robot, The Wild Robot Escapes and (strong co-sign from Virginia) Dory FantasmagoryVirginia's Instagram Gardening Content.CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.comIt's our September bonus episode! And we're trying out a new format: Virginia's Office Hours, where a Burnt Toast subscriber comes on the pod to chat with Virginia about fatphobia, diet culture, parenting and health. Our first guest is Serena, who is trying to navigate family gatherings while in eating disorder recovery—but her relatives aren't just diet-y, they are diet culture creators. If you are already a paid subscriber, you’ll have this entire episode in your podcast feed and access to the entire transcript in your inbox and on the Burnt Toast Substack.If you are not a paid subscriber, you'll only get the first chunk. To hear the whole conversation or read the whole transcript, you'll need to go paid. It's just $5 a month or $50 for the year—and you get the first week free!This episode does contain some discussion of eating disorders, eating disorder recovery, and family medical crisis. If any of that wouldn't be good for you to listen to, please take care of yourself and give this one a miss.Disclaimer: Virginia is a journalist and human with a lot of informed opinions. Virginia is not a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, or any kind of health care provider. The conversation you're about to hear and all of the advice and opinions she gives are just for entertainment, information, and education purposes only. None of this is a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSWant to come on Virginia's Office Hours? Please use this form.Virginia has previously discussed her daughter's medically necessary (but awful!) fat-free diet in this episode. Serena recommends this poem by spoken word poet Andrea Gibson. CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism.
This week, Virginia chats with with Hilary Kinavey and Dana Sturtevant, cofounders of the Center for Body Trust, and authors of a new book out this week, Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing and Liberation.If you'd like to support Burnt Toast, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And considering becoming a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.Post-Publication Note: Dana let us know after this episode aired that credit for this episode title (which she also quotes in the conversation below) belongs to Dr. Crystal Jones. We apologize for not properly attributing that during the conversation. BUTTER & OTHER LINKSWe're getting ready to do another AMA episode soon. And we need your questions! Put them here, so we stay organized. Hilary and Dana were on the Dear Sugars podcastVirginia previously interviewed them for a Health Magazine pieceOne of the frameworks Hilary and Dana use is Barbara Love’s liberatory consciousness, which is something they learned from Desiree Adaway and Ericka Hines.Nonbinary psychologist and Body Trust provider Sand Chang contributed to their book.Hilary is obsessed with the show on Apple TV called Home and her dog Arrow. Dana is obsessed with her hot tub, heated or not, and English muffins from Sparrow Bakery.Virginia and her lower back are obsessed with this $29 heating pad from TargetCREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This week, we revisit an old episode of Comfort Food where Virginia Sole-Smith and Amy Palanjian chat with Lisa Du Breuil, an incredible fat activist and clinical social worker who specializes in eating disorders and addiction. They discuss sugar addiction and how to navigate endless treats with your kids.If you'd like to support Burnt Toast, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And considering becoming a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This week, Virginia chats with Dana Miranda, a certified educator in personal finance and the founder of Healthy Rich, a platform for inclusive budget-free financial education. Check out her podcast and her Substack newsletter, Founder Notes.If you'd like to support Burnt Toast, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And considering becoming a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable us to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSVirginia found Dana through this great Culture Study interview. Dana recommends literal burnt toast with butter, and also playing the flute.Virginia recommends the Maui Mat. CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
Today, Virginia is chatting with Julia Turshen. Julia is a New York Times best-selling cookbook author. Her latest book is Simply Julia, she writes a fantastic newsletter, and she’s the host and producer of the podcast, Keep Calm and Cook On. Julia lives in the Hudson Valley, with her spouse Grace and their pets. And she teaches live cooking classes every Sunday afternoon. Follow her on Instagram: @Turshen.If you'd like to support the show, please rate and review us in your podcast player! And considering becoming a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. It's just $5 per month or $50 for the year. Producing a weekly podcast requires a significant investment of time and resources from several talented people. Paid subscriptions make all of our work possible and enable me to offer an honorarium to expert guests, which is key to centering marginalized voices in this space.BUTTER & OTHER LINKSVirginia and Julia talk about a presentation that Julia recently gave at the Culinary Institute of America about fatphobia and diet culture in the food industry.Julia's Butter is the Body Liberation Hiking Club. Find them on Instagram and Facebook. Virginia's Butter is cutting up the cheese before you serve it, the way Julia taught her. CREDITSThe Burnt Toast Podcast is produced and hosted by Virginia Sole-Smith. Follow Virginia on Instagram or Twitter.Burnt Toast transcripts and essays are edited and formatted by Corinne Fay, who runs @SellTradePlus, an Instagram account where you can buy and sell plus size clothing.The Burnt Toast logo is by Deanna Lowe.Our theme music is by Jeff Bailey and Chris Maxwell.Tommy Harron is our audio engineer.Thanks for listening and for supporting independent anti-diet journalism. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.com/subscribe
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit virginiasolesmith.substack.comThey're dealing with a consumer that they've never marketed to before and they don't really have the tools to do that. They don't know what's going to speak to that consumer. And it's also fatphobia, right? Because the brand doesn't want to center fat people as their customer. So they have to put everybody together in order for it to be okay. You're listening to Burnt Toast. This is the podcast where we talk about diet culture, fatphobia, parenting, and health. I'm Virginia Sole-Smith and I also write the Burnt Toast newsletter. Today I am chatting once again with the fantastic Mia O'Malley. Mia is content creator on Instagram and Tiktok (@MiaOMalley and @plussizebabywearing). Mia has been on the show before, so you’re probably already a big fan. I asked her back today because we needed to have a deep dive conversation about everything happening at Old Navy with plus size clothing.Also! Substack has asked us to try out a new format for this episode. Paid subscribers, you’re getting the full audio and full transcript, below. (So nothing has changed, just consider this your July bonus episode!) Free list folks: You’re getting the first chunk of my conversation with Mia (both audio and transcript), but if you would like the full version, you’ll need to become a paid Burnt Toast subscriber. Reader subscriptions enable me to pay guests like Mia for their time and labor, so please, consider investing in these conversations if this is work you care about. When you get full access to my conversation with Mia, you’ll get way more juicy details on the whole Old Navy situation. And you’ll find out the two brands we think are doing a surprisingly GOOD job on plus size clothes right now. I bet it’s not who you think! PS. You voted and the results are in: We’ll be reading ESSENTIAL LABOR by Angela Garbes for the August Burnt Toast Book Club! Mark your calendars for Wednesday, August 31 at 12pm Eastern.Episode 55 TranscriptVirginiaHi Mia. So we'll start by reminding listeners who you are and what you do.MiaI'm Mia O'Malley. I'm a content creator on Instagram. I have my account @MiaOMalley where I share a lot of resources for fat and plus sized people and some of my own style and life. And then I have an account called @plussizebabywearing on Instagram and I'm @plussizebabywearing on TikTok.VirginiaLast time, we had a pretty wide-ranging conversation where we talked about the intersection of fat activism and momfluencing, about finding a fat-friendly health care provider—all sorts of stuff. But this time, we have a very specific mission. When this news story broke, I was in the middle of writing my book, and I had no time to think about it, but you were on it. Your Instagram is this amazing resource. And I was like, Thank God, Mia will come on and explain to us what is happening with Old Navy and plus size clothing. I mean, it's a mess. How did this all start? MiaSo in August of 2021, old Navy launched what they called BODEQUALITY, and it was like, “the democracy of style.” They were going to offer sizes 0 to 30 and XS to 4x at the same price and then they would have it in 1200 stores. And they would be rolling out sizes 0 to 28 with no special plus size section. They also wanted us to know that there were going to be mannequins size 12 and 18. The CEO of Old Navy said, “It's not a one time campaign. It's a full transformation of our business and service to our customers, based on years of working closely with them to research their needs.” The marketing campaign included a TV commercial with Aidy Bryant from SNL and Shrill.VirginiaSo, none of this was subtle. This was a very full-throated, “We are here for plus sizes.”MiaWell, yes and no. The campaign was not subtle, but the campaign was also confusing. So many people did not even realize what BODEQUALITY meant.VirginiaWell, they made up that word. MiaAnd they made sure to include all diverse body types which, in general, is great. But it's part of a watered down body positivity, where we're not really getting to the heart of the matter and helping the people that are marginalized, that need to be helped and need to be lifted up. A lot of people did not recognize that this campaign meant that plus sizes were being carried in stores. It included people of “diverse body types,” it said “democracy of fashion.” But what does this really mean to someone? Does this mean that I can get my size in your store? It's not really clear. This is me editorializing, but I just think: We couldn't have a campaign that was just for fat people. We have to do it adjacent to thin people.VirginiaIt gives them this cover, because they're using this aspirational rhetoric, instead of saying explicitly, “We have screwed over fat customers.” MiaExactly. It just was not clear enough to the fat consumer that they were going to be able to access their clothes in store. It was muddled in the same way that body positivity gets muddled when we don't talk about the people that really should be centered in the movement. But as someone who has been critical of Old Navy in the past, even I wanted BODEQUALITY to work. We wanted it to be an example for other retailers and brands, that that this could be something they could do. Even though I had messages in my DMs talking about issues folks were seeing, I didn't really want to talk about it at first, because I wanted to see how far it would go. Well, less than a year later the Wall Street Journal reported that Old Navy would be pulling extended sizes from their stores. That article is a whole other thing that we can get into, too, because it's its own beast. VirginiaYeah, so that's what just happened, which blew this all up. It looked like they were blaming their sales dropping on the fact that they had added more plus sizes to the stores. That was the story out there, right?MiaYes, that's right. Suzanne Kapner—she wrote the article called “Old Navy Made Clothing Sizes for Everyone. It Backfired.” VirginiaI will say quickly, as a journalist, the headline is not Suzanne's fault. We never get to pick our headlines. However, the article itself is also problematic as you can now explain.MiaThere are a few issues with the article. Most specifically, it doesn't include comments from anyone in Old Navy corporate. They took quotes from other interviews that they had done, but Old Navy didn't comment on this article itself. So a lot of what they had was attributions to someone who worked in the store, a PR person, a city analyst—different things. They also have this quote from Diane Von Furstenberg, who spoke at the the Future of Everything Festival and they put that front and center. VirginiaSo all we really know is that Old Navy sales dropped, right? We don't really know why, or whether it is reasonable to blame that on plus sizes.MiaCorrect. First of all, they did not give this even a year to work. The CEO, Sonya Syngal, said on an earnings call that they “overestimated demand in stores” and they launched too broadly. They "over-planned larger sizes, with customer demand under-pacing supply. Someone else in Old Navy corporate said it was “a realigning of store inventory.” Which is not at all what the article says but sort of points to, they had an inventory problem. VirginiaWhich, it's been a pandemic! Everyone shifted to online shopping. They haven't yet gotten the customers back in the stores, period. Getting inventory right, regardless of sizing, is sort of a moving target right now. MiaWhat we're hearing from customers at Old Navy though, is they weren't even aware that plus sizes were in stores. That’s possibly because of the way that these stores are laid out. They took away or they didn't have a plus size section for a long time. But the plus size shopper is used to going to a specific section for their clothing. In this “democratizing of fashion,” Old Navy put everything together. And in some cases that made it harder for people to actually find their size. You had a lot of packed racks. You've had people struggling to find their sizes across the board. I'm also hearing that although Old Navy says that they went to great lengths to look at their fit when they did this inclusive sizing, that the fits are completely off for many, many items. So, Old Navy denim that people were used to buying for years, totally changed. People's sizes completely changed. Rockstar jeans, which they had been buying for over a decade, are now a completely different size. And in many cases, people were having to size up two or three sizes thinking that their body has changed in some drastic way, when really Old Navy sizing, completely changed in many items. VirginiaThat makes me wonder how inclusive they really intended to be.
I think it's important for people to recognize that no matter how fascinated you might be by a Black person’s hair, we are not an exhibit or curiosity.You're listening to Burnt Toast. This is the podcast about diet culture, fatphobia, parenting, and health. I’m Virginia Sole-Smith, and I also write the Burnt Toast newsletter.Today I am speaking with anti-racism activist, writer, and educator Sharon Hurley Hall. Sharon is firmly committed to doing her part to eliminate racism as the founder and curator in chief of Sharon's Anti-Racism Newsletter, one of my favorite Substacks. Sharon writes about existing while Black in majority white spaces and amplifies the voices of other anti-racism activists. Sharon is also the head of anti-racism and a special advisor for the Diverse Leaders Group. I asked Sharon to come on the podcast to talk about a piece she wrote on the newsletter a few weeks ago about the CROWN act, Black hair, and the ways in which white people perpetrate racism against Black people for their hair. We also get into how to talk about hair and skin color differences with your kids, which I found super, super helpful and I think you will, too. If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe, rate and review us in your podcast player! It’s free and a great way to help more folks find the show.And! It’s time to decide what we should read for the next Burnt Toast Book Club! I’ve culled through all of your suggestions and narrowed it down to these five (mostly because the Substack poll-maker limits me to five choices). I was going to stick with fiction because it’s summer and I’m in beach read mode, but I made an exception for Angela Garbes because, it’s Angela Garbes. (Which is to say, if we don’t pick her for August, we’ll do it for September or October!) You have until the end of this week to vote. I’ll announce the pick on Tuesday. (The discussion thread will go live Wednesday, August 31 at 12pm Eastern!) Episode 54 TranscriptVirginiaHi Sharon! Why don't we start by having you tell my listeners a little more about yourself and your work?SharonOkay, so I am an anti-racism writer and educator, a former journalist, and I have been writing about anti-racism-related stuff for longer than it appears. I actually wrote my first article in 2016, but I wasn't doing it consistently. I launched an anti-racism newsletter in 2020. So it's just been going for just about two years now. In it, I share my perspectives as a global citizen. I was born in England, I grew up in the Caribbean, I lived in England as an adult. I visited the US. I lived in France. I've been in a lot of places, and I've experienced racism everywhere. And so I bring that lens to what I write about. You know, quite often we think what we're experiencing is the only way it's being experienced or is unique to the location that we're in. And my experience is that there's a lot of commonality in how these things operate in different places. VirginiaOh, that's so interesting. I have British and American citizenship, but I've lived my whole life in America. And I definitely tend to think of racism as this very American issue. But as you're saying that, I'm realizing how incredibly reductive that is. Although Americans certainly are a big part of the problem. SharonYes, but—or yes and, I suppose. Let's not forget that all of this started with the British people—well, British and Europeans—who colonized everywhere.VirginiaSure did. Yup. Absolutely. SharonThere are many places besides the USA that share this history of enslavement. Barbados and the Caribbean being among those places. So there are similarities, there are commonalities, I think. It operates in a particularly American way, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist in other places. Because it does. It's sometimes less visible. And of course, because so many other places don't have a gun culture, you're less likely to end up dead as a Black person, even if people are being racist towards you. VirginiaYes. We add that extra layer of things. Well, I am having you here today to talk about a piece of American legislation because you wrote a really excellent piece for your newsletter. I want everyone to subscribe to your newsletter and to be supporting your work. Often you're putting things on my radar that I have missed and I just really appreciate the education that you do. This was a piece you wrote recently on the CROWN Act, which I have to admit I wasn't even aware of as something that was happening. So for starters, for folks who aren't who aren't familiar with this, can you tell us a little bit about what the CROWN act is and what inspired it? SharonThe CROWN Act stands for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair. I believe it was (first) sponsored by State Senator Holly Mitchell from California. And then other states have since passed similar laws. There is also a federal act, which was passed by the House earlier this year. The idea is that Black people should be able to wear their natural hair, and not have it be a problem. In all post-enslavement societies, in all post-colonial societies, in many white majority places, the way that our hair grows out of our head is a problem for people. It can be seen as not professional. There are all sorts of ancient ideas about what Black people's hair is and isn't, that play into the way that it is treated. It's not just about being able to wear your hair, the respect piece is important as well. Because you'd be surprised how often—I mean, I worked in England for 15 years and there were people that would come and say, “Ooh, your hair! Let me…” (For those listening, I am running my hands through my hair.) “Your hair,” you know, “It feels so different. Let me…” VirginiaLike it’s okay to touch you. SharonIt's okay to just touch my hair. So there has historically been this thing where Black people's natural hair, and all the various styles that we put our hair in, were not seen as worthy of respect, were not seen as professional, were not seen as acceptable. All of that comes out of that whole white supremacist ideology.VirginiaWhat I really appreciated in your piece is you explain why the ability to have legal redress for microaggressions is obviously really important, given this really problematic history that you've just sketched out for us. But you also wrote, “Why the hell do we need to legislate for Black people to enjoy autonomy over our hair?” So, talk a little more about that piece. SharonWhite supremacy has weaponized Black hair in many ways. It's been a matter of control that extended to using hair as evidence of the reasons why Black people deserve to be enslaved, because our hair was seen as like wool, animal-like, somehow bestial, somehow not right. You could think of the Tignon Laws, which I think were in Louisiana, where Black women's hair was supposed to be covered. Because otherwise the white guys would not be able to control themselves. There was this idea of overt sexuality, as well.VirginiaThat being your problem to control as opposed to… SharonYes, our problem that they needed to control. Black women and Black people being what they are, we've made lemonade out of lemons. That's why you get these fabulous headdresses and head ties and so on. They look absolutely wonderful. But you know, the the original idea was to control it, to cover it up, to hide anything that would make us look more human and more beautiful. Often in the past, women have been encouraged to cover themselves up so that they don't get assaulted. This is another facet of that. As I've said, I don't know any Black person who's worked in a white majority space, especially a woman, who has not had some white person in their office space, make free with their hair. And you know, I would not do the same if the situation were reversed. I want to add something here, which is that a lot of white people say, “Oh, I went to a country in Asia, and people were fascinated by my straight blonde hair.” And I say, that is not the same thing, because the history is different. The agency that you have historically had over your own body is different. Coming out of a culture where we have not had that agency, somebody putting their hands in our hair lands very differently. VirginiaYeah, absolutely. It's always going to be a different experience. But you're right, people do make that comparison. I would imagine also there's some comparisons to when you're pregnant and people feel like they can touch your stomach. And that is also very violating. But that's a finite experience. You're only going to be in that mode for nine months. I'm not saying it's okay that it happens, it shouldn't happen. But this is something Black people are being asked to navigate daily, without other people adjusting. SharonI just actually want to address that particular because: Imagine if you're a Black pregnant woman.VirginiaOh god, yes.SharonBecause I was a Black pregnant woman. So people would be putting their hands in my hair, but they'd also be touching my belly. That felt extremely violating. VirginiaYes, it is. I mean, it just is.SharonAnd in a way that I couldn't even fully articulate at the time as to why it bothered me so much. But I know now why it bothered me so much. VirginiaDo you mind sharing a little bit about how you do navigate those moments? SharonAt the time when it used to happen most often, I was not often in a position to navigate that safely. Because people would then regard me as being the problem, regard me as being the angry Black woman, regard me as making something out of nothing. Now I would be in a position to say something like, “Because of the history of enslavement, this does not feel good to me. This feels like a violation.” And I could say it as plainly as that. And I think if you said it like that people would would pause and think about it. I've not often had the chance to do that, but it's definitely something that I would do the next time it happens. And of cours
People don’t have a choice about whether or not to fight these things. You have to keep learning all you can, you have to keep finding the allies you can. And to despair is to abandon all the people who need us most.You’re listening to Burnt Toast. This is the podcast about diet culture, fatphobia, parenting, and health. I’m Virginia Sole-Smith, and I also write the Burnt Toast newsletter. Today is a very special episode because I am interviewing one of my very favorite people in the world: My stepmother, Mary Summers. Mary is a Senior Fellow in the Fox Leadership Program and a lecturer in political science at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s also a former physician assistant, political speechwriter, and a lifelong activist. And 52 years ago, she and three other activists made a 28 minute black and white film about what it was like to live in a country where abortions were illegal. (Watch it and get involved!) This was in 1970. The Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion throughout the country was three years in the future. And of the approximately 800,000 abortions performed in 1970, only 1% were obtained legally. 300,000 resulted in complications and 8000 resulted in death. We are now living in post-Roe America. There is much about this fight that has changed in the past 52 years, but also much that stays the same. So, I asked Mary to come chat with me about her work on the film as well as what we can learn from the people who fought for legal abortion before as we begin to do it again. PS. Mary was delighted to donate her $100 podcast honorarium to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Thank you to the Burnt Toast paid subscribers who made that possible! And big news: The Burnt Toast Giving Circle has exceeded our goal! We’ve raised $20,111 and counting for Arizona state legislature races. You can join us here, and read more about why that helps in the fight to legalize abortion here. Episode 53 TranscriptVirginiaLet’s start by telling listeners a little bit about you and about your work.MaryI am a senior fellow with the Robert Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve been, for the last 20 years, a lecturer in political science, teaching service learning courses on the politics of food and agriculture and on schools as sites where inequalities and economic status and and health, health especially, can either be addressed or reproduced. My students, as well as being in class with me, are working in schools and after-school programs and food stamp snap enrollment campaigns and programs like that, so that they’re learning about institutions on the ground as well as in the classroom.VirginiaAnd that just one of many things you have done in your life. Do you want to also just go back a little further and tell us what you did, especially around the time you made the film?MaryI got involved in making the film right as I was graduating from college in 1970 I was at Radcliffe. And I had gotten interested in film, and interested in the women’s movement. That period at Harvard was the height of the anti-war movement. We basically were on strike most spring semesters that I was there. Especially the Harvard strike of 1969 was really important to me, seeing the entire university mobilized around stopping ROTC on campus. People who had been meeting in tiny rooms trying to organize, by the end of that strike, were meeting in the football stadium. Faculty and students were working together, voting on the demands of the strike and passing them overwhelmingly and the administration basically conceding everything we were fighting for. That gave me a real sense that we could change the world. In the years both prior to and after graduation, I was also getting more interested in the women’s movement as one more important way of thinking about relationships within the anti-war movement, within the student movement, and in society as a whole. Men were clearly very dominant. And women were starting to be very interested in talking to each other, about everything from clitoral orgasms to shared housekeeping in ways that were exciting and interesting. And then, a person I was taking some classes from told me about a group of women who were making a film about abortion. So I contacted them. They originally started out of the same group of women who eventually would become the founders of Our Bodies Ourselves. It was a big Bread and Roses office that was generating all this activity around women’s health and consciousness raising groups and just lots of excitement about thinking about the inequalities of gender roles, and how could we address that. So I wrote a little grant to a program called Education for Action that that gave me funding to join this group of four women who were making this film on abortion. It had originally been inspired, I think, by Jane Pincus, the person who made it possible to make a film because her husband was a documentary filmmaker then at MIT and we were able to use the MIT film lab equipment, and both cameras and editing. She had been listening to what was then the equivalent of NPR, about efforts to get the Massachusetts legislature to legalize abortion, and just couldn’t believe that the only voices you could hear debating it were men’s voices. So she thought, well, if we could make a film that would raise up women’s stories and voices that would make a big difference in these debates. And that made a lot of sense to me. VirginiaCan you talk a little more about why the conversation on abortion in particular was being only had by men? MaryLiterally, the Massachusetts legislature was all men. I mean, if there were any women in it, they, their voices were not on the radio. And really, that was a time when electoral politics was overwhelmingly dominated by white men.VirginiaLet’s also be clear, this was three years before Roe, so abortion was illegal, which was why you were doing the film. How did you think about the potential risks you were facing by doing this work? MaryThis was a period in which it looked as if the way we would win abortion rights was state by state, with the legislatures passing it. Hawaii had legalized abortion before we started, but that, it’s so far away.VirginiaRight, not very helpful.MaryPeople were not going to Hawaii for abortions. Then the big question was that a lot of states were starting to legalize abortion, but you had to get permission from a doctor, meet with a psychiatrist. Abortion on demand sounded like a very, very radical idea to a lot of people. So, we were very interested in making a film that would say that should be the norm, that women should get to decide if they needed an abortion. Obviously, you can understand why people who are fighting just within state legislatures were feeling like, we aren’t going to be able to get any legalization at all, unless we allow for all these permissions and doctor involvement, “it has to be between a woman and her doctor” kind of talk.VirginiaThey were taking a kind of incremental approach.MaryRight. So it seemed really important to have more pressure and organizing outside the legislatures and the courts that would help push the idea that this should be women’s decisions. Now on the question of risk—there was certainly a lot of stigma. But there was also tremendous pent up trauma that women did want a chance to talk about. I mean, that was what was so exciting about the women’s movement at that time, was all these women who had experienced a whole range of different types of very real oppression, either in their own homes or in—I mean, I went to my college infirmary and asked for birth control and they wouldn’t give it to me. The range of humiliating experiences women had been through, much less the women who had been through illegal abortions, which for many were so terrifying and so scary. There was this lovely doctor in the hills of Pennsylvania that apparently gave many women very good abortion experiences, but there were a lot of people who did not have that. So, for some of them, just being able to tell their stories was huge, even if they didn’t want their name associated with it. We started receiving tapes of women wanting to tell their stories and several of the filmmakers had stories that they taped. So I think more we were really excited and energized about doing this work. I mean, there was a lot of debate about whether we wanted our names on the movie. So in that sense, there was worry about stigma, I would say.VirginiaIt’s so moving to think about all those women sending in those tapes. Like pre-internet, that’s a lot of work, right? You’ve have to get a tape made, put it in the mail. It’s just, it’s amazing.MaryThat’s one of the things I remember, is trying to splice those tapes together and you know my technical skills! To create the story in the first part of the film. I do want to emphasize that all around the country there were women who were who were becoming amazingly strong and militant around the fact that they weren’t going to put up with this anymore. We knew about the Janes in Chicago—which I think a lot of your listeners are going to know about—where women had trained themselves to do abortions on kitchen tables. To me, at least, that seemed extraordinary and, and really scary. I was like, well, thank goodness, I’m just making a film. Because that was also risking very long term prison sentences. Both, you know, could you harm somebody and could you go to prison for this. Both of those things seemed much more scary than anything we were doing.VirginiaAs you mentioned, the original goal as activists was to work towards passing abortion laws, state by state, that’s where you were when Roe happened. I would love for you to talk a little bit about how that conversation shifted. Was there a feeling that like, we really still need to do the state work? Or did it feel like okay, now that conversation is over?MaryWell, a couple of things were going on. I think in
Yoga Journal, which is the long standing print magazine for yoga professionals, and the yoga community, is owned by the same parent company that publishes Clean Eating magazine. So there’s a lot of intersection in the writing and the journalists between them. And I find it very problematic. Extremely problematic. But that’s capitalism, right? You’re listening to Burnt Toast. This is the podcast where we talk about diet culture, fatphobia, parenting, and health. Today I’m chatting with Jessica Grosman! Jessica is an experienced anti-diet registered dietitian and certified Intuitive Eating counselor, weight inclusive health practitioner, and yoga teacher. She is on the faculty of Yoga for Eating Disorders, where she teaches the popular compassionate and mindful yin yoga series. And she’s a co-founder of Anti-Diet Culture Yoga, a platform with a mission to keep diet culture out of yoga spaces by providing training and educational opportunities for teachers. So, as you can probably guess from her bio, Jessica and I are discussing the intersection of diet culture and yoga today. This was such a fascinating conversation for me, because I truly did not know the extent to which yoga has been colonized and appropriated by white people and diet culture. If you have a fraught relationship with yoga, or have had that over the years like I have, I think you will get a lot out of this one. I do want to acknowledge that Jessica and I are two white, privileged ladies having this conversation. I’m very aware that in order to divest from yoga from diet culture and white supremacy more completely, we need to be learning this from people of color. We do shout out some of those voices towards the end of the episode. But I would love to know who else you are learning from—post suggestions in the comments so we can continue this conversation! If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe, rate and review us in your podcast player! It’s free and a great way to help more folks find the show.Keep sending in your questions for Virginia’s Office Hours! If you have a question about navigating diet culture and anti-fat bias that you’d like to talk through with me, or if you just want to rant about a shitty diet with me, you can submit your question/topic here. I’ll pick one person to join me on the bonus episode so we can hash it out together.PS. Also hi new subscribers/listeners! I think a bunch of you found me through Julia Turshen’s podcast Keep Calm and Cook On. I have loved her entire series on Unapologetic Appetites and was delighted to join her for this conversation. Post-Publication Note from Virginia: After this episode aired, a listener let us know that Jessica’s Instagram contains some old content that may be triggering to folks in eating disorder recovery. I don’t expect Burnt Toast Podcast guests to align with me on every single issue; I also don’t expect podcast guests to have lived their lives free from diet culture influences (if I did, I’d have no one to interview!). And I find tremendous value in the conversation we had on this episode. But I wanted to offer this word of caution for folks in the Burnt Toast community who are in recovery. Please take care of yourselves.Episode 52 TranscriptVirginiaHi, Jessica! Why don’t we start by having you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and your work?JessicaMy work is primarily patient-focused nutrition therapy, and I work to help individuals reestablish a comfortable connection with food and body most often after years of living and diet culture. I am a member of ASDAH, the Association of Size Diversity and Health and use HAES principles in my individualized care. I’m also a yoga teacher, as I mentioned, and really love bringing together all sorts of ways to help people feel comfortable in their body.VirginiaI think you’re our first yoga teacher on the podcast and today that’s going to be our focus — this intersection of diet culture and yoga. I think for a lot of listeners, this probably isn’t breaking news. We’ve all kind of seen the Lululemon version of yoga, and the Gwyneth Paltrow / Goop version. I think a lot of us may assume that diet culture has been baked into yoga from the start. But is that true or do you see this as a more recent co-option of yoga?JessicaI want to start by asking you if you know what the word yoga means. So I want to spin this question back to you. VirginiaI feel like I knew this when I did a lot more yoga, and now I’m going to fail this quiz. JessicaIt’s okay! Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means “to yoke” or “to join.” So right there, the word yoga does not mean acrobatics, leggings, green juice, restrictive diets, or any other stereotype that has been portrayed in the media through diet culture. I want to acknowledge that right from the start that yoga has nothing to do with diet culture in its origin. I’m going to give you a little history lesson here. There are eight limbs of yoga, with only one being the physical practice of yoga, the poses and postures that we see so often. In the classic, traditional sense, yoga really is about the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. The physical practice of yoga was developed to help rid the body of distractions, of impulses, to be able to sit and meditate. So if you think about kids in a classroom, we know that if we want kids to sit and concentrate, first we let them get all their energy out, and they run around on a playground have play time before they’re able to sit calmly and concentrate. Yoga, the physical practice of yoga, is in the same vein, to give the body time to rid itself of the distractions to be able to turn inward and sit and focus in meditation.VirginiaI love that framing and I’d never thought of it that way. And nothing you mentioned has to do with weight loss or changing your body size or shape. So when did the shift happened? JessicaSo, yoga was brought to the west from southern Asia about 100 years ago—and notice I said Southern Asia and not India, because yoga’s inception was not just in the land that is currently India, but all throughout southern Asia. So we want to give respect and honor to those lineages. But it was brought to the West about 100 years ago by a Russian woman named Eugenia Peterson who later changed her name to Indra Devy. She was an actress and a spiritual seeker who traveled to India and became the first female student of Krishna Macharia, who was considered the father of modern yoga. He created the posture-based yoga practice, the physical yoga that was influenced by martial arts and wrestling and British calisthenics. Remember, this was in colonized, British-occupied India. And so Indra was able to bring her yoga studies to the west with her when South Asians were not able to come West due to the Immigration Act of 1924, which set quotas for immigration from “less desirable” countries. Indra came back to the west, came to Hollywood dressed in saris and was emulated by movie stars and Hollywood types seeking exotic practices from the East to keep themselves young and beautiful. This was the start of the modern wellness movement and with yoga at the core. VirginiaShe’s like a proto-Gwyneth Paltrow.JessicaExactly. And you know, how ironic that she was on Gwyneth Paltrow land?VirginiaSo, the Western conception of yoga has always been more linked to diet culture. We wouldn’t have called it diet culture back then, but certainly this idea of the body and controlling the body. JessicaI would say so, especially in the yoga space that is full of white practitioners. I think South Asians in the West practicing yoga that are coming from that lineage, from their motherland, it’s a different type of practice. But the yoga of diet culture is very whitewashed.VirginiaLet’s talk specifics about how that manifests. What are some of the most surprising ways you’ve seen diet culture infiltrate yoga?Jessica Yoga is part of wellness culture and wellness culture is that friendly guise of diet culture which is rooted in capitalism. Yoga in the West is rooted in capitalism. I can tell you that working as a yoga teacher, to earn a living as a yoga teacher is not sustainable in our capitalistic society. There’s just no way to go about doing that for most people, other than those elevated—and I’m going to use air quotes—“gurus” of yoga, the ones that we see in the ads for Lululemon and all of the other brands.So yoga studios—we have yoga studios in the West, not so much in South Asia. But yoga studios in the West are for profit, and you can just look at what they sell beyond classes: The food, the drinks, the clothing, the apothecary items. This is all so steeped in diet culture. So before setting foot in a yoga studio, there’s this assumption that certain clothing is required to practice yoga, and that clothing is most often indicated for particular bodies. That keeps diversity out of yoga spaces. We don’t have to look too far to see that the ad campaigns for leggings, for activewear that is indicated for yoga practices, is usually on very small bodies. VirginiaAs you’re saying that, I’m just thinking I would feel weird going to a yoga class not wearing yoga pants. Like, we have this sense that you have to. But you also don’t have to. When I practice yoga at home, I often do it in just my pajama pants or any loose clothing. Why we have this idea that you have to wear this one type of pants to go to a yoga studio is fascinating.JessicaIt’s all about that culture of fitting in and needing to feel like you’re worthy of being in that space. VirginiaYep, that makes sense. And yet the pants so rarely have pockets and are not efficient for many of my needs.JessicaWell, that’s why you need more of the swag to go along with them.VirginiaOh, of course. JessicaYou need the correct bag to hold your yoga mat. And it has to be the correct yoga mat. And then the correct yoga bag, which has the pockets for this, that, and the other. VirginiaThere’s many more products we can buy.JessicaSo yog
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