In this episode, Nicola and Florence receive American award-winning author and leading expert on weight-based discrimination and body image, Virgie Tovar.
Virgie evokes her memories of growing up in a larger body, and internalizing toxic cultural messages about her ultimate responsibility to become thin. In her early twenties, she was introduced to fat activism while studying for her Master's degree in Sexuality Studies.
Together, Virgie, Nicola, and Florence explore the 3 levels of fatphobia and how fatphobia leads to serious discrimination in many areas including wages and medical care, resulting in higher weight people avoiding going to the doctor. Fatphobia also affects fashion, with the industry doing its best to keep higher weight people outside of stores, although about 70% of the population is actually plus size. Fat discrimination is in fact considered legal in most US states. Although we know from research that a higher weight person is less than 1% likely to ever become an average size person according to BMI. And that scientifically, dieting is correlated with depression, anxiety and an increased likelihood of developing an eating disorder. Not with weight loss.
Virgie unpacks the term "diet culture" for Florence and Nicola and explains it is not coincidence that it was was born at the same time as capitalism, puritanism, and colonialism.
Virgie also evokes internalized gender inferiority in women and its links to self-objectification. with the works of John Berger and Phyllis Chessler. She reminds us that everything we can turn to for pleasure in our society is heavily regulated and shamed, including hunger. She mentions a study on subjective hunger affecting long term decisions. And the podcast ends with simple ways anyone can fight fatphobia.
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