Titled "Tell Me I'm Fat", this is the first episode of the This American Life podcast that I encounter. Ironic, right?
Before My Favorite Murder, I never really listened to podcasts. I was discussing true crime with a friend and once she told me about it and I started listening, I was hooked. But even before that discussion between her and I ever happened, my one coworker would talk about This American Life on NPR all the time. He would tell the doctor and I of the interesting topics that it would discuss, but I was always "I'm catching up on MFM so I can't listen to anything else right now". Well, now I'm all caught up...so I have 6 days during the week to fill between new podcasts!
So I started listening to episode #589 at lunchtime yesterday. The topic of this episode was the stigma with fat people, coming to terms with being fat, not using fat as a derogatory term, and how getting skinny does not always change your thinking.
The first woman he spoke to was Lindy. She had written a book called Shrill, where she discusses coming to terms with being fat. People view being fat as a "temporary state" in which we are all fighting. But she talks about coming to terms with being fat and "coming out" to the world as a fat person. She explains that being fat should not be something people view as shameful and that it doesn't always equal poor eating habits or lack of physical activity. She even discusses a disagreement that she had with her boss about an article he had written about fat people. She uses body-positive thinking to help others who struggle with not being the size 2 we see in all of the magazines. And she speaks of coming to terms with being, well, fat.
Then he spoke to Elna, someone on the staff at TAL. She'd lost 110 lbs...quite a feat. But Elna discusses how the world started to treat her differently once the pounds started melting off. How society would actually acknowledge her existence instead of just avoiding her fatness. She sudden went from invisible to being seen. And she also realized how shady the world truly is. How she speaks about the weight loss, the repercussions of weight loss ( aka. loose skin ), and the mental challenges is like saying that even though she's smaller now, she's still a "fat girl" inside. And that happens a lot. People think that losing a bunch of weight is automatically going to make them feel better about themselves...but that's not how it works. You have to accept yourself from jump street or you're just going to be a fat girl trapped in a thin body, with the same insecurities and flaws--just a few pounds lighter. When I was listening to this part on my way home from work, I was literally almost in tears.
Roxanne also wrote a book, called Hungry. On this episode, she discusses being black and fat--what she deems a dual curse. She's constantly mistaken for a man, mostly by white people, and she speaks of how poorly people treat her for being a "double-whammy". She's a writer and author of several books, yet she still gets comments or concerns when she's waiting in line to be seated in First Class. She also discusses how the world isn't really
equipped for fat people, including stylish clothes not being made in the larger sizes.
Lastly, they discussed with Daniel the topic of "God doesn't want us fat". In this segment, they talk about the Christian weight-loss movement and how Paul, a Phys Ed major, gets a job at a Christian academy that takes it a little too far. So far that they would whip out calipers to measure the amount of fat the students had, do dunk tests to measure fat percentage from water displacement, and not allow those who did not reach their weight-loss criteria to graduate. And this all started back in the 70s! To this day, they still focus on physical health being important to spiritual health, but not to the extent they once did.
After listening to this episode, I already love this podcast. Each week is a different topic, with a handful of people's personal stories or opinions in each one. Unlike MFM, it's the type of podcast where I don't feel I need to start from episode one--I can just kinda get the gist from the title and listen at my leisure.
If you haven't tried out any podcasts yet, I recommend them. I always thought of them as NPR-political-monotone-boring talk radio, but there's SO many out there anymore. MFM definitely broke my podcast cherry...for the better.
And I promise that it's better than some of the shit music they have on the radio these days!...LOL!