Episode Transcription by Fayelle Ewuakye. Find her on Twitter at @FayelleEwuakye.
Amanda – Welcome to this episode of Fat and Faithful, you have joined us for the first episode of season 4. I am Amanda Martinez Beck, and I am here with my co host.
Nicole – Hi everyone, this is J. Nicole Morgan. Super excited to be back for season 4 of Fat & Faithful podcast.
Amanda – It’s been a little while, Nicole.
Nicole – It has, we enjoy our long summers here at Fat & Faithful, I think we both stay pretty busy with our various lives over the summers. But it’s good to be back.
Amanda – It’s true. Well, something big has happened since we have been on the air, and that is what I like to call, the Lizzo effect.
Nicole – Lizzo effect, I’m gonna let you go all into that, you and your Sharpies.
Amanda – I am in love with Lizzo. And I didn’t know who she was when we were still in season 3. So that was my loss. Are you a Lizzo fan?
Nicole – I am a fan of the Lizzo effect. I will say that it’s not really my style of music that I enjoy. But I like what she’s doing.
Amanda – Yes. And that is a fair thing to say. I like her style of music.
Nicole – Also fair.
Amanda – I can get my groove on, as white as that just sounded, when I listen to her. She just captures my musical imagination and I’m really thankful for her music.
Nicole – That’s awesome.
Amanda – But you mentioned my Sharpies. I’ve been—
Nicole – Your Sharpies.
Amanda – I’ve been Sharpie-ing a lot.
Nicole – You have, and everyone if you are not following Amanda on Instagram yet @your_body_is_good, and there’s underscores in between each of those words, as she likes to make it complicated to explain how to get to her Instagram on a podcast. That’s Amanda. And she has been doing some amazing work there. And is getting a lot of recognition and interaction and I’m just like, incredibly proud to be your friend. With you and your amazing Sharpies. But I’ll let you talk about what your Sharpies are. But that’s my plug.
Amanda – Thank you, my Sharpies are, I was given by the board of Now She Rises, a 72 count Sharpie package when I was going through a rough time. Which is like, one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever gotten. Shout out to Erin Petty for suggesting it. It was her doing, she’s the Care Coordinator for all the Rise women.
Nicole – And does a good job at it.
Amanda – Oh my gosh, she’s so good. But, she’s also one of the admins for our All Bodies are Good Bodies group on Facebook. She is just such a, this sounds like so spiritually cheesy, but she’s such a blessing to me. She really is. So I’ve started, well continued writing out body empowering messages on my Instagram and they’ve caught some attention.
Nicole – They have, that’s exciting.
Amanda – Do you know who Evelyn Tribole is?
Nicole – I don’t.
Amanda – She is one of the co-authors of Intuitive Eating.
Nicole – Okay.
Amanda – And she has endorsed my Instagram on her stories, just so you can follow her. And so yesterday, I got a comment from Jes Baker.
Nicole – Oh wow! That’s awesome!
Amanda – I know.
Nicole – We’re totally fangirling over here. This is amazing.
Amanda – And I was like, oh my goodness, thank you so much, what an honor to hear from you, such a pioneer in this field. And she was like, I really like what you’re doing. Especially your journaling skills, your notebook skills. Like ah! Total fangirl moment! What do you know about Jes Baker, have you read her books?
Nicole – No, I haven’t. She wrote Landwhale, is that?
Amanda – Uh huh.
Nicole – Yeah, and something about cupcakes maybe?
Amanda – I think so. I haven’t read her books, but she’s known as The Militant Baker.
Nicole – Yes, that’s the baker, the cupcakes thing. I’m really bad at like recall of book titles and authors.
Amanda – Okay, that’s the cupcake connection. The Militant Baker. She’s one of the first fat women I heard speak openly about what it is like to be fat.
Nicole – Yeah, I’ve heard her name for quite a while in the fat acceptance movement. She’s definitely a big name and I saw, well you linked out to a lot of these people as well. And then I saw Ragen Chastain commented as well, which is fun.
Amanda – And you introduced me to Ragen Chastain.
Nicole – Well, I don’t remember that, but it would not surprise me, I’ve followed Ragen’s work for many, many years. Ragen is the one who has the doctor like, questions to ask your doctor, the cards to take into your doctor’s appointment to have a fat positive doctor visit experience. And she has a lot of work around that.
Amanda – And we mentioned back in a season 2 episode, when we talked about going to the doctor while fat.
Nicole – Yes.
Amanda – ‘Cause she’s been really influential for us in that. Her website is Dances With Fat I believe.
Nicole – Yeah, she does some ballet dancing and I think she ran a marathon or a triathlon or both as well. Yeah.
Amanda – Is she doing The Iron Man while fat?
Nicole – Maybe?
Amanda – We have some research to do.
Nicole – We do, but all of these wonderful people, you can find them all at Amanda’s Instagram. Because that’s where they all hang out now.
Amanda – Okay, so Nicole you have had something published since we were last together!
Nicole – I did, I had a chapter in a book that was published. The book is called Evangelical Theologies of Liberation and Justice. It’s published by InterVarsity Press. The co editors are Mae Elise Cannon and Andrea Smith. And so I have a chapter in there on liberation from fat shame, focusing specifically on, kinda my experience in the evangelical church and using kind of an evangelical framework of liberation theology, which some people might find to be an oxymoron, but it’s not. So that book is out there in the world, it came out September 10th of 2019, so it’s still pretty new. And there are lots of great chapters on all different ways of liberation and justice, especially for people who are marginalized and oppressed in the world. So it’s a great resource in general beyond just my chapter in there. But I wanna encourage people to pick that up if you have any kind of interest in theology and freedom and justice.
Amanda – That’s so exciting. You did tell me that you were asked to write that until the book was coming out. And you’re like, oh I have a chapter here.
Nicole – It was one of those things that like, it was a long process of writing the chapter. And it’s getting submitted and the book finalized and sometimes book writing takes a very long time.
Amanda – True.
Nicole – But yeah, so it’s exciting included within a broader work on, the broader theme of liberation and justice. So that when people pick it up, maybe initially connecting more to some of the other chapters, that the concept of fat liberation is there next to them. And in front of them, to pair with those other ideas. So that’s exciting to me to have that.
Amanda – Yeah, as you know we have found that some of the most shaming people are progressive in every other area of justice. And haven’t yet learned that fat liberation is an important key part of social justice.
Nicole – Yes. I’d agree with that. We have, there’s some areas and people who aren’t quite on board and that’s okay, we’re doing our work. And slow and steady and faithful and all that.
Amanda – You know, as I name drop here, when Jes Baker commented on my Instagram post yesterday, we were talking about Jameela Jamil and the work that she’s been doing with @i_weigh. Because she was on Trevor Noah’s show to talk about diet culture and how she’s just not, she doesn’t focus on her body. She just lives her life and ignores her body and there’s so many things going on there.
Nicole – Right.
Amanda – But Jes said that she loves what Jameela’s doing and it’s important, and she also likes to have a nuanced conversation about how activism looks different for everybody. It’s not one size fits all activism.
Nicole – Exactly.
Amanda – And that, that’s what Jes said. And that was interesting to me, because I know that the work of getting straight sized people to understand they’re not fat is a journey. Right?
Nicole – Yeah.
Amanda – And I think it can just get hard to remember that everybody’s activism doesn’t have to look just like mine to still be an important part of the work, if that makes sense.
Nicole – Yeah, there’s like these stepping stones on the journey. And we need people who are doing activism work at what we see as entry points and they probably don’t see it as entry points so this might be a little bit patronizing. But yeah like, there’s, you don’t jump from being wrapped up in diet culture and body shame straight to like, embracing fat bodies as joyful and whole and worthy of love and respect. Like there’s a path that gets you there. And I do, I think the work that Jameela is doing like, there’s some nuances and some disagreements I have with how she phrases things or how she puts things into context. But I think she is an entry point for many people into the idea of body acceptance that will eventually be fat acceptance if people keep pushing forward. And I guess that’s just my encouragement for people in general is to keep asking what you don’t know yet, and what you’re still missing because we’re all still missing something. And there’s always a step further to go to be more welcoming and loving of our neighbors and ourselves.
Amanda – For sure. I am interested in talking a little bit more about the term “fat liberation”. Because it has been really opening me up in the past month or so, of what is the difference between fat acceptance, fat positivity, and fat liberation? I know that I’ve written a little bit about it on Instagram, but I was wondering your thoughts.
Nicole – So I think we had a bit of this discussion on Facebook I think. For me, like I see fat acceptance as a more powerful or intentional term than fat positivity. And I think a lot of people, that’s exactly the opposite. For me acceptance is, this intentional thought out statement or lifestyle that you’re, that’s not the right word, but it’s the way that you’re living is that you’re acknowledging that fat is an acceptable way to be and that fat people should have access. Whereas positivity is just a feeling. And maybe this is just a 5 thing, where I value thoughts more than feelings. Like, positivity seems like you’re sugar coating something and you’re just gonna put a smile on it without dealing with the actual realities. Whereas acceptance is, no, this is a lived reality for people and we are going to understand what is happening to limit fat people and move that out of the way so we can accept fat people. And I do think liberation is even a step further, we’re talking about liberation, we’re talking about getting rid of the things that imprison or bind or limit. And so we’re gonna talk more about structural society, the way that, we’re notoriously bad as a culture at following ADA compliance for people with disabilities. But to start including size as accessibility in those ADA compliance for our society so that places of business and churches and schools and hospitals have to have resources for, to accommodate fat people. So that’s liberation to me, when we start like, breaking the chains. And that can get all kinds of spiritual-y metaphor. But that’s kinda where I order them.
Amanda – I think that’s a really good take on it. I would probably say, I think of fat acceptance as like an umbrella for what, for accepting fat people as humans. Worthy of dignity.
Nicole – Yeah.
Amanda – And it gives space for fat positivity because we need positive examples of fatness and the good things about being fat, but it also makes space for the negative things that come along with being fat. But to be expressed in a context that doesn’t blame the negative thing on the person suffering it. And that’s something, I think we’re really good at in our group, All Bodies are Good Bodies is creating space for fat people to grieve.
Nicole – Yeah.
Amanda – I know we did an episode last season on fat grief and it was really powerful. But even just the day-to-day sadness of, I went to Lane Bryant and they had every size but mine on the clearance rack in this dress I wanted. Fat people know how big a deal it is to be able to find cute fat clothes on clearance. And so to have your excitement raised of, oh I might find this dress and then it not be there. It gets, it’s like death by a thousand pinpricks.
Nicole – That’s so rare to begin with, it’s not like we just missed the one dress in a million, we missed the one dress.
Amanda – Yes.
Nicole – Yeah, I just posted something yesterday on Twitter and I’d seen one of those comments where someone was talking about like, their body image and how, when they looked back at their high school or college pictures they realized they weren’t actually fat, they just, you know, had bad body image. And I like, validate that as like part of working out this crazy body shame culture we have and seeing where you had thoughts that were lies. But for some of us we look back on our pictures from high school and we were fat. Like, it wasn’t just my mind playing tricks on me, like I actually was. And to just, those are different experiences. And they’re both valid and they’re both fraught with emotions and everything else, But yeah, so I had a moment of sadness over just, my experience of being an actual fat teenager in the 90s, before online shopping existed, is different than someone who had a negative self-image when they were in high school that could still find clothes, and could still sit in the school desks comfortable. And yeah, just naming that and that there’s a difference there. It was just part of my own acknowledgement of the grief of being fat.
Amanda – I saw that when you posted and I felt a little bit of remorse because I know I’ve said that exact thing. That I thought I was fat in high school but I actually wasn’t. And as I’ve investigated that feeling of what do I need to take from that? And it’s made me realize that I’m mad that I was told that I was fat. Right? It wasn’t all in my head, I was excluded and told that I wasn’t small enough. And not only getting mad for myself, but getting mad for you. Getting mad for the people that I’ve met since then weren’t small fat or you know, that had actual limitations to access because what they were telling me about not being small enough was amplified for you, does that make sense?
Nicole – Yeah, that makes complete sense.
Amanda – And being able to get angry at that instead of getting down on myself for being like, ugh, why did I think I was fat. No, I was being fed that information that I was fat and it wasn’t just injustice for me, it was injustice for everybody. Especially people I love in bigger bodies.
Nicole – Yeah, I think we’ve both said before that fat liberation is liberation for all of us. Because if fat people are free to live and have access, then this fear of being fat that society and people use to control others, especially women, like, that loses its power. It’s freedom for everybody when all the bodies have a place.
Amanda – Right, yes. And that is what I was trying to express in my Instagram doodles to Jameela Jamil. Like, thank you for what you’re doing. If you could talk about being fat not being a bad thing, what freedom you would bring to people of every size.
Nicole – Right, yes. We always want to push people further and I want people to push me further. So it really is liberation for everyone. That’s the goal.
Amanda – Yeah. That’s the goal. Using, spending our privilege, whatever privilege we have, for the sake of those that have even less than we do.
Nicole – Amen. Well our summer catch up episode got a little deep, but that’s fine.
Amanda – That’s how we roll, Nicole.
Nicole – So yeah, so fat liberation, justice, Sharpies, it’s fine. Sharpies are gonna take over the world. Would Sharpies like to sponsor this podcast? We can arrange that.
Amanda – I would love to get another box because honestly, I’ve almost used up a lot of the markers. Have you ever come across the Sharpie that’s just been outused? Not like left the lid off but—
Nicole – But like used all the ink out of it?
Amanda – Yes.
Nicole – Yep, that’s a lot, I believe it, with the way that you’ve been doodling.
Amanda – And you don’t even see the drafts that I don’t post. So, I’ve had a lot of things doodled. So if any listener wants to sponsor my Sharpie usage, I can get on board with that. But you can do that in a specific way. Nicole, we have a Patreon.
Nicole – We do! And we are so grateful for everyone who’s signed up over the summer when we weren’t giving you anything. And now that our season 4 podcast is up and running, we’re excited to announce our Patreon. That’s patreon.com/fatandfaithful. And you can support this work. Our first goal is to get to sustainability. To make it so that we can keep doing this. We love it, we wanna keep doing it, you don’t get anything extra for being a Patreon, you just get to say that you’re supporting this work. Everything’s available for everyone. We’d love to have you join us in that regard.
Amanda – Also, on our Patreon page, it says posts and then you can go into the posts section and there are resources for free, for anyone. You don’t have to be a Patreon subscriber. But resources for how to talk to your doctor if you’ve had a history of an eating disorder and you don’t wanna talk about weight. How to talk to your doctor about HAES, Health at Every Size. How to answer the trolls or the people who won’t stop asking you about your weight.
Nicole – Just ignore them. I ignore, block, walk away. There’s probably better ways but that’s my method.
Amanda – Nicole’s much better at not getting drawn into emotional struggle than I am.
Nicole – I’m like, eh, they bore me. I’m leaving.
Amanda – Oh to have that level of emotional control which I do not. So another exciting thing is that we have a new theme song.
Nicole – We do! Yes, so this is a band that I’ve heard play at Wildgoose and maybe somewhere else but they have a great song out called This is My Body. The band is called The Many. So we’re excited to share that music with you this season.
Amanda – Their website is themanyarehere.com. So make sure you visit them and check out their new album coming out.
Nicole – Well this season 4, we’re excited, we’re gonna have lots of interviews for you this season with people who are fat and doing just the daily work of life and doing it well. And excited to introduce you to these people over the next season and Amanda and I will check in with you too occasionally. But it’ll be a great season!
Amanda – So excited, remember our tagline is “Loving God incarnate, and loving our neighbor’s body as our own”. So go do that this week.