How Can I Overcome My Own Body Shame? With Amanda Levitt
Amanda Levitt is an activist and scholar working to dismantle fatphobia and highlight the ways fat stigma shows up in society. Central to her work is exposing how racism and capitalism generate conditions that shame fat people about their bodies. Amanda tells Claire how the rise of social media has made body shame inescapable in society, how finding a supportive community helped her combat the body shaming she’s experienced throughout her life, and what we can do to challenge the societal norms that lead to body shaming in the first place.
Resources from the show
- Listen to Fat Theory Book Club, a podcast hosted by scholar and activist Amanda Levitt.
- Read Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings
- Read Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body by Susan Bordo
- Read This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture by Whitney Phillips
Want to connect? Join the New Day Facebook Group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/newdaypod
Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this show and all Lemonada shows go to lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.
To follow along with a transcript and/or take notes for friends and family, go to lemonadamedia.com/show/newday/ shortly after the air date.
Follow Claire on IG and FB @clairebidwellsmith or Twitter @clairebidwell and visit her website: www.clairebidwellsmith.com.
Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.
Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
Amanda Levitt, Claire Bidwell-Smith
Amanda Levitt 00:00
When you’re taught to feel like you have no value, and that the reason you have no value is because your body it really means that you feel you know, trapped that you don’t. That everything that the reason that you feel trapped in the reason that you have no value is your own fault is probably like the lowest place that I mean I’ve ever felt I could be. And it is heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for me to think about being that kid but it’s also heartbreaking for me to know that there are other people that feel that way right now.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 00:47
Hi, I’m Claire Bidwell Smith. Welcome to NEW DAY. There’s no such thing as a perfect body. That because of what notions of ideal beauty and unrealistic images in pop culture, and our society’s impossible body standards, many of us find ourselves chasing after something that is truly unrealistic. For a lot of people, the relationship with our body can be tenuous and lead to feelings of anxiety or shame because of those unhealthy body standards. These are the issues that my guest Amanda Levitt focuses on in her work. She’s an activist and scholar working to dismantle fat phobia and highlight the ways fat stigma shows up in society. Central to her work is demonstrating how over decades, racism and capitalism have generated the conditions that shame fat people around their bodies. A quick reminder that for the month of October, we’re featuring interviews with people who talk about the role shame plays in our lives, be it in our financial decisions, our sex lives, our relationship with our body, and our memories or traumas from childhood. Amanda joins me today to talk about how to understand and combat fat phobia, and how she’s had to deal with fat shaming in her own life. For the parents out there, she’ll also share some tips on how to talk to your kids about sadness, and how to prep them for navigating different bodies over their lifetimes.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:18
Amanda Levitt 02:19
Hi. Nice to meet you.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:20
Thanks so much for coming on the show.
Amanda Levitt 02:22
Yeah, thanks for having me.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:24
Yeah, I start every episode of the show asking my guests, how are you doing today? But how are you really doing?
Amanda Levitt 02:31
I’m alright. You know, I started a new job last week. It’s a little boring. That’s where I’m at.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:37
That’s good. That’s better than stressful, right?
Amanda Levitt 02:39
Um, yeah. I mean, it’s very disorganized. But, you know, it’s, I’m doing tenant organizing for like a housing nonprofit in Detroit. And yeah, it’ll be fun.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:50
Well, I’m excited to talk to you today about body shame. And just kind of dig into all of that realm, because it’s a big one, you know, for everybody. So talk to me about body image, what have you learned about kind of where we get our first information about body image and our first ideas about our own body image?
Amanda Levitt 03:11
We are socialized to think about our bodies, the moment that we’re born, you know, it is just as important as us being socialized in gender, and sexuality and all of these other things that are very much part of being human. We just don’t necessarily think about it in, you know, as blunt of ways. But, you know, I mean, the earliest ways that I think about, you know, my own experiences with my body were definitely from family members, and then going into school K through 12 Education, you definitely start, you know, really learning what, what should bodies look like? What is a good body? What is a bad body? You know, and then obviously, the media plays a huge role in that as well. But yeah, I mean, I think that it is all encompassing, and that it comes from so many different places, we’ve really started to see the rise of rhetoric around like the obesity epidemic, we’ve really started to see it be more medicalized and pathologize. So we’re starting to see not just to be about how an individual feels about their body, but this fear and moral panic around health, going into it as well. Even things like food become very important to how we are taught to feel about our own bodies.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 04:27
Yeah, I feel like for me, I’m able to really see it in a new way. I have a lot of kids. And you know, like I have a 10 year old daughter, and just in the last couple of years, like her obsession with what she looks like, what her friends look like the differences, the comparisons between them all and they’re all like really nitpicky and kind of obsessed with each other’s appearances. And I’m kind of just seeing the way it just manifests so early on and where these messages are coming from and how we internalize them. How we react to them. It makes me feel a little hopeless. Like, where do we start? How do we begin to change these things or teach people or help them understand different levels of acceptance for themselves? For others?
Amanda Levitt 05:17
It is very difficult. I mean, I think my own experience, I mean, I don’t have kids, you know, don’t have nieces or nephews either. But I do have neighbor kids that asked me about my body sometimes, particularly when they were younger, because I’m a fat lady. And they are like, trying to figure out what that means. I know, I had one. One of my neighbor kids asked me once, like, why my body, I think she asked me like, why my butt was so big. And I was like, My butt’s big and yours isn’t. And that’s okay. Like, we tend to use a lot of coded language around bodies, that we’re not necessarily talking bluntly about it. You know, although at the same time, I’ve had, you know, very blunt things said to me, I mean, I think one of the probably most damaging things that ever happened to me was an aunt who told me how beautiful I would be if I was thin, when I was about 12. And it came at probably the worst time and that I that was the first year that I had really dealt with a lot of bullying and like harassment around my body. I was in sixth grade at that point. And so having a family member say something like that was pretty difficult. But I think talking about the fact that bodies are different, and they’re different in so many ways. It’s not just, you know, it’s not just weight, it’s not just hide its skin tone, and hair texture, and ability, or disability or gender, I mean, people dress differently, we present ourselves in ways that as that are just as diverse as our personalities, and being able to kind of give space for kids, even when they’re young to be able to explore that. And so much of it is just starting by having those conversations, having a place where people can talk openly about how they feel about their bodies. But yeah, a few summers ago, I did a workshop at, it’s called Girls Rock Detroit, it’s a nonprofit that does, it’s basically like a girls Music Camp, did a workshop for kids, that was basically like, having them draw a self-portrait, whatever that meant to them. You know, it didn’t have to be their face, it could be their hand, it could be whatever, to just fill it in with like words that, you know, they think apply to who they are. And I think that it was the first place that a lot of these girls had to be able to acknowledge the bad feelings that they had about their own bodies, and the ways that adults had hurt them and made them feel poorly about themselves. Because it’s like, yes, it’s a body. And yes, it’s, it’s we can talk about as this thing that is detached from us as a person, but like, this is the only body that we get. And when people around you are..
Claire Bidwell-Smith 08:03
And you didn’t get to choose it is like the thing. It’s like we didn’t pick this, you know, and it just blows my mind that yeah, I think about that all the time, when anyone’s shaming someone or when anyone’s feeling insecure. I’m like, it’s not like you built this and decided on it before you got here. None of us did.
Amanda Levitt 08:22
Yeah. And so much of the ways that we are taught to connect with other people is based on making us feel better about ourselves at the expense of someone else. Instead of you know, learning to have a relationship with someone because you like hanging out with them, and they have a good personality, or, you know, you want to go and share breakfast with them or something else that has nothing to do with their superiority to someone else or inferiority.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 08:52
I mean, you talked recently, you have a podcast called, The Fat theory book club. And you talked recently about the kind of racist origins of fat shaming, you know, can you go into that a little bit?
Amanda Levitt 09:05
Yeah, I mean, there’s some really good books at it that I think is really important to mention. One is by Sabrina Strings. It’s called fairing, the Black body the racist origins of fat phobia. You know, when we constructed the idea of Whiteness, it wasn’t simply just about skin tone, but it was about the body as well. You know, and so that involved thinking, talking about blackness and Black bodies, particularly the bodies of black women, in ways that, you know, that really tried to disassociate them from whiteness by saying that their bodies were inherently different when you look at scholarship on race, particularly, I mean, there’s a long history of something it’s called phenomenology that you know, really tried to show a scientific origin for why there is a distinct difference between White folks and then everyone else particularly black people. And you know what that meant is that it? You know, fatness was really used as just another means to reinforce that black people in particular were inferior, as it has moved past just talking about race and just talking about fatness on its own, it’s changed the way that we think about fat bodies. And we’re not necessarily talking about race anymore in overtly, but it still is deeply coded, you know, it is still is deeply part of the way that we think about fatness and fat bodies. Today, when we’re thinking about fatness, particularly in like the medical system, I mean, we you see that the a lot of the ways that fat people are being denied care are the same ways that Black and Brown people are being denied care, although we’re starting to see, you know, medicine and doctors looking for ways to create practices that are anti-racist and are, you know, accepting of Black and Brown folks, we’re not necessarily seeing that because of weight, my dissertation is on fat stigma in the medical system. Part of the reason I started looking at it was because, you know, I was looking at the Journal of the American Medical Association, and they had some different articles that were talking about race, and how to deal with stigma and to deal with racism in medical practices. But then, you know, there was an article that was talking about weight, and the first thing that they recommended was to remind people when they come to your office, that obesity is a disease. They’re still really, really holding on to weight as this measure of health, and not thinking about the ways that even our understanding of the body and of body size has to do far more with our social ideas about weight in the body and about race than it has anything really to do with health. In modern times, you’re really not seeing you know, the acknowledgement of how deeply tied race and body size are together.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 12:43
Why do we shame people? Why do we body shame people?
Amanda Levitt 12:46
We are taught from a very, very young age that there is a very specific body type that you are expected to uphold. And if you don’t, then you are you are considered to be another.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 12:58
When did that body type? Or can you describe that body type? And then when did that body type come into play? Like what have you found in your work?
Amanda Levitt 13:06
I mean, throughout time, it’s definitely changed a little bit we’ve really started to see there’s a really good book called Culture of Shame by Amy Farrell, she does a really good job of kind of talking about in the last since the early 19 hundred’s, how has fat phobia specifically changed. But what we really started to see in the early 1900s, is that there was you know, the way that we thought about bodies. I mean, at that time, it was really considered to be a sign of illness if you were too thin, and part of that was because a lot of the diseases that were very popular, are very common during that time, not popular but very common during that time. Were things that did make you lose weight that having a lower body weight was a higher risk of death. And so there was a lot more fear about people being too thin than they were about being too fat. It wasn’t until probably the late 1940s, early 1950s, that there was the shift and that shift happened. Not because doctors started being concerned about weight, but that people women particularly started going to their doctor and asking for help to keep weight off and then you start seeing in the you know, 60s and 70s you start seeing a lot of like exercise movements happening. You know, I mean, I know Jane Fonda came out with like a wide variety of exercise books and tapes and as the 1900s as we started to kind of go through that time period. And really even in as early as like the 1920s, you started to see with like flapper styles that a lot of it was really emphasizing these very androgynous body types. So, you know, I would even say that in the early 1900s while some you know there was concerned over thinness like being too thin. I don’t necessarily think that it was always that incredibly fat bodies. were accepted, but that there was, you know, it started to just be more constrained that there was a very huge emphasis on thinness. And not just the thinness but whiteness as well, at the same time that thin bodies were becoming more popular that, you know, we were also supposed to be hairless. It wasn’t until after the 1900s, that, you know, when shaving companies started to do advertisements that they really started to kind of pressure women into shaving their armpits, in their legs, it’s really been just this growth upon growth. And I think really, the continuation of capitalism has really meant that bodies become a project for everyone, because that’s just another product to sell. You know, we started to see as the exercise movement became really big. I mean, this is also the time when Jenny Craig became a thing. And Weight Watchers became a thing I was born in 1985. And so you know, I was a kid in the 90s. And like, my parents always had like SlimFast, shakes and other types of diet culture, in the 80s, you really start to see what some scholars refer to as, like the health is a movement where it’s really about individualism and individuals taking control of their own health and doing it by performing health in a way that is considered to be socially acceptable. So exercising, controlling your body, you know, controlling your body with your food and other things to perform health in a way that makes you seem middle or upper class. Obviously, the constraints about bodies is has always been more harsh on women. But more harsh because of racism, more harsh on black and brown women, particularly one of the first books that I ever read that I still recommend, I have not done it yet on fat theory book club, but it’s called Unbearable Weight by Susan Bordeaux. That was probably one of the first books that I’ve ever read. And she talks a lot about the body, and particularly talks about not only that the body is a project, that we’re supposed to always be focusing on it and, and working on it, and that it’s never, it’s not something that you just are good with. And then you walk away, you know, but that it’s, you know, it’s not just that women are supposed to be thin, but we’re supposed to not have cellulite, we’re not supposed to have stretch marks that our bodies are not supposed to look like bodies that that you can’t even jiggle, it has to be, then taught perfection. We’re not supposed to have pores, you know, we’re supposed to be like an alien that doesn’t actually exist. And so you know, it’s just constantly kind of moving the goalposts so that it’s more unattainable and more unattainable to where we are now, where we have, you know, the Kim Kardashians of the world and other types of famous women where you, it’s not a body type that is attainable by anyone, unless you are, you know, invested in having a lot of surgery, having a lot of money to be able to afford the things that you need to afford. And you know, that includes clothing that probably wouldn’t fit most people without a lot of alteration as well. And so it’s really creating this very inauthentic and fake body that no one can really obtain. Unless you’re someone like Kim Kardashian that has, you know, millions of dollars. And that’s all she does. I mean, her work is her body, you know, that’s for the vast majority of celebrities. That is, what their work is, it’s their body and how they present it.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 18:38
And then we just put them on the cover of all the magazines. And we all feel like we’re supposed to look like that. So where does tell me about the way the shaming comes in? So we’ve got this idea of what we’re supposed to look like, why do we shame people for not looking like that for these unattainable bodies?
Amanda Levitt 18:54
Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of it is that we are all taught to feel like crap about ourselves. And it is easier to it is a lot easier when other people also feel like crap about themselves, because I have definitely dealt with. And this was definitely like a lot when I was in my 20s. And I would start new jobs. But I because I’m a fat person, like most people would think that I’d want to engage in diet talk. And I would talk you know that I would talk poorly about my body and I don’t engage in that type of stuff. You know, I was very lucky in the fact that I found fat community at a very young age, and really just it kind of just turned a light on for me that this is silly. Like I don’t want to spend the rest of my life hating myself and my body. Like there’s so many better things that I could do with my time. I’ve definitely dealt with hostility and most of it is just because we expect people to be interested in the things that we are interested in and when it’s about our bodies, we think that other people are going to be as invested in working on you know, our bodies as they are. And when you don’t, when you’re you don’t want to engage in those things you don’t care about, you know, the food that you’re putting in your body, you don’t care about the way that you look on a daily basis. You’re not weighing yourself every day, you don’t feel like you need to shame your own body in front of other people, it can be a really isolating experience for the people that don’t engage in that. But on the other hand, we particularly for women, we’re taught to build relationships around hating ourselves in so many ways, we, it just becomes a perpetual thing. And so when we’re socialized around, talking about our bodies in ways that’s negative, and to never think about it in a positive way, it turns into where you just have, you know, generations of families where that is the type of discourse in that family. And so I think that shame and how we feel about bodies and how we feel about fatness is just so ingrained in a lot of families, cultures, and then you know, it goes into the school system, when you’re socialized, it goes into, you know, the media, it’s very much part of that, you know, and it just saturated, you know, anywhere that you want to look.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 21:19
Talk to me about, like how social media has, you know, influenced a lot of this. I mean, the era of internet trolls, that came about in the last 20 years is just been astounding, and like, we can talk about shaming people on one hand, but the kind of shaming that goes on in anonymous comments and internet world is outrageous and unbelievable. Where’s that coming from?
Amanda Levitt 21:46
Yeah, there’s, I’m going to keep recommending books, because I feel like that’s my brand at this point.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 21:51
We’ll put them all in the show notes.
Amanda Levitt 21:53
There’s a really great book by Whitney Phillips, it’s called This is why we can’t have nice things. She did her I believe it’s her dissertation. And she did it as an ethnography on 4chan, and she doesn’t talk about weight in it, but she does talk about race and gender and how, you know, the people that were trolling, I mean, because these are people that are very specifically being part of a community where they are often engaging in coordinated trolling campaigns. I mean, this is where groups of individuals are coming together to target specific people. You know, and I did my master’s thesis on trolling, I was a moderator on a Tumblr blog called this is thin privilege. And so we were talking about, you know, how fat discrimination functions and how thinness is a protective state, you know. And so we often dealt with targeted trolling campaigns. And so what we really see with trolling is one and social media as a whole is that social media is just given another avenue for people all around the world and avenue that we did not have before. Because before it would be so incredibly hard to target or get in touch with an individual, I mean, sure, you could go past their house, but how many people could get there, not that many, you know, you could call their phone but again, you only can have one person on whereas you could have 1000s upon 1000s of people that are targeting a specific individual using the internet and so it’s really allows for individuals to have greater access to each other, which on one hand, can be good and that it’s given a place for like fat community to exist. I mean, trans community has been able to use the internet in ways to protect themselves while they gather together disability community as well. So it can be really positive and that it creates a space for community where people can feel connected to other people, but then it also on the other hand, it creates that that larger avenue for people that are online that want to create havoc, I mean, we’ve really seen this with like the rise of Trumpism and the alt right, how politically it can be motivated as well. But when we’re thinking about not just fatness, but about bodies and shame in general, I mean, you know, it is not surprising that the people that are more often the target of trolling are trans folks, black and brown women, women, as it category, queer people, disabled people, etc. that the most marginalized of us in our societies are the ones that are most likely to be targeted.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 25:05
What do you think, are the effects of being ashamed, feeling shamed on a person?
Amanda Levitt 25:15
So I only ever read one diet book as a kid. And it was Dr. Phil’s son. It was like, wrote a diet book for teens. You know, I remember that he was really talking about all of these things that fat people do that is different than other people that we eat faster than other people. We don’t chew our food. Like other people, we just like, push food in our ballots and, like, swallow it whole. And like, you know, like, I mean, that was a little exaggerated. But yeah, it was, you know, he was really trying to pathologize fat people and really say that like fat people, the reason they’re fat, it’s because something inherently different about them as an individual versus than people.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 25:55
Wow, how did you feel reading that,
Amanda Levitt 25:57
Oh, I felt like crap. And I also, I mean, that probably was a main contributor to me having an eating disorder, once I left high school. I mean, for me, as I was going through middle school and into high school, you know, I obviously was told that everything about me was wrong, you know, and that I would should feel really ashamed of who I am. And that, you know, I remember nights where I would like, cry myself to sleep thinking that if I lost weight, that then you know, my life could actually start and people would love me, you know, and this is at a time when I was living at home where I was dealing with abuse and other things as well. And so I didn’t have a safe place at home at either. And so you know, when you’re taught to feel like you have no value, and that the reason you have no value is because your body, it really means that you feel, you know, trapped that you don’t, that everything that the reason that you feel trapped in the reason that you have no value is your own fault, is probably like the lowest place that I mean I’ve ever felt I could be. And it is heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for me to think about being that kid, but it’s also heartbreaking for me to know that there are other people that feel that way right now. There really are no words for, you know, that type of feeling because it is that otter lowest level of despair, where you just don’t know what to do. And when you’re a kid, I mean, you know, as I got older, I asked my mom because my mom, you know, was also a fat person and or is a fat person. And, and I asked her I’m like, Well, you know, why didn’t you defend me? Or why? If you knew these things were going on? Why didn’t you? You know, why didn’t you talk to me about it or anything? And she was like, well, I was fat too. Like, what? What am I supposed to say about that? And so this is part of that family cycle. Not only are you being taught to feel bad about yourself, but the people that are teaching that feel bad about themselves as well. And so it’s just that constant cycle.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 28:15
What are ways that you use yourself or you recommend, or you think about in terms of overcoming body shame. Like, personally, I know, it’s like, it’s different for everyone. But there are some things, there must be like things that we can be thinking about or doing.
Amanda Levitt 28:34
One thing that I did was, like, I am very particular about the type of clothes that I have around. Because my mom, and this is very common for a lot of, you know, fat kids with parents is that often, you know, your parents will see something that you want to wear, or you’ll see something that you want to wear, but it maybe it doesn’t fit you. And so you think that maybe it will fit this future self, of who you are, or who you will be that you think and your fantasies in the future. And so I mean, one thing that I really tried to do is make sure that like, if I’m buying something, it means that I can wear it now. And I like it now, versus you know it this future person that doesn’t exist, because I really came into thinking about that theory and the body through the media, but not social media, because social media was still kind of a new thing. I mean, one of the things that I really did was, I stopped watching television, I stopped reading magazines. I really, you know, I like celebrity gossip, but I’m getting it in very few and far between places. I’m not watching reality television. I think that, you know, trying to disconnect from media that places so much emphasis on having a body that is unattainable or that has representation that doesn’t look like you is also incredibly important.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 30:00
What about community? Was that helpful to you?
Amanda Levitt 30:03
Yeah, I mean, on one hand, finding fat community and finding people that were also fat, but didn’t talk about it in negative ways, was really good surrounding myself with people that didn’t talk disparagingly about food, particularly as someone that, you know, had an eating disorder that is as little as you know, people making little comments all the way up to shaming themselves or other people for the food that they’re eating, whether they’re moralizing it, or just, you know, saying, Oh, I shouldn’t eat that types of comments, I really try hard to not be surrounded by the type of people as well. And also just telling myself not just with fat people, people in general who aren’t invested in talking about bodies in ways that’s negative. Because, you know, again, we all have a body, we don’t have to feel poorly about it. And we can connect with each other in ways that has nothing to do with our bodies. And I think that that is, you know, a good step forward, and being able to kind of change the way you feel about your own body.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 31:14
What are ways that we can as parents, for parents, what are ways we can be talking to our kids that are healthier ways, or questions and conversations we can be having with them that just change things any little bit, you know, for them for, you know, our community at large? What can we be doing or talking about.
Amanda Levitt 31:34
You know, not disparaging your own body, not disparaging other people talking positively about your own body, but also having an open discussion about it? Because I think, you know, for kids, I mean, so many times kids say things that are really them trying to figure out if that’s the right way to feel, you know, and are really trying to figure out, if how they’re feeling is okay, and being able to have that open conversation about it. I mean, this is why, you know, when my neighbor kid asked me why I had a big, but I didn’t, it was a question. And the tone that they were using was inquisitive, it wasn’t rude, I definitely had the other thing, and I will absolutely say, do not do that. Like, I definitely have a mom voice when I need it. But again, like I have a fat body and like, even though we like to think that, you know, fat people are taking over the world, the reality is, is that fat fatness is not very common for people have a BMI over 40. And you know, and so my body does maybe look different than other people. And so being able to have that conversation is good. I think if we start, you know, responding to kids questions, in ways that is giving them space, dads that question and then finding a way to make it, turn it into a positive, to turn it into a learning experience, and to turn it into a, you know, people have different bodies, people have different abilities, some people need help, you know, it can be a way to talk about it, where it’s open, and you’re not just acting like it doesn’t exist, because people have different body types. People have different hair textures, and skin tones, and all these other things. And, you know, many of us live in communities where people around us look pretty similar. And, you know, that doesn’t mean that you freak out when someone looks different. Instead, you learn that people look different.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 33:36
Right, but also just thinking about little kids who are just inquisitive, you know, and they just, they’re taking in the world, and they want to know why things look different. And I see so many people just shut that down. So many parents would be like, don’t ask that question. When, you know, I think on a lot of cases, they are just being inquisitive. And so being able to have those kinds of conversations and give them permission to ask questions and be curious about things is important. And just, I like how you were listening to the tone of the child and like recognizing that they were being curious.
Amanda Levitt 34:07
Yeah, because, you know, I joke with my friends that I’m like, the neighborhood aunt of my street like I have neighborhood kids that when I get home from work, are playing on the sidewalk and are excited to say hi to me as I like walk to my door and it’s adorable, but you’re, whether you’re just a person that is walking by and there’s a kid there or like it’s someone that’s in your family like they, the end of the day, like our brains aren’t finished forming until we’re in our 20s like we are going to have hiccups and we’re going to have moments where we need to learn and these questions about diversity and about difference doesn’t have to be a you know, feel like you’re getting your teeth pulled it can feel like someone’s just learning how to think differently about stuff.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 34:55
Yeah, we shame people for those questions sometimes too, when they those could also be like conversate agents that are helpful and growth oriented, you know, so. Oh my gosh. Well, Amanda, thank you so much. Where can people find you and all of your brilliant thoughts and research on all of this?
Amanda Levitt 35:11
So I am on Twitter and occasionally on TikTok at @fatbodypolitics. And you can find me on Instagram at whimsical femme. And then obviously, once a month my podcast slash Book Club has an episode that drops It’s fat theory book club. You can find it wherever you listen to podcasts.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 35:35
Awesome. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you coming on today.
Amanda Levitt 35:39
Yes, thank you for having me. It was great.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 35:47
I wish we were all lucky enough to have a neighbor Auntie like Amanda down the street from us who can school us on body politics and generally just be a badass adult we can come to with complex questions. I really love Amanda’s practice of seeking out and building relationships and communities that don’t send her own body image or have anything to do with changing our bodies. I also like the idea of a media detox that cuts out images, TV shows and movies that don’t offer realistic or affirming representations of our bodies. Thanks again, Amanda, for sharing with us. That’s it for today. Make sure you subscribe to the show so that you never miss an episode, because there are three episodes every week. Have a great weekend and see you Monday.
NEW DAY is a Lemonada Media Original. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease and Erianna Jiles. Kat Yore is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Our VP of weekly content is Steve Nelson. And our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me, Claire Bidwell Smith. NEW DAY is produced in partnership with the Well Being Trust, The Jed Foundation and Education Development Center. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. Follow us at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms, or find me at clairebidwellsmith.com. Join our Facebook group to connect with me and fellow NEW DAY listeners at facebook.com/groups/newdaypod. You can also get bonus content and behind the scenes material by subscribing to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts. Thanks for listening. See you next week.