This week we’re talking about diets, separating weight from health and navigating white spaces as a big woman of color. “White World, Black Body” brings our host, Tonya Mosley, in conversation with two Wise Ones, Virgie Tovar and Chloe Hilliard, who have each bridged personal journeys with body image and food with their professional work. Tovar is the host of the new podcast Rebel Eaters Club and author of the upcoming book, "The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color." Hilliard is a journalist-turned-comedian, spinning her unique experiences into laughs and a new book called, "F*ck Your Diet: And Other Things My Thighs Tell Me." All three women come together to help a Truth Be Told listener with her quandary:
Being both overweight and black makes me feel invisible. And that I'm occupying too much space at the same time. The goal, of course, is to lose weight. But, until then, how can I maneuver in the non-black world, in my body?
This idea that body image and weight is a lifelong project is why this conversation transcends time. As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, push-up challenges are being circulated alongside memes about gaining weight while physically distancing, dubbed the “Quarantine 15.” Amidst a global health crisis, we are still worrying about our bodies and weight.
“It's important to understand that diet culture primes us to accept discomfort, shame, self-denial, a sense of failure, gaslighting and financial exploitation,” said Tovar. “These are things that share characteristics with racism, sexism and misogyny.”
Hilliard agrees. “Dieting — I don't do that anymore,” she said. “It felt like I was suffering and punishing myself for something I didn’t know I did.”