Anna Lutz and Elizabeth Davenport have a conversation with Virginia Sole-Smith, a journalist and author of the recently published book Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture, that investigates how the “war on childhood obesity” has caused kids of all ages to absorb a daily onslaught of body shame from peers, school, diet culture, and parents themselves — and offers research-based strategies to help parents name and navigate the anti-fat bias that infiltrates our schools, doctor’s offices and family dinner tables.
- What prompted Virginia to write her book, Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture.
- Where the idea that parents are responsible for their child’s weight comes from, and how it is harmful, especially to nonwhite populations.
- How weight bias impacts kids and parents, and how parents can advocate for their children at appointments.
- How the impact of dads’ relationships with food and exercise is seldom discussed and seldom researched.
- The prevalence of diet culture in school, sports, and other activities, and ways parents can advocate for their kids when they experience anti-fat bias and diet culture in these environments.
- Some things parents can do to make their home a safe space from diet culture, particularly for those to whom challenging diet culture and anti-fat bias is new.
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Virginia Sole-Smith is the author of Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture and The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image and Guilt in America. As a journalist, she has reported from kitchen tables and grocery stores, graduated from beauty school, and gone swimming in a mermaid’s tail. Virginia began her career in women’s magazines, alternatively challenging beauty standards and gender norms, and upholding diet culture through her health, nutrition and fitness reporting. Motherhood inspired a reckoning, and led to her first book, The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image and Guilt in America. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Scientific American and many other publications. Virginia now writes the popular anti-diet newsletter Burnt Toast and hosts the Burnt Toast Podcast.