Literary Hub

Sheltering: Marisa Meltzer on Vintage Workout Videos and Learning Peace

On this episode of Sheltering, Marisa Meltzer speaks with Maris Kreizman about her recent book, This is Big, about Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers. Part memoir, part biography, the book chronicles Meltzer’s own journey with weight and acceptance. Meltzer talks to Kreizman about being put on her first diet at age four, watching vintage workout videos in quarantine, and how hard it can be to be gentle with ourselves. Please purchase This is Big online from your favorite local bookstore, or through Bookshop.

From the episode:

Maris Kreizman: You are so good in the book at talking about how it’s not binary, that you want to diet and have a healthy relationship with food, and you want to be a good feminist and accepting of other people, and that that can exist all at the same time.

Marisa Meltzer: I think that’s something we’ve lost in the past few years as feminism becomes more mainstream, which is wonderful, but these ideas of female empowerment get so watered down. You get things like Signourney Weaver at the Oscars being like, “All women are superwomen,” and you’re like, wait what

Similarly you get these things about loving your body that feel really divorced from reality, and have no meaning. I’m not going to try to pretend that dieting is a feminist act, but just because you have feminist ideals, or live your life with a certain set of politics… That doesn’t mean that everything I’m going to do is feminist, and it doesn’t have to be. I don’t live in a vacuum.

It took a really long time to admit to myself that I could be someone who supported a wider beauty standard, and more inclusive sizing, and doctors who aren’t assholes to people who are fat, and also admit that I would like to be thinner and I don’t think thats something I’m going to stop wanting or stop pursuing.

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