DIET CULTURE

Differing attitudes toward food and body size can put strain on interactions with those around us. As the ‘eating season’ approaches, how can we best tackle this?

Two people sit back to back on the floor with their eyes closed
Two people sit back to back on the floor with their eyes closed
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Though the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and non-theistic holiday season will look very different this year, there’ll no doubt be some familiar occurrences. It’s the season in which food advertising is everywhere and, even in a year when food shortages and excessively long lines at supermarkets consistently made the headlines, food sales continue to soar as people prepare to make special meals and amass seasonal treats.

In centuries past, winter was traditionally the time when people started to wrap up their work due to darker days and increasingly cold weather. …


Some cinemas are reopening and — despite wanting to support them — I still don’t feel ready to return

A person sits alone in an empty, decorative cinema
A person sits alone in an empty, decorative cinema
Photo by Donald Tong from Pexels

There’s a scene in Mad Men that cuts straight through me each time I see it.

Don Draper takes his son Bobby, who’s not feeling well, to the cinema. Martin Luther King has just been assassinated. The world outside of that big, dark room makes no sense, but inside, Bobby is safe and — for a rare moment in his childhood — has the sole attention of his dad.

Bobby returns from the concession stand as an African-American usher is tidying around Bobby’s seat. Bobby sits down and excitedly asks the usher if he gets to watch the movies for free; the usher is polite and genial and tells Bobby that yes, he does. Don and Bobby are getting ready for a repeat viewing of Planet of the Apes, and Bobby cheerfully recommends the movie to the usher, as Don sits silently by his side. …


DIET CULTURE

Why do many of those who care about equality and social justice dismiss fatphobia as a non-issue?

a White woman’s face, eyes closed, wearing a white, gauzy blindfold
a White woman’s face, eyes closed, wearing a white, gauzy blindfold
Photo by Emily Rose from Pexels

What stops rational, compassionate people believing that fatphobia exists, and not treat it as the life-threatening problem it is? Why do those who ordinarily fight against the status quo on all manner of issues — who eschew received wisdom in favour of critical thinking, and who value equality — not accept the scientific evidence of the dangers that fatphobia presents, and become allies?

I was eating lunch in a local cafe with a friend a couple of years ago. The conversation moved to what we’d each been reading, and I mentioned that I’d started to become interested in fat activism, living as I do in a larger body. …


Those of us on the outside look to the US for hope, and for evidence that democratic systems work — and we need that to be true now more than ever

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Image for post
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

On Tuesday night, I stayed up until 2.30am, London time, watching MSNBC’s live election coverage on YouTube. …


It’s been a while since I walked your streets

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Image for post
Photo of view of Norwich from Mousehold Heath by author

Dear Norwich,

This letter is hard to write. It’s been a while since I last saw you, and I’m worried that you might not recognise me at the moment. My hair is different and it’s autumn now; spring was just peeking out of the branches when I saw you last. If you’re wondering if I’ve forgotten you, please know that there’s no way I could, and that I think about you all the time.

I miss you. It’s not like we fought and now there’s distance; it’s nothing like that. It’s just, I can’t see you right now. I can’t walk down your empty streets and not think of all the happy walks I took in the Before times, when, without exception, I stopped a moment to be grateful for living in such a beautiful and welcoming place. …


DIET CULTURE

What does our fascination with fat-to-thin transformation say about us? And can we redirect our attention to more meaningful change?

A furry caterpillar crawls along a branch
A furry caterpillar crawls along a branch
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

As a teenager, I pored over the ‘before-and-after’ images of weight loss in my mother’s magazines. They’d be splashed across the cover of every kind of periodical that was aimed at women, enticing them to part with hard-come-by cash with the promise of revealing The Magic Secret of how they, too, could transform. Some of these magazines were cheap, their flimsy covers soaked in coarse-coloured photographs and attention-grabbing headlines. Some were expensive: glossy, heavy paper-stock displaying pastel mastheads in refined fonts.

But they were all selling the same thing: some variation of the story about how a 300-pound woman had taken up a famous weight-loss plan and had ‘slimmed down’ to 110 pounds. …


5. Be discerning about whose wisdom you take on board

An assortment of white cut-out numbers on a red background
An assortment of white cut-out numbers on a red background
Photo by Black ice from Pexels

1. Define For Yourself Why You’re on Medium

This sounds like such a basic thing to mention, especially as the first point on this list, but I really think it’s the most important. Once I’d written down my reason, I knew what to come back to when my motivation started to flag.

Why are you here? Why are you spending your time and energy on writing articles?

Is it to make money? Is it to get better at writing? Is it to make connections?

Take a piece of paper and write down all the reasons you’re working hard here on Medium, then distill them down to one sentence and stick it above your computer as a reminder. …


Rosa’s way of living posed the question: what if there are other ways to be a woman in this world?

A woman with long hair stands in a sunflower field with her back to the camera
A woman with long hair stands in a sunflower field with her back to the camera
Photo by Designecologist from Pexels

It was 1983, I was five years old and we’d just moved house. We’d relocated from a large, packed city to a place that was part of the New Town movement in the UK. After World War 2, the government commissioned planned towns to be built across the country, to stop overcrowding in cities. …


These four letters always bring me back into the moment

An empty road with traffic lights, trees and a mountain in the distance
An empty road with traffic lights, trees and a mountain in the distance
Photo by Matheus Natan from Pexels

In my early thirties, I was struggling. I’d just left a six-year relationship and was emotionally drained. It took us a long time to separate, to work out that a major source of our pain as individuals was the relationship itself.

The first time I locked the door to my new flat was an odd experience. …


Personal stories can only be told through our own lens; but in what ways can we ensure we’re being fair?

A black and white photograph of a woman shaking her head so that it blurs
A black and white photograph of a woman shaking her head so that it blurs
Photo by Elina Krima from Pexels

It sometimes seems that the entirety of human experience has been recorded here on Medium. There are so many personal stories by wonderful writers. Some of them share traumatic events; some celebrate beautiful relationships or exciting adventures.

As readers, we might ask: how can we know the truthfulness of a stranger’s personal story?

The answer is: unless we know that person, or shared that particular experience, we can’t.

But what we can detect is the writer’s sense of fairness. The best personal writing is created by those who really mine their memories for the truest version of what happened, from as neutral a standpoint as possible, and allow the reader to form their own views on what took place. …

About

Kellee Rich

Writing all the things. She/her. Owner of Modern Letters publication. richtext.co.uk/links

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