This episode was first aired in June 2019.
Sabrina Strings, PhD is the author of the book Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia. In the first part of this interview, we discuss how she was able to connect racism with fat phobia, control of women’s bodies historically and through today’s diet culture, and how medicine’s use of the BMI metric is problematic and harmful. Dr. Strings shares why weight loss should not be part of the health equation and instead we should be seeking access to safe, nutritious food for all people at every size.
In the second part of the interview, we discuss why only white women’s bodies were subjects of control in historical fat phobia. Dr. Strings shares the history of the BMI development and its flaws. We share personal stories for how BMI and weight bias in medicine harms people today. Dr. Strings also shares how she was discouraged from even writing this book.
About Dr Strings
Sabrina Strings is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. She was a recipient of the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship with a joint appointment in the School of Public Health and Department of Sociology.
She has been featured in The Feminist Wire, Yoga International, and LA Yoga. Her writings can be found in Scientific American, New York Times, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society and Feminist Media Studies. Sabrina was the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Article Award for the Race, Gender and Class section of the American Sociological Association. Fearing the Black Body is her first book which is available everywhere and also on audiobook.
Scientific American: The racist roots of fighting obesity.
Listen here to Episode 150 here