From Destructive Dieting to Constructive Conversations on Social Justice with Savala Nolan

The work of Savala Nolan is critical to changing our world. She is executive director of the Center for Social Justice at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and a positive presence on social media through her IG account @notquitebeyonce. Working towards Queen B status, she has been featured in Vogue, Time, Harper’s MagazineThe New York Times Book Review, and more. Savala’s recently released book Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on race, Gender, and the Body is a powerful read that the New York Times claims “takes a hard look at the white gaze and its blind spots”.

In this episode of In This Body, a podcast series on body diversity and social justice hosted by Ashley Bullock of Reasons EDC, Savala gets personal about her recovery from extreme dieting, overexercising, and self-loathing and why systems of oppression encourage us to see the “problem” as within ourselves.

My body, this thing from my head to my feet that I live in all the time. This inescapable aspect of who I am, and this inescapable part of my experience on the planet.

Savala Nolan

Catch the In This Body Series on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, Amazon, or Google Podcasts

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What You’ll Learn

  • Her introduction to the world of dieting and the impact that contrasting beauty norms from her family had on her
  • Questions to ask yourself when deciding what media to expose yourself to
  • What “The Nap Ministry” is and how rest can be a form of resistance
  • Savala’s path to finding the balance between the use of revelation as a “tonic” for shame vs the right to privacy

Quotables from Savala Nolan

As a woman, as a fat person, as a woman of color, who’s black, every system I interact with is liable to have biases operating within it, that disfavor those parts of who I am. When I go to the doctor, or work meetings, or you name it, the systems that run our lives are all infected.

When I’m thinking about what to watch, what to read, what to listen to, I think about: Do I want this content blowing through my consciousness? Does it fortify me? Or does it reinforce this lie that there is something wrong with me? Does it nourish me? Or protect me? Or does it expose me to harm in some way?

They [systems of oppression] impact me in terms of making the hill I have to climb a little more steep when I want to get to the summit of valuing myself, my work, and my contributions to the world.

One of the things that makes me most angry about my legacy of dieting and over exercising is that it was rooted in shame.

Connect with Savala Nolan

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