PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 30: The Culture of Dieting

by | Jan 4, 2012 05:08 PM ET

The first week of the New Year seemed like an appropriate time to talk about all things dieting, since one of the most made (and most broken) resolutions is losing weight. It wasn't physiology, health or whether diets work that we wanted to talk about, though. It was the culture of dieting, especially in the United States.

  • Why do people who are on diets talk about food and their diets all the time?
  • Cognitive load, which has since recording this become our excuse for basically everything, and the difference between cognitive load and entitlement
  • Pop culture depictions of people who are overweight (or people who have a completely healthy weight but are portrayed as overweight on TV)
  • Points Justin McElroy (who I mentioned as being at Joystiq -- he was when we recorded, but he's left there for a new venture) made in a panel at PAX about overweight characters in video games
  • Women and Dieting Culture by Kandi M. Stinson, which was my big go-to source for this episode
  • Being "on a diet" vs. changing your lifestyle
  • 15-ounce meatloaf and the tyranny of turning 30
  • Inter-diet feuds
  • Concepts of weight loss as self-help, work, religion, addiction and feminism
  • Jamie Lee Curtis' headline-making, non-Photoshopped photo
  • People who use smoking to manage their weight
  • Holly's running rabies and my (less now) hatred of running
  • The emotional component of weight vs. the completely practical reasons people eventually join a weight loss group and the tendency of dieters to form groups
  • Being healthier-than-thou
  • Food as recreation
  • How women's food choices are portrayed in ads
  • Deliciousness as a hobby
  • Dieting and culture in children
  • Medical issues of weight vs. social perceptions of weight
  • Body standards in Hispanic and African American communities vs. in Caucasian communities
  • Listener mail! This one is from listener Jen in response to our episode Thinking About Ink
  • And a special announcement: Happy belated birthday to our awesome listener Maddie!

My research:

Holly's research:

Episode link: The Culture of Dieting

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