June 22, 2023
Author and podcaster Elise Loehnen joins Jameela this week to discuss her new book – On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good. Together they cover the history of the seven deadly sins and their patriarchal origins, the importance and beauty of healthy relationships between men and women, why women are set up to tear women down, the dangers of wellness culture, and more.
Check out Elise Loehnen’s book – On Our Best Behavior – wherever books are sold.
You can find transcripts for this episode on the Earwolf website.
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168 — Expectations on Women with Elise Loehnen
[00:00:00] Jameela Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil, a podcast against shame. I hope you’re well and I thank you for all of your lovely messages, your thousands of messages so far about my episode with Greta Thurnberg last week. I can’t believe I had her on the podcast. It’s so exciting. I’m still pinching myself, but it was just such a phenomenal chat. Like I love her so much. She’s so smart and funny and warm and inspiring and adorable and yet intimidatingly brilliant. She just holds all of the multitudes. She’s the definition of that. And I if I thought I loved her before, now I’m fully obsessed. I’m the leader of her fan club, I think. And it seems like lots of you are joining me. So thanks for listening and recommending it to other people. And if you haven’t yet had a chance to listen, I highly recommend it because it’s an incredible insight. This week is another phenomenal chat because my guest is just I’m so lucky with the guests I get to have. They teach me so much. I have the excellent Elise Loehnen on who’s New York Times renowned bestselling author. She’s also worked very high up at Goop in the past and has some interesting insights from her time working within wellness culture that I think were very important to hear about. But basically in this episode, we are talking about her new book, The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good. That’s the title of the book and it’s a fascinating read that concisely breaks down the exact system of the ways in which we hold women to impossible standards. And even though we might think, yeah, we kind of already know what those are, it’s kind of stating the obvious, the way she breaks it down, the specificity and the history that she brings into it blows your fucking mind. And then once you’ve seen it, you cannot unsee it. I highly recommend this book. I highly recommend following this woman. She’s so smart, it’s so well-written. And also a lot of what she says comes from her own personal experience. She’s been through these journeys. She’s a bit like me and that she’s been through massive U-turns, like her work in wellness culture, leading her to disordered and restrictive eating and issues with her body. And now coming out of that and wanting to completely rebel and go the other way and warn everyone else. I really love someone who doesn’t just bring academic experience, but true personal lived experience and this book feels very personal to her, and she speaks about it in a very personal, intimate way in this chat. We’re essentially asking, Why do women do what we do? We discuss where the seven deadly sins come from and why women are held to exceptional standards. We discuss the genesis of Patriarchy, which was one of my favorite parts of the chat. We discuss women’s relationships with each other and why we’re encouraged to tear each other down. We discuss where beauty standards come from and how we can improve our self-talk. We discuss the humanity of women and why our bodies are not supposed to be billboards for others. It’s just everything we need to hear right now, especially as we’re coming up to fucking Beach Body Season, where we’re given a pre prescription of a ballocks body standard that we’re supposed to have. And just remember, if you’re at the beach and you have a body, you are beach body ready, please do not deny yourself a vitamin D and time in nature and time in the sun and having fun with your friends and eating a fucking ice cream on the fucking beach just because of a ballocks beauty standard of airbrushed nonsense in magazines that hate you. Okay, but I think this is just a much needed lesson. I totally. I left totally besotted with her and this book and I am so excited to see what this chat provokes in you and what it makes you feel and what makes you think. I think you’re going to feel like hype. I left feeling like fucking energized and galvanized to take back my fucking true freedom. And and I hope it has the same impact on you. So for now, this is the excellent Elise Loehnen. Elise Loehnen, welcome to I Weigh. How are you?
[00:04:07] Elise I’m well, thanks. How are you?
[00:04:09] Jameela I’m good. Thank you so much for being here. I’m so interested to talk to you. I have so many things I would like to talk to you about. You have a new book out called On Our Best Behavior The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good. As soon as I heard that title, I was all over this shit because this is at the kind of core of so much of what I talk about. I talk about a lot of different issues, but one of my biggest driving forces is why women are expected to behave in these certain ways that I personally have always found so arbitrary and so difficult to obey. And I’ve been constantly wrestling with what’s nature and what’s nurture and where all these ideals come from. And it’s so cool to find someone who’s equally, if not much more so interested and well investigated. How have you been? What’s going on?
[00:05:03] Elise I have been really well. I’m my book has been out for a couple of weeks and before it came out, I was really clear with myself sort of what I, what I wanted. And I have gotten mostly what I’ve wanted, which is one of the things is just to stay in my bedroom and talk to people like you over a computer. So it’s been great and it’s been really moving. As you said, I’m interested in all of these things, but I have been not alone in my interest. But when you write a book, you’re by yourself, you know, for the better part of a couple of years.
[00:05:39] Jameela Yeah, it becomes quite Tom Hanks Cast Away.
[00:05:41] Elise Yes, very much. And everything is so alive in you and in your and you’re trying to sort of work it out on the page. And it’s hard to bring people into that world without creating all that scaffolding. And so to actually have people reading it and DMing me and talking about it is very is far more moving than even I could predict, I have to say.
[00:06:06] Jameela And so this is a subject I imagine that must be very close to home. What inspired you to write this book?
[00:06:12] Elise You know, it was really this feeling, being a high achieving person in pursuit of perfection, in pursuit of all of the sort of accolades of goodness and spending my whole life still, despite what I achieved, feeling not good enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, certainly not a good enough mother. And I hit a point right before COVID when I turned 40 I had this chronic hyperventilation syndrome that has gotten, although it’s much better now, but was getting progressively worse, where I couldn’t really take a deep breath without yawning. At a certain point, I had done it for almost two months and I was exhausted and I could look out and survey what I had achieved and yet how bad I felt. And in that moment I realized that I would never outrun this. I would never feel safe and secure. I would never sort of reach that finish line of goodness, whatever that even meant. And that was part of it, too, was like, what are these voices? They don’t aren’t coming from my husband, they aren’t coming from my parents. What are these cultural edicts that really have me by the throat and how can I get them out of me?
[00:07:36] Jameela Fascinating. It is always I mean, not always, but it is often like either the death of a loved one or a health scare in one’s own life that can lead to those massive existential shifts. I find. I know that with me every time I it takes it takes something overwhelming that takes control of me. That reminds me I don’t fully have control of myself. If I give in to external forces, it takes a massive health scare for me. I get one like every decade and it’s my reminder that mortality is sacred and that we only really get one shot. I mean, depending on what your beliefs are, but we only get one shot here and we have to make much more careful decisions than the ones that we’re encouraged to make by capitalism.
[00:08:19] Elise Yes, absolutely. No, it is. And it’s this um that’s one of the books that I want to write next in some way. But loss or this idea of darkness and the hard things in life are really our opportunity to get bigger and to remind ourselves of what matters to us.
[00:08:39] Jameela Yeah, that’s saying blessed are the cracked for they allow in the light I think is one that I’ve always looked towards to turn into my definition of that. Sometimes I have greatly benefited from some of the worst things that have happened to me or that I have experienced because I have been able to learn so much and shift my life in so much for better direction, I’d help myself, or more importantly, often help others so much more. And so can we get into the subject matter of the book? This is about the kind of I mean, you you reference the seven deadly sins and that price that women need to pay. What do you mean by that?
[00:09:17] Elise Yeah. So I think that a lot of women would agree with this idea that women are coded and conditioned for goodness and men are conditioned programed really for power, and that there’s nothing worse that you can say about a woman than reputational damage that’s she’s bad, somehow unkind, uncaring, a bad mother, a slut. I mean, it goes on and on. And for men, reputational damage doesn’t really matter. You know, they can commit crimes, as we know, and as long as they’re perceived as powerful, we venerate them culturally. And
[00:09:56] Jameela You really do have to commit all of the crimes in the world to do proper time and be properly punished and that [inaudible].
[00:10:04] Elise But really we only sort of dethrone men when we think of them as weak. You know, that’s that’s what’s so perverse about masculinity in our culture, why it’s so, I think, horrible for men, because we it doesn’t matter. You know, you look at someone like Trump and he’s still powerful somehow. And so he’s still he’s despite the atrocities that he’s committed, despite being convicted of a crime, he hasn’t sort of been pushed out in a way that’s inconceivable. And then you imagine him as a woman. And that’s that’s an impossible fantasy.
[00:10:42] Jameela Not having the right hair is all a woman needs to not get anywhere near
[00:10:46] Elise Those tan lines are just…
[00:10:48] Jameela Truly just I mean, dress sense or the dancing or any of the things like it takes. And I don’t mean this like in a way to like, I’m not trying to take cheap shots. I don’t really give a shit about him anymore. Like I but it’s when it comes to women, the bar is the bar is in hell, you know, as to what it is that’s going to take the break of our entire reputation. I’ve often spoken about this on the podcast that you can’t kill a woman as easily anymore. So you just kill her credibility. You kill her. I’ve been on the receiving end of that so many times. Every time I’ve gotten too close to exposing a huge problem or a huge corporation or a hugely dangerous individual, something coincidentally wild happens to my reputation. Suddenly, some mad rumors and lies start spreading about me, and I have no control over it. And it’s what’s sad is that the public are just all too quick to eat up the lies or gratuitous gross rumors about public women, women in politics, women in the media, sportswomen. We jump on it so fast.
[00:11:59] Elise That’s the chapter on Pride. Yeah. So the sins. So I wanted to understand what the parameters of this reputational sort of pursuit are. What does it mean to be a good woman? And when I made a list of all of these qualities, she doesn’t need rest. She prioritizes the needs of other people.
[00:12:18] Jameela But she has to look rested.
[00:12:20] Elise Yes, she has to look rested. She must have her body under control. She should have no appetite, she
[00:12:25] Jameela No wrinkles.
[00:12:26] Elise Has no wants. She never gets upset. And when I looked at it, I saw what is a system of morality, which when I actually dug into the history of sort of the creation of patriarchy and its moral arm, which didn’t really start at the beginning of of of patriarchy, but emerge with Judeo Christianity, I realized that it was a punch card of sins, the seven deadly sins. I didn’t grow up in a religious household. I didn’t know I had to look them up and remind myself of what they are, but they gave me chills when I saw them. And then what’s wilder about them is that they actually weren’t even in the Bible. They’re not gospel. They were made up by an Egyptian monk in the fourth century, the same time that the New Testament was being canonized, they sort of traveled around as a set, they were these eight thoughts, the eighth being sadness, which I included in the book. And then a couple hundred years later in 590, Pope Gregory the First turned them into the cardinal vices and assigned them all to Mary Magdalene in the same homily where he turned her into a penitent prostitute. And that’s where they’ve stayed. They sort of became part of Catholicism, part of Christianity. But they they’re like Bible fanfic. And yet this is you know, at the beginning you were talking about culture versus nature. This is how many of us come to understand ourselves by these stories we tell about who we are that are whispered into each others ears that are contagious. And it’s interesting on on social media. So some of the pushback, it’s been small for now, but has been sort of like this is anti-God and anti Bible. I’m like, learn your history friends. They’re not in the Bible. Like this didn’t come out of Jesus’s mouth. If that’s your belief structure. These were made up by a man and then ascribed to women. And here we are.
[00:14:25] Jameela It’s so fucking fascinating. It’s something that I had never known or considered to even investigate until I’d read this from you. And I think it’s such a fucking important and vital thing to know so we can understand how brittle this belief system is. Can we go through what those seven deadly sins are, those of us who need a reminder?
[00:14:46] Elise So I write them in this order. Sloth, envy, pride, gluttony, greed, lust, anger. And when you think about those qualities, when you think about those very human natural instincts, and you think about them in the context of women versus men, they’re all things that many, most of us police in ourselves and in each other, whereas many of the men that I know and love have no concept for what it is to police yourself about whether you’re doing enough or how much you’re eating or the way that you’re performing your sexuality or not. These are, to me, deeply reflected in the lives of women, specifically.
[00:15:33] Jameela 100%. And even if men sometimes feel somewhat like they have to be held accountable to those seven deadly sins, quote unquote. Then they they still must admit that they are not punished the way that we are if they do not amount to them. You know, even in the gluttony thing, like a man is discouraged from, I don’t know, overeating or something or eating unhealthily because he might it might make him a little bit unhealthy for his heart maybe. I mean, most people are left alone. Most men are generally left alone compared to women. But when a man is bigger and he’s in the public, we never say that he’s a danger to others. If a woman is eating more than she needs, let’s say, nutritionally, and she is just out there living publicly. We do not just we feign concern for her, but also we then shame her and say she’s a bad example to her kids. She’s a bad example to people in the public eye, to all people who have to look at her. We turn that into she is not only harming herself, she’s harming everyone around her. And she’s now villainous somehow for her singular choice that she’s made with her own body.
[00:16:42] Elise Yes, women are conditioned to believe that we should be as small as possible and take up as little room as possible, whereas men are supposed to be big, dominating, domineering. Which is also interesting in the context of nature versus culture, because, for example, in Çatalhöyük, which is this prehistoric site in modern day Turkey, the men and women, when they’ve gone back to reevaluate sort of the site with newer technology, men and women are the same size, more or less. They have the same diets, they receive the same calories in some patriarchal parts of the world. This is pre patriarchy. Men would get better, more nutrient dense food. But. In Çatalhöyük, same size, same amount of soot in their lungs, suggesting they spent the same amount of time indoors in the kitchen. And so you think about the size differential that we expect now between men and women and how much of this has been bred into us as a cultural mandate where women need to be small.
[00:17:51] Jameela And I mean, I think some people will be able to argue that the trends for women’s sizes have gone in and out, like there have been periods where we have seen paintings where the beauty standard is a a very, very voluptuous woman who’s got rolls of fat and she’s lying down and her rolls are kind of pouring the way rolls are supposed to pour. And she’s considered the epitome of beauty. So we’ve seen that that in and out of time, we’ve there have been moments where a woman can fucking eat in peace. And then also, we know that around the world there are different beauty standards. So is this more of a specifically Western thing? Would you say.
[00:18:26] Elise This is more of a Judeo-Christian patriarchal view, sort of what we experience primarily in the West? Yeah. Where yeah, weight size is also not an attribute of wealth the way it can be in some cultures, very pernicious. And then you think about how Western culture then sort of forces itself on other cultures and obviously the way that we’ve colonized parts of the world and you start to sort of understand where this insistence comes from and yeah, how contagious it is, how. Once it’s afoot, how hard it is to get it out of our bodies and more specifically, out of our minds. This is deep in the psychology of women, this idea of tending towards goodness, repressing what’s bad. Shaming ourselves, cutting ourselves off from what it is to be alive. You know, this living with so much self-denial is how I had been living and what I’ve observed in so many of my friends, to varying degrees.
[00:19:34] Jameela Amen. I mean, God knows that was most of my life that I’ve been on this planet. So where is the genesis of this decision, then, for women to be much smaller and thinner than men?
[00:19:47] Elise Yeah. I mean, I think that it starts with patriarchy. I think it starts sort of in. And patriarchy emerged at different points across the globe.
[00:19:58] Jameela Mm hmm.
[00:19:58] Elise But it starts within the Judeo-Christian world with a group of people who are of more affiliate of the partnership style living, and then a descent from the north of they’re called Kurgan. This UCLA anthropologist, Marija Gimbutas, who’s long past. But this is her theory and her story itself is really stunning because she had discovered all these goddess figurines and these, you know, very, as you were saying, nubile. They didn’t quite know what they were, were they dolls, where they birthing talismans. There was no corollary. There were no, like male sculptures. The way that all of these goddess sculptures had emerged in these Paleolithic sites and writers, feminist writers and sort of second wave feminism went a little wild with her research and said that everything had been this matriarchy was an entire complete matriarchy until patriarchy. And that’s not quite accurate. It was just an affiliate of partnership style, way of living, for the most part, where men and women did life together trying to survive, right? There wasn’t a lot of there wasn’t oppressive hierarchy. There wasn’t room for that or.
[00:21:18] Jameela Wow I can’t even imagine that.
[00:21:19] Elise Right. And then you have what she calls these Kurgans coming down from the steppes of Russia and taking over enslaving women and children. And this is where sort of the foundation of patriarchy, the creation of property people as first property. And after all of these feminist writers took her theories and went a little nuts, people started the establishment started to trash Gimbutas’s reputation. Even though men have long been making these sweeping claims about who we are as people. They destroyed her. She was already passed at this point. And then, lo and behold, recent DNA evidence says that she was actually right and that at a certain point, 6000 B.C. or so, the DNA of that region completely changed, was taken over by northerners. And in that in that takeover, we see women, children enslaved. The idea of sort of the veiling of women or that women of varying respectability were concubines, slaves, wives, whether they had one partner or many, this idea of respectability and the separation of women. And then you just see patriarchy evolve from there, but always predicated on this idea that women are chattel and, you know, sort of bought and sold in some ways into relationships with men. And here we are. And then you have sort of the advent of of Judeo Christianity, the death of the goddess, the the creation of the ultimate male patriarch in the sky. And you start to see the destruction of the feminine, the way that we see the body as base the way that we see nature as base as something to be controlled and denied mind.
[00:23:27] Jameela Yeah there’s been a lot of talk I’ve spoken on this podcast before about the fact that they they see it as Mother Earth, Mother Nature.
[00:23:34] Elise Yeah.
[00:23:35] Jameela And therein lies our like completely disposable attitude towards the planet that we live on because we look at it as a woman and a mother who will just give and give and give. And we can withdraw, withdraw, withdraw without ever depositing. And it’s no surprise that, of course, it’s women who are now leading the charge with climate change, even though they are the ones disproportionately impacted by climate change and don’t happen to be the ones who broke it because it was male leaders predominantly who made the decisions to allow this to happen to our planet. And it is women now trying to pour back into this thing that we’ve just randomly gendered. We’ve randomly gendered, you know, the the source in the sky and we’ve randomly gendered the planet that we walk on. And the, the the weather and and given it all to the responsibility of a woman like Mother Nature’s angry with you. It’s so fucking insane. And, and, and I do sometimes ponder like, would we have done it had it been Father Nature? Father Earth. I do wonder if we would have had more trepidation, if men would have had more trepidation and more respect for our planet. It’s something that I’m constantly, constantly trying to unpack, and it’s difficult to because it’s so subjective, but it’s something that I’m so interested in. So much of what I think this comes from is a fear from men that women will become too independent and then not need them because women can do this thing that men can’t do with their bodies. I think that men are men fear that they can’t create babies, they can’t create life. They can’t create food with their bosoms. I think that they fear that as women grow bigger and stronger and more capable and then they have weapons to defend themselves against animals or men. And then we have housing and windows and rape alarms and Tasers and Postmates like it all grows and grows and grows into us not needing them. And the reason I find it so heartbreaking, aside from all the pain and bloodshed that has happened so unnecessarily for poor women and children, is that. We’re so important to each other. We’re so like the friendships and the collaborations between men that aren’t romantic are some of the most special relationships in my life. And I wouldn’t be the person I was without some of those relationships. And it’s so sad that we have a society that has continuously shunned the idea of men and women as collaborators and friends and only ever as spousal and very traditional and very much so built around the man as the provider and the woman as the receiver, and therefore the kind of servant of the man. We’re seeing a huge comeback of that culture on Tik-tok, where they’re talking about trad wives and and how nobody wants an alpha woman, nobody wants a successful woman that those women are all going to, you know, rot alone with no teeth. I added that one. But it just makes me sad because it’s so unnecessary, because there’s so much beauty to be had in our equality and and because there is this feeling that they’re just needed for seed and protection. They’re trying so hard to disempower us so that they can still have that role in our lives rather than just, you know, have a fucking break and no longer take that responsibility and just start to create and collaborate with us.
[00:26:55] Elise Yeah, no, I feel you so acutely and I so hope that men will read the book because I think that they’ll understand they’re not its targets and it’s not about blame. What I observed is and I don’t know if you would agree with this or not, but when I thought about sort of when I surveyed my life and I think about my husband, he’s a total feminist. I’m the primary breadwinner. I think about many of the men I’ve worked for who have been wonderful, great mentors. And yes, there are misogynists that run amok amongst us. I’m not apologizing for any of those men. They certainly exist. And yet when I thought about when I think about where we are collectively as women and the lack of equity and the chasm between our representation and what it should be and where we are. And then I look at all the social science that suggests that women are as hard on other women or if not harder than other women. That’s also what I wanted to address, because to me, women have been outperforming men at school for a century. We are more physically durable. We live longer. We are in many ways like boxers training at high altitude. Women are excellent, were incredibly generous and empathic, etc. We’re very, very gifted. And yes, we are creative agents. So to me, it’s not I didn’t see this as like getting the men out of the way or to get them to stop impeding our progress. To me, it felt like an inside game that if we can get onside with ourselves and with each other, if we could really address our own envy and get behind each other, which is somehow still so hard for us to do. Watch out. The only like, the primary impediment that I see for us, for women in terms of creating equity and creating the world that we want to live in is in many ways what we do to ourselves and each other and not. Not blaming victims here again. And I’m not suggesting that there aren’t a lot of men who need to evolve and change, but part of the way that they need to evolve and change is to let their feminine come up and to allow sort of all of those parts of them that are soft, caring, nurturing, nurturing, creative to come up rather than sort of like trying to live behind this mask of masculinity that’s killing them. I mean, you look at deaths of despair, you look at rates of suicide, you look at the chaos that’s unleashed on our culture, the people who are mowing other people down with guns, it’s men. Men are in a crisis.
[00:29:59] Jameela Mm hmm. And I also just want to be clear that we’re not saying that all masculinity is bad. Just like not all femininity is not just a it is the forced. Um. And controlling ideals of what those
[00:30:12] Elise It’s the toxic.
[00:30:12] Jameela According to truly who who decided that little boys can’t cry. Like, it’s really important to recognize that there’s nothing wrong with the things in our nature that make us slightly different. Those things are brilliant, and there can be ways in which we can bond and help and build together. But there are certain aspects of those things that feel very, very arbitrary and ridiculous and just simply don’t truly exist in everyone. We are all a spectrum of these different things of masculinity and femininity. And and we should just be allowed to live and let live. You know, my, uh, my relationships have, have all had to be tolerant of the fact that I’m a very alpha human being. I’m a very alpha woman, but I’m just an alpha person. Do you know what I mean? Like, I’m incredibly outspoken and forthcoming and shameless, and I’m a go getter and I can be seen as aggressive, even though I’m not actually an aggressive person. I’m quite a softly spoken, careful person. But, you know, daring to put myself forth at all is seen as deeply aggressive. I have a lot of those qualities. I have always been financially independent. I’ve always been ambitious in certain ways just to, you know, secure myself and and. TikTok will tell you that I am an unlovable woman for that. You know, I have thighs. I am an unlovable woman. I have dreams that I’m willing to make come true myself, unlovable. And it’s just simply not true. And I’ve been in a relationship for eight and a half years. I believe that relationship will continue for a long time. And I feel very scared of the fact that the exact I mean, the timing of your book is fucking incredible because even that feels like, Yeah, yeah, we kind of know this by now. We clearly don’t. And the backlash against this is so supreme and built on so much misinformation that we couldn’t need this more. And so I really appreciate you putting this down. And so can we dig a little further into self-denial because that’s something you write about beautifully in this book. And and you would say that this may be also linked to the Judeo-Christian.
[00:32:18] Elise Yeah. And I’m just nodding along rapidly to everything that you’re saying. I’m also very in my masculine as a woman, and I believe we those things have nothing to do with gender. So self-denial, I mean, this is really at the root of it. And I write about envy as the gateway to all the other sins and a part in a way, because as women, we’re conditioned to believe that we should subjugate all of our wants to other people’s needs. And I think that disconnection, it’s twofold, right? It’s the teaching that’s a strong and hard teaching, which means that we’re constantly other focused rather than ever excavating ourselves for what we want.
[00:33:05] Jameela We also have a scarcity mindset that was created by patriarchy that says there’s not enough room for us. So that’s why we also, you know, referencing what you said earlier, before I went off of my tangent about alpha women, we are controlled and made to believe that we have we should be threatened by one another. And so that’s why we sometimes hold ourselves and each other back.
[00:33:24] Elise Yes, 1,000%. So and all of this then sort of run into each other. So envy crashes into pride and it crashes into greed. And this idea of enough ness and, you know, we’re fed this. There’s not enough there’s not enough opportunity, there are not enough resources, there’s not enough money. If she has it, then it’s had an order to have it, too. I must dethrone her. I must destroy her. We can’t both have it. She’s not actually a model for what’s possible for me. She is a threat to my ability to do something with my life.
[00:33:59] Jameela And also. And also, like, we should be suspicious of her.
[00:34:03] Elise Yes.
[00:34:04] Jameela Why did she get this thing that we were told wasn’t possible? Has she been sleeping around to get that thing? Is she doing some is she is she lying? Is she manipulating? Do you know what I mean? We’ve been conditioned to think rather than like, Oh, wow. Actually, it was fucking sorry. You said it was impossible. And it is. So she’s doing it. It’s like, Yeah, but she broke the rules to be able to do it.
[00:34:22] Elise She broke the rules. Yeah. And at the beginning of our conversation, you were talking about sort of the what we do to famous women, what we do, whether it’s athletes, female founders, actors, singers, is we watch them sort of dare to have a dream, dare to have a dream for themselves, be willing to be seen, be celebrated for their gifts. We celebrate them at the beginning on their ascent. And then invariably they hit a certain point where we can’t tolerate it anymore. There’s sort of this rise of discomfort. Who does she think she is? She’s too big for her britches, tall poppy syndrome, etc. And then it’s like the instinct to destroy is so strong. Men participate in this, too, but women certainly are. They’re cheering on the demise of women, primarily famous ones. And we can say that it doesn’t really have anything to do with us, sort of the trajectory of the Princess Diana or Billie Holiday or any Anne Hathaway, any number of famous women. Meghan.
[00:35:30] Jameela Meghan Yeah.
[00:35:31] Elise Yeah. Meghan Markle It’s a playbook though, for all of us, for, for all women, civilian or celebrity, all little girls of this is what will happen. And so you need to destroy yourself first or be self-deprecating or stay inside. Don’t you dare. It’s just it’s such a sad it’s such a sad playbook and we’re not really conscious of it, I don’t think, because as you said, it feels so bad, just sort of destroy Meghan Markle right. So we’re looking for all the reasons to project on her why she deserves it. We’re just going to sort of come up with every reason why she’s terrible and she should be destroyed. And it’s, it’s so socially sanctioned. It’s so acceptable in a way that if we actually sort of took a few steps back and thought about what we were doing and saying about someone we don’t know. Um, I think we would hopefully think again.
[00:36:34] Jameela I think because it’s too embarrassing. We just see it through, we see it all the way through and we chase that woman out of the world or to her death, and then we don’t have to face it, and then we just move on. And I say this to someone who used to be a massive misogynist, who used to talk shit about women publicly 12 years ago on Twitter.
[00:36:56] Elise You did?
[00:36:56] Jameela Yeah! I was the biggest cunt of them all. I was the king of the cunts, and it’s because I was a misogynist and I had a problem with women, and that’s because I was bullied by women my whole life. And I had a very, very, very distressing and abusive relationship with women in my family. And so as an I was the victim of that. And so I grew up thinking women were evil and women were stupid and women were less talented than men. And those are my genuine beliefs. When I was younger and then when I came into power, I kind of used it more in kind of comedy. And I, you know, I’d be like, Oh, no, I’m not a feminist because I thought of that as a bad thing. This is very recent history, and I genuinely believed those things. And I remember having that like avid hatred for someone I didn’t know. And it’s just because I hated myself.
[00:37:38] Elise Yeah.
[00:37:38] Jameela I hated myself. I was miserable. I felt out of control of my own life and I needed someone to blame. And I had been culturally taught that the person to blame in all cases from Adam and Eve onwards was women.
[00:37:50] Elise Yeah.
[00:37:51] Jameela And over time, I started to work on my mental health and my life started to improve. And I realized that the source of a lot of my pain was not necessarily all men, but it was the structure of patriarchy. And that was breaking the men in my life who then were trying to break me. And that was what was putting pressure on and hurting the women around me and that I was participating in that culture. And I stopped like just woke up one day and fucking stopped and started to read and learn and listen and but I’ve done a full 180 and moved into a space where I will die fighting for the rights of women now. Fighting for the reputations of women. But I so understand that space, and that’s why I’m so interested in it and why I try to carry out a little judgment as I can now, because I was the the biggest dumpster fire of a human so recently.
[00:38:46] Elise That’s amazing. And that’s so I mean, it’s amazing, too, that you own it because this is what we’re taught to do, you know, in this quest for goodness. We suppress all of those bad feelings. And those bad feelings are what it means to be human. That is our invitation to wholeness. Really.
[00:39:02] Jameela I was sick. It was a sickness. Hatred of others, especially people we don’t know is a sickness. It is a marker that you are not well, that you are not okay. And we’re never taught that. We’re always taught to project outwards. Blame something else, never blame the system. Blame an individual.
[00:39:17] Elise Yes. And tying the bow on envy. I was speaking to the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb, who wrote Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. And she had the small aside that envy shows us what we want. And that was so such a breakthrough to me. And I asked her if it was gendered and she said she didn’t know, but that women are much more anxious about feelings that we think are bad. And so from that, like my theory, which I think is pretty accurate, is that when we see another woman who is doing something that we want to do or has something that we want. Our instinct as that sort of feeling of discomfort comes up is to project it onto her and say, I don’t like her. She rubs me the wrong way. Who does she think she is? She is the worst. She doesn’t deserve it. Her book was trash, you know, whatever it may be. I take all of that discomfort of like of the soul knocking on the door and saying, pay attention to what she’s doing, because something in there is the dream you have for yourself. Follow it. Do what she’s doing. Study her. Use her.
[00:40:23] Jameela Yeah. Rename it in yourself as inspiration.
[00:40:26] Elise Yeah, yeah.
[00:40:27] Jameela Yeah. Because envy implies you. You want to take that person down. You want to take away what they have rather than build your own one for yourself.
[00:40:36] Elise Yes.
[00:40:37] Jameela And it also, like, lends itself to the idea that one for her means one isn’t available for you anymore. Which just couldn’t be more of a falsehood.
[00:40:44] Elise Right. But it’s a it’s a falsehood that we continue to sustain.
[00:40:48] Jameela Perpetuate.
[00:40:49] Elise Because we just, like, take her out so that we can take her spot. Rather than standing alongside each other.
[00:40:55] Jameela Yeah, it’s. And it’s the it’s the saddest thing. And it’s the it’s the saddest thing to witness. It’s a very sad thing to be the victim of. And. It terrifies me because it’s because you just see so many men do exactly the same thing, dressed exactly the same, talk about the same shit, put the same kind of content out again and again and again. And that just the same anxiety does not lie amongst them.
[00:41:18] Elise No. And they help each other. That’s been my experience as a writer and podcaster and bringing a book out into the world as that as watching these men network each other and help each other because they’re not pursued by the same feelings of scarcity and envy and being very overt and transactional about what they want and what their experts expectations are. And with women like no such network exists, we are so siloed from each other.
[00:41:48] Jameela Yeah, there are some women I know two women who became friends, and one of them works very hard on maintaining a certain esthetic, and the other one was not doing that same work and instead kept on trying to get the one who was very focused on her aesthetic to come out, drink more, eat more trash, always like moaning and nagging that, you know, oh, you’ve got such a great body or you’re so focused that don’t have a salad have this. And then finally, the other one just snapped and was like, If you have a problem with my body, go fucking work on your body. Go to the gym. Go get a personal trainer. I think you look great. I don’t think you need to change your body. But if it’s bothering you about the way that I look, then go do what I did to look like this. And while I’m not particularly hung up on esthetic goals, I think therein lies the solution and the clapback to anyone who’s trying to impose that envy on you is like, go off and do it then.
[00:42:36] Elise Yeah, stop trying to sabotage me. Yeah.
[00:42:38] Jameela It’s available to you. Yeah. I’m not the only one who could do this role or write this book or learn this thing at school. Like go and do it. Do the work. Don’t just try and rip me. That’s very British. It’s a very British thing to do to, like, pull at each other’s ankles rather than climb together to the top. And I think both have their own level of ick. You know, sometimes I’m in like the Hollywood of I’m in Hollywood in Los Angeles, where people are all climbing each other and making false friendships sometimes to get ahead. But I’m like, Fuck, if I had to choose between the two, I don’t want to be where we’re all dragging each other down to the gutter. At least I’d be on my I’d rather be on my way somewhere and just be very careful about who I allow around me. But there’s got to be a balance that we can strike. I feel like I personally have that balance with the women that I know and work with, but it’s taken a fucking long time to get there.
[00:43:24] Elise It’s hard and it’s heartbreaking in its own way because I think that we all sort of backslide in who we want to be. And that’s part of it too, right? Is then to also not shame and judge ourselves and to stopping trying, but to sort of listen to the information. Do what you did, really. Start to really interrupt this programing. And I think that that’s that’s the great promise of this moment of time that we’re in is when you say, wait, I’m behaving like a total misogynist. Why? Why am I having this sort of extreme reaction to this woman, this piece of work, whatever it is? As soon as you interrupt it, it starts to move. That’s been my experience. It’s actually quite easy. I won’t I don’t want to say it’s easy because so much of this programing isn’t.
[00:44:19] Jameela No, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it once. Now that we’ve heard that envy is just like a signal to what it is that you want to your desire. You can’t unhear that. Now the next time you have those uncomfortable feelings, that voice is going to be in your head. I’m going to think about that constantly. I’m going to tell everyone I know who expresses a jealous thought. I’m going to repeat that to them, because it’s such a simple and yet profound statement.
[00:44:45] Elise And it’s so I, I do this all the time with friends now where they’ll say something and it’s like, Wait, wait, wait, stop. Why? Like, what is she doing? Tell me what she’s doing. Tell me. Tell me about it. And it’s fascinating what comes up. It’s like, I don’t know why she thinks that she can be so forthright and loud. I don’t know why she thinks it’s appropriate that she spends so much time on her body. I don’t need to see her body. And like me, you know, it’s a really it’s really specific. And it’s not that you are envious of everything that someone has, but you’ll be shocked at the information. How is she so sexually open? All things I promise that you hold against yourself
[00:45:27] Jameela Yeah. Another one people get really mad at is like, why does she want attention?
[00:45:31] Elise Yes.
[00:45:32] Jameela And we don’t really get mad at men for that. We’re not like oh he’s attention seeking, but we love to bestow as much attention as possible on a man. But if a woman isn’t constantly embarrassed, just the right amount can’t seem ungrateful. Jennifer Lawrence at one point seemed ungrateful, so everyone destroyed her.
[00:45:47] Elise Oh did she get destroyed?
[00:45:48] Jameela She got destroyed. Totally fucking destroyed. Are you joking? That’s why Jennifer Lawrence is gone for so many years that she was like, Oh, I felt like the internet was getting really sick of me, so I had to leave, you know? And that’s because everyone was saying, like, she was just getting a lot of attention because she’s shiny and funny. And I guess, you know, she was talented and successful and gorgeous and young and all the things that make the media like, you know, eat someone alive. And so she got all this attention, all of this glorification, and everyone was like, and because she dared to look like she was enjoying and then said, actually it was too much, people were like, You’re ungrateful.
[00:46:21] Elise Yeah.
[00:46:21] Jameela So if you seem like you’re not, you have to not seem too comfortable with that, otherwise you love yourself, you have to seem just the right of a bit nervous and feeling unworthy and have to be permanently self-deprecating, even if it’s disingenuous, but not too disingenuous that people can tell that you’re being disingenuous. It’s just a it’s like a constant tightrope that these people are walking.
[00:46:38] Elise So much energy spent managing it. Yeah.
[00:46:42] Jameela Why do we care if someone wants attention, what is the big fucking deal? So what if someone wants attention? I never I’ve never understood what our problem is with that. Even through all of my hatred and misogyny, I never understood why we get mad when a woman gets attention. When people are noticing someone. What they do. That’s. That’s never been something I can understand. Because we just don’t do the same thing to men.
[00:47:03] Elise No, we don’t. I mean, I think there is a essential human need to be seen. It’s sort of how we even understand who we are as how we’re reflected back by other people. And so to suggest that we shouldn’t be seen at all is a denial of who people are. It doesn’t mean that everyone wants to be seen in that way or to be famous, etc. But it is a very human need to be apprehended. And we all we we you know, I don’t know the psychology of it of people who are like, I hate birth. I’m sort of one of those people. I don’t want a birthday. I don’t want the attention. It makes me so anxious.
[00:47:45] Jameela I hate birthdays. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t want to get married is because I don’t want have a wedding.
[00:47:49] Elise Oh, well, if you don’t want to have a wedding, then you have to elope. Because my husband and I didn’t want to have a wedding. And then he proposed. And then we had to have a wedding. And it was the best day. It was so fine. Nobody gathers for you until you die.
[00:48:06] Jameela I don’t even want a funeral. I’m not bad. But anyway, as you were saying.
[00:48:11] Elise You might be moved.
[00:48:13] Jameela Freaks like me as you were saying go on. So talk to me about self-denial, because that is kind of linked to where we’re now going in this conversation.
[00:48:30] Elise Yeah, I mean, self-denial is an inability to recognize what you want, what you desire. Your appetite, your. The way that we contact the world. Truly. And when we don’t know what we want because we’ve never thought about it, no one has modeled for us what that looks like. You know, most of us had mothers who were part of the same psychology, Right? Our needs trumped their expression, their ambition. And so that’s our that is our inheritance. It’s very difficult, I think. And so you get into the state of femininity or state of womanhood where your ability to deny yourself is the first sign of goodness. Right. Your ability to have extreme self-control about how you behave, how you express yourself, what your body looks like. It’s so, so insistent. In a way that I think we can sometimes intellectualize, but, I don’t know. I’m still trying to process it as, like, a felt experience. And the way that I speak to myself about when I’m bad and how I’ll be good. I mean, I speak to myself, and I know I’m not alone like a child.
[00:49:55] Jameela Where does the like pat on the back that we give ourselves when we deny, you know, we skip that meal, we don’t eat that burger that we really wanted even though we were on our fucking period and we really fucking needed it. Like, where does that where do you think that comes from? Is that from childhood? Is that just from cultural conditioning?
[00:50:10] Elise I think a lot of it is cultural conditioning. I think people get it along every single sort of every part of their life. It’s like an echo chamber, you know, it’s probably been repeated to you from your parents, certainly by your friends. But it starts with culture. And it’s this idea ultimately of early patriarchy and the subservience of women and obedience, compliance and being under control and controlling, controlling women and making that easy by doing it ourselves. And this is so old, it doesn’t it’s like not we’re sort of in the system that’s driving itself. You know, I think people hear patriarchy, they hear it. They they’re and they’re like, what are your what are we talking about? What are you talking about? I think it’s just so coded in us. It’s so ancient that it drives itself. It’s a, you know, automated car in us. It’s not sort of a bullwhip wielded by any specific person or institution.
[00:51:13] Jameela Yeah, I think because of that, because it feels like a mist almost in the air where it’s like, how am I going to catch this? How am I going to see it? How am I going to identify when it’s hurting me? I think that’s why whenever I talk about diet culture, I always try to remind my listeners that what I do to help me is that when I feel those hateful thoughts about my body and words that are just simply not my own, they’re just not the words that I would ever choose to say to my 12 year old self, ever. And I am still just a slightly older saggier version of that that child I those aren’t my words that someone else’s words. And I think whose words are those? And I imagine a group of nameless, faceless older men in a boardroom wearing suits at a roundtable, laughing, counting money. And that genuinely, genuinely shudders me out of the fucking thoughts because I’m trying to to give. I’m trying to personify patriarchy in whichever ways I can, whichever symbols I can. And when I do that, that’s how I’m able to snap myself out of the horrible thought where I’m like, Oh, someone just made money from that thought.
[00:52:18] Elise Yeah.
[00:52:19] Jameela Oh my God, that was generated by that was a capitalism thought that just invaded my brain. It hacked my computer, got out, and I run my own kind of self made anti-virus software now.
[00:52:32] Elise Yeah.
[00:52:32] Jameela For my computer because it keeps being hacked by fucking bullshit made by these hackers. Who are these men in these boardrooms who own all the diet companies, who own who fuck with the food industry, who fuck with the FDA, all these different things, and it really helps me. And so if that’s helpful to any of you, that’s great. But if not, try to find a way to name and give that demon not the face of a current individual, but just some sort of personification that reminds you of what it is that you’re fighting.
[00:53:00] Elise Yeah, that steals our joy, you know, and steals our pleasure and our energy. I mean, that’s what. So when I think about the amount of time I’ve spent both haranguing myself and for me, it’s like voices in my head. Yes. Like the moralizing around what’s virtuous. As you’ve said, like I need. I was bad now I need to be good. And, you know, various points in my life exercising way too much or not eating enough. I still struggle with that. I get distracted. I sort of am just sporadic in my eating. And then schematically, the way that I sort of maybe it’s from ballet class, you know, when I was eight, but the way I just like, always find myself sucking in my stomach. Why do I do that? Right? Like, it’s so uncomfortable, but just sort of to, like, even now, just let my stomach go and, like, hold it, gently cuddle it with my hand, but. It’s so strong, as you said. And part of it is like. Yes. Beauty standards. Part of it for me too, has been the acknowledgment of age and change and this sort of insistence that I am the same, whatever the same means. And so for me, it’s I’ve been particularly hard on myself after I’ve each of my kids, where I’m like, I need to get my body back.
[00:54:28] Jameela Oof.
[00:54:28] Elise Like that fucking language. Sorry, didn’t mean to swear.
[00:54:31] Jameela Oh, no, please. I love a swear word. I’m English.
[00:54:33] Elise Oh ok.
[00:54:35] Jameela I hate all the other words you put between the swear words.
[00:54:38] Elise Fuck fuck fuck.
[00:54:38] Jameela They feel so unnecessary to me. Let it out, girl. Yeah.
[00:54:43] Elise So. But that. Oh, get my fucking body back. Like what? At a certain point, you start interrupting, right? I’m like, What does that mean? And why do I care and how can I allow myself to change? I am a mother of two boys. Why, yes, my boobs are much lower. I don’t. Why do I care who is telling me to care? It’s not my husband. It’s certainly not my parents. Who? Why? What am I listening to? What radio station am I listening to? And so I’ve had to really disconnect and get comfortable with myself and new and it’s a constant work in progress. I mean, this isn’t just like one and done thinking.
[00:55:30] Jameela No it’s just it’s just allowing yourself like a portal into a happier place. So don’t worry you can go here with that terrible thought and throw it in there and leave it there and get on with your fucking day because how much more I accomplish now, how many more friends I have, how much of a better friend I am, a better girlfriend, I’m a better employee and employer like I, I, I am 100% more of a human being who’s more present now that I eat properly. And I’m. I think I’m like. From my general kind of most disordered eating weight, I think I’m about 40 pounds heavier, 45 pounds heavier, and every pound of that has contributed to my happiness and an extra day of laughter and just an extra wonderful memory. I don’t have any memories from my twenties that I can recount joyfully because I was so fucking hungry, but I literally don’t remember what happened. And you know, you and I were laughing on the phone yesterday, but that, you know, sometimes when you do those like crazy, they call them cleanses and they’re not cleanses, but you starve yourself and you just drink juice or just have soup and you feel kind of amazing. For a few days, like after day four, you feel terrible on day three and then euphoric on like day five, day six. I once did a 28 day juice cleanse. And I, I honestly felt like, high, I was so and I felt like, oh my God, this is evolution. I feel spiritually sound. And then my doctor was like, No, you’re dying. You’re dying, your brain is dying. You’re getting ready for the end is what’s happening here.
[00:57:11] Elise Your body is eating itself.
[00:57:11] Jameela Yeah, yeah. My my doctor was like, Your brain is not functioning anymore. What you see is euphoria is the beginnings of death, because you can’t. Nothing can function. You are five foot ten. You are killing yourself. You look like you’re dying and your brain is actually no longer functioning. And that is where the anxiety is going. Everything’s just leaving your body in preparation for death. It is not euphoria, it’s the end. It’s the end of the road that you are sensing and that I never, ever did that shit again to myself ever again. It really contextualized when it really broke down the chemistry of what was happening to my brain and the order in which it was happening. I was like, Oh my God, I can’t believe that this is a multibillion dollar industry.
[00:57:58] Elise But this is why, like cleansing has sort of this spiritual association or, you know, was perceived as a way of like cleansing yourself from.
[00:58:08] Jameela People so you feel closer to God. You are you’re closer to God. You’re on your fucking way. Yeah.
[00:58:14] Elise Yeah, no. And, and just even the language around it, which I was never conscious of, but cleaning and dirtiness and again, sort of that goodness versus badness.
[00:58:26] Jameela And you’ve worked within wellness culture, right? But like, it’s important to be transparent about that. It’s been something that you were doing, I think, from a place of thinking you were genuinely, you know, trying to be very helpful. But for you personally, it turned out to not be.
[00:58:40] Elise Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, it’s bigger than it’s, it’s so. One. It’s a fine line, right? Because as you know, as someone who has auto immune diseases, it gets very confused and conflated and conjoined and the world is very, quote unquote, toxic. Right. We recognize that it’s raining glyphosate. We know that the earth is in peril. And so I think that the feeling is valid of like, I am going to use my body as a bulwark against this chaos and contamination. And then it sort of starts slipping, but it starts from this place of and I think, you know, rightly or wrongly, women are we do we cycle with the moon, Right? We highly identify with nature much more much more connected in a way than I think men are to what it is to have this sort of creative shedding body. And so I think it’s an it’s natural in some ways to be like, I will keep my I can create I can control the chaos out there by controlling the chaos in here. I will keep this under control. And it can slip very easily from. A friend was just telling me how her daughter has been hospitalized because she doesn’t have an image based eating disorder. But she has an allergy and she has started restricting to the extent that she is essentially has induced anorexia. She thinks that she can’t eat anything because it will kill her. And you start to take you start thinking about in the context of sort of people without allergies. And you see it all over Los Angeles.
[01:00:17] Jameela Yeah orthorexia and also the problem is, is like with wellness culture, is that some of the as you said, some of the the tenements of like yoga or some sort of exercise and meditation and whole foods rather than fast food and less sugar or like fruit, sugar instead of other kinds of like all these things find better. A bit of Spirulina never killed anyone. All good, lovely. Do meditate. Sounds great. But it’s the fact that any time money starts to be made from something, it becomes a slippery slope. And then we forget that humans are incredibly individual with incredibly individual needs. And so these catch all diets or detoxes or cleanses just don’t work for everyone. They actually work sustainably for very, very, very few people. Like we know, the diets have a 95% failure rate.
[01:01:02] Elise Oh right. Engineered for failure.
[01:01:03] Jameela And because everyone yeah. And everyone’s genetics are different. And so that’s why you have to be very careful. And and I know you’ve been on your own kind of journey with getting away from that wellness restriction.
[01:01:13] Elise And although I’m still concerned primarily now about sort of the bro, the bro wellness biohacking tracking, treating ourselves like machines, that’s like a whole nother ten like track to me, that’s like, let’s just live. Can we live? Can we actually enjoy our limited time on this planet?
[01:01:38] Jameela Yeah, 100%. Well, it just. It doesn’t. This is not what we were supposed to use our bodies for. You know, we were we were supposed to use our bodies for function. We were supposed to use our bodies to take us to pleasure and to community and to make families together. Like, this is. This is what our bodies were originally for. Whether or not you want to have a fucking baby or not, because we all know I don’t because I won’t shut the fuck up about it. Our bodies are not supposed to be billboards. Our bodies are not supposed to be structures of obedience. And like a tally card of how many things I got right today. And it is something that is so specifically for women and. And femme presenting people that makes me so incredibly frustrated. And I can’t believe how long I’ve spent giving in to it. And it’s it’s I think what’s important about your book is that it kind of un-gaslights us about the fact that when did this can’t be natural this must have started somewhere. Where did it start? Why did it start? What are these feelings of discomfort? Why do I always hate myself?
[01:02:45] Elise Mm hmm.
[01:02:46] Jameela You’re giving us the language for that. And I think that’s very cool. And so now you are trying to not restrict yourself. You are no longer doing diet and cleansers, etc..
[01:02:57] Elise Nope. No, I. I don’t. I refuse to weigh myself. In fact, I haven’t been to the doctor in a minute, but I just. I don’t even want to get on a scale there. I just don’t. I don’t care. And I also would much prefer to rely on my own knowing or sense of whether I feel good. You know, I think instead of outsourcing how I feel about myself to a number, to a tracking app, to whatever it may be, now I’m like, Do I have an adequate amount of energy? Do I need rest? Do I want to go take a walk? Like, how do I feel? And reconnecting with that, I think that was the the origins of of wellness. Everything you mentioned sort of the tenants drink water, eat some whole foods, move your body, learn how to breathe. And also this like knowing that women have our own intuition about are we okay? Are we not okay?
[01:03:57] Jameela And somehow somewhere along the line that changed from am I okay or am I not okay to to others think I am okay?
[01:04:05] Elise Yes.
[01:04:06] Jameela Or do they not think I’m okay? And that therein lies the the feeling that makes us all feel so numb and disassociated is that we’re no longer doing the shit for ourselves.
[01:04:15] Elise No longer responsible. We’ve given away our sovereignty. And so I am just all about trying to take it back. And rather than letting any external authority adjudicate or tell me if I’m good, that’s an internal process for for me alone.
[01:04:31] Jameela Yeah. Yeah. I think I very much have been on that journey for the last six or seven years myself. It is an ongoing battle. Uh, you will find very few people who are, especially if they were born and near the nineties, who who have a perfect level of balance with their body or with food or with allowing ourselves to stand out or to seek attention or to get attention or to enjoy attention or to enjoy ambition and success. We’re all, you know, on our way with that. And that’s okay if you haven’t fully arrived. There is no final destination here. But what, I guess I just want to ask you, as you’re going to leave me soon, is what do you most hope people get from this book?
[01:05:18] Elise Context. I think that the book is in a system because I think that there are sort of a many great single, single emotion or single issue books for women about anger or food. And so what I hope people get, is is the system and the wider context for where these ideas came from, how they’re linked together and how they’re alive in us. And I think as people read the book. What the the thing that I keep hearing is where the same person or how are you in my head or these are all things I knew but didn’t know how to say because I think what I’ve hopefully done is just created a container where we can all find ourselves and recognize that these voices that we hear in our heads are not unique to us. They are culture. Alive.
[01:06:11] Jameela Yeah, and I think something I didn’t. A point that wasn’t made clearly enough because we went off on so many tangents earlier is that while we think that we need to get out of our own way and out of each other’s way, as women were never saying that we are the main problem, but we have no chance of fixing or fighting that problem if we are not aligned in ourselves and as a group, as a community.
[01:06:39] Elise Yes.
[01:06:41] Jameela Right. I just want to make that clear so that it doesn’t feel like we’re all just talking [inaudible].
[01:06:45] Elise Watch out. I think women are amazing. Amazing. And generally excellent. We know how to survive and thrive in a system that was not built for us, which in many ways gives us an advantage for this next era over men. And I hope they come along. I hope they learn how to sort of lean into this rather than resist what’s coming and to follow our lead.
[01:07:14] Jameela Yeah, I love championing other women. I fucking live for it. And I see them always as like, Oh my God, the strength in numbers. I know that divided we’re conquered because it’s happening right now in front of us in the Supreme Court. And so I’m obsessed with championing other women and other women’s work and never looking at a woman as taking up a space that should be mine.
[01:07:38] Elise Yes.
[01:07:38] Jameela I see the opportunities in infinite, and I think it’s really important to try and break a scarcity mindset. I’m thrilled to be able to celebrate your work. I know you’ve been through your own very personal journey to get to this point, and I appreciate you sharing that work with us and I hope everyone finds it really helpful.
[01:07:57] Elise Thank you. This was a joy.
[01:08:00] Jameela Before you go, will you tell me. Perfect. Perfect way to end off what you just said about not weighing yourself. What do you weigh?
[01:08:08] Elise I don’t know. Just kidding. I weigh creativity. Community, curiosity, and sisterhood.
[01:08:18] Jameela Amen. Thank you so much. What a pleasure.
[01:08:21] Elise Thank you.
[01:08:24] Jameela Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I Weigh with Jameela Jamil is produced and researched by myself, Jameela Jamil, Erin Finnegan and Kimmie Gregory. It is edited by Andrew Carson. And the beautiful music you are hearing now is made by my boyfriend, James Blake. If you haven’t already, please rate review and subscribe to the show. It’s a great way to show your support. We also have a bonus series exclusively on Stitcher Premium called Ask Jameela Anything. Check it out. You can get a free month of Stitcher Premium by going to Stitcher.com/premium and using the promo code I Weigh. Lastly over at I Weigh we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at 18186605543 or email us what you weigh at IWeighpodcast@gmail.com. And now we would love to pass the mic to one of our fabulous listeners. Here’s an I Weigh from one of our listeners. I weigh my work as a domestic violence intervention program co facilitator. I weigh offering men safe spaces free of judgment and shame, where real conversations can happen, where they are open to listening. I weigh my belief that communities heal when men heal. I weigh helping men learn that they don’t need to use power and control over others. I weigh my belief that men can heal.
September 28, 2023
This week, Jameela is joined by crime journalist and activist Isla Traquair and they cover her long spanning career reporting on true crime to recently becoming a victim of emotional violence and stalking herself.
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