5. Body Image, Eating Disorders, and the Gendered Politics of Food

Rundown

In this episode we work through issues relating to body image, eating disorders and gendered experiences with food, drawing a lot from our own experiences. The impetus for this episode came from a series of comments that Mexie received on her channel that focused on her appearance. We begin by discussing these, and then move into discussions of our own experiences with eating disorders and gendered experiences with food, including veganism. We then discuss the tropes of the ‘cool girl’ and the ‘natural beauty’, and discuss how these relate to capitalism and patriarchy more broadly. This was a really personal episode for us (and less structured than we’re used to), but we felt that these were important topics to bring up publicly. We hope you enjoy!

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Transcript

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THEME MUSIC
00:00:15:00MARINEWelcome to the Vegan Vanguard.

MEXIEA show about all things from the perspective of two revolutionary vegan women.

MARINEI’m Marine.

MEXIEAnd I’m Mexie. And today, we’re going to be talking about a number of things related to body image and gendered politics of food, and yeah, this myth of women, or I guess any femme-presenting people having to look naturally beautiful. So, we just want to give a little disclaimer to the listeners before we start, that this is really like a processing session for us, where we work through some of these issues around food and body-image, etc., together.  
00:00:55:00MEXIEIn our personal lives…so with that, we also just wanted to give a content warning before we start, that we will be talking about dieting…body-image, eating disorders, sizeism, body-shaming, etc. So, yeah, just before we start, we just wanted to let you…know that this will be on the docket for today.

MARINEYeah, absolutely. 

MEXIESo, we want to start—well, first of all, we wanted to announce [LAUGHS] maybe you should announce it.

MARINEThat Mexie is a doctor. Woo-woo. And that I have a podcast with a doctor.

MEXIE[LAUGHS] Woo-hoo, yeah, so–

MARINEAnd I’m so fucking proud of you.

MEXIEThank you. Yeah, so I defended my dissertation. Actually, it was a while ago now. It was in December. So, I am doing the revisions, but yeah, I am technically a doc, so…

MARINEYeah, and you worked so hard, and…
00:01:56:00MARINEFeel like it was a…labor of love and tears.

MEXIEMany, yeah, many tears, but [LAUGHS] …

MARINELove and mostly tears.

MEXIEMostly tears. [LAUGHS] At this point, I hate it, but it’s–

MARINEAnd the revisions are just tears—no love.

MEXIEExactly. [LAUGHS] But yeah, so yeah, thank you for that announcement. [LAUGHS] 

MARINEYeah, what did you do your dissertation on? I know, but our viewers might not.

MEXIEWell, it’s one of those things where it’s really hard to explain, but… [LAUGHS] I basically looked at neoliberalism and conservation policy. So, I looked at austerity politics and the effects that that would have on the politics of conservation practice. So, I basically looked at controversies around privatizing national-park services, and the ability for public and indigenous actors to actually participate in decision-making.
00:03:01:00MEXIESo yeah, if that makes any sense.

MARINEYeah, that sounds fascinating. Have you planned to make a video on it?

MEXIEMm, not yet. I mean, part of it, I made a video on the…treatment of first nations in Canada, which touches on a bit of it in one of the chapters. But yeah, maybe I’ll dive into it in a video coming up. Mm-hmm.

MARINEWell, congrats.

MEXIEThank you. Okay, so we had a number of new patrons to shout out this week. We have Omar, Helena, Kyle [Coquillet], Serena Gallagher, and Leslie from Mad Blender. So, thank you so much to everyone who has very generously donated to us this month, or these past couple of weeks.
00:03:58:00MEXIEIf you want to support the show, you can become a monthly patron. We have that up on our website at Vegan Vanguard. And you could also give us a one-time PayPal donation.

MARINEYeah, thanks everyone. And a special thank you to Mad Blender, because I love her channel.

MEXIEYeah, she’s awesome.

MARINEAnd yeah, she’s super awesome. And I actually know that many people in the world are named Omar, but I’m wondering if it’s the same Omar as the one who comments on my channel pretty often.

MEXIELast name is…

MARINEI’m not sure I know this person’s last name.

MEXIEOkay, never mind.

MARINEI just know that I always see the username Omar, and they leave really nice comments–

MEXIEMaybe it’s the same one.

MARINEIt especially touches my heart if it’s this person. 

MEXIE[LAUGHS] So yeah, another way to support the show…non-monetarily, would be to share…our episodes with friends, or leave us a rating or review on iTunes.
00:04:59:00MARINEDo we have one yet?

MEXIENo. [LAUGHTER] 

MARINEOh, man.

MEXIEYeah.

MARINEWe’re going to keep on talking about this, you guys [TALKS OVER] we’re going to be like, so, do we have one yet?

MEXIEI know, I keep checking–

MARINEI feel like it’s…yeah, it’s, at this point, we’ve over-, it’s going to be so exciting when we have one. It’s a lot of pressure for the listeners [TALKS OVER] there’s a lot of fucking expectations around this first review.

MEXIEWe’re going to have to set up like a mighty patron reward for whoever is [LAUGHTER] the first person to leave us a review. Anyway, [CLEARS THROAT] so, shall we dive in?

MARINESo, yeah, yes, yes, we should, because we have so many different topics to cover, in kind of no particular order. Mexie and I have been voice-noting about this episode all week, and I feel like, in general, we talk about this so much.
00:05:59:00MARINEBut, we…I guess what prompt-, what motivated this [week], in particular, was that Mexie got…a very upsetting and annoying comment on her channel. And… I don’t know, we were getting so pissed ranting about it, that we were like, fuck it, we’re going to do an episode on it this week. [LAUGHTER] So, do you want to start off by reading it?

MEXIESure. Actually, I, this person deleted it. So, it was actually a series of comments.

MARINEOh, joy.

MEXIEWhich all have now been deleted. So, it started on my…’freedom for all’ video. And this person came on and basically said that they really appreciated what I was saying, and they love my work, and they agreed. However, it was off-putting that I was so…
00:06:56:00MEXIE[LAUGHS] I can’t even remember. It was like, you’re too perfectly groomed, and you’re obsessed with excessive grooming. And I was like, pardon? And it was like, why do you keep looking at yourself in the viewfinder. And I’m like, because I’m trying to record myself. I’m trying to see…when I look into the camera, that’s what I see, right? I don’t know. So, anyway, it was just very off-putting. It was really just like, I don’t like how groomed you are. And I was like, okay. 
And it actually kind of made me self-conscious, to the point that when I filmed my most recent video on radical food politics, I actually spent time thinking about, okay, what shirt should I put on, that doesn’t look like it’s too professional [TALKS OVER] [LAUGHS]—yeah, what can I put on that looks a bit more casual. And I was like, okay, I guess I can try and do my makeup in a way that is…
00:07:56:00MEXIELess obviously, or is less, ‘cause I had a lot of color in the last video. And so it’s like, okay, maybe I can try and fix that. [LAUGHS] So, I actually had thought that I did tone it down, and that I had addressed this concerns [LAUGHS] of excessive grooming. Then, I got this comment on my latest episode, or my latest video [CLEARS THROAT] and I quote… [LAUGHTER] I really appreciate and thank you for sharing what you research, but if you believe in anything that you say, why the fuck do you care so much about how you and your fucking hair looks?
Your opinion, quote-unquote, which otherwise would be really powerful, is really diminished, in my opinion, by the obvious excessive concern you have with your ‘not a hair out of place’ material image. You are gorgeous.

MARINE[TALKS OVER] Oh, my god.

MEXIEYeah. [LAUGHS] You are gorgeous. Age-wise, your skin and hair is probably flawless. And if not, who cares? 
00:09:00:00MEXIEIt displays a truth that nothing is perfect, which is good, and a normal thing. [LAUGHS] 

MARINEOh, my god. It’s like, who cares? Apparently, you fucking care, because you’re policing my appearance.

MEXIERight. And I’m just like, you know what? Age-wise, I’m sure your skin is perfect. I’m like, okay, now that I’ve finally gone to a dermatologist, my skin is getting a lot better. But no, I have had a lot of problems with it my entire life. Sorry that I don’t want to tell the story, like it tells a story. Yeah, the story of my eating disorder, and my hormonal balance stemming from that, for years, and years, and years. [LAUGHS] 
Causing me a lot of stress and harm to my skin and face. Yeah, is this a story that I want to be telling to everybody while I’m just trying to educate them on political economy? It is not. Anyway, it goes on. There’s like a whole other paragraph, so [CLEARS THROAT] the image that you seem to want to portray, since you evidently look at it [in] your videos, is feeding so wholeheartedly into the capitalist system that you claim to critique in your work.
00:10:01:00MEXIEBecause so many have been brainwashed by society over the years to think that they need to enhance their looks artificially, and that this is their quote-unquote choice, just goes to show how deep and ingrained this issue is. And don’t the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, vegan or otherwise, love it? Come on, Mexie. Please walk the talk.

MARINEOh, my fucking god. I literally want to murder this person.

MEXIE[LAUGHS] It’s not even done. Your content is so fabulous in its own right, and I doubt that your audience is drawn to it by your staged hair, makeup, and thumbnail expression.

MARINEOh, my god, thank you for giving me approval, mister man. I am so thankful. I feel like he’s doing this weird thing. We don’t even know this person’s a man, but like, he is. He’s doing this weird thing that dudes do, where they are incredibly patronizing and criticizing, but then put in a few comments in there that are sort of hitting on you, or they’re sort of complimenting you.
00:10:55:00MARINEAnd I feel like…they’re trying to see, okay, well, if I get this person to be insecure enough, and I get her to think that she really needs to look up to me for knowledge and validation, then it’s a really good flirting tactic.

MEXIEOh yeah, we’ve both experienced that.

MARINEWe have, well…yes. [LAUGHTER] 

MEXIEBut yeah, I mean, I don’t know if this person is…male, or how they identify, but yeah, really, it’s just, yeah. So, they go on: I get that I’ll probably be criticized for this comment, but since it’s a feeling I get every time I listen to one of Mexie’s otherwise-awesome videos, I just want to put it in the idea of accessibility out there. And I feel like, jumping off of what you were saying, it’s like, yeah, the only reason that it would be okay for me to do that, is that they think that I’m quote-unquote gorgeous. If I wasn’t, then it would be not okay to show your real self.

MARINEAnd that you’re young, and your skin isn’t too wrinkly yet. 
00:11:56:00MEXIE[LAUGHS] Yeah, exactly, right? Your skin is probably fine, and you look fine, so you should just not do this. And I’m just like, yeah, is this the reaction you have when you watch every single female YouTuber? Or is it just certain ones, you know what I mean? [LAUGHS] Anyway, so this person deleted that comment. I was going to reply to it, and they deleted it, and I was like, okay. But then, they came back and posted another comment saying, capitalism, where people are convinced that they need to dye and straighten their hair, and cover their faces in makeup. And I replied to that one–

MARINEWhat does that even mean?

MEXIEImplying that I’m just…a sucker–

MARINEOkay.

MEXIEYeah, I’m just a slave to capitalism, and I’m dyeing my hair and putting on makeup because I’m a tool of the system. Yeah. So…I replied to that one, being like, your comments are incredibly ignorant.
00:12:56:00MEXIEI have naturally straight hair. Yes, I dye it, and yes, I put on makeup in my videos. Please, stop telling me how you want me to look while I’m delivering free content. This is how I’m comfortable presenting myself. Thank you very much. You know? [LAUGHS] I just really, I have so much to say about this [TALKS OVER] damn, girl. But yeah, especially as a woman…coming into the YouTube sphere, and being, when I started, I was one of the only women in the leftist…sphere. Really just one of the only women talking about political economy, specifically. So, it was very male-dominated. It was a very different place than I was used to, obviously in academia, and obviously in spaces that were quote-unquote safe, and that people would actually engage with you respectfully. Even just being a woman on this platform, I get so much attention from the alt-right, and neo-nazis, and everyone telling me to get back in the kitchen, or that I don’t deserve to vote, or that I don’t deserve to live, or that I’m out of my lane, and just like…
00:14:03:00MEXIEI’m really sexually aggressive. Like demeaning stuff. So I’m like, to build myself up and [LAUGHS] put myself out there, and then…you’re just as bad as them. You’re just as bad as someone who would come on and say, you’re an ugly whore. You need to get in the kitchen. Because, at the end of the day, you’re still trying to police my appearance on this platform. I’m literally here to share information, and you like the information that I’m sharing.  So, why are you spending all of this time, investing all this [LAUGHS] time and energy telling me how to look, and shaming me for not looking the way that you think I should look when I’m delivering this content?

MARINEYeah, it’s like a lose/lose game. Similarly, I feel like I’ve gotten comments, so many comments that are like, well, it’s too bad that you’re so fucking crazy, or you have these beliefs that are so wrong, because you’re otherwise pretty fuckable. 
00:15:03:00MARINEAnd it’s like, so that’s the people who don’t like your ideas. But then the people who do like your ideas, like this person, might say, it’s a shame, ‘cause your ideas are great, but you’re putting on way too much makeup. It’s like, can we just leave our appearance out of this, please? Or at least, can you just not put that in a comment, and use it to…let a message seep through, about my content? [CLEARS THROAT] 

MEXIENo, exactly. And I’m just, for male-presenting YouTubers who get on there, you don’t really know if they’ve spent any time preparing. It’s not as equally visible to the naked eye. But I’m sure people actually don’t go on there looking like they just got out of bed. They obviously [LAUGHS] probably do something to prepare themselves to be on camera, and be in front of the world.
00:15:57:00MEXIEBut it’s just that much more obvious, I guess, with a woman, because you can actually tell if she’s washed her hair, or brushed it, or something. Whereas with men, it’s like, okay, maybe they didn’t do as much work. But yeah, it’s just people don’t want to see that labor that you put in. But I’m just like, ironically, I put in more time and energy trying to appear less made-up [LAUGHS] in this last video, because I was self-conscious about that first comment. And I’m like, why am I spending time thinking so difficultly about how I need to look when I’m talking about this? I just want to share this information.

MARINEMm-hmm. And go on there…looking how you feel most comfortable–

MEXIERight.

MARINEAt the end of the day, you know?

MEXIEYeah, I mean, it takes a lot to put yourself out there, so of course [TALKS OVER] I want to be comfortable with how I look. I don’t want to look back at the video and be like, oh geez, this looks terrible, you know what I mean?
00:16:55:00MEXIEI want it to look good as a video. Yeah, so–

MARINEAnd one of the…reactions I had when you told me about that comment, and I don’t know, what we’ve been talking about is that…women, this whole trope of looking more natural, or men wanting women who supposedly don’t put that much effort into how they look, is like that person thinking that they could tell how obsessed with your looks you were by your makeup, which probably took you like 15 minutes, right, before the video. The whole idea that you can see how much effort someone puts into their appearance is super-flawed, because women are really encouraged to put so much effort into their body, and how they look, in ways that are otherwise not visible, right. So, they have to fit a certain body-size, which can sometimes be a fucking lifetime project.
00:17:59:00MARINEAnd thinking about all the calories that you ingest. And there’s so much advertising about how to make your skin soft, how to…not have cellulite. Obviously, plastic surgery is a whole other industry. And also, yeah, being quote-unquote natural is synonymous with being very conventionally attractive. And if you’re not that perfect image of beauty, then you have to spend so much effort in trying to conform to it.  But those efforts aren’t really taken, are never taken into consideration. And obviously, for non-white women, it’s also, all the labor that goes into making black hair look a certain way, to ascribe to white beauty standards. So, just this whole idea that this person comes on and scrutinizes your appearance, and basically shames you for being a hypocrite, because you put on makeup, like what, so you do think that if I didn’t put on makeup, all of that other labor… 
00:19:01:00MARINEThat we’re constantly pressured to take on wouldn’t exist?

MEXIEYeah, I mean, I think we’re going to get into eating disorders later, but yeah, this person obviously does not know at all the struggles that I have been through in terms of eating disorders [LAUGHS] my entire life, skin issues, body-image issues. I was so thin, for so long, and it was so unhealthy for me, it was so unnatural. To the point where I developed chronic illness, and a hormonal imbalance. And so now, I’ve gained quite a lot of weight back. And it was very hard for me…at first, dealing with this new body, this new image, because I had spent so much of my life dealing with these terrible issues…inside my own mind.
00:19:57:00MEXIEAnd so, it’s taken a lot for me to actually be body-positive in the body that I have right now. And so, for me to actually get to this place, and then kind of go out online, and then to still have people scrutinizing me and saying that…forget all of that drama [LAUGHS] that you’ve been through your entire life. Just present your natural self. It’s like, you have no clue, [LAUGHS] you know what I mean? And it’s like, maybe yeah, it is problematic that I have been raised in this environment, and that I do have these issues. And yeah, it does have a lot to do with capitalism. But you’re not, you just telling me, forget about it, is not going to solve anything for me, you know what I mean? It’s just going to make me feel even more self-conscious about, well shit, yeah, I guess I still am caught in my terrible, you know what I mean? Even though I feel like I’ve progressed so much, and gotten to this place where I do actually feel okay in my body, you know?
00:20:57:00MARINERight. And maybe at an earlier time, when your…mental health was actually a lot worse, and a lot more tied to capitalism, or the things that this person criticizes, but where you looked quote-unquote more natural, because maybe your skin was better at that time, or something like that. Or maybe, I don’t know, you…wore less makeup. Just the audacity to think, I don’t even want to say the audacity, because I do think that our culture just thinks like this. I think this attitude is super prevalent, unfortunately. But that the person can just judge, and have an accurate depiction of how much effort you do and don’t put into your appearance, is just totally wrong.

MEXIEAnd they have no idea what I look like in my daily life. I hardly wear makeup in my daily life. I mean, I work from home. I really don’t put some effort in if I’m just going out to a store, or something like that. But if I’m going out to see friends or something, it’s like, yeah, I’m going to wash my hair and brush it, and maybe I’ll put on some makeup.
00:21:58:00MEXIEI don’t think that’s the hugest deal. It’s kind of like those people who [LAUGHS] they try and put down anti-capitalists by being like, oh, you’re an anti-capitalist, but you still use things that were made through capitalism. Oh, wrecked. [LAUGHTER] 

MARINEYou didn’t think about that, did you?

MEXIE[LAUGHS] Yeah, exactly, right? Like oh, you’re talking about anti-capitalism, but you have makeup on your face. Oh. What? [LAUGHTER] 

MARINEIt’s like, oh, you’re right, scratch that, this system is great.

MEXIEYeah, right. Never mind, forget my entire message. I don’t know, it’s just…very upsetting.

MARINEWell, should we talk about… I don’t know, the gendered politics of food a little bit?

MEXIEI think we should. [LAUGHS] I’ve been talking, well, I’ve been talking a lot about me, so maybe you can start with…

MARINEI know, but I feel like this…I feel like this earlier part of the episode is really…
00:22:57:00MARINEI don’t know, is more relevant to your experience. I’m happy to jump in, but I also feel like what you have to share is really valuable, so…

MEXIEOkay, so–

MARINE[TALKS OVER] So, fly away.

MEXIEI don’t really know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the relationship with food that I had in my family, and my family’s general relationship with food. So, I come from an Italian background. And I don’t know, my nana was kind of just the typical, eat, eat, like you’re skin and bones. Eat your food, [LAUGHS] you know? And picking up all the stuff. And if you left food on the table, she’d be like, no. You had to finish the food on your plate. Even if you were full, it was like, no, you finish it. It wasn’t like, listen to your body, and let your body tell you if you are full. It was like, finish all the food, you know? [CLEARS THROAT] So anyway, yeah, we ate kind of like trash growing up.
00:23:55:00MEXIEEspecially, my mom worked a lot. And it’s not her fault. We just, my family just had no idea what was healthy food, and what was not. We ate McDonald’s all the time. We had Pizza Hut every day from school. Actually, [LAUGHS] they would send me to school with a Coca-Cola and Lunchables. I don’t know if people are old enough to know what Lunchables are, but they’re just these packaged meals that are just fake.  It was just fake little pizzas, or fake little crackers and shit. And then [Dunkaroos], and [Joe Louis], and fruit roll-ups. It was just candy. And then, I would come home, and I would just eat candy until dinner, which was just like, whatever. [LAUGHS] We had good food sometimes, but just the amount of shit that we ate on top of that, was ridiculous.  And my mom and my nana were overweight, and so was I, as a child. And they really…hated their bodies. They would always be super self-deprecating. 
00:24:55:00MEXIEMy nana would not go out to parties because she would be like, oh, I don’t look good enough, I don’t look good enough. My mom would be the same way. But anyway, I feel like that kind of transla-, or trickled down to me, because…my mom, a lot of the time, would look at me and be like, oh, you’re getting fat. We need to put you on a diet, we need to do this and that.  And I was like, well, you’re feeding me, you know what I mean. I would get really offended, because I was already a bit self-conscious, because I was a little kid that was a bit more overweight. And yeah, I mean, that’s just hard to be, as a kid. So, I was already, mm. So, she would say this kind of stuff, and I would just be so mad. I’d be like, you need to go on a diet. [LAUGHS]  I would just flip out. So, I already have a pretty bad…body-image, or feeling of food. I just want to give a little disclaimer, that I’m not saying that eating junk-food is horrible, or that it’s necessarily going to make you overweight, or that it’s necessarily going to mean that you have a [disorder eating] with food.
00:26:00:00MEXIEOr it’s the same thing that, if someone appears to be overweight, there’s no way of knowing that they actually just sit around eating junk-food all the time. So, I’m not saying that. Me, now…it’s [LAUGHS] definitely hormonal. My whole body, it doesn’t really matter what I eat, you know what I mean? I could eat whatever. I could eat nothing, and my body will react in a certain way. So, you really just can’t tell…from looking at a person, what they’re eating. [TALKS OVER]  But anyway, so even despite all of that, I still felt pretty confident, because I feel like this was back, this was before the days of the internet, even. It was the early days. When I was in my early teens [TALKS OVER] and stuff. The early days, where things just weren’t so, not everybody was online, not everybody was connect. You had cell phones, but you would just text each other. 
00:26:55:00MEXIEYou didn’t have smartphones or anything. And I still felt rather confident in myself. I don’t know, I just had this kind of complicated relationship with myself, and with food. I really, I didn’t understand why I was bigger than other people, because I saw them eating similar things, but they were thin, and I was not. And obviously, I just felt really bad. My mom would put us on these diets all the time.  She’d be like, okay, we’re going to do Atkins. And then, that would last a couple of weeks, and we’d just die, or fall off of it, and then be like, okay, now we’re going to do this [LAUGHS] new one, right? So, it was just this yo-yo dieting, and me just feeling all the time like I wasn’t getting anywhere, and just really upset. So then, I left home, went to university, and… I started to…well, I learned a lot. I was in environmental studies and anthropology, and I started to learn about the global meat industry, and how fucking unsustainable and disgusting it was, and just how…
00:28:01:00MEXIEIt was the most pressing problem, like we had to stop eating meat. So, I was like, okay…I went vegetarian. And I feel like that was the first time that I was outside of the house. I started to live with other girls who had very different relationships with food…than I had had growing up. And I…yeah, I just kind of fell into this thing where, I used my vegetarianism as a way to legitimize what was growing…extreme orthorexia.  I would just be like, it would just give me an excuse to not eat all of this junk-food that I would normally eat, ‘cause I was like, I can’t, I’m vegetarian. Oh, I can’t eat it. So, I would just eat literally vegetables. I was so unhealthy, though. I ate vegetables and cheese. I would not eat carbs.
00:28:56:00MEXIEI thought carbs made you fat. So, I [LAUGHS] would sooner die than eat a carb. I did not eat desserts. I was just, yeah, it was just extremely…problematic, and I was working out like a fiend. I’ve always been very athletic. Even when I was a kid, I was super athletic, and I was really good at sports. I was really good at soccer and everything. So, I just kind of maintained that. But because I was just kind of stopped eating, it was really problematic. And then…I really upped my…workout game, once I saw that I was getting results. And then, it just really fed into this…cycle, like this snowball cycle of me just, yeah, eating as little as possible. And really, [LAUGHS] eating just literally vegetables–

MARINEWow.

MEXIE–and working out so much. So, I was, oh my gosh, I was real thin. It was ridiculous. 
00:29:57:00MEXIEAnd it was such a strain on my body. But I didn’t really realize, and I was just so happy. Well, I wasn’t happy. I was obviously [LAUGHS] extremely tortured.

MARINEMiserable.

MEXIEYeah, [LAUGHS] extremely depressed, and had a lot of problems. But I was just so, the one thing that I was like, wow, look at me. I finally did it. I finally figured it out. And I would talk to my family as if I knew, like I was the expert on nutrition. I mean, and the sad thing was, that I was pretty much following a sports-nutrition kind of a thing.  So many sports gurus will tell you, if you want to cut, eat protein, eat vegetables, and that’s it. And so, that’s what I was doing. I was just eating vegetarian protein, vegetables, and that’s it. And so, I was like–

MARINEI was going to say, it sounds extremely, like when you’re describing it now, with hindsight, yeah, critical hindsight on your situation.
00:30:58:00MARINEBut this sounds like so many…diet plans. Open any fitness magazine today, and I don’t know, they’re encouraging this type of behavior. It’s so fucking normal.

MEXIEI know. It really wasn’t just me sitting there, coming up with this by myself. I would go online and look at, ‘cause I was doing weightlifting, I was doing extreme cardio, like biking 100 K. I was doing all this super-fit stuff. So, I would go online and look, okay, what’s the best bodybuilding diet, or what’s the best way to cut, and whatever. Of course, I was always skipping the bulk part of that, and I was just doing a constant cut. [LAUGHS] But still, that’s what I was seeing. So, I was like, okay. And yeah, I mean, I would talk to my family as in…’cause everyone was just, wow, you’re so disciplined, you’re so, oh, I wish I had your discipline, you know what I mean. And I wish I…
00:31:55:00MEXIECould do what you do. And I was like, well, it’s easy. And I just kind of talked as if I knew what the fuck was going on. Meanwhile, it was putting such a strain on my body, because when you work out, and [LAUGHS] also, obviously, I was eating no carbs, so I needed stimulants to keep me going, constantly. So, I drank coffee all day. I did not drink water. I drank coffee, continually. 

MARINEEven later in the day?

MEXIEOh, yeah. [LAUGHS] I could drink coffee after dinner, and then go to bed, you know what I mean? I just drank it all day. And–

MARINEWhich is so funny, because you’re so sensitive to it now.

MEXIEWell, that’s why. [LAUGHS] I really fucked myself up. So, this is a cautionary tale to everyone, [LAUGHS] to not do what I did, at all. So, first of all, when you drink that much coffee, it messes up your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your stress hormone.
00:32:55:00MEXIESo, it heightens your stress hormone. And when you put that too much out of balance all the time, it starts to tax your adrenals. Another thing that heightens your stress hormone is when you’re doing a lot of physical activity. Like if you’re working out a lot, that is a stress on your body. So it also increases your stress hormone, and it taxes your adrenals. So, your adrenals are outpouring this stress hormone all the time… And kind of keeping your body on fight-or-flight mode. And they’re just becoming exhausted. And then, you get to a point where your cortisol, it’s supposed to be that when you wake up, your cortisol is high, so that it kind of lets you wake up, and gets you ready for the day, so that you’re ready in your fight-or-flight mode in the morning, to get going.  And then, it’s supposed to drop down at night, so that you feel calm or whatever, and you can go to bed. But when you keep stressing your body too much, and tax your adrenals out, then what happens is, that flips, and you have this surge of adrenaline at night, when you’re trying to go to bed.  
00:34:05:00MEXIESo, you’re exhausted, but it’s like, you’re tired, but wired, and you can’t sleep. And then, not sleeping is another thing that raises [LAUGHS] your cortisol, which messes it up even more. And then, when you wake up in the morning, it’s low, so you feel really sluggish, you can’t get out of bed, etc. So, eventually that started happening to me. And this took years. I’m talking, I did this to myself over a period of 10 years.  So, that’s started happening to me. I was losing sleep. I started developing insomnia, which just made things even worse. And then, it made me rely on coffee even more during the day. And everything was just so stressful in my body. And then, eventually that led to…hypothyroidism, which just threw my body into…
00:34:56:00MEXIEA whole meltdown. And that is basically, your thyroid controls so much in your body, and your metabolism and everything. So, I was gaining weight. And I didn’t understand why I was gaining weight. And so, I would just eat less, and work out more, which obviously just made things even worse. [LAUGHS] So anyway, eventually I figured out what the hell was going on. That’s actually when I decided to go vegan. It was a couple of years ago… [LAUGHS] because I had seen [Frilly] the banana girl say that she had cured her thyroid problem with her high-carb, low-fat diet.  So, I was like, oh, great–

MARINEDid she say that?

MEXIEYeah. 

MARINEDid she say specifically, what has that girl not cured with a vegan diet? That’s what I want to know.

MEXIE[LAUGHS] She said she cured her low thyroid function with the high-carb, low-fat vegan diet. I mean, I have to say that it really actually did help, because I did that for a long time, and then my thyroid function was restored.
00:36:00:00MEXIESo, my thyroid is fine now. But I’m still, even years after that, I was suffering with adrenal fatigue, and issues with my endocrine system. So, I’m still dealing with that…imbalance. So, still dealing with that. I’m getting so much better now. I’m finally feeling like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m pretty much almost better, I would say. Which is amazing. But it honestly took so long. And there was a long time where I just felt like nothing is ever going to get better, and I just totally fucked my whole body, and I’m done. I’m never going to be able to do anything again, [LAUGHS] I’m never going to be able to, yeah, it was just awful. But yeah, part—I would love to say that I was just immediately cured of that body-image issue when I decided to go vegan, and…focus on my health. Because the high-carb thing, it was like, you eat a ton of calories.
00:36:57:00MEXIEAnd so for me, that was…crazy, ‘cause I had always just…I had gotten to the point where I knew the calories that were in every single food. You didn’t even, it wasn’t even an effort to me. I could just look at a meal and be like, I know exactly how many calories are in there. So, I went from that, to just being like, okay, I can eat 3,000 [LAUGHS] calories of high-carb vegan food. But I was like, part of my impetus for doing that was that it was like…that whole diet was advertised as, but you’ll also get super skinny. So it was like, okay, I’ll eat as much as I want, I’ll cure my thyroid, but I’ll also be really thin. It really mattered me that I didn’t gain a bunch of weight, still.  ‘Cause I was still gaining it with the thyroid problem. So, yeah, only now do I actually feel like I’ve accepted my body, and that I’m totally out of that mindset. And it’s just a huge sigh of relief. But yeah, how many fucking years did I spend in my life, destroying myself, and leading to these problems that I’ve had now?
00:38:00:00MEXIEI took a year longer than I needed to take, to finish my PhD. I basically just wasted a year of my life being sick, because I spent so long mistreating myself, and not accepting my body [LAUGHS] for what it was.

MARINEYeah, thanks for sharing that whole story everyone that’s listening.

MEXIE[LAUGHS] 

MARINEI’m sure that must have been, that wasn’t super easy.

MEXIERight. So, kids listening, don’t do that. [LAUGHS] 

MARINESo, I have a question. When you were in that mindset of being, of obsessively working out, and being very careful with your diet, etc., did you, I don’t know exactly how to word this, but I know we’ve talked a lot about the trope of the natural girl, and trying to be cool, and trying to be similar to dudes, and not giving a fuck about anything. And anyway, we’re going to get into that later in the episode. 
00:38:56:00MARINEBut how did this obsessive mindset affect that, and how did you portray it to people? Did you try to mask it, or did you try to take on a new trope, of the girl who’s super athletic, and naturally didn’t want to eat cheeseburgers, or?

MEXIEYeah, that was exactly it. The thing is that I have a very obsessive personality, in general. So, if I decide to do something, then I just do it. And so, everyone was just like, oh, I wish I had your discipline. And I was like, really what it came down to was that I just hated how I looked before so badly, that I was like, oh, this works? I’m going to do it. It wasn’t even a consideration for me to want to go back. It was like, oh, this is working? I’m going to do it, you know what I mean. So, I very much did portray it as like, oh, I’m just super healthy, and I’m super athletic. And the thing is, I was super athletic, but I just wasn’t feeding my body.
00:39:55:00MEXIESo people didn’t really [LAUGHS] know that. They were just kind of like, wow, yeah, look at the results. That’s…nuts. I don’t know. Yeah, so I really did portray as like…this is just my new lifestyle, and I’m just a super athletes, and this is how [LAUGHS] super athletes look, and this is what super athletes eat. We don’t fuck around, you know what I mean. We don’t eat junk, or ice cream, or whatever, so. But it was…a thinly veiled veneer. I mean, I would go out to, I remember, I went to [LAUGHS] this wedding. I was always concerned about what the vegetarian meal was, because usually, people, at that time, there wasn’t a lot of chefs that knew what to make for vegetarians, so they would just make pasta. And of course, carbs for me was a big no-no. So, they would bring me [LAUGHS] out this pasta, and I would be like, no, I don’t want this. Please, just bring me vegetables, or the salad, or the sides that are going with the other thing. And then, in my purse, I would have brought tofu or something, to go with it. [LAUGHS]  
00:41:05:00MEXIEI’m so serious. I would bring my own food to be like, okay, I’m eating this. And then, I could see people around me being like, whoa, are you serious? And I was just like, yeah, you know what I mean. [LAUGHS] And then of course, dessert would come, and I would be like, oh, I don’t want it. But my partner would always eat double dessert, ‘cause he knew I wouldn’t eat the desert. So, that was a save for me, ‘cause otherwise, I would just be sitting there awkwardly being like, I don’t want it, or you know what I mean, so yeah. [LAUGHS] 

MARINEDamn.

MEXIEYeah. [LAUGHS] Did you want to…talk at all about the idea of different bodies being perceived differently when they eat certain things? Because that was something that I know you experienced a lot.
00:41:55:00MARINEYeah. So, I made a video sort of recently about this called, my gendered relationship with food, before going vegan. But as a person who, the reason that I asked that question a couple of minutes ago, about like how you maintain the appearance of being like natural and cool, even though you had this very obsessive attitude with food, was because so much of my life was spent trying to be cool, and trying to be natural. And…especially as a teenager, I think I really build up my identity around that, being…just being…super friendly with everyone, and being very close to all the men in my life, and holding them to much lower standards than I would hold any woman. Like really, really stark difference there [LAUGHTER]. 
00:42:56:00MARINESo during, I’ve always been…super thin. Like…and I hit puberty really late. I was just, I was that girl, who was like 16 and who just had the body of a little girl or whatever, and was super, super thin. And during puberty, I…my body definitely changed. And especially, I went on the pill, which really…yeah, changed the way that my body looked, and actually really fucked me up in a lot of ways.

MEXIEMe, too.

MARINEI just had so much water-retention, and I got really bad, I would just get incredibly swollen. I would get really swollen breasts, and chest…and stretch-marks everywhere, whenever that time of the month came about. It was just very intense. So, during that period, I would say that I was at a more quote-unquote normal weight, whatever the fuck that means. But that when I went off the pill, I was 22 or something…
00:44:00:00MARINEI just went right back to my weight before the pill. I just lost a lot of weight. And I was also just under a lot of stress in college, and whatever. I was super thin, and I still am super thin. I think people who don’t know me, and who haven’t eaten with me, and who don’t know my relationship with food, wonder…if I have an eating disorder. And I’m really okay with it now. I mean, as okay as you can be—meaning that I’m very confident in my way of eating, and caring for my body, so it doesn’t get to me as much.  But for a really long time, it almost… I don’t know, traumatizing is a bit too intense of a word, maybe. But it was, I would spend so much time thinking about how I was being perceived by other people, and making sure that…
00:44:57:00MARINEI did everything in my power to make them know that I didn’t have an eating disorder. I always had to eat hamburgers in public, and drink beer, and do all this stuff that I didn’t even want to do, or didn’t privately do. But I was super nervous about having an eating disorder, and I think that was directly tied to how badly I wanted to be a cool girl, and how much that image of the overly controlling food-freak didn’t fit that image. I do think that women are scrutinized in a particular way, due to the diet culture that we live in. It always strikes me as very interesting that, on the one hand, diet culture is so pervasive. All we talk about is how to eat less calories, and lose less weight. But then, on the other hand, weight loss is still veiled in this rhetoric that makes you think that it’s a secret.
00:45:55:00MARINEIt’s always like, three secrets to lose weight. [LAUGHTER] And I think that’s something that capitalism hugely benefits from, because they still can sell you the idea that you can be a size 0 if you’re naturally a size 6, or a size 8, or a size 10. When we know, actually your quote-unquote potential to lose weight, according to your body-type, is already super biologically determined. But then, I also think that that reaffirms the sort of pathologically secretive relationship we’re supposed to have with our food. And people trying to find out what a certain person eats to look the way that they do. So, I feel like that also contributed to my awareness that people were very aware of what I ate. And I think that with men, the rhetoric around weight-loss is really different, and it really centers around strength, and protein.  I completely think that the obsessive…working out, wellness culture with men, is also very oppressive and very problematic, [TALKS OVER] and leads to a lot of body-shaming. 
00:46:59:00MARINEBut I’m not sure that there is the same sort of secretive mystique about their diets. And I’ve also really noticed, with the men around me, the men in my life, even men that I’ve dated, or men that are close to me, sometimes they talk about food like they obviously have a problem with food. They go through these very intensive workout binges, where they’re hitting the gym like once or twice a day. [LAUGHTER]  They’re eating super low-calorie, they’re obsessed with their macronutrients. And then they’ll also have these binges that go the other way, where they have cheat-days, and they eat way too much, according to them. And they talk about calories obsessively. And sometimes, I look at that, and I’m like, I can never imagine myself talking about food that way, and I cannot imagine the level of alarm that I would set off around me if I ever…
00:47:56:00MARINESpoke about food that way. So, what the person says about their relationship is food is going to be interpreted by society so differently, based on the gender that they are, and the size that they are as well. Because obviously, if you’re bigger and you’re talking about restricting your food, people think it’s totally normal for you to be on a diet, and they think that larger people can’t have eating disorders.

MEXIEAbsolutely. That’s a really good point, that these body-image issues, and eating disorders or whatever, are not just for women. I definitely know men who have similar to what you were just describing, [disordered] relationships with food—either binging and then going the opposite direction, and working out, and counting calories, and being very obsessed with making sure that every single meal is… 
00:48:55:00MEXIEEncompasses the perfect macronutrients, in the exact right, weighing out their food, etc. But it’s true that people would not scrutinize that man the same way that they would scrutinize a woman doing the exact same thing. A woman doing the same thing, it would be, okay, you have a problem. And the men doing it are like, oh, you must just really…care about athleticism. [LAUGHS] Exactly. Yeah, it’s a problem.

MARINEI also think it’s very difficult to have a healthy relationship, in the society that we live in. And I also feel like you have ownership over your relationship with food, and your relationship with your body. Because at least for me, I think I was so concerned that other people thought I had an eating disorder. And also, I would just constantly get remarks on it. I feel like it’s, yeah, if you’re telling someone they’re too thin, or if you’re quote-unquote complimenting…
00:49:57:00MARINEHow tiny they are, there’s just no fucking limits. It was just, I mean, it still is, all the time, constantly. People feeling that they have the right to make remarks on my body, because they’re telling me something that society thinks is a good thing, or because they’re so obsessed with their weight, that they think it’s always a compliment if you tell someone they’re too thin, or they’re perfect, or whatever. 

MEXIEYeah, like oh, have you lost weight? [LAUGHS] 

MARINEYeah, exactly. And one little comment like that, especially at the height of just growing up, and how worried I was that other people thought [LAUGHS] I had a problem with food…yeah, one little comment like that can throw off your whole day, you know? I just don’t think that people should comment on other people’s bodies. Literally ever—unless, I don’t even know if there’s an ‘unless.’ 
00:50:55:00MARINEYeah, unless actual opinions are solicited or whatever. It’s just not okay ever, to comment on someone’s body. I really feel super strongly about that now. But I think that society politicizes women’s relationship with food so much, that it becomes hard, as a woman, to feel like you have ownership over the relationship you have with food.  I know that for me, I was always like, well, do I? I like working out, and I like going for runs. And I was like, well, is it healthy for me to go for a run? Do I really want to go for a run? Do I have a problem? The words we use to articulate to ourselves what is healthy, what is normal, what is too much, what is too little, have already been so thoroughly defined by our culture that is obsessed with food and weight.

MEXIEMm-hmm.

MARINEI’ve thought about that a lot—how to relate to the food we eat to nourish ourselves, which is, at least in our individualistic way of life, perhaps the most repetitive, personal, intimate choice we make. 
00:51:57:00MARINEUsing words that are already so saturated by the societal conversations that are exterior to you. I almost feel like, because of this, we’re robbed of a certain autonomy when it comes to our body-image. And I obviously [LAUGHS] don’t know how to fix this. Maybe inventing a whole new vocabulary. But I don’t really know how feasible that is. But yeah, did that make any sense?

MEXIEYeah, it did. Yeah, I think there’s definitely an issue in kind of like a Foucauldian sense, I feel like…none of our choices, or desires, or whatever, are completely separate from the world around us, or the way that we’ve been socialized, etc. Or the social norms that we internalize, day by day. So yeah, a lot of these things are deep-seated, that you don’t even realize. I mean, it took me how many years to realize that this was a problem, and that actually, yeah, I should be [LAUGHS] not treating my body or myself this way.
00:53:02:00MEXIEIt takes a lot, you know? But I still love working out, you know what I mean. I’m still athletic, even though my body has changed or whatever.

MARINE[TALKS OVER] Me, too.

MEXIESo yeah, it’s not a bad thing, but it’s just, when it starts to… [LAUGHS] take over your whole mind, and your whole life, and…yeah.

MARINEYeah. And what I talked about specifically on my channel, was how difficult—imagine everything that I’ve just described to you about my [LAUGHS] just heightened awareness that people were extremely aware of what I was eating all the time. Under that climate, learning about veganism, and deciding that, for ethical reasons, I wanted to be vegan…and I was just like, how am I going to do this? How am I going to come out to people as vegan? 
00:53:56:00MARINEIt was my worst nightmare. But for very personal reasons. Not because I didn’t feel super passionate about the plight of animals, but that I was thinking, this is just going to be perceived as a cover-up by other people. And also, it’s just not very cool of a cool girl to not eat ribs, and…hamburgers all the time. To all of a sudden be the downer who can only eat vegan food.  So, I actually feel like veganism, since my ethical stance on it was strong enough to make me want to go vegan, and I felt like I was on this train that I couldn’t get off anymore. [LAUGHS] Like you can’t unsee what you’ve already seen, or know…I was just like, fuck it. There’s no way I’m going to keep on eating animal products.  I feel like it forced me to confront a lot of these insecurities, because I kind of had to take on the label that had been my worst nightmare, almost, [LAUGHS] for so many years.
00:54:58:00MARINEBeing perceived as this person who does have this incredibly restrictive diet. And so, I feel like it empowered me, after definitely scaring me for a couple of months, to really take ownership over even a lot more of my beliefs. And really have to not care what other people thought, as much as possible. And I feel like I had already done that with a lot of things, about feminism and anti-racism, at that point. But I think something as personal as veganism, and your own diet, and having to publicly defend it all the time, actually really liberated me, I think, from a lot of the more insidious cross I was bearing by myself. 

MEXIEI was going to say, so do you feel as though you’re on the other side of it not, in terms of, you’ve made it?

MARINEWith food?

MEXIEWith food, and the cool-girl trope, and just kind of being okay with who you are?
00:56:01:00MARINEYeah. With food, definitely, I think. Also, because I feel so passionately about veganism, that that’s another thing. I eat for myself, for sure, for fuel. But I also eat for…or my diet has such a political implication now, that—and I believe so strongly in it, and feel like I’m defending such a larger thing, that that actually helped me feel less—and this connects to what I was saying before, having something so private as your relationship with food, be influenced by things that are so public and pervasive. The fact that there’s a political, public element to something in my diet, and what I’m choosing to eat, is actually…is also something that’s liberating, in a sense. And yeah, so I think that with my relationship with food, pretty much fully.
00:56:57:00MARINEAlso, because I’m just so [LAUGHS] unapologetic about being vegan, and…I just love the idea of eating plants. I do think that that has something to do with it. I think I was never fully comfortable with eating meat, maybe, or I—anyway. So, for the cool-girl trope, for sure. I think that…I’ve come a long way. I’ve notably analyzed and deconstructed a lot of my relationships with the men that are close to me in my life, and I realize, in hindsight, that I really tried to emulate the certain image of the successful women, in their eyes, to just construct, honestly, my entire self, as a teenager. I mean, I was always super opinionated, but I would always be opinionated, but still laugh at crude, sexist jokes. Or like, I was still critical of other women, if they were, and if that made me cooler in their eyes.
00:57:55:00MARINEAnd so, yeah, obviously, since I have views just on most things that are at such odds with [LAUGHTER] a lot of society, I think that, by default, it kind of makes me an uncool girl, quote-unquote. I think that in dating, I still struggle with it. When I date men, I think that it comes through a lot—a lot more. And I don’t find myself acting that way at all when I date women. But I think, with men, I’m constantly trying to show that I’m not too attached, that I’m super independent. All these things that, yes, I am. But I’ve internalized so much, the kind of trope of the nagging wife, or the nagging girlfriend, that doesn’t just let a dude just be, lie around with his buddies and eat chicken wings, and watch the soccer game. Like oh, why doesn’t she just stop being such a bitch, and like oh my god, she’s trying to put a ring on it.
00:58:58:00MARINEI just want to fuck around a little more, whatever. I really think that I was so conditioned by that, and I really tried to unlearn it. But I have a very hard time being…I have a very hard time voicing criticism…that are legitimate, but…I’m just so scared of being seen as a whiner, I think, with the men that I date… That, I don’t know. I mean, I still am super, super transparent about my beliefs, like my political beliefs. About everything I think about, like veganism, and sexism, and capitalism, etc. But I think that with them, I’m just so scared of being critical of anything that they do, or being portrayed as a downer. So, that is definitely something that I’ve really tried to work on. But I know that it’s something that I’ve talked with you about a lot, and you’ve heard me struggle with sometimes, where I’m just like, you know, I just want him to know that I’m not looking for commitment. Because a lot of the time, I’m fucking not.
01:00:00:00MARINEAnd why, and I’ve been told by men before, I just assumed that you wanted commitment, or you want too much commitment, or something like that. I’m like, why am I always—women are just assumed to want that all the time. And why do I feel so embarrassed all the time if I did want that. And that’s obviously because there’s this whole larger implication about how annoying those kinds of women are, in society.  But yeah, I mean, I think I’ve definitely…yeah, I don’t know if that answered your question, but I do think things are a lot better.

MEXIEThat’s good.

MARINEAnd also, I think a big step has been being on OK Cupid, and being on certain dating apps, and being incredibly forward about my political stances, right off the bat. My OK Cupid profile is literally the most fucking polarizing thing [LAUGHTER] ever. I pretty much constructed it, or just wrote it out being very unapologetic.
01:00:56:00MARINEAnd with the aim that by the, if the person took the time to read it, and they still message me by the end of the profile, they had to be fucking dope, because…it was quite a ride, you know? 

MEXIE[LAUGHS] Yeah, I’m not on those things, but I feel like…if and when I do, mine would be the same way. [LAUGHS] It’d be like, message me only if you are an anti-capitalist, feminist vegan. [LAUGHS] 

MARINERight, and if you’re not a dude who’s going to fucking mansplain me, and interrupt me. I feel like that has to be very, very forward as well. [LAUGHTER] Yeah. So…yeah, I’ve probably alienated a lot of my potential suitors. [LAUGHTER] 

MEXIEOh, well. They’re not worth it if they’re not–

MARINEThey weren’t worth it anyway. 

MEXIEYeah, so….

MARINEBut Mexie and I will link a lot of articles about the cool-girl trope in the description bar. 
01:02:00:00MARINEWhat am I talking about? This is not YouTube. In the show-notes. ‘Cause I know that…learning about the trope about the manic pixie dream-girl, and the cool-girl, and this whole myth about natural, effortless beauty…really did help me, or just articulated a lot of the pressures that I had been feeling. And we were also reading a bunch of them before recording this episode.  We were like, we don’t really know what this is, how the episode’s going to go, but we have a lot to say about all this.

MEXIEYeah, for sure. Yeah, ‘cause I didn’t really know what the cool-girl trope was until you explained it to me, and then I kind of felt like, yeah, I’ve never really been that girl, because…for better or for worse, I guess maybe because I grew up in such an…Italian, in-your-face kind of household, where it was just, if you had thoughts or feelings, then you expressed them, and you expressed to them in the most theatrical… [LAUGHS] 
01:02:58:00MEXIELike it really wasn’t, it was tears, yelling, you know what I mean. You expressed it, right. So…yeah, I’ve just never been that girl that’s like aloof, or oh, I don’t [INDISTINCT], it’s like no, if you’re dating me, you’re dating me. I’ve never been in a situation where it’s like, oh, are we exclusive? I wonder if I should ask if we’re going to be—no.  If you’re dating me, then we’re exclusive, you know what I mean. I’ve just always really been super intense, capital-R romantic. And it’s like, but I hardly ever like anyone—that’s the thing. I’ve only had a few really intense relationships, because I’m like, I don’t, I don’t know, I find it really rare to find that connection.  But then, when I do, I’m like, all right, if you’re going to be monopolizing my time, then you’re going to adore it, or then you’re not, you know what I mean. But reading more about the trope, I did find that I did fall into the cool-girl trope when I was in high school.
01:03:57:00MEXIE‘Cause I kind of like, I was raised by really powerful women, but they also, like my nana hated feminism. She was like, you better not turn into one of those feminist chicks or whatever. And she was super powerful. She didn’t even have an education, but she started three businesses. She was just amazing. But she, I guess, still fell into that idea that women don’t need a leg up. We just need to do it for ourselves. And really ignoring the structural oppression, and capitalism, and patriarchy that would impede women’s ability to do that.  And so, I really fell into that when I was a teenager, and I was the cool-girl. I hated being a girl when I was growing up. I really always wanted to be a guy—not because I had gender dysphoria, but because I didn’t like how women–

MARINEYeah, ‘cause they got to do more shit.

MEXIEYeah, I was just like, ‘cause when I was younger, I was super athletic. I wanted to play in the NHL, and they were like, oh, you can’t do that. You’re a woman. 
01:04:56:00MEXIEAnd I was like, fuck that. [LAUGHS] And then like, I was just so mad at how women were treated, how I was treated, as an idiot, growing up. Yeah, I just really hated being a girl. So, I really fell into that cool-girl trope of being one of the guys, and making fun of feminism. And yeah, laughing at sexist jokes, and everything that so many young women, you’re seeing them all over the internet now, are just the same. In service of the patriarchy, putting down feminism, seeing themselves as in competition with other women. I definitely fell into that. So yeah, it’s political, as well as…just something that happens in your relationships.

MARINEYeah, and when you were talking about being raised by strong women, I definitely, my mom was super, super opinionated and super strong.
01:05:55:00MARINEI mean, the women in my family were way…the women, well, it was me and my mom, but we were way more emotional than the men. And that is something that I tried to distance myself of, as a teenager, because it was portrayed as hysteria…and just being overly nagging. Whereas the men were just much more emotional and rational. And I’ve always been super intense, super emotional. As a kid, I was super anxious until the age of 11, and then I got better. But I cried a lot, I screamed a lot, I had temper issues, I would cry whenever I learned about a terrible thing that was going on in the world. I had this horrible fear of not falling asleep. I mean, I was just a really…tormented little kid. And…I was always very opinionated and loud about it.
01:06:58:00MARINEAnd…I…but…always kind of told that that was, or always knew that that was seen as very irrational and discrediting. And I think, as a teenager, [CLEARS THROAT] when I tried to become, when I tried to fit more the image of what would be attractive, what would be considered attractive and successful, I was still opinionated, but I was always very careful that it was worded in a way that wasn’t threatening to men, and that wouldn’t come off as quote-unquote hysterical, or bitchy. 

MEXIEYeah, I was just thinking, we’ll probably do a whole other podcast on this, but…just the idea that women…because they’re seen as emotional, or hysterical, or as weaker, they’re not taken seriously when they actually have problems, like health problems, etc.
01:07:57:00MEXIEI was thinking of your family not taking you seriously when you had some serious health problems, and then me not being taken seriously with my chronic health issues, because it’s just like, oh well, there’s always something wrong with you. You’re always emotional over something, so what’s this now, you know what I mean.  It’s just kind of like, okay, but this is serious, [LAUGHS] and you’re just discounting my entire experience because it’s like, oh, well there’s always something wrong. It’s like, well, maybe there is, you know. [LAUGHS] Maybe it’s chronic illness.

MARINEMen are, men have to be the rational arbiter of your pain, and see if it’s really worth something, worth taking this thing seriously or not.

MEXIEYeah, or they’re just fatigued, like oh well, this is the same problem that’s been happening, so I don’t care anymore, right? [LAUGHTER] It’s like yeah, it is chronic illness, though, so… [LAUGHS] anyway.

MARINEYeah, take my fucking word for it. 
01:08:58:00MEXIEYeah, and give a shit, maybe. 

MARINEMm-hmm.

MEXIEYou know, capitalism, patriarchy are so intertwined…and these ideas of rationality, and showing no emotion, etc., are also in service of capital, in terms of rational, committed, disciplined workers produce good work, you know what I mean. People who are erratic, and emotional, and just indulging in these are it’s like, you’re not productive, you know what I mean. 

MARINE[If you] want to be a robot.

MEXIERight. Or the people who are rewarded with positions of power are usually the most rational men, and women in the workplace are seen as a liability because oh, they could start crying at any moment, [LAUGHS] you know what I mean. 

MARINEAs we do, you know? 

MEXIEYeah, and that’s just seen as, if a woman does get emotional in the workplace, it’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa.
01:09:57:00MEXIEBack up now. That is not okay. And it’s just like absolutely…

MARINEYeah, but sometimes, men are so emotional and quote-unquote irrational, you know. But it’s not, it’s almost like, aw, he cried, he’s sensitive, this is amazing.

MEXIEOr, they’re just expressing it through rage and anger, and it just comes out in these terrible ways. And then it’s like, oh, well they’re not being emotional, they’re just real mad. They’re just taking control of the situation. They’re just being assertive.

MARINE–don’t take shit from anybody.

MEXIEYeah, they’re just being assertive, and telling people what’s what. When really, it’s just like, this is coming from a place of…deep emotion, so.

MARINEYeah, and capitalism benefits so much off of like, I mean, literally the natural beauty trope is literally the number-one dominant trope in the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry. It’s making us believe that there is such a thing as natural beauty, while selling us these incredibly expensive, time-consuming products, which is literally [LAUGHS] contrary to the whole idea that natural beauty exists.
01:11:06:00MEXIEAbsolutely. 

MARINEBut the fact that they’ve gotten us to somehow just stop seeing that contradiction, and that natural beauty has been used, is used, again, and again, and again, to sell us literally everything [TALKS OVER] is wild.

MEXIEOn Instagram now, they show you ads, right? So, they’re sending me all these things for clothes, and beauty, and whatever, ‘cause I guess I’m a woman. So, I’ve seen these ads now. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but they’re called facial cups. And it’s called cupping your face. And they say that Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow are really big into facial cupping. It’s basically this suction-cup that you suck onto your face, and then drag it around. And it’s supposed to plump up, and kind of firm up, and suck your face up into like—and you can even do it on your lips, so it kind of sucks out your lips, so it’s a natural plump.
01:12:02:00MEXIEYeah, so it’s like, people are sucking their face with these cups to [LAUGHS] make it look just naturally firm, and plump, and wonderful.

MARINEOh my god.

MEXIEAnd then I saw another that was even more intense than that. It was this spinning gadget. It looked like [LAUGHS] I don’t know, you know those Quidditch balls–

MARINE–they look like torture devices.

MEXIE[LAUGHS] You know those, in Harry Potter, the Quidditch thing that spins around–

MARINE[LAUGHS] Yeah.

MEXIEIt looked like that, and you spun it on your face, again, for the exact same purpose as the facial cups. So, I’m like, this person who sent me this comment, I’m like, you have no idea what people go through to look naturally beautiful, and how that is also in service of capitalism. Pretty much everything in this capitalist system is in service of capitalism.  Even if you try and do something that’s against the grain, it’s going to be commodified, if it hasn’t been already. So…
01:12:57:00MEXIEBitch, just let me [LAUGHS] deliver my content.

MARINEJust let me fucking wear makeup in my video, and…please go consume someone else’s free content. 

MEXIEYeah, and now, you know my life history of body-image, so please don’t come at me talking about my fucking body, or my appearance, anymore. [LAUGHS] 

MARINEYeah. I really want to talk to you more…and perhaps we should do this on-air, but about aging. ‘Cause…I just feel like…just how…horrible and skewed the portrayal of aging is in our society. It has really messed with my brain.

MEXIEOh yeah, mine, too. 

MARINE–my relationship with aging. My friend and I talk a lot about this. The fact that, I’m 26 and I…am getting a few lines on my face, and I hate how much I stare at them, and…worry about them. And it just…
01:13:59:00MARINEOh god, it’s horrible. It’s horrible.

MEXIEYeah, and…I’m even older than that. I started noticing that when I was 28, I was like [GASPS] I have lines everywhere. And especially being on YouTube and Twitter, it’s such a young demographic that’s on there, it’s pretty much dominated by people in their early 20s, or…teens, [LAUGHS] you know what I mean. So it’s like, yeah, I would definitely be down to talk more about that. 

MARINETotally. I’ve sort of been dealing with it by telling myself, hey, Marine, this is 100%, this can only get worse. 

MEXIEYeah. [LAUGHS] 

MARINEYou know what I mean? This is going, this is, you need to learn how to, you need to learn to find these lines on your face, and just your aging body, whatever, beautiful. Because it’s only going to keep aging. This literally is a clock that cannot be stopped, and it’s amazing and should be celebrated, because I’m also just growing into so many different things, and there’s so many positive fucking things about aging.
01:15:04:00MARINEI love aging. That I need to be okay, and more than okay, I need to be celebrating any sign of aging that I get on my body. Because otherwise, we’re going to miserable for our entire lives, you know?

MEXIEYeah, I’ve been kind of doing the same. I feel like I’m actually finally fine with the age that I am, ‘cause I’m just like, yeah, it’s totally great. And I have experience now. I’m a doctor. [LAUGHS] That’s got to count for something. You can’t do that when you’re in your early 20s.  But yeah, so I laugh a lot. And I’ve pretty much noticed that the lines that I do have on my face, that have come out in the past couple of years, are laugh-lines. It’s the lines that come out when I am laughing. And I don’t know, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful pictures, or I think there was this photo project where they just showed, I guess older women smiling.  
01:15:59:00MEXIEBut they had the most intense laugh-lines. And it was just so cool. And I was like, yeah, you know, I laugh a lot. These are my laugh-lines. [LAUGHS] 

MARINEYeah. And that’s the thing I love. I never look at, scrutinize lines on other women’s faces. Or other men’s faces. I don’t—I literally have never in my life though, ooh, their skin has so many wrinkles. That’s really not cute. But yet, it’s something that I…I think since we’ve been taught to resist these signs on our faces, or that have been taught that we should be fearing them, and trying to get them to stop coming… It’s hard for me to completely deprogram myself from that.

MEXIE[TALKS OVER] Oh yeah, definitely. We have to do a whole episode on this, ‘cause I’m neurotic. When I’m watching a show, and there’s a female lead in it, I will 100% always Google her to see how old she is. 100%. 
01:17:00:00MEXIE‘Cause I’m just like trying to compare. I’m like, okay–

MARINEThat’s what I do, too. I’m just trying to know. And that’s what’s fucked up, too. I don’t even mind if I get wrinkles. But I want to know if, compared to my age, it is normal, or if it is premature. Like what the fuck does that even mean?

MEXIERight, same, same. And I’m just like, okay, let me just try and position myself and like, okay, you’re this age, and you look like this. I’m just trying to figure out, do I look like an old hag, or [LAUGHS] do I look like, you know what I mean? I’m just like–

MARINEYeah, and even the idea of old hag is so fucking problematic and ageist.

MEXIEOh, for sure, for sure. But I’m just like trying to, you know what I mean. That’s in my brain, to the point that I will actually Google actresses to see how old they are in relation to me, you know? That’s messed up.  

MARINEYeah, totally.

MEXIE[TALKS OVER] I fully admit that that’s 100% messed up, so anyway.

MARINEYeah. [LAUGHTER] 
01:17:56:00MARINEOh, man. 

MEXIEListeners, I hope you enjoyed this rant. [LAUGHS] 

MARINEYeah, me too. 

MEXIESo, I guess that’s probably all we have to say, for now.

MARINEYeah. And I think, should we announce our next episode, for the people who are still listening?

MEXIEYes. [TALKS OVER] So, the next episode, we’ll be talking about alternatives to capitalism, and addressing some of the questions that we get on our channels. Basically people saying, okay, but what’s the alternative? Tell me now, what it is. Or just basically equating–

MARINEOr shut up.

MEXIEOr shut up. Or saying, so I guess you want a bureaucratic, totalitarian state, where everyone is murdered? Yeah, that’s what I’m here advocating for. [LAUGHTER] 

MARINEYeah, or people telling me I’m overly naïve and young little girl. I’m actually excited, ‘cause I feel like that’s something, when entering my 30s, maybe I’ll get a little bit less. 

MEXIE[TALKS OVER] No, I still get it. [LAUGHS] 

MARINEYou what, you get that?

MEXIEI get it all the time, yeah.
01:18:59:00MARINEGod damnit. But yeah, you look so young, girl. People think you’re 22. See, why are we complimenting each other like that? [LAUGHTER] 

MEXIEI know, honestly. Whenever someone’s like, oh, I thought you were 23, I’m just like, fuck yeah. [LAUGHTER] 

MARINEYeah, I mean, that’s fine, but when they’re treating me like a teenager, and I’m gotten some super-offensive comments, like maybe you’ll grow out of your teen…hood. But then, that’s also linked to my weird body-image, and being afraid to not look womanly enough. Man, coming full-circle. 

MEXIESo yeah, that’ll be next up. 

MARINEYup, yup.

MEXIESo great. Get excited for that. 

MARINEThanks everyone, for listening.

MEXIEYeah, thank you, and we’ll see you in two weeks.


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