Body Politics

Listen 49:03
(Big Stock)

(Big Stock)

Our bodies are ours, but how we feel about them is largely defined by others — by the things people say, the culture we live in, the messages we get about which kinds of bodies are acceptable … and which kinds aren’t. On this episode of The Pulse, we look at how culture and politics shape the way we feel about our bodies. We’ll hear stories about bodies transformed by disease, weight, and age, and how those changes affect people’s sense of identity. We’ll also talk about the struggle to reclaim bodies from other people’s narratives about what is strong or beautiful, ugly or dangerous.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • When Earni Young turned 68, arthritis started to slow her down. She talks about her struggle to keep active, and how aging can make you feel invisible.
  • More men than ever are getting cosmetic surgery — we look at what they’re getting done, and why.
  • How the criminalization of HIV transforms bodies into weapons in the eyes of the law — and one man who spent nearly a decade in prison as a result.
  • Writer Kiese Laymon talks about what it means to be black, male and overweight, and how his relationship with his body changed along with his size. His new memoir is called “Heavy.”
  • We talk to yoga therapist Jennifer Kreatsoulas about recovering from an eating disorder, and how yoga can help people love their bodies. Her new book is “Body Mindful Yoga.”
  • Filmmaker Emily MacKenzie shares the stories of two people whose conceptions of their bodies changed after getting double mastectomies.
  • Shane Duquette was always skinny — until he hit the gym, and added 50 pounds of muscle. We talk to him about his transformation from beanpole to buff, and his efforts to help other skinny guys with his muscle-building website Bony To Beastly.

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