It's Always Been Ours: Rewriting the Story of Black Women’s Bodies (Hardcover)

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It's Always Been Ours: Rewriting the Story of Black Women’s Bodies By Jessica Wilson, MS, RD Cover Image
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In the vein of Thick and The Body Is Not An Apology: an essential look at the ways in which Black women are left out of conversations about “diet culture,” health, and wellness.
Body narratives are as old as the written word; women's bodies have been subjected to the spectrum of praise to policing and shame. Nowhere is this more apparent for Black women. As with other fundamental topics, bodies, health, and wellness all have been deeply influenced by white supremacy—which results in very specific harms done to Black women and femmes. An eating disorder specialist, Jessica Wilson unpacks the ways in which whiteness and capitalism have shaped how we view and treat our bodies, and how the contemporary solutions to this continue to center white thin women and erase others. It's Always Been Ours counters the common idea that eating disorders are about control and thinness, and provide evidence that eating disorders are often about Black women's survival and safety in a culture that does not care about their wellbeing. From a new perspective on diet culture, to how its perceived antidotes (Health at Every Size, Intuitive Eating) actually perpetuate harm to  Black women, Wilson explores her own learning and unlearning about nutrition and health, for a critical, insightful, sharp,  and compassionate  assessment of how we  eat food and view our bodies in society.

Building on the work of Isabel Wilkerson (Caste), Sabrina Strings (Fearing the Black Body) and Tressie McMillan Cottom (Thick), It's  Always Been Ours unpacks how whiteness has made it so difficult for Black women to trust the story their body tells or be able to interpret those stories. It is a tour-de-force and a revelation that addresses not only where we are, but how we got here—and offers a reclamation for all Black women, centering Black women in their own healing and prioritizing them in the movement for body liberation.

About the Author

Jessica Wilson is a Registered Dietitian and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Consultant/Activist centering the voices and experiences of those most marginalized in the eating disorder field. In her work she invites practitioners, programs, activists, and allies to create environments that are more inclusive and less harmful for all. Because marginalized identities are often not represented in research, data collection, and case studies, current treatment modalities, frameworks and models often do not appropriately support many individuals, especially those most impacted by society’s messages about bodies and food.
Jessica’s work as a dietitian involved being an active and transformative member of the Association for Size Diversity and Health from 2012-2016, where she advocated for a new set of Health at Every Size principles that included a social justice lens and which were released in 2016. She has presented at eating disorder conferences including the Renfrew conference, spoken on panels for the International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals, including one panel with Sabrina Strings, and has given webinars including one for Alsana, an eating disorder treatment center. She co-created the viral movement and hashtag #amplifymelanatedvoices and this, along with her interview on the Dietitians Unplugged Podcast in 2020, opened up a national conversation about the impacts of whiteness in the eating disorder field and conversations about body liberation.
Her Instagram account has 135,000 followers and has been profiled in the New York Times, Buzzfeed, Cronkite News, Connecticut Public Radio, Capital Public Radio, and Insider magazine. Her podcast, My Black Body, reaches thousands of listeners across six continents. Jessica has written about nutrition for the Washington Post. She lives in Davis, California.

Praise For…

Praise for Jessica Wilson

"I am so excited for you to take another step forward in getting your book into the world. You are a brilliant Black, queer, dietitian. And I love that you’re writing a book about Black women and food. This is going to be such a necessary book. We don’t get written about and our issues with food and our challenges with our bodies never get the attention that they deserve."—Roxanne Gay, bestselling author of Bad Feminist and Hunger

"Having known Jessica for several years a few things are irrefutable. Her analysis is astute, her call to eradicate racial injustice is dart direct and care and investment in the lives of women of color is complete. There simply is no better literary voice for this moment in history than Jessica Wilson."—Sonya Renee Taylor, activist and author of the bestselling The Body is Not an Apology

"Aside from my passionate belief that the Black Lives Matter movement is literally a matter of life and death on a fundamental human rights level, Jessica’s work specifically gut punched me as a woman who has had an eating disorder for nearly 30 years. I have been very publicly vocal about my eating disorder for many years because I feel it is my duty as a public figure to be transparent about the unrealistic beauty and body standards that I have (as a result of a debilitating mental illness) unfortunately helped perpetuate. Jessica opened my eyes to how rooted in white supremacy the eating disorder recovery field is and now I simply cannot unsee it. I’m not sure if you are aware but eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. And every eating disorder treatment program I’ve been in (or for that matter any that my fellow ED warriors have encountered) only center the white experience and white body/beauty norms and end up either completely excluding or causing even more harm to Black folx.

On top of all the work Jessica has been doing during this particularly traumatizing year for Black folx everywhere she has also dedicated many hours of her precious time to help myself and some of my fellow actress friends start an activism pod that is trying to tackle body diversity and dangerous beauty and physical standards in our industry."—Anna Paquin, Oscar-winning actress

"As an eating disorder clinician Jessica has an intersectional lens and a trauma-informed approach that challenges the status quo of the historically white eating disorder field and brings a much needed perspective. Jessica brings a complex and nuanced perspective that will progress the dietitian field to being accessible and supportive to all people with eating disorders. She doesn’t use a one-size-fits-all approach, but instead works with each client differently to meet their specific needs and help them understand both their individualized treatment goals and the societal forces that impact their relationship with food and their bodies.

We're still early in our antiracism journey and the learning curve is steep and we have centuries of oppression to dismantle which is obviously not going to happen overnight. But THIS is how people such as ourselves, who benefit from white/social/career privilege, can help right these wrongs. This book by a Black, Queer dietitian would not only be groundbreaking but also set an example for other publishers in amplifying the voices of Black women and letting them lead conversations about body liberation."—Alison Pill, actress

"She is both practical and scientifically factual while being body AND food positive. She recognizes that our relationships to our bodies and the foods we put in them are political...” —Ari Max Bachrach, NP, eating disorder medical provider

Product Details
ISBN: 9780306827693
ISBN-10: 0306827697
Publisher: Hachette Go
Publication Date: February 7th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English