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The Tragedy Academy
Oct. 11, 2021

Janet Conroy-Quirk: National Plus Guide

On this installment of the Tragedy Academy, writer, actor, and speaker Janet Conroy Quirk is in the studio. Janet is an advocate for the plus-sized community and is co-founder of National Plus Size, a directory that connects people with plus-friendly businesses. In this episode, we dig into the stereotypes surrounding plus-sized people and break antiquated ideology by providing real-world experiences, perspectives, and solutions!


Summary:

On this installment of the Tragedy Academy, writer, actor, and speaker Janet Conroy Quirk is in the studio. Janet is an advocate for the plus-sized community and is co-founder of National Plus Size, a directory that connects people with plus-friendly businesses. In this episode, we dig into the stereotypes surrounding plus-sized people and break antiquated ideology by providing real-world experiences, perspectives, and solutions!  

Key Points:

🍎 Diet culture

🧐 Believing the stereotypes

✊🏼 Advocating for better representation

🧠 Mental health and weight

🧭 Skills for navigating life

🦺 Lack of safety

❤️ National Plus Guide

 

Episode Highlights:

[00:02:21] Throughout her 41 years of life, Janet has been every size there is and has experienced different treatment at each one. She notes the differences in how people treat you in all settings, including politeness, romantically, career opportunities, and most notably in the acting space.

[00:08:10] Jay and Janet discuss the media’s obsession with diet culture and the fit vs. fat stigma. Janet points out that weight size does not equal health, and even if it did, that is no reason to treat people without kindness. She emphasizes the importance of treating people equally and not project one’s bias. Most biases of overweight people imply that they are lazy and uneducated, which only undermines what a person has to offer.

[00:13:11] Jay points out the internalized shame that comes with the stereotypes of fat people; often, people end up believing and accepted it. Janet adds by noting the concept of body positivity and the misconception of thinking that you wake up the next morning feeling great about yourself. Conversely, Janet notes that seeing more women who look like her in media has helped the size acceptance movement, yet she still does not have any plus-sized friends.   

[00:20:33] Janet shares what better representation looks like for her. She lists the importance of seeing people play leading roles in tv, and representation in the clothing industry, but most notably telling stories of successful people. Several factors can define success, so the critical part is to break antiquated stereotypes of laziness and portray overweight people in leadership.  

[00:26:08] Janet comments on the role mental health plays in fitness. She states that although she is happy for her loved ones, which makes it a point to exercise every day, talking to a therapist is just as important. Additionally. she points out the condescending comments people make when she is at the gym or swimming in a pool.

[00:31:08] Janet shares some practices she puts in place to navigate life without too much negativity. She controls what she exposes herself to, including social media restrictions and not using the apps that much. She also chooses who she associates herself with and sets rigid boundaries and whoever does not want to comply is welcome to leave her life. But she also acknowledges that there are moments in which she has to pick her battles and not let something ruin her day.

[00:40:22] Janet reveals the Lack of safety for plus-sized women, especially online. She gives the example of email tracking and escalating to the point of receiving death threats. A second example is a personal anecdote where Janet was assaulted while riding the subway, and no one came to her aid. As a result, she was afraid to use the subway again and took months to regain her confidence. She notes that the older generations are the cruelest, and conversely, the younger generations are more inclusive.

[00:56:28] Janet talks about a project she co-founded called National Plus Guide. It is a directory that connects plus-sized people to business establishments that are plus-friendly and plus-accommodating.  

[01:01:55] Connect with National Plus Guide

 

Connect with National Plus Guide:

The Tragedy Academy is a show created to bridge societal divides in a judgment-free zone using candor and humor. 

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Transcript

Episode 98: Janet Conroy Quirk. National Plus Guide

Summary:

On this installment of the Tragedy Academy, writer, actor, and speaker Janet Conroy Quirk is in the studio. Janet is an advocate for the plus-sized community and is co-founder of National Plus Size, a directory that connects people with plus-friendly businesses. In this episode, we dig into the stereotypes surrounding plus-sized people and break antiquated ideology by providing real-world experiences, perspectives, and solutions!  

Key Points:

🍎 Diet culture

🧐 Believing the stereotypes

✊🏼 Advocating for better representation

🧠 Mental health and weight

🧭 Skills for navigating life

🦺 Lack of safety

❤️ National Plus Guide

 

Episode Highlights:

[00:02:21] Throughout her 41 years of life, Janet has been every size there is and has experienced different treatment at each one. She notes the differences in how people treat you in all settings, including politeness, romantically, career opportunities, and most notably in the acting space.

[00:08:10] Jay and Janet discuss the media’s obsession with diet culture and the fit vs. fat stigma. Janet points out that weight size does not equal health, and even if it did, that is no reason to treat people without kindness. She emphasizes the importance of treating people equally and not project one’s bias. Most biases of overweight people imply that they are lazy and uneducated, which only undermines what a person has to offer.

[00:13:11] Jay points out the internalized shame that comes with the stereotypes of fat people; often, people end up believing and accepted it. Janet adds by noting the concept of body positivity and the misconception of thinking that you wake up the next morning feeling great about yourself. Conversely, Janet notes that seeing more women who look like her in media has helped the size acceptance movement, yet she still does not have any plus-sized friends.   

[00:20:33] Janet shares what better representation looks like for her. She lists the importance of seeing people play leading roles in tv, and representation in the clothing industry, but most notably telling stories of successful people. Several factors can define success, so the critical part is to break antiquated stereotypes of laziness and portray overweight people in leadership.  

[00:26:08] Janet comments on the role mental health plays in fitness. She states that although she is happy for her loved ones, which makes it a point to exercise every day, talking to a therapist is just as important. Additionally. she points out the condescending comments people make when she is at the gym or swimming in a pool.

[00:31:08] Janet shares some practices she puts in place to navigate life without too much negativity. She controls what she exposes herself to, including social media restrictions and not using the apps that much. She also chooses who she associates herself with and sets rigid boundaries and whoever does not want to comply is welcome to leave her life. But she also acknowledges that there are moments in which she has to pick her battles and not let something ruin her day.

[00:40:22] Janet reveals the Lack of safety for plus-sized women, especially online. She gives the example of email tracking and escalating to the point of receiving death threats. A second example is a personal anecdote where Janet was assaulted while riding the subway, and no one came to her aid. As a result, she was afraid to use the subway again and took months to regain her confidence. She notes that the older generations are the cruelest, and conversely, the younger generations are more inclusive.

[00:56:28] Janet talks about a project she co-founded called National Plus Guide. It is a directory that connects plus-sized people to business establishments that are plus-friendly and plus-accommodating.  

[01:01:55] Connect with National Plus Guide

 

Connect with National Plus Guide:

 

 

[00:00:00]. A show created to bridge societal divides in a judgment-free zone using candor and humor. My name is Jay, and today I am joined by Janet Conroy Quirk. And I get that correct? Yes. Yes. There is a lot of stopping points in your name.

[00:00:47] Jay: Janet Conroy Quirk it's a list 

[00:00:50] Janet: People need to stop and think about every part of. 

[00:00:54] Jay: You know what, maybe you get to know people, they, nobody forgets your name. You [00:01:00] can't. I like that Janet I want to thank you for coming on here. Janet's a freelance writer, actor, and speaker. She's got 15 years of experience as a social worker with an MSW.

[00:01:12] Jay: I had to look that up by the way because I do not know what an MSW was. I was like, and that is a master's in social work. So I thought that was pretty cool. So that just means you're really good. at looking at all of the intricacies of society and familial units and things like that. What was that?

[00:01:29] Jay: She just gave me the ehhhhh. 

[00:01:35] Jay: and also you're the co-founder of national plus guide.com. Correct? 

[00:01:41] Janet: Co-owner it was founded by my partner 

[00:01:43] Jay: co-owner and, is that, I cannot pronounce her name. Yeah, it's 

[00:01:51] Janet: Nemede 

[00:01:52] Jay: that African butterfly on Instagram. Yes, I did see that. All right. So Janet is here [00:02:00] today to discuss obesity and the stigmas that surround it. The implicit bias that is, within humanity and how we can quote-unquote de bias society in different ways and show people where they don't necessarily know that they're being biased, which is one of the biggest things.

[00:02:21] Jay: Do you want to 

[00:02:22] Janet: share your story with us? Yeah, I'm 41 now. And I like to tell people that I've been pretty much every size there is throughout my life. And I know what it's like to be treated at each one of those sizes, because there was a noticeable, clear difference when you're a size I'm using women's sizes now, and I should point out, that I don't.

[00:02:42] Jay: Yeah, you could use any number on the planet as a woman's number and a woman's size number. And I won't have a clue. You can tell me it's a 5.3 and I'd be like, wow. A 5.3 you know, women's sizes at all. It's like kids' shoes. 

[00:02:58] Janet: So subjective. It doesn't even matter. [00:03:00] But I think at every point in my life where I've been a different size I, there are things that you notice the people are polite to you.

[00:03:07] Janet: You notice that. Or given opportunities professionally or may be passed over you notice that in romantically, how people think they can treat you and social settings in, in acting. I certainly saw it there a lot of narrow types for parts for me 

[00:03:27] Jay: are obese people. Yeah. 

[00:03:30] Janet: Just kind you go with it, especially in acting because you want to work.

[00:03:33] Janet: You want to be on stage. But it's, it's hard. And I think it's hard in general. We all go out into the world each day. We are faced with these issues. 

[00:03:42] Jay: So if I understand that correctly, I just want to hold up one, one second. You are essentially forced to act as your stereotype in order to survive.

[00:03:52] Janet: That was my experience. Yes.

[00:03:54] Jay: That is awful because you know what? I tend to agree with you that anytime it feels like when [00:04:00] someone walks into the room on a TV show or an incident, they have to announce either that they are obese or that they were skinny or that there's, this it's almost like they have to be overcoming it in order to become a, a member of the cast.

[00:04:16] Janet: Exactly. It, it seems like it always has to be part of the narrative. People for years told me to watch this is us. I put it on. And the first episode she's on a scale and crying. And I said, okay, no, by, oh yeah, 

[00:04:28] Jay: you want to get a, you want to get nice and triggered 

[00:04:31] Janet: there to me, it just, it doesn't need to be the story.

[00:04:34] Janet: Yeah. But also, we look at the typical roles I can say I've played grumpy, annoyed, janitor, grumpy, annoying prison guard, a woman who was 95.

[00:04:50] Jay: It's so bad. Seriously sound effects are associated with weight dudes that are overweight. We'll never get rid of the tuba. As [00:05:00] long as they live. It'll be womp womp womp. Every time they go somewhere, it's horrible. But that is the fat man's walk is the Tuba 

[00:05:11] Janet: no, it's not. And I had some really progressive directors who would do the opposite and I should.

[00:05:17] Janet: Give them credit. There were a few who do the sketch comedy that I worked within New York. And they gave me a really great role as like the diva supposed to play like a Hollywood enlist actress. And I think there was some surprise that they gave that to me and I really loved that role. And that was great.

[00:05:34] Janet: Other people have given me some. See, I feel like that's a 

[00:05:37] Jay: borderline one too. I feel that's a borderline one too because I feel like diva doesn't get attached yet. Diva doesn't get attached to skinny as much as it does for what is quote-unquote overweight. It's gotta be better than a janitor. 

[00:05:57] Janet: Oh, I forgot to race this juror that was in there [00:06:00] too. 

[00:06:00] Jay: Oh my God. I don't, I feel like if I had to play a role like that, I would have to have everybody in the room roll, laughing. After every time I did one of those racist things like I would have to make it so brazenly ridiculous in the room as I'm acting, it just would not fly.

[00:06:22] Jay: Otherwise I couldn't handle it. And I did have to 

[00:06:26] Janet: do that myself. I had to, and I had a great cast with me so would help. But yeah. And it was, it was obvious it was an older play and it was actually the part was written for a male. And they, they wanted to try it with a woman, I guess it made sense to try it with a fat woman because we are tended to be seen as a little less feminine.

[00:06:45] Jay: You're plucking all those strings that people, I feel, a lot of them are not aware that they even exist in the backlogs of the brain, those files back there, [00:07:00] it's kind like a pyramid. And unfortunately, those are all the base foundation understandings of these things.

[00:07:08] Jay: So you don't question them. 

[00:07:10] Janet: Exactly. Exactly. And yeah you know, to your point, it would be so great if we just had characters where we didn't have to talk about the size and I was able to do one independent film where my size had nothing to do with the character just, and it was never mentioned, I was just playing a character and it was a great role and I really appreciate the director.

[00:07:29] Janet: And it was wonderful and I can't wait to work with him again. And it was just a good, strong experience, as a good example of how you can do it. And you just don't have to, you don't have to make the story about 

[00:07:38] Jay: that's only important if you make it important, right? That's the bottom line. If you aren't looking at it and you're not calling it out, it doesn't exist to anybody.

[00:07:51] Jay: And that's what people are doing. They're forced to look at it. They're forced to judge it and then they're forced to put it against themselves and let's face it. [00:08:00] People love to be above other people, any chance they get, and it's, that's not even their fault to feel fit means you're not fat, which shouldn't be that way.

[00:08:11] Jay: It should mean that you're just fit. 

[00:08:13] Janet: And that is, I think one of the biggest things that we have to try to undo the idea that we equal or has anything to do with health. We know that it doesn't. But beyond that, I think we have to also look at is your health. You don't owe your health to anybody, and this is not, I'm not inventing this concept.

[00:08:29] Janet: This is a big part of, fat advocacy. Nobody owes you health. You don't treat somebody differently because they are sick or because they're well, and if you have cancer or you have heart disease, or if you are, whatever you have, you still deserve to go to a restaurant and be treated nicely, go to a clothes store and be able to shop there and not have to do it online.

[00:08:51] Janet: Not be harassed on the street so that people don't owe anybody health and we don't owe each other, but the old people an apology. And I always say, don't assume that I'm, [00:09:00] my life is about trying to shrink myself either 

[00:09:03] Jay: top of that. They need, I think that there needs to be an understanding of what symptoms of, core wounds and things like that.

[00:09:11] Jay: Actually. Are they aren't just. PTSD movements where you need to be away from this, or they're not just bipolar ADHD type things. Guess what hand to mouth is just as much a symptom of a core wound as screaming at your wife. Every time she does something, it's the same exact thing. So treated as a symptom.

[00:09:35] Jay: Yeah, of whatever it might be. Where is that core? And then don't judge people because here I'll say, fuck you. Because I did balloon up. I was ripped and shredded and I got on head meds and ballooned up to almost 300 pounds. It sucks. I opened my eyes and I lost it all again. And I can still see, I've seen both sides of the street.

[00:09:59] Jay: It's [00:10:00] bullshit. 

[00:10:00] Janet: It's shameful. Yeah, it is. And a lot of it, 

[00:10:04] Jay: sorry, I ranted there for a second. I've been holding that for a long time 

[00:10:08] Janet: We all carry this with us because we talk about, diet culture and exercise culture, and these, these, and fatphobia every one of us is a victim of it. Every single one of us, because we grew up watching media and stuff that kept reinforcing that people are silly that people are dumb. Nobody loves them. They can know they're unsophisticated, all of these things, people, many people will say that they're surprised that I've traveled or, I, my husband and I went to a restaurant once and the person says something to us.

[00:10:42] Janet: Like we don't serve burgers here. And I was like I knew he didn't serve any goddamn burgers. I looked at the menu there's just this assumption that we don't know how to eat. 

[00:10:53] Jay: Looked at you and assumed that you wanted to ground beef. And they don't have [00:11:00] it. So you shouldn't be there. That's bias. It is an implicit bias. Let's put that out there. That's a screwed-up person. 

[00:11:12] Janet: It is. And you have to remember that, there's something, there's something. That person that made him feel good, but you know, later on at night,

[00:11:21] Jay: he hates himself. We're going to talk about a lot of things, but one of the things I want to point out is that in order to reintegrate it, understand, we have to look at the people that have been making these judgments.

[00:11:35] Jay: And you can't scream at them to stop. It just doesn't work that way because you can't tell them, you can't tell somebody that they have, you can't yell at somebody. They have an implicit bias, right? Because it doesn't work that way because they don't know that they have a bias. So you're just telling them they're fucked up.

[00:11:53] Jay: And nobody wants to, nobody changes their life because somebody goes, you're fucked up. If not, we wouldn't have AA, NA anything [00:12:00] else on the planet. People would just be like, oh God, I'm done. 

[00:12:05] Janet: There are so many different ways to deal with whether it's trolling. Or in-person harassment, which is less common, most of it is done on the internet because that's what we do in life.

[00:12:17] Jay: There's no more face to face, 

[00:12:19] Janet: although, there's still street harassment. I've experienced that, but 

[00:12:22] Jay: yeah. Oh no, no. I meant like the trolling, it's not as brazen. No. 

[00:12:28] Janet: Yeah. And yeah, I've tried a few times with people to take the high road and say you know, I hope you have a better day tomorrow.

[00:12:36] Janet: Sometimes it works. And they're like, you know what? Or I had colleagues say, I tried to talk to a troll and it worked. I've had it only worked maybe once and it didn't even really work. So I mostly just ignore it, but it's yeah. 

[00:12:50] Jay: It's whatever you place importance on becomes something you place importance on the troll becomes a part of your life.

[00:12:58] Jay: It now has space in [00:13:00] your head that it's not paying rent for most people. It's hard not to hold onto. What's being said, because the reality is what they're saying. You believe when you're obese when you're, you're put in that stereotype and you're cornered into that situation, you believe you're those stereotypes.

[00:13:22] Jay: And that 

[00:13:22] Janet: hurts. Sometimes. I won't say that. I do for a lot of 

[00:13:28] Jay: the times because of how things were presented it's I feel like, so maybe I'm speaking on behalf of a lot of people and I should, what I would have experienced is any kind of bias that I felt like I was receiving. I felt like I deserved it.

[00:13:42] Jay: That internal shame that came along with it was the hard part to counter because when you try to ignore someone that's throwing out that kind of rhetoric or that kind of, horrible tormenting, things you can't make that differentiation [00:14:00] when you feel when it's kind like putting your finger in an open wound.

[00:14:04] Janet: Yeah, yeah. No. And I think we all have,

[00:14:07] Jay: does that make sense?

[00:14:08] Janet: Yes. Yes. Positivity or fat positivity. It doesn't really mean that every day you're walking around you know, flipping your hair and looking amazing and feeling great because none of nobody does that. We all have. We all have 

[00:14:24] Jay: It's media.

[00:14:25] Janet: We all have our really terrible days, but I think what we've done a little bit in the fat positivity movement or size acceptance movement, all these terms are I'm just going to throw them all out because I just, I think they're all valid is kind of, it helped me to start seeing more women who looked like me because that helped me realize, okay, is I actually didn't have still don't have a lot of plus size friends.

[00:14:47] Janet: I just don't. But everybody approaches it from a different way. Even there are probably people who would get a man that I've just, I just said, plus size,rather than fat. I use whatever term I want to.

[00:14:57] Jay: I actually wanted to ask you [00:15:00] why do these terms even exist?

[00:15:03] Janet: It's weird. Some people, there is a big push to not use obese because of its origins and because it was BMI and like things that we know were suspect, but then I've also gotten into these discussions with other advocates about that and said, some people believe everybody should say that we're not doing plus size or curvy or fluffy.

[00:15:22] Janet: Those are euphemisms okay. But we need to unpack that. That is a very traumatic word. And I took me a long time. We want to reclaim it. And I understand that, but you can't just tell somebody to go reclaim it. They have to be ready to, so I don't fight with anybody who doesn't want to say fat. I use 

[00:15:41] Janet: pretty frequently, 

[00:15:43] Jay: for me, I think that I just want to bypass all of that and find out what is causing the situation.

[00:15:52] Jay: If it's a situation you can be large and be healthy as hell, Japan, [00:16:00] Sumo wrestlers are not unhealthy. Those baskets are huge, and they're strong. They're not unhealthy. 

[00:16:08] Janet: Great. And, and again some people who are large, Nope. They're not healthy, but a lot of thin people are not healthy either.

[00:16:15] Janet: So we've got to break away from that whole thing. Cause say, yes, it's a big reframe that I hear often as well. As long as you're healthy and I just, I want you to have a good quality of life. And I just, it makes me, it really frustrates me because I know that my quality of life is excellent and that my mental health is a lot stronger than a lot of people who are smaller than me.

[00:16:37] Janet: And, have to spend all of their day bitching about having eaten a cookie or, discussing their, Peloton for hours and hours. And there's just so much more to life and I'm not judging. 

[00:16:51] Jay: And here's the thing, non purus scolam right on the logo, it says not in accredited.

[00:16:58] Jay: Look, we're going to say [00:17:00] things that come from our points of view when we discuss things. And if there are people out there that have different beliefs or thoughts behind it share, that's how we get an open dialogue. But I don't want you to feel like you're going to offend a certain group while we're talking, because you said this word versus that word because I feel like that type of scenario really impedes our ability to have an open dialogue.

[00:17:27] Jay: And I'm not saying that we disrespect anybody or we try to, whatever it might be, but the reality is we need to be able to talk. 

[00:17:36] Janet: Yeah. Yeah. And I think a lot of that comes from having spent most of my adult life in social work where you were taught to choose every word so carefully. And even in writing, I have to choose every word so carefully and even advocacy again.

[00:17:49] Janet: It's and it's. And I think part of it is the pushback. Cause I had gotten people saying to me, I had. A few years ago, got upset about an article. I wrote everybody decided I was [00:18:00] criticizing exercise and I kept being like, is anybody listening? Did you read the article? That's not what happened at all.

[00:18:07] Janet: And it's, so now I feel like I always have to preface any kind of like good old cancel I've had to cancel exercise and come out around Christmas. I was like, I'm the bitch who stole fitness. Cool. 

[00:18:17] Jay: Isn't that supposed to happen every year, from Thanksgiving on to January. He's fucking working out anyway.

[00:18:27] Jay: I would love to be the Grinch who stole fitness. That's fucking amazing. I'm going to make that shirt. That's mine, the Grinch that stole fitness.

[00:18:40] Janet: But I think as long as you keep having the conversations and I have gone and went back and visited with some of those people and I think they now get it, that it's just a matter of how you talk about life. And there's so much more to talk about. And I think this is if I had to say to people like the biggest takeaway about being respectful to other people's bodies, fat bodies, larger bodies, bark bodies that are [00:19:00] bigger than yours is how you talk about your own.

[00:19:02] Janet: Because when you sit there and say, I look like such a fat ass and you're talking to somebody and you're like, oh my God, I looked so bad. And if I'm sitting right across from you, all I'm hearing is now I know what you think about me. Huh? And yes. Does that sound a little bit like, oh, it's all about you, but no, 

[00:19:21] Jay: the reality is the person that's making that statement sets the benchmark for the room.

[00:19:26] Jay: Right? That's the bottom line. So when you make that judgmental statement, you put everybody in the same bucket. It's not intentional, probably like you're saying, unless someone's trying to give a hand, we know they do that too. 

[00:19:42] Janet: Unfortunately, it's just how we talk. Especially I think women we're taught if the easiest way to connect, right?

[00:19:47] Janet: If you start a new job or something. Oh, what do you have for lunch? Oh, I'm on a diet. There you go. You automatically, you've connected now. You're that was the easiest way to make a new friend. And it's, it doesn't need to be that way.

[00:19:59] Jay: [00:20:00] I love how TV and creativity shaped our entire mindsets to follow these types of things because we know where we saw that first on TV.

[00:20:11] Jay: Somebody scripted that because you guys weren't sitting around talking about diets before they started telling you, you needed to talk about diets, 

[00:20:18] Janet: right? Yes. Yeah, absolutely. True. So much. Yeah. So much of this comes from the media. Yeah. Oh yeah. Very very very true. 

[00:20:26] Janet: Did I get that one right

[00:20:31] Janet: now though? Yeah.

[00:20:32] Jay: That's funny. You said that we needed to advocate for better representation. What does that look like?

[00:20:41] Janet: So to me it looks a little bit like what we were talking about, having lead people on TV, Playing, just important rules that have nothing to do with their body. Their body is not part of the storyline.

[00:20:53] Janet: They're just there. So yes, that's important in movies and TV. And I think the modeling industry we've got, I think we've [00:21:00] somewhat moved away from the idea that modeling, I don't think it was ever what we saw in like the nineties, for instance, I'm 41 again in the nineties. 

[00:21:06] Jay: Wow. Yeah. At the beginning of Victoria's secret, I'm surprised, you could hula hoop in a Cheerio, then it was like, it was on, it was just horrible.

[00:21:18] Jay: It's so unhealthy. And I'm not trying to skinny shame because there are people that are thin, but it was a grossly overstated need for someone to be seven feet tall and one inch wide.

[00:21:33] Janet: And then we made them any angel and we gave them their wings and all of that silliness. And I think now we're getting more.

[00:21:40] Janet: They used to call it a real person modeling and I would just call it modeling. Modeling is you want to know what your clothes look like. And I know that the benchmark 

[00:21:52] Janet: to say 

[00:21:52] Janet: Real, if I want to see what a size 28 dress looks like because I wear a size 28. It is very hard for me to [00:22:00] find that picture on a website.

[00:22:02] Janet: It is because they'll show me somebody who's a size 14. That's not really helpful. So we need more representation. In the clothing industry and media, I think just, we need to be telling more stories of people who are successful and success means a million different things. So people, just anyone who is leading and who is just breaking these stupid antiquated stereotypes about how fat people just hide in the corners and don't know how to be leaders.

[00:22:27] Janet: That to me is representation too. And a lot of it is just I guess for me, sometimes it's just showing up. So how 

[00:22:34] Jay: do, how does someone that wants to advocate for obesity, fat, whatever the word is how do they get a seat at the table? Because we know that there is an implicit bias from above that is preventing that, how do we bridge that divide?

[00:22:53] Janet: And I, I'm a big fan of that because there are people. And I I'm a few back when I was working for a magazine, I had [00:23:00] taken some heat from a. Who said, you put people in the magazine who weren't fat. And I said, yeah, that's right. I know. And then she felt very strongly that I shouldn't have done that as a plus-size magazine.

[00:23:12] Janet: And I said but the article was about people. And across the world, we had contacted people in different countries to talk about fat in Japan and fat in Germany. And I sent it, they were giving their impressions on their story. And, some of the men talked about eating disorders, some of them are shared a lot of things, so everybody's point is valid.

[00:23:30] Janet: So yeah, I think bringing everybody to the table regardless of size is important. And I think allies, people who are not plus-size can just be helpful by just shutting down conversations that are damaging and being aware of like even what you show your kids, show your kids some diversity and it was your kid.

[00:23:49] Janet: We were very into watching movies now that are more racially diverse. And body diversity. There's a, that there's a place for that too. Your, your shoulders should be able to see a [00:24:00] book about, a fat body.

[00:24:02] Jay: The goal was not to segregate because it's to, I, there's so many different words here and I feel like they almost don't apply or have some kind of, you can't say assimilate because that would mean that you weren't within is, I mean, it's symbiotic.

[00:24:19] Jay: I don't know what's the word here, but it needs to be, it just needs to be integrated, not where we drive a wedge down and we make more pie slices. Like we're playing the old, trivial pursuit game and everybody's putting away gin and it's not supposed to look like there are walls between them. 

[00:24:38] Janet: Yes, exactly.

[00:24:39] Janet: Exactly. And yeah. And that's what it, ideally, that's what it would all look like. The representation would just be I seen all these different bodies. Kudos to you, by 

[00:24:49] Jay: the way, kudos you, then it makes sense. You'd think almost like being reversed bias to your own situation. 

[00:24:56] Janet: Yeah. Yeah, no it's all very, [00:25:00] complex and difficult.

[00:25:00] Janet: And I think people, the bottom line is just, we're afraid of what we're not really exposed to. We all know. And I think a lot of people live in a fear of bad people. Not necessarily because of the fat person, but because of their fear of what it might be like if they had to live in that house. I'm sorry, but you 

[00:25:16] Jay: hit the nail on the head.

[00:25:18] Jay: You were speaking earlier, you said that a woman could be in the room and say, oh my God, I feel so fat. And she set the benchmark for everybody in the room. It didn't just affect the person. That's quote-unquote fat. It affected everybody in the room. So when you walk around skinny, it's almost as if in those situations that you have to take it while you can, because they're all afraid of it.

[00:25:45] Jay: Everybody feels like they're overweight because they can. That's the issue everybody's subject to, unless you're genetically, super skinny, which is fine, honestly, that's the only difference because just because you know, [00:26:00] smoke a hundred cigarettes and you're, super skinny doesn't mean you're healthier than the person that's got, Pudge.

[00:26:07] Janet: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And again, mental health is a component. We never talk about it. Fitness, there's a saying, what if we talked about going to, or going to therapy, as often as we talked about going to the gym, it's true. I, I think it's wonderful for somebody to have a commitment, to getting up and running every day.

[00:26:25] Janet: I have many friends who do that, who are trainers, and I love that. It makes them happy. And I do, but I sometimes wonder there are other things too. You know, like I feel great after I talked to my third, I actually 

[00:26:36] Jay: had a long time ago when I had battled the weight had come up with an idea for athletic wear, for someone that was overweight.

[00:26:45] Jay: Cause my God, for everybody wanting you to get skinny, he'll give you shit to wear, to get there like none. And you have to look like a like legitimately a sausage in spandex if you want, or you have to shop [00:27:00] at like Marshall's for the fluorescent green, whatever from 10 seasons ago, that's like a whatever size it's actually makes you stand out even more.

[00:27:10] Jay: And then I thought about it and you're actually making me rethink something. Here was the idea of coming up with a plus-size fitness brand that was called under construction. And the, it'd be like a U and a C and it would be almost like don't even bother. I already know. But then at the same time, I'm like why would we need to call attention to it?

[00:27:31] Jay: Unless we made it a brand across the board and everybody could just say, we're all under construction. 

[00:27:36] Jay: We're all under construction. Yeah. Cause that, I guess that would be my only concern is that I would think what, why I already am where I am. Yeah. And then we all, but we all might want to change something, and yeah.

[00:27:51] Jay: But I, you know, I just, I, and then I know that a lot of people experienced this in gyms when they are fat and they want to go to the gym because a lot of people do. There's a lot of [00:28:00] good fatty behavior. There's a lot. I know people in this happened to me too, will say good for you. Or, a woman approached one time. 

[00:28:07] Jay: Good for you, you get a response as if were 80 years old and picked up something.

[00:28:17] Janet: Yeah. And that, because it's just this kind of freedom to comment. People believe that fat people's bodies are up for comment. This woman said. So back when I was at a Lucille Roberts and she was like, I've been watching you since she came in and you're doing so well. And it was like I had been swimming since I was three years old, so I'm pretty good at it.

[00:28:36] Janet: And you know, so what are you talking about? Is there a change in my body maybe, but why aren't you talking to me? I think she probably thought she was being kind. I think she probably thought 

[00:28:47] Jay: that's a problem, isn't it? Yeah. 

[00:28:51] Janet: Yeah. And I think she thought that I needed to hear that and that she thought that I was there to change my body.

[00:28:58] Janet: I actually wasn't. I [00:29:00] was there too, because I was working a terrible job. It was right next door. And it was a way to relax at the end of the day and get some emotions out because do whatever or whatever. Yeah. The assumption. Then people want to tell you that you the lost weight or you look good or that looks so flattering on you.

[00:29:17] Janet: And I don't need you to tell me that I'm not trying. 

[00:29:21] Jay: So let me ask you this. If that's the case, then what is the person to do? To not take that on because those questions are going to happen because of the implicit bias that is here now. So I'm just throwing extra thought-out thoughts out there.

[00:29:39] Jay: And I wholeheartedly believe it's a mental health issue. You attached to that, it's a symptom of something and people don't treat it that way. They, they don't give it's due, you 

[00:29:57] Janet: know what? It reminds me of it's I've been doing [00:30:00] some work to just avoid physical compliments in general.

[00:30:04] Janet: And I think my reason for that. They can be really damaging. You can tell somebody, Hey, you look great. You've lost weight. And not know that there's something very serious going on. They didn't think they were fat. Yeah.

[00:30:16] Jay: you could have been the first one to kick the domino 

[00:30:22] Janet: and also, it's just these things that we compliment each other on, I would rather compliment somebody else. So I've been trying to say more I'm still happy to see you or you make me so happy to be around you or tell me, I'm so impressed at what you're doing or your kids were so kind the other day or like those kinds of things because those things matter.

[00:30:39] Janet: And the other things are going to go away and sometimes you have to get some tough boundaries and I've created tougher boundaries. And I think most people in my life now, no, we don't talk about Shannon's body. We don't discuss it. We don't discuss her weight. We don't discuss food. We don't just, we don't say nasty stuff about fat people in front of her.

[00:30:54] Janet: We just don't do it. And if they're unclear on it, I will let them know in a, in in a [00:31:00] cool. Depending on the situation. Cool. I'm not cool back, right?

[00:31:05] Jay: No, I understand that. So let me ask you this. So we know this exists. We know that we need to counter it. We need to figure out ways that we can help people de-bias.

[00:31:16] Jay: These, these situations. Let's put that to the side and now let's go to the person that's standing there that is living this life. And I'm not going to say that there is a fault in that person because it isn't right. They're being told there's a fault. They are living that fault. They are in a reality created by that fault.

[00:31:39] Jay: How do they navigate their lives? Because I don't care right now for this sake of this portion of the conversation, but anybody that hasn't been fat or isn't associated with this situation is at this point, what is it for those individuals that are living this life? Yes, they need advocacy. Yes, they need plus [00:32:00] size or whatever, larger clothes, whatever you want to call.

[00:32:03] Jay: They need all those things right for now, but what is it that helps them navigate this reality? Because the reality is not going to go away and I want to help them in the moment as well as advocate for change. 

[00:32:19] Janet: Yeah. How do you get through the day? How do you, what is the, what do you do at, what are some, 

[00:32:24] Jay: What are your skills for. Navigating life?

[00:32:26] Jay: So you don't take on that stigma as your persona and feel that shame or that, that, that pain. 

[00:32:35] Janet: A lot of it for me is about controlling what I expose myself to and what environments I feel safe in. So the media, yeah, I, you can fix the S the easiest thing to fix, right? Fix your Instagram, your Facebook, fix your feeds, whatever, or don't go on it as much.

[00:32:50] Janet: Where you go, who you associate with, there are people that I've stopped spending time with, or there are people who have chosen to stop spending time with me because they have not [00:33:00] enjoyed or sad. 

[00:33:02] Jay: It's really, really sad or something so nonexistent. But I have to believe again, the pro I get it.

[00:33:10] Jay: I'm not saying I'm not shaming.the situation

[00:33:12] Janet: No, no. And so it's really just about making the decision, and I, I think people are doing this a lot after the pandemic. They're saying I don't really have to do that stuff I didn't like to do anymore, or I don't have to be around that person anymore.

[00:33:25] Janet: It's just not worth it anymore. 

[00:33:27] Jay: There are Ripple effects that have created change, although it is such a traumatic thing that the planet is gone through, it is a catalyst to some of the biggest mental health awareness I've ever seen. And Eastern philosophy, meditation, prayer, whatever you want to call it. Yeah.

[00:33:49] Jay: Midroll

[00:34:17] Janet: quite an awakening and a lot of good ways, and yes, I think that's what it is remembering that you have control. But I think also, there's always a pick your battles kind of thing. I, if somebody, somebody screamed something out the window.

[00:34:31] Janet: When I'm walking on this. Is that a lot I can do about that? It will upset me. And this just happened about three weeks ago. And you know, I was walking up to meet my dad and my husband at a restaurant. And when I got there, I was pissed and I was angry. And, I told them what had happened and April through, upset that I was upset, but I was 

[00:34:50] Jay: of course, because that's a transferrable feeling of love in there and all these types of things, but 

[00:34:55] Janet: I couldn't let it ruin the whole dinner either.

[00:34:57] Janet: So I had to re-ground myself and at that moment, [00:35:00] The first time I didn't play, who works at that restaurant came by and gave me a big, hello. It's a very friendly place. I feel comfortable there physically, emotionally. So I was able to just switch my mindset and say, you know what, for every asshole in a van who wants to yell stuff, there is a safe place for me.

[00:35:16] Janet: And that's why we developed 

[00:35:18] Jay: the, so let me ask you a question. Why did it upset you when

[00:35:23] Janet: it upset me? Because what they yelled was fat pig. 

[00:35:27] Jay: Not the words, not the shaming situation, but in particular, why is it that hurt you?

[00:35:34] Janet: It hurt me. It was more of anger. It was more of a, you think you can thing because in my and I was all I was doing was I was walking up the street and I have every right to do that.

[00:35:46] Janet: And it's a little bit disturbing very disturbing to know that something. Somebody would take the time and these were adults. Cause I could somewhat see them scream. Something's very hateful because they just knew that [00:36:00] there are no consequences. First of all, like I can't, if I went into my phone and you get a picture of the car because I don't walk around doing that because that's paranoid and crazy, 

[00:36:10] Jay: This truck van thing with whatever, I don't want to stereotype people, but I've had, I've got my invitation.

[00:36:18] Jay: On how this might look, which is bad too but are those people going away? They are not. So they're not going away. And we want somebody that's living in this quote, unquote, fat body to enjoy life without that stigma, the path to that. And I'm just throwing extra things out there because we do need to do all those things.

[00:36:42] Jay: But the path to that would be, I think, as well to find out why it hurts, right? So the, so that each person can get their own clean slate and live life without even caring. Once we place importance on what somebody says, [00:37:00] it rents space in our head, it becomes part of our life. It becomes something that we have to either regret if we act on it because here's the reality.

[00:37:09] Jay: You weren't mad at what they said to you. You were mad because it was a human being that felt the need to hurt somebody else in that manner. And you want them to stop or know the consequences of it. And we all feel that way at the core of every one of these divides that we have. We're not mad that someone's racist for the reasons or the things that are we're mad because they're making the decision to hate when we know there's no need.

[00:37:41] Jay: And when we know there's no need, it hurts us inside and we want to make people stop. But the reality is in order to make something stop, you have to make it not important. It's like we're all kids, we're children. We believe we're not, but we're still playing the same game of make [00:38:00] believe we started when we were kids.

[00:38:02] Jay: So if we're all children, what happens when a kid picks up an annoying habit and starts doing it all the time right now, The chaining people is an annoying habit, it's horrible. But the first thing we do is what, ignore it. And what happens, the pendulum doesn't come back. Yeah. They're pushing that only because something inside of them hurts that day and they need to get rid of it in some way, shape or form immediately.

[00:38:36] Jay: And fat's a beautiful target because the stigmas attached to it say it's okay because it's their fault. But the reality is that person did not change anybody's life at the fundamental level. Those were just words that flew by you. So if we can effectively find a way and just [00:39:00] certain situations.

[00:39:00] Jay: So like I said, it's not the overarching, issue or anything. But if we can help people that are living within this stigma, be able to differentiate with the fact that everything that's said from someone in that, from that point of hate malice, whatever it is, it's, non-existent, it doesn't exist.

[00:39:22] Jay: You can't hit me with a sack of words. What I'm trying to say is that if we can find that center where we can look at these statements and we can say, you know what, for me, they do not exist for the greater good. We need to advocate for it. So I just feel like there needs to be that divide. So the.

[00:39:44] Jay: Heal and exist while we're taking on the issues.

[00:39:48] Janet: Yeah. Yes. I think, yeah, absolutely. And I think most advocates and people who do this every day, we've had to, we've had to take that stance. We've had to be able to [00:40:00] say, okay, some of them are so stupid and your insults aren't even creative and then decide when you take action, w when you're, if you don't feel safe, then I always advise people, go do something about this.

[00:40:12] Janet: Or, if something's really outrageous, we're going to talk about it. 

[00:40:15] Jay: I need to know in what instance that a person that's overweight, quote-unquote. Cause I feel like that's just, I don't like having to even say that, but where is safety an issue? Can you explain those scenarios? Because that scares me when you say something like that.

[00:40:31] Janet: A lot of it, of course, is online, and then I have. Many stories of people who not just were insulted, but were tracked down by email. One woman, I know recently had several death threats sent to her. So that does happen quite a bit. 

[00:40:47] Jay: Somebody overweight that much. That's really shitty, weird.

[00:40:53] Janet: It is, but, I will share that before we moved out of New York City a couple of years ago. And I don't, [00:41:00] I didn't tell anybody this one had happened. We were on the subway, it was rush hour. Everybody's miserable, everybody hates each other. And it was one of those days where you're wearing a coat, but it's really hot on the subway.

[00:41:10] Janet: So I was sweating as you do. And sometimes not people's what, even more, I sweat a lot anyway. Even when I was thin, I sweat who cares anyway it was a crowded train, and this guy next to me 

[00:41:23] Janet: thats 

[00:41:23] Jay: a bodily function. 

[00:41:26] Janet: The guy shoved me and said, get your fat ass out of the way. And he shoved me so hard that my head actually hit the metal pole, the subway, 

[00:41:33] Janet: I would call that assault.

[00:41:36] Janet: But in, in that moment, There was nobody around offered any support at all. And he was off the train by the next subway stop. So what can you do? You're not, you're not going to go find, a police officer or somebody I'm not going to go report it somewhere. I have no idea who he is.

[00:41:50] Jay: It's just the outright disregard and disconnect with the protection of somebody that has like the same implied rights as everybody else to [00:42:00] not be abused by the people that surround them simply by existing that people can't be a punching bag. 

[00:42:06] Janet: And so that, yeah, that was an unsafe environment. I actually, it took me months to take the subway again, which cost a lot for me and my husband financially.

[00:42:15] Janet: That was, and it took me a while to get back on and that was bullshit and I felt terrible avoiding it, but. At that time. I wasn't ready. 

[00:42:22] Jay: Yeah. You know what though? You shouldn't feel terrible for avoiding it for the simple fact that's called being human. You should step away from it. So you can recenter and figure that out.

[00:42:30] Jay: Cut yourself some slack. I know you'd do it because you're an advocate as an advocate. You don't want to step away because then you're setting a bad example, but cut yourself some slack 

[00:42:40] Janet: I have. I've learned. Yeah. But yeah, so there's, there are different ways that can be unsafe and sometimes you just get a sense of something too.

[00:42:51] Janet: I've walked into places and gotten a look or something and just said, 

[00:42:55] Jay: It's generational as well. I feel like it is a bit [00:43:00] generational. Yeah, for sure. There's definitely, yeah. I've seen some, some people write about that, that, with, with some of the older generation there's a little bit, I also see it with people my age too, when I think they're actually.

[00:43:14] Janet: Pretty not so great. I think the younger generation is doing a little better with it. 

[00:43:19] Jay: They give me hope. They do give me hope every day. Like I know Tik TOK is a cesspool for other things, but at the same time, I see a lot of things that show diversity and inclusion. And I feel like we're starting to place the body in the inclusion before it's just been racist, which has been this, that the other, but it's been ostracized and set out to the side as if it doesn't exist.

[00:43:45] Jay: It's been ashamed in the corner, even in the D&I room. 

[00:43:48] Janet: Yeah. No, I agree. I think there's a lot of work being done to, bring bodies into value in a lot of different ways there. Yeah. They're good allies there. They're wonderful. 

[00:43:58] Jay: Let me ask you this because I feel like [00:44:00] this might be a factor for the violence piece or for danger piece.

[00:44:05] Jay: I feel like the stigma that surrounds women and obesity is a huge contributor to domestic violence, or mental abuse, and allowable mental abuse. I feel like it is just rampant throughout the United States. As far as I would know, 

[00:44:25] Janet: It's something that I actually had planned to do some research on to get some numbers on it.

[00:44:30] Janet: I wish I had them related to domestic violence and the victim being large or fat plus whatever word we're using. I'm very interested in that. I do know that there have been some studies done about rape victims and how they are less likely to be believed when they are fat because unfortunately there are some very warped people who still equate rape with attractiveness or desirability or somehow feel that it is something about yeah.

[00:44:57] Janet: Desire, 

[00:44:58] Jay: Gotta love those implicit biases. [00:45:00]

[00:45:00] Janet: Yeah. And so there's a lot of research that shows that women are often not believed when they report sexual. Irene or even sexual harassment. I can say I can actually not get too into it, but I can say that I believe it. And so yes, I think females, we have this idea of what we want them to look like.

[00:45:20] Janet: I, I, I, You can hear my voice. I don't speak in a very feminine tone. And I don't, you know, I wear makeup and stuff, so I 

[00:45:30] Jay: well shame anybody, but I have the frequencies that I want to hear high is not the one that I want in my ear for the longest period. It's just like common knowledge, right? Yeah. 

[00:45:46] Janet: But it can be off-putting, I think sometimes to certain types of. Men and women and anybody, we all have this, but we, yes, we are still fighting this idea.

[00:45:55] Jay: Gotta be honest, I didn't notice anything about your voice. Not even it [00:46:00] wasn't even on my radar, couldn't have noticed anything.

[00:46:02] Jay: So I think it's a great voice. It wasn't on my register. I was like, where did that come from? 

[00:46:12] Janet: Oh, that came from up in Janet land. In my brain. 

[00:46:14] Jay: Of course, what we forget is that when we hurl these things, that people and someone grabs onto it and makes it a reality in their head, that leaves a lasting impression.

[00:46:26] Jay: You will at 40 look back at 25 when somebody said. You had a fucked up front too. Yeah. Just as simple as that is a permanent scar on the brain in the reality that we live in because it is a demerit in which society can judge you at every demerit is a pain because it's harder to feel equal. 

[00:46:52] Janet: Yeah. It's such a, you put it so well, the only reason I'm laughing is I'm remembering like when I was in seventh grade, I remember those commercials, like Gillette, [00:47:00] the best a man can get. And there's some guy in my class who, every time he would say Gillette The best a Man can get. 

[00:47:09] Jay: Did you wanna hug him. I'm sorry. 

[00:47:14] Janet: Well played. 

[00:47:15] Jay: Yes, this is what you have to do is it's not from, malice see this guy. You didn't know him, so that's an asshole, but if he was you see I would if you're mine. And you get in that group, that's gotta be something that you're okay with because we take the power away in our group. We take it away, but that's so bad to do that to somebody that you don't know, or it hasn't been imposed.

[00:47:45] Jay: Here's the, it should be, it's only open if that's the relationship you have with the people that you hang out with. Let me put it that way. I'm not saying that was a nice thing for him to say in any way, shape or form, but you brought it out there. [00:48:00]

[00:48:01] Janet: In retrospect, the lake, really? That was the worst thing you had.

[00:48:04] Janet: Okay.

[00:48:05] Jay: Exactly. It's so random. I didn't sound like the other girls, but you know what, maybe it wasn't even a slight and may not have been. It might've just been, it's the same, note frequency, cadence, that kind of thing. We never know, but it's funny how that immediately became a reality and you remember it and you remember it in reality, it wasn't anything that didn't even need to exist.

[00:48:33] Jay: It's some bizarre phenomenon. Something that happened still has a reality Ah, see you brought the cup up. I'm not a huge sports guy, but I love I'm a giants fan. So you had a Buffalo Bill's coffee cup and I love giving all my friends, the Scott, Norwood harassment about the horrible kick

[00:48:56] Janet: all my husband's. All of the paraphernalia is his, but I've [00:49:00] learned to just be like, okay I guess I have to like someone I'll like them too. I don't know. 

[00:49:04] Jay: No, I'm just, I'm just messing with, I used to have a pen when you clicked it. It would, I had a friend that was from Buffalo and I would click it all the time and it would play audibly. The kick is up and it's no good. No good. And I just, clicked it so many times. It died.

[00:49:23] Jay: Not because I cared about sports or anything like that, just because I knew I was kicking a nerve. It was hysterical. So you got to mix things up. You can't take everything seriously. That's one of the things that. And you show, it says candor and humor. If you can't laugh, then you're not doing yourself any favors because laughter I don't care what anybody says.

[00:49:48] Jay: Laughter It is one of the best medicines. It changes the dynamic of every, no matter how tense the situation, one person in that room starts laughing to the point of hysterics. For [00:50:00] whatever reason it will infect everybody else. Regardless. And comedy is something that is a diffuser. It doesn't put people on the carpet.

[00:50:10] Jay: When you have a larger group of people as to something that is supposed to be funny, you can call out the bigger biases in life without telling somebody individually that they're the ones committing the infraction. And it allows people to have that introspection after they've, heard what has been said, that it's not actually acceptable and they get to do a course correction internally, and that's why I like using comedy and things like this in this situation.

[00:50:40] Jay: And like I said, I've been overweight. I know what it feels like, and it's not anywhere that anybody feels safe all the time, the 

[00:50:51] Janet: Guarded for sure. Yeah. Guarded, but then, there are, I just, cause I grew, I really always want to reinforce though that there is, there are great communities [00:51:00] and there are people who are.

[00:51:01] Janet: Who is changing. And I, there are times when I do feel like I'm doing something for others. Like when I show up at the beach and I don't wear a cover-up or anything, or, or I wearing my beauty is not a size shirt. Like I can see other people that go see women sometimes make like a small, like a tiny little smile. Like I feel like maybe it helped them a little bit. 

[00:51:23] Jay: They want you too. It's like dominoes things become acceptable. When we take away the power, we take away the power and the leverage that is, gained for somebody by making someone overweight, feel inferior. When we take away that power, it literally diffuses the whole situation and people.

[00:51:48] Jay: We need people on the forefront and let's face it. I'm 44. You're 41. We need to protect not just that generation from that viewpoint because there are kids that are coming up through it, [00:52:00] but we need to protect our children inside when we protect our children inside and we give them that confidence, it's a ripple effect.

[00:52:09] Jay: The next generation will have no choice, but to assimilate into the new way of life. If we take the power away from these things, we give them the power to our kids. We take it away in real-time. That's why, I was saying earlier, if you're the person that's overweight, you need to don't give them power.

[00:52:31] Jay: Don't give them any power. And you're here to discuss these advocacy groups. And I love it. That's what, that's, what we need to be giving people is more comradery, less shame. The ability to walk out in groups, and, and have that be taken away because I got to tell you, I saw a commercial the other day, and I shouldn't notice this.

[00:52:50] Jay: This is the problem. Shouldn't notice this because it should just be the norm. However, I was sitting there with my wife and there was a woman that was not of the [00:53:00] norm for TV, shaving her legs in the bathtub. And I looked over at my wife and I was like, thank God. I was like, she looks great. I was like, not that the other person didn't, but that's not it.

[00:53:14] Jay: I didn't feel like there was some bizarre molded, this person was trying to fit on TV because I don't know these people. Where are they? 

[00:53:26] Janet: And they're there, they're out there. And there are, I think some companies are doing a really good job. As a matter of fact, back to Gillette, they had done some really.

[00:53:34] Janet: Ads I'm with Ana O'Brien who's a plus-sized model and means they took a lot of heat for it. There were pictures of her in the ocean and people were just, you're glorifying obesity. We hear that all the time 

[00:53:48] Jay: They don't want obesity to be okay, because then it's not glorifying skinny. I'm just going to put that out there.

[00:53:56] Jay: It is a card that gets taken away when it obese gets [00:54:00] the same stigma as everybody else. 

[00:54:06] Janet: And people who clean so hard to fatphobia and hating fat bodies, they are very disturbed by seeing fat people be happy and showing up and being successful. Now I know Brian is doing very well. I'm sure she doesn't care at all, but she did put up a statement or something that said.

[00:54:22] Janet: I am a human being. This is upsetting. The things you're saying are horrible and that's, what's so hard that you want to be able to move on and dismiss these trolls, these people. But you also, you do want to say, why do you think you get to do this? And we know why people get to do it because we've created a culture that says, yeah, it's okay to do it to them.

[00:54:40] Jay: Yeah. As I said, I think it's a two-way street, a double-edged sword, or however you want to approach it, that it's gotta be real-time. Mental health or mindfulness. That's the word I should be using to be able to operate with discernment when someone is utilizing this rhetoric as a way [00:55:00] to make you feel inferior to them.

[00:55:02] Jay: Then we have to promote mindfulness so that people can delineate what is actually going to impact them. And then can take that offensive approach, not a point from a point of pain, but from our point of peace, to be able to address the situation and make very calculated decisions on how to stop people from being biased, how to stop people from being afraid of being fat.

[00:55:32] Jay: Afraid of being human. It's just a different form. The last time I checked the only thing permanent in this world change, we're all going to get old. We're all going to increase the decrease in weight. We're all going to die. It doesn't stay the same. We're all going to die. You don't win. If you go out with the least pounds, that should be, I imagine if they listed, it was like golf.

[00:55:58] Jay: Whoever gets out with the lowest [00:56:00] lbs wins. That was the dynamic I could understand. Actually, no you'd want other people's. 

[00:56:10] Janet: Right 

[00:56:12] Jay: Did I just invent a new way to judge for you? We're here to create

[00:56:17] Jay: societal divides. Here lies Jay. This is what he weighs.

[00:56:29] Jay: Let's, let's talk about your website, nationalplusguide.com. Let's get that out there. Cause I think this is a great way to help people in a situation I was describing earlier. 

[00:56:43] Janet: A couple of months ago, I partnered up with Namade and something she'd been working on for about two years and I had a little more time to devote to help.

[00:56:54] Janet: So basically you can go to the website and search by state or by [00:57:00] a business and find a place that has been approved or nominated by a plus-sized person as being plus friendly. So he wanted to find a hair salon in Delaware. You could go on there and try to find something. And I try to think of it. As people have said, where are you putting up bad reviews?

[00:57:19] Janet: No, it's like the opposite of can't cancel culture. This is not a cancel culture. It's people doing things right. Culture. So any business on there has been submitted by somebody who said I had a great experience here. And then we've checked with the business and said, are you cool with being on. Nobody has said no yet.

[00:57:37] Janet: And the things we're looking for are there are four kinds of categories there's uh, physical comfort which is just, can I fit in the damn chair? And can I, I've been there just, I've been in salons where, I was like, I don't know that this is going to work. Emotional.

[00:57:54] Janet: Were you treated well, did people look you up and down, or were you spoken to nicely [00:58:00] plus presence, are there other plus people there? And that may sound a little bit like what everybody's gotta look like, no, but there is something, again, it goes back to representation,

[00:58:10] Jay: overtly making an attempt to not have obese people as patrons or workers at the establishment.

[00:58:17] Jay: Correct. That's where we're going right at our 

[00:58:19] Janet: Are all the fat people not seated by the window and in the back, because that's the thing. So yeah, 

[00:58:26] Janet: I've walked through life like a dunce no, I see it, it hurts just like you were saying earlier, you want to stop people from doing. 

[00:58:34] Janet: Yeah. And then the last category is um, health focused.

[00:58:38] Janet: So we look at people who are you know, providers or clinics or. That are approaching from the H a E S M models. So health at every size, the idea that, no matter what size you are, we can, let's talk about whatever you want to talk about with your health. And we're not always going to prescribe weight loss, and we're going to talk about things like intuitive eating, which is not a diet it's [00:59:00] listening to you.

[00:59:00] Jay: You're going to be just the cholesterol talk. Can we talk about other things? 

[00:59:08] Janet: like Nail infection one time. And it was like you know, this probably wouldn't have happened if you weren't fat. And I was like, really I'm gonna call some bullshit on that, but all right.

[00:59:27] Jay: There's probably something out there somebody has got to write in one actually it's psoriasis causes in 1% of people, 

[00:59:34] Janet: My cousin is a specialist in psoriasis and yeah. No, so, yeah, so that's just the categories we look at. And again, we just are looking to highlight people who are doing well. Ideally, we'd also like to start getting together.

[00:59:47] Janet: We're working on our newsletter. We'd like to expand some more media platforms and have it be more of a, again, a cool, safe place for people to come and see, like what's new in the plus world. What issues are going on? Advocacy? There's some [01:00:00] legislation pending in different states about actually creating protection for size discrimination because we don't know he's so 

[01:00:06] Jay: you may, you mean to make it a part of the overarching discrimination acts and things like that and getting it more integrated into those scenarios as well.

[01:00:17] Janet: I believe. Right now only Michigan has weight discrimination laws against it in place. There were some cities here and there that have it but only Michigan as a state. And that means that yeah, you can be discriminated against in housing and in the workplace for your weight. And there's really nothing you can do about it.

[01:00:37] Jay: Oh, horrible. That people make these you know, these decisions to hate based on. I can't imagine not renting to somebody because they're overweight. It's a house of cards and on the second floor, I still, then, that's just out of price, but it's baffling, [01:01:00] um, these sites, this has got to help.

[01:01:02] Jay: It gives that place for people to come together congregate. And you'll that accepted this. Yeah. 

[01:01:09] Janet: Yeah. That's what our, that's what our goal is just to we call it a place for us to find the places you fit in. Yeah.

[01:01:20] Jay: Wait a minute. Can you repeat your slogan again, please?

[01:01:27] Jay: That's how I start every day.

[01:01:34] Jay: Again, it's in the name, the tragedy academy. We're allowed to screw things up. We can make mistakes. I'll let you know, upfront all of this information. Everybody will be in our show notes on the website. So you'll be able to go to national plus guide.com. If you don't remember how you know or what exactly the website is all of Janet's information will be up there.

[01:01:58] Jay: Please reach out and [01:02:00] support this wonderful, I don't want to call it a cause. I feel like I keep pausing on these words that make obesity a charity make obesity problem. Ain't going to be anything but just what it is. But the fact of the matter is we have a gap in the market right now for the safety and wellbeing of those people that are overweight.

[01:02:22] Jay: And we need to give them that place until we as a society. Make the proper course corrections to allow for the acceptance of people, no matter how they look, what they way, and, and help people with the implicit bias that comes along with it, try to help people shake that tuba in their right ear.

[01:02:44] Jay: Every time they're looking at it, stop doing that. There's and I'll say this, there's an onus on film media, all these places too, because the reality is you said, this is us earlier. There's a lot of people [01:03:00] that love that shows and I can't help, but believe in my heart of hearts that anybody involved in that has nothing but the greatest intent, which I think you believe as well.

[01:03:08] Janet: Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. There's a difference between that and, getting up and doing. Spiel about how his aunt is overweight. And like he makes some, he, he had some horrific thing a few weeks ago. I don't know. Like I said earlier, this is on both sides. I'm not blaming any particular group or, know, 

[01:03:29] Jay: that's impossible that everybody's well, you had a statistic that you had submitted when you were interviewing you beyond the show and you said 70% of Americans are plus-sized.

[01:03:43] Jay: I'm gonna, I'm gonna make a call here. Isn't it 30% of people are small. If you're to look at. Things work that is not a proper ratio. So we need to understand that it's normal. [01:04:00] It 

[01:04:01] Jay: is. If it's a health issue, that's between that person and their doctor. If it's a mental issue, that's between them and their therapist, you don't need to call it out.

[01:04:09] Jay: When they walk into a room, you don't need to announce it. You don't need to give any sound effects. You don't need to change the dynamics of a room cause could you imagine if we made the decision to talk to people, the way that it was 100% portrayed on TV like that, like all the time, it wouldn't be unbelievable.

[01:04:25] Jay: So media own your mindful moments. If people are going to donate their time to you one hour or whatever it is for the week, or for whatever, eight hours for a sit and binge or whatever the onus is on you to make the right decisions and how you present the characters or the people, or the message that you're carving out, whether it's a joke or not, you have to make the under, you have to make that decision as to whether or not it is going to impact society and people for good or for bad because people don't [01:05:00] act mindfully in their life.

[01:05:01] Jay: Now they choose the mindful moments that are given to them. They get their mindful moments or Netflix or Hulu or Disney plus. So guess what? Hulu, Netflix Disney plus. Make sure that your content is exuding acceptance, that it is bringing everybody together, that it is painting the proper picture because as creators we write the future, whether we like it or not, when you're a creator, you are putting pen to paper for what the next generation is going to believe.

[01:05:33] Janet: Yep. Absolutely. 

[01:05:35] Jay: Final rant. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for coming on thank you for being you. Thank you for having eight to say courage and things like that. So thank you for being authentic. That is the word that we need to, except the, everybody we say that we're a melting pot, things like that, but we keep [01:06:00] trying to divide the pot up.

[01:06:01] Jay: We keep trying to give it different attributes. We've got to bring it to 

[01:06:06] Janet: thank you for the forum and for your thoughts, I think, yeah, this has been really great and I hope it was helpful to people, and yeah. 

[01:06:14] Jay: So thank you so much. Yeah. And I know I focus a lot on mindfulness, a lot on not taking on things, and a lot of, self-preservation. And that's why I say that because I don't say that because it's an opinion. I say that because it's an experience, and for me, one of the biggest steps to combat. Body dysmorphia, cause let's call it what it is. It's body dysmorphia at its core because it's been given a label and it's been, conditioned into our mind that we're not, we don't fit in.

[01:06:47] Jay: We're not a status quo that said when you have body dysmorphia, you, I don't know. You take on everything from everybody else. And you believe that why he viewed you [01:07:00] and obesity gives that same thing. If we apply, we are getting very good at LGBTQ. We really are. And we're approaching it and starting to see from a mental situation that people are not wrong for who they are. And if we're going to extend that kind of empathy and that kind of understanding, let's extend it to everybody and just say, look, everybody is allowed to be authentic, nothing more, nothing less.And I thank you for being authentic. Cause that's what you're doing.

[01:07:37] Jay: You're not being a strong overweight person. You're being authentic. You're being JanetConroy Quirk. Remember that name, everybody, because this is how you set the standard. I appreciate you. Do you have anything else you want to leave with anybody? Do you have an Instagram, anything like that you want to plug real [01:08:00] quick?

[01:08:01] Jay: My Instagram is just not very creative 

[01:08:06] Jay: because there are not many Janet Conroy Quirks.

[01:08:08] Janet: No except for that fake page with some troll man, but that wasn't me anyway. 

[01:08:13] Jay: My God, I know too much time. Do you know what? Before we go understand that there is social media is we have to continue to protect people in those environments.

[01:08:26] Jay: Just wanted to say that real quick. Yeah. That is just as painful as it is being driven by and yelled at if not worse because there's no way to. 

[01:08:35] Jay: Yeah, I agree. Yeah, absolutely. Again so I'm out there and the national plus guide is on Instagram. Also again, just national plus diet and we help people find it and use it.

[01:08:46] Jay: And if you own. Or, a business or you like a business that you think is plus friendly. Please let us know. You can just email us national plus guide Gmail. We want to hear about it. You don't have to be. Plus we trust you. If you think it's a safe place. [01:09:00]

[01:09:00] Jay: It's not, it's not rating. Like you said earlier, everybody's we're rating it like Yelp.

[01:09:05] Jay: Guess what if Yelp exists? Why can't this exist? You're not supposed to guess where you can go sit down. You need to know where you should go sit down. So I appreciate you. Thanks again, Janet. 

[01:09:19] Jay: Thanks again for attending another class at the tragedy academy and show us some love by subscribing, downloading, and rating as five stars on apple podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher, or ask Amazon Alexa to play the tragedy academy podcast and find links to all major podcast platforms and past episodes at the tragedy academy dot.

[01:09:38] Jay: You can find us on all the majors of social media on Instagram at the tragedy academy, 2019 on Tik TOK at the tragedy academy and on Twitter at tragedy underscore Caton, we will post our clips of upcoming shows, updated info and thoughts. If you'd like to be a guest, send an email to show@thetragedyacademy.com.

[01:09:59] Jay: [01:10:00] Keep an eye out on Instagram for tragedy academy giveaways. Thanks again for coming to class and remember to be cool. Keep learning.

Janey Conroy-Quirk Profile Photo

Janey Conroy-Quirk

Writer / Speaker / Actress / Body Positivity Advocate

Janet Conroy-Quirk is a writer, speaker, actress, and advocate. She holds a BA in Communications from Fordham University and an MSW degree from CUNY (The City University of New York) Hunter College. Janet worked in New York City social service settings for over fifteen years, particularly with the aging and homeless populations.

Janet then pursued acting, appearing in numerous stage productions in NYC (off and off-off-Broadway). Her resume includes web appearances with Glamour.com and Today.com, as well as several documentaries and the feature film “Outbound.” She continues to perform and serve as a consultant on various creative projects.

Janet’s freelance writing career began with sharing her experiences living in a fat body. She then served as Editor-in-Chief of Bold Magazine.
She is also a cast member of Realize Your Beauty, a non-profit organization that utilizes plays, workshops & camps to promote self-esteem, body positivity, and eating disorder awareness amongst young people.

Janet is active in fat advocacy at all levels, and believes that “The sharing of stories is a powerful method of creating connections and fostering empowerment by putting a piece of ourselves in the minds and memories of others.”