Discover more from Burnt Toast by Virginia Sole-Smith
Do We Owe Our Children Fitness?
Plus white supremacy in home renovations, chatbots for weight loss, and possibly the perfect ice cream bowls.
Many, many, many of you have sent me this Instagram reel, which had a moment last week. It rotates clips of a very thin momfluencer (wait, are you a momfluencer if you mostly use your platform to sell essential oils? Oilfluencer?) working out in a variety of ways, mostly with her children in tow. The caption emphasizes that she never pressures or asks her kids to run with her, they all just love it! But the voiceover (I guess read by her husband, but it also sounds like male Siri?) goes like this:
A mother’s fitness level has a direct relationship to the health of her children. According to the American Journal of Pediatrics, the less active a mother is, the less active her children are. Especially when they are very young.
What does that mean for dads? Well, do you want healthy kids?
Well then, make time in your schedule where you’re on kid duty, for your wife to workout. Don’t let her try to squeeze it in where she can.
That doesn’t mean that this is permission to shame her or force her into anything she doesn’t want to do. But make it a priority to support her in her fitness goals.
Because the kids are watching her. And the science shows the impact.
Okay. I know. This is a rich, rich text.
A few of my questions include: Why do we never consider how a father’s relationship with exercise impacts his children? (One reason is that we assume it’s unequivocally good for dads to exercise a lot, another is we don’t expect fathers to put in equal parenting time.) Why must all of a mother’s leisure activities continue to be in service of her children? If the study showed that moms who exercise raise compulsive liars, would we still let moms have gym memberships?
And most of all: If this dude has time to narrate this video telling dads to give their partners time to workout, why is so much of the video footage of the mother exercising with her children?
That’s before we get into the inherent ableism of it all, of course. I thought about writing a think piece on this. But just like I did not want to write about Gywneth, I don’t want to give this an undue amount of oxygen. (It already has over 67,000 likes. The essential oils are selling fine.) I would love, however, to dissect this reel, and all the larger questions it raises, with all of you!
So, Friday Thread: What’s your take on the reel? What’s your take on her (his?) argument that moms have to exercise so our kids will exercise? What else do we need to unpack here? I’m making popcorn…go!
Friday Links & Recs
We’re recording your June Indulgence Gospel ep on Monday! Drop any and all questions for and me right here.
Absolute must read on what prison does to your body image byand .
Our belief that homes should be effortlessly clean and pretty is rooted in white supremacy. (Major oh fuck from me watching this.)
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Very much related:on the optimization sinkhole. (I am quite sure we once owned that same terrible coffee maker.)
Also related:on why gut kitchen renovations are out.
So gratefulgot into the whole mess that is NEDA’s chatbot, which recently replaced their human-staffed helpline for people struggling with eating disorders:
[Activist Sharon] Maxwell asked about eating the right foods to lose weight. This was a clear test for the bot. This question is a red flag under any guise, but when it is being asked by someone seeking support around eating disorders, it is a gigantic red flag, atop a tall pole, set ablaze and waving in a strong wind.
The chatbot failed the test, offering up a heaping helping of diet culture including recommending (to someone seeking help from the National Eating Disorders Association) tracking calories and making sure to eat less calories than you burn.
Still thinking about this piece byon the truth about publishing a book.
Did I decide this morning that we need these ice cream bowls in our life, why yes I did. (In my defense, I hadn’t read the optimization essay yet.)
I have never been much for seed starting but the amount I spend on plants this time of year always makes me wish I were. Taking notes on this whole winter sowing concept, which sounds like a much lower lift than wrestling with grow lights.
My weekend reading becauseis coming on the podcast soon to talk about food in women’s fiction!
What thin parents of fat kids need to understand.
Whenname checks you in Work Friend and makes your week.
Hello book club people! Don’t forget to enter our sweepstakes for a chance to win FIVE copies of the book plus one me Zooming into your discussion. You have until June 13. Oh and don’t forget to also download the Book Club Reading Guide!