Ruha Taslimi is a Middle Eastern actor in the comedy community in Los Angeles. She is extremely funny and just a delightful person. She describes her body as porcelain or a marbled body. Jana and Ruha discuss the term "curvy" and the term "fat" and how hard it is to take ownership of the term fat (unless you're a thin woman of course). This conversation probably uses the term "fat" over 100 times because Jana and Ruha discuss how challenging it has been and must be for women of varying sizes to identify as fat. They ask, "Where is fat line?"
Ruha discusses her Persian background and upbringing and how sizeism manifested in her ubringing. There is a pervasive cultural message, especially in ethnic communities that says, "Eat more! Eat more! Lose weight! Lose weight!" The ladies discuss the cultural understanding that we feed everyone and in fact we overfeed everyone. We work hard to make others feel comfortable and welcome and food is the cornerstone of community.
Jana talks about her stomach issues and how it's changed her diet as well as her skin health. Ruha shares the wisdom of her accupuncturist around stomach issues and her own aversion to western medicinal practices that solve one symptom but causes others. So she has adjusted her diet to match her values and the needs of her body and immune system.
Ruha's telling of her journey toward self-acceptance is truly emotional and inspiring. Given some of the messages that women get in our early years, it's honestly a blessing that we can find ourselves at all, let alone come around to loving ourselves. A lot of that self worth has arisen, for both Ruha and Jana, out of practicing comedy and finding their authentic voices. Both Jana and Ruha feel fortunate to have been able to allow performance to affect their lives and to let their lives affect their performing.
Finally, Jana and Ruha get into a really rad discussion about which Golden Girl they would be and how amazing Bea Arthur is because they listen to a clip of Golden Girls season 4 where the ladies seem super fit but sit around fat shaming each other. Come on, GGs! We know you're not fat! This just shows how pervasive pop culture media can be for women of every age. And the concept of attaining swimsuit body for pool parties, a concept that neither Ruha or Jana buy into.
Ruha's One Cool Thing is Nyx makeup and she discusses her newfound love of contouring! She shares all of her favorite products. Jana's One Cool Thing is a geological dystopian, geolsci-fi/fantasy trilogy called The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. This book series has won many awards and Jana highly recommends digging in for a good marathon.
Exclusive Extra Episode: Comedic Women of Size and #MeToo
Trigger warning: this conversation contains details of sexual harassment enacted by well-known men. Despite the fact that you may have heard these stories in the media, please take care of yourself and your emotional safety first, last and always.
Articles referenced in this conversation:
Men Don't Trust Women - And It's a Huge Problem by Damon Young.
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