Deep breaths. We have a new president and (female!!) vice president. Some people still want to believe conspiracy theories, how do we have productive conversations with them? Joy’s health issue update, and a reminder to please not comment on people’s bodies.
This is Joy & Claire Episode 58: Facts or Feelings
Joy: Hey guys, this is Joy.
Claire: And this is Claire.
Joy: And this is Joy and Claire. And I’m really excited because when you are listening to this, we will have a new president.
Joy: Don’t say it too loud because I don’t want to jinx anything. Oh my gosh, a new, new world.
Claire: So good, I know. But you know what, it’s Monday night, a brand-new week. You guys are going to hear this toward the end of the week, and I feel like now after our first episode of 2021 when in between our recording and the release there was a violent mob that tried to attack the Capitol Building and knowing that there is a large presidential event planned for this week, who knows what could happen. Anything could happen.
Joy: Anything could happen. And I apologize in advance if you listen to this and the crap hit the fan.
Claire: I apologize if you’re listening to this from a panic room.
Joy: Oh my gosh.
Claire: I know. Funny, not funny.
Joy: Funny, not funny. But here we are. You know what, I noticed? So, I listen to a lot of podcasts. I listen to a lot of news podcasts, and I try to vary my news. Scott and I try to be very good about that. We’ll watch Fox News sometimes for a mere moment just to see what they’re doing, but most of my podcast I kind of check – is the media bias chart still an accurate way to check where your news comes from?
Claire: I mean, I think so. And I think that they update it pretty regularly?
Joy: Okay, good. So I always look at the media bias chart to make sure that my news is not far, far left. Right. So I listen to NPR. I listen to the Daily, New York Times, and then I’ll listen to some other podcasts sometimes like NBC, ABC, whatever. And so I’ve noticed – I may be jinxing this too, but as of today they’re not talking about the president. They’re not talking about him. They’re moving on. They’re talking about Kamala. They’re doing interviews with Kamala. They’re talking about Biden’s rollout to vaccinate the entire United States. It feels really good to not have that negativity in my ears first thing in the morning. I know it’s my choice, but every day you hear some catastrophe. I’m really excited to not have that.
Claire: Well, I mean, who knows if we’ll still be hearing catastrophes.
Joy: Well, you know what I mean. The person who’s causing most of the catastrophes.
Claire: We don’t have to hear his voice anymore. I was getting to the point where I couldn’t even hear his voice and it would create this knee-jerk reaction that if I heard it on the radio I would just have to change the channel. I was like, I can’t have this stress reaction so much anymore. Okay, one thing though. Some people have called this out and I’m curious about it. Why are we calling Joe Biden “Biden”, but Kamala Harris “Kamala.”
Joy: Oh, I didn’t know that.
C; I’m just curious. Everybody’s doing it. We don’t call her “Harris,” but we call Joe “Biden.”
Joy: His brand was Biden. Her brand was Kamala Harris.
Claire: I don’t know. He’s Joe.
Joy: I haven’t really paid attention though I guess.
Claire: Yeah. Most people refer to him as “Biden,” and then most people refer to her as “Kamala.” And it’s just an observation that I have made. I think it’s interesting.
Joy: She in the interviews calls him the President-Elect. I think she’s doing a really good job because I know people who will criticize her think that she’s going to take over or whatever wrong perception they have about her. They’re like, “She’s just going to take over.” She does a very good job of talking about Joe Biden being the president. So this is Joe’s decision. Because I think there’s just so much of, “She ran for president, so she’s got an agenda. It’s got to be Kamala’s agenda.” Everybody’s like, “Yeah, good, she’s got a great agenda.”
Claire: I would love that. I think that’s ideal. I think that’s what we deserved, and instead we got another old white guy.
Joy: Just another old white guy. Isn’t that a song?
Claire: No, you’re thinking “pretty fly for a white guy” I think.
Joy: [laughing] That was close, that was close, that was close.
Claire: So far, so far.
Joy: I’m really impressed you remembered that though.
Claire: You know, I think it’s like the head motion you did. That’s the “pretty fly for a white guy” head move. Everybody does that.
Joy: That was the move for “fly for a white guy.”
Claire: That’s the move. Oh my gosh.
Joy: Oh my gosh.
Claire: That song was also, it came out when I was – gosh, I’m going to have to look up when it came out.
Joy: Middle school. Because I was in college.
Claire: I think it was before that.
Joy: Oh really?
Claire: It came out in 1998. So I was ten years old for most of 1998.
Joy: Yeah, I was in college.
Claire: And the Offspring were the closest thing to a punk band that was mainstream, and 5th grade Claire was like, “I’m so hardcore, I listen to Offspring.” And I know that I didn’t get any of the direct references or sex references. I remember listening to that song on my Walkman at the mall.
Joy: That’s so funny. I listened to so much Pearl Jam when I was in junior high and Nirvana. I will never forget when I first heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I was in my garage. Because we lived in my garage – not really lived, but we were always out there because my dad was always in the garage working on stuff. My brother’s friends loved my dad, so we’d always hang out in the garage. And I remember my brother playing that song, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, what is this?” And everyone’s like, “This is the best.” The grunge era was so cool. Okay, speaking of music. Today I asked Scott – he always asks what our topics are even though every time –
Claire: Brandon too.
Joy: – for the past almost eight years since we’ve been recording –
Claire: I don’t know.
Joy: – we never have a plan. And so he’s like –
Claire: Brandon’s always like, “What did you guys talk about?” I’m like why do you even ask that question anymore because the answer is going to be the same.
Joy: “I have no idea, listen to it.” But Scott won’t listen to this. He’s like, “What are your topics?” And he said, “Are you going to talk about the inauguration.” I’m like, “Maybe.” I said, “Are you going to talk about the inauguration?” So now I just start flipping it on him. I’m like, “What do you want to say about the inauguration?” He’s like, “[sigh] Well, I think art is going to have a huge renaissance after all this is over.” I’m like okay, I can appreciate that. So he thinks there’s going to be a huge wave of amazing art that came out of this Trump era and pandemic, and I can’t wait for it. If Taylor Swift has a third album, by God.
Claire: I know. If we got two albums from Taylor in the thick of it, imagine what she could come out with in the aftermath.
Joy: Right. It’s going to be amazing. So that’s what he thinks. It’s going to be this huge renaissance of art. He can’t wait for it.
Claire: I think that’s great.
Joy: He worries about music making a comeback. He’s like, people can consume art and books. I think he said he worries about music, not making a comeback but kind of being bolstered back up. Because concerts went away. There really was no great way to consume live events that way.
Claire: Right, like there’s only so many times you can be like, “Oh my God, Alicia Keys is going live on Facebook.”
Joy: Right, exactly. Exactly.
Claire: So today when we’re recording this is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I have really found it very interesting to see people posting a lot of his less popular quotes or the popular quotes but in context. And it’s crazy to me, again, it’s actually not crazy to me because I’ve been thinking and reading about this stuff for the last now almost year. But for Martin Luther King, Jr. in particular, I read a tweet this morning that said, “MLK Day is the original Black square.” I was like, oh my God, that’s so true. For everyone just posting the “darkness cannot drive out darkness” quote. I thought it was really interesting and I thought it was timely also with all of the Capitol riots and all these people being convicted. It’s like, oh my gosh, I’m going to find my neighbor was there, this guy I went to high school was there, or whatever. My neighbor was not there, to be clear. But as an example. And my mom was telling me that my stepdad’s brother, the town he lives in is very conservative and the sheriff’s son was arrested for having stormed the Capitol. And everyone in the town, instead of being like, “Woah, maybe we should take a minute and think about the things that we as a town -“
Joy: Critique. Right, yeah.
Claire: Instead, they all went, “Oh my God, I can’t believe that guy was Antifa.”
Joy: Oh, dear God.
Joy: Call your dad, you’re in a cult.
Claire: Yeah. And then now the people who are having these armed protests, which is your right, which I don’t necessarily, whatever. But they’re now starting to wear “f*** Trump” shirts so that more people will be like, “Look, they’re Antifa.” They’re trying to dress – and one of them had a gay pride flag. They are trying to dress the way that they think the “Antifa,” which isn’t real or whatever you want to think about Antifa, would wear.
Joy: As decoys?
Claire: As a decoy, yes.
Joy: Like, hey, we’re proving the point that Antifa is really responsible –
Claire: Antifa’s the one that stormed the Capitol.
Joy: Of course.
Claire: It doesn’t make any sense at all because now you, human, are being taken photos of on every social media platform. What’s your end game here? Everyone, they’re going to see you and be like, “That guy is carrying a gay pride flag, wait a minute.” Anyways, there’s just a lot of craziness continue to happen. We didn’t solve anything by electing Joe Bide and Kamala Harris. We didn’t solve anything. And we just, I think, prevented absolute – I mean, we saw a glimpse of a little bit of what we prevented. But I wanted to take this opportunity to just bring all this up because I don’t know if you’re read a couple of the articles that have come out recently. I think Apple News did one. I think Self – Self? Elle? One of those fitness magazines did one that was talking about the role of white women health and wellness influencers in spreading these conspiracy theories and that it’s rooted in this type of personality that is very like, oh, I don’t believe in Big Pharma. I don’t believe in the traditional medical advice. I don’t believe in the traditional establishments, like traditional education. I want to ask all these questions. Which, that’s fine. American society is not perfect, and a lot of things are treated as one-size-fits-all that are not one-size-fits-all. But then QAnon and all of the conspiracy theories that orbit around that, their real tagline and thing that they do is they’re like, “We invite you to ‘do your own research.'” And so they’re really snagging those women – and I say women because it’s mostly women – who are in that headspace of I don’t want to vaccinate, I’m worried about the glyphosate in Cheerios. You know, like glyphosate in Cheerios is real, be worried about it, but who then are like I do my own research. So that’s how they’ve kind of been getting swept into this. Remember that girl on my Instagram about Joe Biden who went crazy about not wanting to vote for Joe Biden because he was going to force everybody to get vaccinated?
Claire: That. That is how it starts. So I wanted to bring that up because I feel like we tend to think this problem of these radicalized conservatives is far away from us because most of the people around us except for a few notable outliers are very similar to us. Or the differences that we do have in ideology, we’re really open about it, we have conversations about it, and it’s not whiffs of conspiracy theory. But that made me think, we actually are probably a lot closer to it than we think. And a lot of people listening to this are probably a lot closer to it than they think. And it’s not enough to – how am I trying to say this? I want to challenge us and everyone listening to stop thinking that it’s not your place to have that conversation or to make that comment or to ask that question or to call something out, regardless of where you think it’s going to go. I know we’ve said this a hundred times. “Well I just don’t want to put myself in that position because it’s not going to go anywhere.” Don’t do that anymore. We’ve crossed a line as a society. We’re on shaky ground. And if it’s not our job, then whose job is it? Who else is going to come in and talk to people and say, “Hey listen, I heard you saying that you think that Joe Biden is going to force everyone to get vaccinated. Can we have a conversation about that?” The other thing that I read that I thought was really interesting –
Joy: This is no longer about just saying this to your neighbor. This is saying this with hundreds of thousands of followers. Like people that would be like, “Woo” just like those dolls in Toy Story.
Claire: Yeah, and then you have like, we see even Sam Dancer, he’s been saying a lot of those types of things, people have mentioned him to us. And they were like, “Yeah, he’s always been doing a lot of [UNCLEAR 00:12:54.12] or whatever. But he’s a great example of somebody who – and I have not been following him. I’m just using him as an example because he’s been mentioned to us. But that type of person who’s very like, “I’m not just going to follow my doctor’s orders. I’m just going to send my kids to public school.” That’s all fine.
Joy: Challenging every single –
Claire: Yeah that, but where’s the line then?
Claire: And now I’m wearing a tin foil hat every day.
Joy: Yeah, it’s a little bit of a crossing over from reality.
Claire: Right. And it’s just hard to know. But I think I know that I very much have had this feeling of well, I’m not going to say anything because what’s it going to do.
Joy: That’s what I think.
Claire: It’s not going to make a difference.
Joy: Nothing gets solved on social media.
Claire: Nothing gets solved
Claire: But then I think, yeah, maybe nothing gets solved on social media. But at the same time, I know that on my personal Instagram I shared a ton of stuff about people’s side effects from vaccines. And then even before that I shared a bunch of stuff that I found interesting that was written by science accounts that I follow about some of my concerns – we talked about this – about how quickly the vaccine was created. And a lot of people have said, hey, I had a similar question about this, and thank you for finding this information because this helps me and helps me talk about it. Even though, again, maybe I’m not the one who’s going to convince somebody to change their entire ideology, I might encourage someone else to encourage someone else. How many ripple effects does that have every time that you’re the person that says, “Hey listen, I hear that you’re worried about this. Here’s what I’ve heard, and here are the fact checked resources that I’ve gotten information from. Let’s talk about this.” That’s not always going to work. In fact, probably most of the time it’s not going to do anything. But I just want us to challenge us to speak more about it. Whoever you are and wherever you are. That’s the thing I think about with this Capitol incident and just everything recently is there have been so many articles that people have been writing about we have to stop this narrative that “Trump country” or whatever are just a bunch of uneducated people in the south. Ultraconservatives, QAnon, they’re just these uneducated white guys living in their mom’s basement snorting Cheeto dust.
Joy: Right. Which is hard to not imagine that.
Claire: Right, but that’s not who these people are.
Claire: They’re the sons of judges. They are veterans, cops, you know. They’re educated, and white supremacists are recruiting on college campus. This is not –
Joy: And underground thing.
Claire: This is not an underground thing. I’m not saying, “White supremacists are out there recruiting.” They literally are. Literal handouts of white supremacist materials have increased on college campuses.
Joy: Like blatant?
Joy: Like, hey, we’re white supremacists, come on?
Claire: Like, hey, white supremacist messaging that’s like, “Hey, if you’re white come to this thing.” And white, European decent, right. Because that’s the whole thing because white Middle Easterners have stolen all of the, anyway whatever. The whole anti-Semitism thing. I mean, not whatever about anti-Semitism. So I think that – who knows, maybe I sound like a left-wing conspiracy theorist where I’m like, “These white supremacists are recruiting.”
Joy: But here’s the thing. Here’s what I really want to point out too is even as we have this conversation, I want to have an educated discussion and not a heating discussion. I want to have a respectful conversation with someone who maybe, not a white supremacist, but a republican –
Claire: Who thinks Joe Biden is going to make us all get vaccinated.
Joy: Yeah. Because we’ve gone from that conversation – I read an article about this too. This is no longer about politics. This is about the deep, deep issues of the United States that is has just been bubbled to the surface. It’s always been there. But we can longer have a conversation about politics. It’s like, you can’t talk to someone about Trump without the Trumpers coming at you with evil and spewing hate.
Claire: And I think it’s like, that’s been my experience and that’s my assumption, and I don’t want to have that assumption. We thought once Trump is out of office that “Trumpers” would go away, and we’re seeing that that’s not going to be the case. By Trumper at this point, really what I mean and what I think we should be saying is white supremacist. However, it’s not just extremist white supremacist. And that is really I think what I have been thinking so much about recently is somebody doesn’t just wake up and become a white supremacist. They get there over time, and it’s not fact-based thinking. It’s emotional thinking. It’s based on your morals. It’s based on your fears, and those things are super, super powerful. And it’s important to make decisions based on your morals, but at what point does that value of being anti-establishment, at what point does that cross the line into now you are willing to get violent, willing to spread misinformation not caring about checking your sources and not caring – at what point does anti-establishment cross the line into every man for themselves.
Joy: Maybe it’s feeling special and there’s this huge group, so it’s maybe not even questioning that because you maybe lean strongly towards the right, so all of the sudden you have this group that’s willing to take you in. It’s back to that cult mentality where you’re like I need a family, I need a place to belong. And this is just me throwing out ideas because I really try to understand this. You need to feel like you belong. If it’s a male thing, you need to feel powerful in some way. You have a cause to fight for. When you have that many numbers of people saying the same thing, this is what you get.
Claire: I just think I want to really ask us all to stop turning the other way and worrying about agree to disagree.
Joy: Agree to disagree is the worst.
Claire: And what’s the line also though, what’s the give and take of finally standing up and having those conversations versus going to a place of emotional burnout and just absolute energetic dump. I don’t know. I think that’s a thing that I need to work on, I need to figure out. Even if it’s not, hey, go into social media and start leaving a bunch of comments on everybody’s Instagram. It’s not just uneducated, white guys living in their basements with 30 years’ worth of food in a bucket who were storming the Capitol. It’s your sister’s husband. It’s your coworker who’s always posted weird right-wing stuff on Facebook. It’s your neighbor who –
Joy: It’s my neighbor from my hometown.
Claire: Right, it’s your neighbor from your hometown. If you are close enough to that person, stop thinking that it’s not your job.
Joy: Okay, here’s my question because I’ve been thinking about this a lot too. If I was to go to this person, and I don’t know him that well anymore but let’s pretend that I knew him very well, and when that person is so into his beliefs it’s almost a self-fulfilling prophesy when I come to him and be like, “Hey, I’m really concerned about what you’re posting. Tell me what you’re thinking right now.” And for him to be like, “You’re trying to change my mind.” And automatically be defensive and be like, “You leftists, this is what you do.” It’s that, you’re crazy type of mentality.
Claire: At that point, my question would be to you, if that guy were to walk into a government building and blow himself up or some super extreme activity, would you rather think “I tried to reach out to him” or “wow, I saw that coming.” And I think at that point it does sort of become a little bit, not completely altruistic. I want to feel like I’m making an effort.
Joy: Yeah, just being like, “Are you okay? How are you doing?”
Claire: Slipping a note to them under the counter, “Do you need help?” I also think that that’s a huge assumption to think that immediately that’s just going to be –
Joy: That’s my fear.
Claire: And I think that’s valid. And maybe that person is far enough away from you that it doesn’t matter and it wouldn’t make a difference. And again, I know what I just said about him blowing himself up, that’s a crazy. extreme example, and I’m not saying that’s what we’re up against here. But for every post or comment or interaction that I’ve seen by someone that I know where I’ve thought, “Whew, that’s weird,” I want to challenge myself to comment back, just a quick comment back. “This is inconsistent with what I’ve seen.” Or hey, I’ve been talking about this with somebody else that maybe we mutually know, and that’s not how I heard this same information. You know, and just trying to open it up. What I was saying earlier about it not necessarily being facts based and being morals and values based is that no matter how many facts you come at a lot of those people with, that’s not what’s going to change it. So what is going to change it? I don’t know. I think we’re all trying to figure that out collectively right now.
Joy: That’s what I’m having a hard time with right now. We’re stuck in our feelings, we’re not looking at facts. Everyone’s just so stuck in those feelings that we’re not just looking at the facts. And then of course when facts are questioned, especially when you have a leader that makes facts look like they’re not facts, there’s just a snowball effect. I have what I would consider a good friend actually from my hometown just spewing horrible things on Facebook that I had to block her for 30 days. That’s the beautiful thing, snoozing people for 30 days. And she wrote me, and she was like, because she saw my posts, and I will passive aggressively post things sometimes just to be like I hope they see this. It will not change a thing, but that’s just me as a human. And she wrote to one of my posts one time. I think this was around the election. And she was like, “You know, I wasn’t sure about Trump for a long time. I wondered why everyone didn’t like him, so I started doing my own research.” The things that she was spewing was verbatim conspiracy stuff.
Claire: Right. And that’s the thing. There it is. There’s that line, “doing my own research.”
Joy: I said, “Oh, how many sources have you searched. You should get a variety of sources.” And she didn’t respond. She says, “I encourage you to do your research.” I said, “I do on a daily basis from multiple different sources. Where do you do yours from?” And she never responded, and it was just like [exasperated sigh].
Claire: Right. But I think that’s a great example of we wait to make a move until we think we know it’s going to work. And we need to stop doing that because that has resulted in this situation we’re in now where a lot of people are going very unchecked in both directions.
Joy: You mean left and right?
Claire: Left and right. But what we’re really seeing now on the right are just going unchecked. Who knows at one point if it ever would have made a difference. I know for me, there are things that I have strongly believed in my life that then over time as I started to see other people who I respect who are opposing things that were like maybe this isn’t quite right. I think a good example would be a home birth. And that’s not political, but talk about emotions over facts, right? That I think is a scenario where over time I started to be more open to it and started being more interested in it and eventually going on that path and having a really good experience. Another example would be the vaccine. I was thinking I don’t want to get this thing. Even Brandon was like, “I don’t know if I’m going to get this in the first year that it’s out. I’m not high risk. I’m worried about the timeline.” As soon as we started opening our, you know, kind of like, okay well I’m going to start listening to what other people are saying about this. That was when my mind was changed. No body reached out to me said, “Hey” – no, that’s not true, somebody did reach out to me. I posted something on Instagram stories and was like, “I get it. It’s scary. The vaccine was created in a record amount of time. That seems ridiculous to me. I don’t know how I feel about that.” And somebody reached out to me and was like, “Hey, I saw that you were worried about this. Here’s some information about it.” I was like, oh, you know.
Joy: That’s a great way to respond too. Oh I saw you posted about this, here’s some more information.
Claire: Right, okay.
Joy: Thank you.
Claire: You know guys, I don’t know what the answer is, but I want us to stop. And this is something we have said on the podcast a hundred times. “Nothing can be accomplished on social media.” Maybe something can. I just feel like it’s time to start trying.
Joy: It’s time to start trying. It’s time to start trying, and I just want to give a plug for – not that she needs a plug, but I’m just going to mention a podcast episode that I thought was really, really important for this time. It’s very timely. It’s Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us. If you haven’t heard it, just go listed to this episode. It’s the episode from January 13th. The title is “Brené On Words, Actions, Humanization, and Accountability.” And it’s really just her speaking her mind, but I encourage everybody to listen to it. Brené Brown is an expert. She’s a Doctor of Social Work, has done a ton of research, over 20 years of research on behavior really. Something I just wanted to point out was what she talks about of shame over accountability. And something that really resonated with me is when she said it’s so, so easy to go to shame when all of this is going on. She spoke specifically about what happened at the Capitol and how it’s so easy, and she’s like, hey if it worked, I would do it every day. She’s like, I’m just being honest with you. I would shame people until I’m blue in the face because there’s a part of me that’s just, “Oh, I got you.” But she’s like, it doesn’t work. For instance, being like how dare you, you white supremacist, blah blah blah. I mean, of course there’s white supremacists, that’s a bad thing. But even saying to someone like that guy that posted on my Facebook.
Claire: Right, even to be like, wow you sound like a white supremacist right now. It’s not going to do anything.
Joy: That’s not going to do anything. The shame is not going to do anything. So if I knew it worked, I would do it, but shame never works so we have to be holding people to account. She talks all about that. I really encourage everybody to listen to it. It’s only a half-hour episode, it’s great. And it just gave my mind a reframe because my go-to with all this – in my professional life when I’m talking to people in my therapy hat world, it’s so easy for me to preach what we should do. But when I am in my life and just reacting to this stuff, I’m so angry and I’m so mad that shit like this still goes on. I’m just angry. That’s not going to do anything. It was really good to be like, alright, so how do we start holding people accountable for their actions? And I love what you’ve said Claire over the years of just being like, you don’t get to do things and just not suffer the consequences. You don’t get to just say crap and then you don’t deal with the consequences, like everything that Trump has done. Or people who –
Joy: Anything, yeah. Do whatever you want, but consequences are consequences.
Claire: Yeah, you have freedom of speech, you have freedom to choose, you have freedom to do all these things. But you’re not free from the consequences of those choices that you make.
Claire: And the one other thing I just want to end this part of the conversation with is that no one out there has all the answers, and so don’t feel like you can’t enter the conversation because you don’t know enough. And then I also think that we as a society need to remind ourselves what research actually means.
Joy: Yes, what is research?
Claire: “Oh Brené, has done 20 years of research.” If somebody tells you, “I have been doing my own research,” and that process has taken them less than several years – I mean, I’m not saying don’t go out there and look at different sources of information, but that’s not what research is.
Joy: No, it’s reading articles. So yeah, that’s a good point.
Claire: It’s having a hypothesis and consuming a body of work and also doing your own independent data gathering through experiments or interviews or through primary sources.
Joy: Interpreting data.
Claire: Interpreting data to either prove or disprove your hypothesis. It’s not reading a couple of articles on Fox News because you’re liberal and think I just need to hear the other opinion and now this validates what I believed, or any combination of those things. So I want to also stop using that term. “Oh, just do your own research.” Because that makes the process of gathering conclusions that have already been made from a variety of sources sound a lot more important than it really is. And again, I’m not saying don’t go out and gather different conclusions and then assimilate them and make your decisions based on those things. But understand that that’s not what research is.
Joy: And I would ask for more critical thinking. I think that it’s a lost art.
Claire: It is. So moving on a little bit. Moving right along. So another pretty big topic we’re going to talk about this week is commenting on other people’s bodies. So last week, Joy posted something on Instagram about how she was like, I really take for granted – and I don’t know why I’m the one telling this. You’re the one who wrote it. – But I really take for granted all the years I spent putting my body through so much diet culture B.S. and now having to heal and figure out this autoimmune disease is really pulling that to the forefront for you. Is that kind of the gist?
Joy: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I was at the gym, and I was like, man just don’t take your health for granted. I wanted to put a personal experience out there. And it really was tied to some guilt I felt about, God, I just put so much stress on my body about diet culture when this whole time maybe that was stressing my body and causing this. You know, you can go down that rabbit hole, but it just really felt like, hey people, stop stressing out over your bodies. Be grateful for your health. Be grateful for what your body can do today.
Claire: Right. And we are so critical of little thing. And in response to that, a good amount of people left comments or wrote messages to us like, “Joy, you look great.” And I don’t know if you’re comfortable with sharing this number, but you’ve lost a lot of weight since you unknowingly started developing this. How much weight have you lost?
Joy: About 20 pounds.
Claire: Which is a big percentage for you. And that’s also why I didn’t want to necessarily put a pound number on it. But a large percentage of your body.
Joy: For my body weight, for sure.
Claire: And you’re somebody, you’re tall, you’re lean. Just genetically you’ll always be tall obviously and lean. But your muscles really have changed.
Claire: And the shape of your body has changed. Even when you post the pictures of yourself in the gym, it’s obvious that your muscles have really changed and you’ve lost a lot of weight. As I was reading those, I know this is coming from such a positive place but I just can’t help but feel like it was just landing just left of center. And so I’ve said something about it on Instagram stories the next day. I in no way want to call anybody out for saying that because I know –
Joy: Which you did a good job of that.
Claire: Nobody says, “You look great” sarcastically. Everyone was coming there to say, “Joy, I know you feel like shit but you look great.” And in our society that has become an acceptable thing to say to someone. You might feel like shit, but hey you’re losing weight, that’s a plus. You may be going through chemo, but hey you lost those 10 pounds.
Joy: Or people who, I’m not even kidding, and I know again there has to be some laughter in this. There have been people who have been like, “Oh, I wish I had that.”
Claire: That’s the thing.
Joy: Not like people in my life have joked about that. How do you respond to that?
Claire: Right. There of course is always, you know, it varies person to person. But I think what it really just brought up for me was the reminder that there’s just no reason to comment on people’s bodies unless you specifically are being asked. I can think of few and far between scenarios in my life when I’ve asked anyone, hey, how do you feel about my body right now.
Joy: I don’t think I’ve ever. Maybe I’ve asked Scott, does this dress look okay. But I also think the intention like you said was positive of wanting to encourage me. But also, saying you look great shouldn’t be a compliment of how your body looks. You know what I mean?
Claire: So then I posted a series of Instagram stories, basically saying I noticed this and I just want to remind everybody that Joy is certifiably unhealthy right now.
Joy: Yeah, I’m not healthy right now. No, I don’t want to look like this.
Claire: All of your bloodwork is in unhealthy ranges. You’re by the books unhealthy. And as much as we say to people, oh it’s just about being healthy, then you can’t flip the coin and say, well you look great.
Joy: And even someone commented something very important that looking great isn’t thin. This shouldn’t be thin is the “look great.” The whole defining what “look great” means is fucked up.
Claire: So there were really two responses that I had. The first one was, sort of my knee jerk reaction before I wrote anything was how far do we think we had come only to then be so quickly congratulated on skinniness. And then number two, the big one, we just don’t need to be commenting on people’s bodies for so many reasons. The big one is, we just have better things to say. There’s better ways to encourage someone. There’s better ways to congratulate someone. There’s better ways to ask how someone’s doing. And even if I were to see somebody and notice, hey you’ve gained a lot of weight or you’ve lost a lot of weight. Instead of going up to them and being like, “Wow, you’ve gained a lot of weight. Is everything okay?” I might just say, “Hey, is everything okay?” Why even make it about their body.
Joy: Why even make it about their body, yeah.
Claire: So we had a lot of great comments as well, hey Joy you look great, thank you so much for this message, thanks so much for putting yourself – hey Joy, you’re doing great. I’m so proud of you for continuing to put in the work. I know this must be hard. You’re showing up. That’s awesome. It’s so inspiring to see you continuing to go to the gym and continuing to try and do that for your mental health. We got so many great comments. And then we also got so many responses once I had posted those stories with these heartbreaking stories of going through different things in their lives where they either lost or gained weight.
Joy: Of people really praising thinness, which made me really upset.
Claire: Yeah. Somebody was like, my mom had terminal cancer and so many people were just like, “wow, you look great,” and it was just heartbreaking because she was dying. People were like, yeah, I have ulcerative colitis or I have gastroparesis and I literally can’t eat more than 100 calories a day because I don’t I’m “bigger” I don’t “look malnourished. And people are congratulating me on losing weight, and in the meantime, I’m looking at having a feeding tube because my body can’t digest food anymore. All of these things. And even if it’s not to that degree, I was thinking about this more. I feel like I’m just on this huge soap box right now of this whole episode, so whatever, just run with it. Thinking about this more after we had gotten all those stories that really validated, just don’t comment on people’s bodies. But if your body goes through a change, you also don’t have to have a diagnosis to justify that. It can just go through a change because you discovered a brownie recipe that you really liked and you eat a bunch of times in a row. Or whatever the case may be. You got COVID and now you can’t taste anything anymore, so you’re not interested in food and you lost weight. Or literally anything. Or you could be trying to lose weight and you lost weight, still fine.
Joy: Let’s just start asking people, “How are you doing?”
Claire: “How are you doing? What’s something you’re working on right now?” And if that person brings up and it’s like, “Well thanks for asking, I’ve lost 25 pounds from CrossFit. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it.” Let them bring it up. We’ve talked about this in relation to post pardon where people always want to say, “Oh, your body created two babies. Isn’t it amazing? Just honor it for doing that.” I don’t want to have to honor it for anything except just holding my organs inside me. Thank you, body, for just holding my organs in place. There is no prerequisite to justifying weight loss or weight gain or the weight that you are the weight that you’ve always been. We all need that reminder.
Joy: And maybe question if your first instinct is to look at someone’s body and think about their body or think about commenting on their body, why you’re doing that. It could be something different that you’re noticing about that person instead of their looks.
Claire: And also guys, I think the other thing is to know is that this still happens to a lot of us as a knee-jerk reaction when we look at someone. You might see someone on Instagram stories and think, “Wow, they are really skinny.” We have all been living inside this diet culture world for so long that that might never go away. You can just kind of –
Joy: Take a pause.
Claire: Think that thought, and, wow –
Joy: That’s diet culture talking.
Claire: That’s diet culture talking. What an uninteresting thing to notice about someone.
Joy: Yeah, for sure. We’ve been really, really brainwashed through that, and I think that’s a very true statement Claire. When I posted that and when the comments came in around it, I wanted to just be like you have no idea what I would give to be able to run right now. You have no idea what I would give to be able to Fran right now. As much as that sucks, I would give anything to be like, “I’m going to go lift a barbell above my head.” I just got another result back that I really cannot do any exercise that gets my heart rate up other than walking. And not power walking – walking. Light weights. Can’t do anything that gets my heart rate up. I have to do some reps, rest. Light yoga, not power yoga. I’m on pretty strict orders. That is my health right now, and it’s because of an autoimmune disease and it’s making me very weak. I really want to have muscular arms again. And that may not happen, who knows. I’m just taking it day by day. Really just think that people and their bodies, remember health is not a number. It’s not a shape.
Claire: And I think that one last thing about that is when you unknowingly comment on someone’s body if their going through something, that can stick with them forever and does stick with them forever. We also heard people telling us, yeah, I’ve had disordered eating or even eating disorders for a long time, and it started when I got really sick and lost a lot of weight and people commented to me so much that when I stopped being sick I was afraid to go back to eating. It was like when you were doing macros. You lost your period, but you were getting so much positive feedback that even now, years later, it still messes with your mind when your pants that you wore during your macro phase don’t fit.
Joy: Oh yeah. I remember texting you. Such a mind fuck.
Claire: That’s just another of seemingly endless reasons to just don’t go there. Again, then you may be basically telling somebody, “Your body looks the best when it’s sick.” And that’s a shitty thing to hear.
Joy: Yeah, for sure.
Claire: I know if you’re listening to this and you’re like, “Oh my God, Claire. You’re calling me out.” I know that everyone that wrote those comments were doing it from a place – and I say that completely unironically and not passive aggressively, and this is just an opportunity for us to think about it and be reminded not to do that.
Joy: Yes. Can we play a transition song?
Claire: Can we? I don’t know.
Joy: Okay, so this is Ty’s song. I forgot to play Ty’s song last week and the reason that I didn’t was because –
Claire: We didn’t have a file, right?
Joy: Yeah, she doesn’t have a file. It’s only on Spotify. So she’s the one that sang the song “Don’t Shoot Me Santa.” It’s so cute. So here, I’m going to play a little bit.
[playing “Don’t Shoot Me Santa”]
Joy: Isn’t that cool?
Claire: That’s so cute. Not cute, that’s beautiful.
Joy: It’s beautiful. I love it. She rocks. So I messaged her right before we were going to publish last week’s episode, and I was like “Do you have a file? I can’t play the song unless I have a file.” So Ty, you’re a badass. What was our next topic?
Claire: On Instagram last week. So the question last week was about superstitions. We didn’t get very many replies, so maybe let’s save those for next week so that we can talk about things that everyone called “the farts” when they were growing up.
Joy: Oh my God, let’s do it.
Claire: So we’ll save your voicemails about superstitions from last week.
Joy: If you have some, you can still submit them.
Claire: Still submit them. Last week, I was starting to think that – we had a question several weeks ago of, what was something that happened in your house growing up that you didn’t realize was super weird until you left, and we got so many funny questions. And then I was thinking about – I can’t remember, something funny that one of the kids said. It must have been Miles because Evie can’t talk.
Joy: [laughing] “One of my kids said” – the child that can talk.
Claire: The child that can talk. It made me start thinking that when I was growing up, we called farting “shooting a bunny.” And I was like, where the hell did that come from? If you farted, it was like, “Oh, you shot a bunny.” And I’m sure that people who heard it were like, “Oh my God, what?” But just got me thinking, what sayings did you say in your home that you didn’t realize until later on. Most of them, guys, were about what we call farts, which really was more than I was hoping for.
Joy: So good.
Claire: I would like to read some of these to you because they are very funny. This one says they called farting telling a bottom secret. Stepping on ducks. Air poop. Leaving a present. Was passing gas. Floating an air biscuit.
Joy: Oh, I heard a comedian once call it food ghosts.
Claire: Oh wow, that’s amazing. Let’s see.
Joy: Fart jokes and farts will never get old, will never be not funny.
Joy: One time, Scott and I were sitting there, JT was sitting on the floor. He was sitting straight up and his butt was on the hardwood floor, and JT farted, like audibly farted. I’ve never heard a dog audibly fart. JT does not audibly fart. And it was so funny, we just started laughing so hard. We were like, “Was that JT?”
Claire: It’s never not funny. Even Evie when she farts, she goes, “Toot!” Let’s see here. Mr. Poo Poo knocking at the door. Ripped a turtle. These are all just fart things, there are so many other answers. Bumper was passing gas.
Joy: Someone else said they said shoot a bunny.
Claire: This is a mind-blowing experience for me because multiple people were like, yeah, we shot bunnies too. This makes it worse. I was willing to accept that it was just some completely nonsensical thing that my family made up, but to know that it was not just us. It’s out there. Now I’m like, where did this come from?
Joy: Oh my God, that’s really funny.
Claire: So funny.
Joy: I love that we just ended this podcast talking about farts.
Claire: This one says, “We called farts hiney burps.” Hoofer because part was a bad word. Let’s see here. Barking spiders.
Joy: Oh, I loved barking spiders.
Claire: Someone said stepped on a barking toad.
Joy: That’s a classic one.
Claire: Also we called farts ducks. Example: “Did you just duck?”
Joy: Oh my gosh.
Claire: “Release the hippogater whenever my dad would pass gas.” At lot of you had specific names just for your dad farting, which I think is legit. So Brandon said – if he ever found out that I talked about this on the podcast, he would die of embarrassment – but he does that thing that some people do when if they’re walking and they have to fart, they lift of their hip. You know what I’m talking about? Sort of cock their hip a little bit. So now we refer to that as the “Jim Cook salute.” Okay, so there were a couple other ones non-fart-related. “We always said, ‘Lord love a duck’ when we were upset.”
Joy: I love when people said “cheese and rice” when they’re mad.
Claire: Yes. Or “shut the front door.”
Joy: “Shut the front door was my favorite.”
Claire: “Berser wersers” for “it’s cold.” That one sounds totally made up, but I love it. “My family uses the word “dingle fluts” instead of penis. Okay. A couple people said “skinning a cat” for getting undressed. This person says, “Calling overlays eggs ‘dippy.’ Ordering dippy eggs at Waffle House was eye opening.” That’s the other thing about, I would love to hear the backup story of like, the first time I said this in public and everyone just stared at me and I realized that most people didn’t call it “shooting a bunny.”
Joy: Oh, that’s so funny.
Claire: So thank you guys for playing along with these because they were hilarious. So funny. And also, I really appreciated that there was a major theme in here of people who it was only their dads who said these weird things. Just so funny.
Joy: I love it. That’s such a dad thing.
Claire: My dad wants to mung bean, which meant to calm down. Okay, sure. This one says, “In response to ‘so,’ my dad would say, ‘sew buttons on your underwear and call it a dress.’”
Joy: I love that one, I love that one! I love that dad. Sew buttons on your underwear and call it a dress. Okay, can I end with my new favorite reality show?
Claire: Yes, please.
Joy: If you need a new reality fix, Bling Empire is your show. It is the reality show version of Crazy Rich Asians, and it’s fantastic. Now, these people have way more money than I think any reality show rich people I’ve ever seen. Unbelievable amounts of money. The characters are amazing. It’s just the right amount of trash reality, shots of California and Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. I’m in love. If you need a good brain break, do it. It’s the best. And then DM me about it because I want to talk to someone about this show because I love it so much.
Claire: And I thought it was great, people were like, have you seen all these other shows. And it’s like, yes, Joy has seen all the shows.
Joy: If it has reality show – I haven’t watched – there’s one, oh, I can’t remember the name of it, but there’s one reality wives show that I haven’t watched yet, but I got into the Bling Empire first and was like first episode I’m hooked. I really can’t wait for Selling Sunset to come back. I love that show so much.
Claire: Alright, guys, thank you for hanging in there with us during a lot of soap boxing, and I feel like we ended on a high note. So we’re not going to do a question for next week since we’re going to play some of your superstition ones next week potentially. Go ahead and send us any more if you have them.
Joy: Or just a hello. What’s up? What is up? What are you doing? What’s going on today?
Claire: Just, how are you?
Joy: How are you?
Claire: You know what I would actually love. If someone has had a successful conversation with someone who you are not incredibly close with necessarily who was going down the conspiracy theory lane, let us know about it. I would be interested to hear how it went. That’s the end of that sentence. Alright guys. So don’t forget, you can find us on Instagram @joyandclaire_. You can always stream all of our content from joyandclaire.com. You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re on Facebook sometimes I guess. We’re Joy and Claire. We don’t really Facebook anymore.
Joy: Yeah, we don’t.
Claire: Does anyone?
Joy: Does anyone Facebook anymore? We are transcribing our episodes now so you can see transcriptions of our episodes probably soon.
Claire: Yeah, on joyandclaire.com. They’re going to come out probably about a week after the episode itself, or a week to two weeks after the episode itself, so unfortunately it won’t be released the same exact day. And that’s because we – sorry if you can hear Evie yelling in the background.
Joy: That’s okay. I thought it was my cat.
Joy: I was like, is that Lua?
Claire: It sounds like a cat. And now she’s knocking. She can’t open the door to this room, haha. She really wants to get in though. Just because of the timeline. We only record a couple days before we release, so there’s just not time to get that all transcribed.
Claire: But we are excited to have that so you can search for things more easily and scroll through if you don’t want to listen to the whole episode. So coming soon for many of our recent episodes and coming later for some of our older episodes.
Joy and Claire: Alright guys.
Claire: Have a great week.
Joy and Claire: Bye.
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