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Shonda Rhimes Realizes Weight Loss and Feminism Aren’t Mutually Exclusive in Year of Yes


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Shonda Rhimes has a list of accomplishments miles long, all leading up to her current Thursday night domination of television on ABC with three shows she’s created – Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder – all on the air at once. Simply by being an intelligent, talented, powerful black woman in television, she’s a symbol of feminism for many. But recently, while promoting her upcoming book, Year of Yes, she reveals that she has wrestled with her feminism; particularly where it concerns her weight loss.

In an interview with Nightline (clip above!), airing tonight, she talks about how her desire to lose weight often felt at odds with her ideas about feminism, saying:

I had a real problem with it. As a feminist, I felt like, ‘Why am I even having this conversation with myself?’ And I would fight for any other woman’s right to be whatever size she wanted to be. It was amazing to me that I had such ambivalence about it.

However, she then went on to say:

I realized that I work really hard in every other area of my life. Why wouldn’t I throw myself into being healthy and losing weight?

In her Year of Yes, when she attempted to improve her life by saying “yes” to things that scared her for a year, weight loss was one of them, and she has since lost 127 lbs.

As someone who is both a feminist and a woman struggling with poor eating habits and a desire to lose weight, this means a lot to me. It’s easy to feel like a “traitor to the cause” when you’re trying to lose weight, because it’s assumed that you’re doing it for looks, or because of what society will think. However, as I wrote about in a blog post last year called “Body Positivity” vs “Resigned to Be Fat,” there’s a big difference between genuine body positivity and using that as an excuse to harm or hold yourself back from what you want because it’s the path of least resistance. Losing weight can be a hugely feminist act if it means that a woman is no longer hiding, or using food as a defense mechanism, or self-sabotaging herself against living the adventurous life she wants to live.

It’s inspiring to know that Shonda Rhimes loves herself enough to say “yes,” even when things are difficult.

What do you think? And will you be checking out Year of Yes?

(via Jezebel; Featured Image courtesy of ABC)

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