It's Always Been Ours: Rewriting the Story of Black Women’s Bodies (Hardcover)
This “necessary book” (Roxanne Gay, New York Times bestselling author, Bad Feminist and Hunger) shares an essential look at the ways in which Black women are left out of conversations about “diet culture,” health, and wellness.
In It’s Always Been Ours, eating disorder specialist and storyteller Jessica Wilson challenges us to rethink the politics of body liberation by centering the bodies of Black women in our cultural discussions of self-image, food, health, and wellness. Interrogating a status quo that perpetuates white supremacist ideas about who Black women are, how they live in their bodies, and what Black health means, she creates a context for understanding how whiteness and capitalism have shaped the ways we view and treat our bodies, and how even well-intentioned solutions to this problem continue to center thin white women.
With an incisive blend of historical documents, the work of popular authors, and the narratives of clients, friends, and celebrities, Wilson examines the ways that ideas about respectability and restriction have harmed Black women. With wit and levity, she challenges what it means to have the “right” body, and helps all women understand that a radical reimagining of body narratives is a prerequisite for vibrant wellbeing. It’s Always Been Ours is a love letter that encourages Black women to find joy in their bodies and their identities.
“There simply is no better literary voice for this moment in history than Jessica Wilson.”—Sonya Renee Taylor, New York Times bestselling author, The Body is Not an Apology
Praise for Jessica Wilson
"I am so excited for you to take another step forward in getting your book into the world. You are a brilliant Black, queer, dietitian. And I love that you’re writing a book about Black women and food. This is going to be such a necessary book. We don’t get written about and our issues with food and our challenges with our bodies never get the attention that they deserve."—Roxanne Gay, bestselling author of Bad Feminist and Hunger
"Having known Jessica for several years a few things are irrefutable. Her analysis is astute, her call to eradicate racial injustice is dart direct and care and investment in the lives of women of color is complete. There simply is no better literary voice for this moment in history than Jessica Wilson."—Sonya Renee Taylor, activist and author of the bestselling The Body is Not an Apology
"Aside from my passionate belief that the Black Lives Matter movement is literally a matter of life and death on a fundamental human rights level, Jessica’s work specifically gut punched me as a woman who has had an eating disorder for nearly 30 years. I have been very publicly vocal about my eating disorder for many years because I feel it is my duty as a public figure to be transparent about the unrealistic beauty and body standards that I have (as a result of a debilitating mental illness) unfortunately helped perpetuate. Jessica opened my eyes to how rooted in white supremacy the eating disorder recovery field is and now I simply cannot unsee it. I’m not sure if you are aware but eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. And every eating disorder treatment program I’ve been in (or for that matter any that my fellow ED warriors have encountered) only center the white experience and white body/beauty norms and end up either completely excluding or causing even more harm to Black folx.
On top of all the work Jessica has been doing during this particularly traumatizing year for Black folx everywhere she has also dedicated many hours of her precious time to help myself and some of my fellow actress friends start an activism pod that is trying to tackle body diversity and dangerous beauty and physical standards in our industry."—Anna Paquin, Oscar-winning actress
"As an eating disorder clinician Jessica has an intersectional lens and a trauma-informed approach that challenges the status quo of the historically white eating disorder field and brings a much needed perspective. Jessica brings a complex and nuanced perspective that will progress the dietitian field to being accessible and supportive to all people with eating disorders. She doesn’t use a one-size-fits-all approach, but instead works with each client differently to meet their specific needs and help them understand both their individualized treatment goals and the societal forces that impact their relationship with food and their bodies.
We're still early in our antiracism journey and the learning curve is steep and we have centuries of oppression to dismantle which is obviously not going to happen overnight. But THIS is how people such as ourselves, who benefit from white/social/career privilege, can help right these wrongs. This book by a Black, Queer dietitian would not only be groundbreaking but also set an example for other publishers in amplifying the voices of Black women and letting them lead conversations about body liberation."—Alison Pill, actress
"She is both practical and scientifically factual while being body AND food positive. She recognizes that our relationships to our bodies and the foods we put in them are political...” —Ari Max Bachrach, NP, eating disorder medical provider