It’s Always Been Ours: Rewriting the Story of Black Women’s Bodies

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In It’s Always Been Ours eating disorder specialist and storyteller Jessica Wilson challenges us to rethink what having a “good” body means in contemporary society. By centering the bodies of Black women in her cultural discussions of body image, food, health, and wellness, Wilson argues that we can interrogate white supremacy’s hold on us and reimagine the ways we think about, discuss, and tend to our bodies.

“I could not put this book down. Throughout each page I felt seen, heard, and validated in my experiences as a Black woman who has dealt with body oppression and as an eating disorder provider, who has supported Black women in healing their relationship with our bodies. Jessica offers an accurate account of eating disorders in Black communities and allows us to experience her heart through each chapter, her passion for Black women and call for liberation is evident. This book is long overdue and an imperative read for Black women and for providers within the eating disorders field”―Alishia McCullough, (she/her) MS, LCMHC, founder of BlackandEmbodied Counseling and Consulting PLLC

“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