My “Women Laughing Alone with Salad” Moment
This photo was taken in 2012, when I was deep in the (White) wellness & personal development world, immersed in the fatphobic, thin-obsessed, patriarchal doctrine that permeates so much of these fitness & nutrition spaces.
(I was also well on my way to a “Clean Eating” inspired eating disorder, which was furthered by the “education” and trainings I was receiving at the time.)
This photo was taken for my ill-fated health coaching practice. I was already resisting the toxic positivity of this world (although I didn’t have the language for it back then), and the insidiousness & hypocrisy of “mindset gaslighting” was not lost on me, either.
But since no one else seemed to be talking about any of that, I thought it was just me. I played along.
This photo, though…
THIS was what I thought I had to be in order to “succeed.”
thin. pretty. smiling. eating salad.
For the past year or so, I’ve been grappling with the harm that was done to me, and the harm that I unwittingly did to others, during my time in the fitness / wellness industry…
…AND in my early copywriting days, working for (or with) paternalistic, misogynistic, gaslight-y men, and buying into the language of empowerment that was & is used to get women to oppress themselves.
It’s a lot, and I’ve been hesitant to talk about it publicly.
But, it’s important. So I’m gonna try.
This 2nd photo is from 2018, after I’d been writing professionally for 3 years.
Before the shoot, I researched poses & privilege, so I could exude strength & badassery without perpetuating the
male gaze or patriarchal standards of beauty (s/o to Kelly Diels for her tips on this).
It’s a lot closer to the real me—big hair, what-the-fuck.
I still like wearing red though. 😉
Samantha Pollack writes creative copy (mostly emails) for feminist companies and/or thought leaders who are working to build a fairer, more connected culture. She’s also the founder of The Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur, a 6-week course that helps HSP business owners create healthier, more sustainable systems in their work.
She publishes frequent essays on feminism, privilege, pop culture, entrepreneurship, the creative process, and more on her website, cultofpersonality.co. She currently lives in Asheville, NC, and while she can *technically* work from anywhere, she prefers her adventures laptop-free.
Emails for cult thought leaders.
Want to learn how to craft emails that inspire action and engagement WITHOUT the “tried and true” (cough: patriarchal) norms we’ve all been taught?
I’m doing it, and I can show you how to do it, too.
(But sometimes, I also like to write about the books I’m reading, or the creative process, or the entrepreneurial experience, or why I hate Steve Jobs, or how I met my BFF. I’ll send you emails like that, too.)
*Just kidding. It’s only an email list.
Books. Cats. Rants. Drawrings.
(and every couple months or so, an unexplained absence 🤷🏻)