feminism

YUP, RANI PATEL IN FULL EFFECT IS FEMINIST AF.

I’m passionate about providing psychiatric treatment to diverse teens who are struggling through various hardships. Along the way, these teens make poor choices in relationships and in self-care because that’s how real life often plays out when youth are raised in chaos. It’s important to me that their imperfect journeys aren’t dismissed. That’s why I’m also dedicated to translating their struggles into realistic young adult fiction that isn’t written to please but rather to expand narrow-minded views of mental health issues and diverse life experiences.

Real life isn’t perfect prose. Real life isn’t a perfect plot. Real life isn’t a perfect, happy ending. Real life can be brutal, scattered, mistake-filled, and beautiful. And when these real-life teens embrace their worth and learn to use their voice, they are fierce. They are feminist AF. Like my teen patients. Like Rani.

This School Library Journal blog post lists amazing, diverse feminist YA books. I’m delighted that RANI PATEL IN FULL EFFECT is on it!

Click on this link:

Feminist AF: Feminist YA That Does Not Disappoint, A Guest Post by Mary Ellis

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Thank you, San Jose Public Library!

I am a HUGE fan of BTS, so this blog post from San Jose Public Library made my day! Click this link to check it out:

YA Friday: Welcome! This is your first time with BTS, right?

FOOD EXTREMISM CAN BE DANGEROUS

There are no solid medical studies (randomized placebo controlled trials) to prove that any type of dietary restriction (plant-based diets, veganism, vegetarianism, gluten-free, sugar-free, cleanses, etc.)  has definitive long-term benefits on growing children and teens (or adults, for that matter). Yet, many parents and youth are seduced by the lure of dietary extremism. As a physician who provides psychotherapy to kids and teens with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD, adjustment issues, etc., I need to express my deep concern about this. There are multiple levels of physical and emotional damage that can occur as a result of engaging in restrictive food behavior. And no matter how mature youth may seem, their abstract thinking is still in development and they may not fully comprehend that "cutting out carbs" may not just be "cutting out carbs." It may be a way to feel more in control of their chaotic lives. It may be a way to lose weight because they think that'll make them feel better about themselves. It may be a subtle holier-than-thou attitude they pick up from grown-ups in their lives. The list goes on.

Today’s food restriction culture is dangerous, especially for our youth. Even if well-meaning parents, adults, documentaries, and magazines don’t say the following exactly, many teens tell me that the underlying nutrition lessons are: “deny yourself and you’re better,” “restricting is not an option,” “if you don’t eat organic, you might as well eat fast food.” These smart youth describe first world food restriction as "privileged" and "elitist"  but they nevertheless feel compelled to subscribe to it. They feel alienated from their parents and peers who follow extreme diets but can't help but to follow suit. And then...oh the dark, dark places they reveal their vulnerable, developing minds go…

Bottom line: unless a youth has a serious, diagnosed medical condition that requires dietary restriction or is being raised in a family with longstanding religious dietary guidelines, it's worthwhile to take a step back from all the food hoopla and consider the potential harm in unfounded claims of miracle, cure-all, one-size-fits-all food plans and diets. 

I advise parents of my patients to keep it simple. Eat well-balanced, nutritious, and home-cooked meals with your kids as often as possible. Briefly express gratitude to the cook or comment on the deliciousness of the food, but avoid negative or black-and-white food judgments or opinions that aren't backed by science  (like “bread is crap,” “the piece of fat on the steak is so gross,” “sugar is horrible,” etc.). Kids will learn to choose good, nutritious, varied foods in appropriate portions if it’s role modeled at family meals.

Food is fuel. Meals and snacks bring people together and teach social skills and reinforce positive self-worth. Beyond that, thinking, controlling, and restricting food isn’t necessary and can be harmful.

Here are some “food for thought” articles about the pitfalls of food extremism:

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/7/25/16018658/what-the-health-documentary-review-vegan-diet

https://www.jad-journal.com/article/S0165-0327(16)32391-6/pdf

https://www.self.com/story/i-used-to-be-a-wellness-influencer


 

My Own Hero

It took decades to escape the prison

Of Indian & American patriarchy and I’m newly arisen

Sober from the narcosis of Bollywood heroin: to be a heroine-

long-haired, buxom woman in need of a male “good samaritan”

To save her. To validate her worthiness.

Not so anymore. These days I am my own hero, impervious

To misogynistic fog, walking tall in my Timberlands

Stomping over narrow-minded hoopla, ready to withstand

The negativity that keeps coming when I’m brave & use my well-intentioned voice

To help others discover their truth and choices.

Free from the shackles of giving a fuck what you think

Cuz you haven’t lived in my skin or been on my brink.