Heather O’Neill on Women’s Relationship with Food

Season 1 | Episode 10
24m | Mar 24, 2022

Season 1, Episode 10

Have you ever noticed that there is an inordinate amount of sweets in films directed by women? Writer Heather O’Neill has. In her latest essay for The Walrus, “Let Her Eat Cake: The Subversive Power of Women Feasting,” she delves into the world of women indulging to explore this fixation on sweet treats. 

Through a series of personal vignettes, O’Neill weaves the story of her own relationship with food into her analysis of feast-focused films both contemporary and classic.

Heather O'Neill is an award-winning novelist and essayist. Her works include Lullabies for Little Criminals and The Lonely Hearts Hotel. Her most recent novel is When We Lost Our Heads

In this episode:

O’Neill explains what inspired her to write an essay about women feasting. 

She then talks about why she chose these particular films to focus on. 

She then discusses what food has meant in her own life and how her relationship with food changed once she moved out and grew into adulthood.

Then O’Neill speaks about the problematic diets and trends of the 1990s, when “Heroin Chic” was all the rage.

O’Neill then talks about how popular culture has since shifted, with the recent body positivity movement, but how women still have trouble accepting their own bodies.

She then speaks about eating at food banks with her young daughter when she was in her early twenties.   

O’Neill then discusses what food means to women’s lives.

We then hear about what O’Neill is reading right now. 

Finally, we check in on what we're talking about this week at The Walrus.


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Hosted and produced by Sheena Rossiter and Angela Misri, with editing by Sheena Rossiter

Music provided by Audio Jungle. Our theme song is “This Podcast Theme” by Inplus Music Additional music: “Stay Cool” by Loops Lab; “Podcast Intro” by Inplus Music; “Protofunk” and “Private Reflection” by Kevin MacLeod, provided by Film Music; “Skydancer” by Scandinavianz; “Dark Eyes” by Teddy and Marge, provided by the Free Music Archive.

Private Reflection by Kevin MacLeod



Protofunk by Kevin MacLeod



Additional sources: Fellinious, Masguita, and ABC News on YouTube 

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