Can I Have Another Snack?
Can I Have Another Snack?
28: The Dinosaur T-Shirt to Toxic Masculinity Pipeline with Kirstie Beaven

28: The Dinosaur T-Shirt to Toxic Masculinity Pipeline with Kirstie Beaven

Episode 28 of the CIHAS pod

Hey and welcome to the Can I Have Another Snack? Podcast. I have been so excited to share this week’s episode with you. Our guest today is Kirstie Beaven from Sonshine magazine - a publication dedicated to raising boys for a more equal world. Kirstie and I talk about how seemingly innocuous things like dinosaur t-shirts and shark pants send a message to our kids about who they can and can’t be, how they should expect to be treated, and how they should treat others. 

Kirstie gives us a fascinating history lesson on how kids’ clothes became gendered (spoiler, colonialism and capitalism have a lot to do with it) and why these have massive repercussions for gender equality. We also talk about why Kirstie is low-key obsessed with pants (the underwear kind), and why we can’t just empower girls in a vacuum; we also need to be teaching boys emotional literacy and allowing them to have an identity outside of the ‘big boy’, or the sporty one. 

Just a heads up that we talk about some distressing statistics around sexual harassment, suicide, and violence towards women and girls, but not in explicit detail.

This is without a doubt one of my favourite episodes we’ve done on the CIHAS pod - if you’ve never listened before then this is a great place to start, even if you don’t have kids. 

Don’t forget to leave a review in your podcast player if you enjoy this episode - or let me know what you think in the comments below.

Find out more about Kirstie’s work here.

Follow her on Instagram here.

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Enrol in the Raising Embodied Eaters course here.

Here’s the transcript in full:


Kirstie: That's one of the things I really want to do, is just gently point out the things that we take for granted that we say are normal or natural, but they're not. They're totally constructed. Many of the things that we just take for…oh yeah, pink and blue. Pink is a girls’ colour, blue is a boys’ colour. We think of that as completely normal and it's totally made up and it's so recent.

Laura: Hey, and welcome to the Can I Have Another Snack? podcast, where we talk about appetite, bodies, and identity, especially through the lens of parenting. I'm Laura Thomas, I'm an anti diet registered nutritionist, and I also write the Can I Have Another Snack? newsletter. Today I'm talking to Kirstie Beavan.

Kirstie is the founder and editor of Sonshine Magazine, raising boys for a more equal world. Sonshine is a print and digital quarterly, as well as a social profile for parents who want to change the way we talk to and about our sons, to create a better society for all children.

I've been so excited to share this episode. We recorded it a while back and I'm really glad that you're able to finally listen to it. It's such a great discussion about gender inequality and why seemingly innocuous things like how we dress our kids have really long term implications for their emotional development and the roles that they learn to occupy in society. Kirstie is a wealth of knowledge about the gendered history of kids clothing, which you won't be surprised to hear is entirely rooted in capitalism, rather than any real biological or physical differences between sexes. 

I can't wait for you to hear this conversation, and if you don't already, you need to get your hands on a copy of Sonshine Magazine, which is available in print and digitally. I'll link to it in the show notes so you can order yours. It would make a really lovely holiday gift for your co-parent or some other parents that you have in your life, maybe even for yourself. 

But before we get to today's episode, I'd love to tell you all about the benefits of becoming a paid subscriber to the Can I Have Another Snack? Newsletter. And of course there are cool perks like being able to comment on posts, our Thursday threads, Snacky Bits, and exclusive posts on intuitive eating, weight inclusive health, and responsive feeding. But more than all of that, being reader and listener supported means I can better control who comes into this space. In other words, we can keep the trolls and the fatphobes out. And if they do sneak in, at least they've had to pay for the privilege, and I can still boot them out. 

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All right team, let's get to today's conversation with Kirstie Beavan from Sonshine Magazine


All right, Kirstie, to start with, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Kirstie: I'm Kirstie and I run Sonshine Magazine, which is a quarterly print and digital magazine and a social profile and community looking at raising.

Laura: You said that with sort of like eyes rolled so we'll come back to that!

Kirstie: I'm looking at raising boys for a more equal world so specifically it's parenting, thinking about parenting through the lens really of how we talk to and about our boys.

Laura: Okay, and I'm curious to know, like, where this interest in gender equality comes from and like what spurred you to start a magazine about it?

Kirstie: I think…so I've got two children and when my daughter was born, I think I felt more confident about how I was going to break down gender stereotypes for…I felt like, you know, I grew up in the 80s and 90s, which is a time of real flux in terms of how women were portrayed and expected to behave. It's a real…there's lots of progress and lots of backlash. And I think I felt – by the time I had my first child who happened to be a daughter – I felt quite confident about the things that I wasn't going to do and the stereotypes that I wasn't going to inflict on her and how I was going to help her navigate the world that I had already grown into womanhood through. 

And then two years later I had my son and I started to see that there were a lot of negative stereotypes associated with raising boys. And I felt like I had absolutely no model for managing that as a mother, not as a father, obviously. I just felt like, Oh, this is something I hadn't really considered or thought about. So I went to look for…where are the resources to help me parent a boy who I want to be able to grow up in a way that's free of the strictures of sort of gender stereotyping, but also who is going to be what we might now call a good man? You know, where are the resources for that? And I couldn't find any.

Laura: Right. There wasn't a playbook.

Kirstie: No, there's really few and far between. There weren't websites talking about it at the time. There weren't Facebook groups dedicated to this. There wasn't something that sort of scratched the itch that I had.

And I had been working in content. I work mainly in the museums and gallery sector, working on the stuff that you see on the walls when you go into a gallery, like labels. 

Laura: I always wondered who wrote that stuff!

Kirstie: Yeah, it was me. So that sort of stuff. So like presenting information for a general audience, that's been my job for a long time.

So I was like, well, I'm a writer. I'm going to write one. I'm going to write the things that people needed, or that I needed really. And that's how I started.

Laura: So you found that there weren't the resources that you as a new parent to a boy needed to help you navigate parenting that child in, so that they didn't grow up to be an asshole, basically. I think?

Kirstie: Yes, exactly. I mean, yeah, partly that, but also partly because I noticed a lot of things about how my children interacted. Having an elder daughter and a younger son, I mean, I think it's the same if you…for many children, if you have an older sibling and a younger sibling quite close in age, that the younger one, is desperate to do all the things that the older ones do.

So they're like, because, and I get it, like there's this person who's so close to you, but they're just better at everything than you are. So you're like, I just want to be them. Like that looks so good. And so she was like the leader. She was, you know, he was following her around, wanted to be just like her, wanted to wear her clothes, do the things that she liked doing, all of this stuff.

And I sort of came to realise that I was really happy with this idea of my daughter. breaking stereotypes. I was really confident with this, like, Oh yeah, she's, you know…dress her in blues and darks and comfy clothes and all of that sort of stuff. And that seemed…that sat very easily with me. But when my son is saying, well, I actually want to wear a pink tutu, yeah, a dress and we're going to the shops. And I'm actually feeling a bit uncomfortable about that. Oh right, why am I feeling uncomfortable? I'm not uncomfortable about my daughter wearing trousers. I'm uncomfortable about my son wearing a dress. What is it in me? Because there's no problem for either of them. What is it in me that is the problem here?

And having to confront that I have a problem with boys doing things that are feminine or coded as feminine. And what does that mean about how I feel about things being girly? Basically made me feel like, actually, that's not okay. That is something that I need to think about because the message I give to both my son and my daughter, if I don't want someone to be girly is because I think being girly is not aspirational because I think being a girl is not enough.

So that is something that I felt like, Oh, that's work I have to do. That's work I have to unpick. And I'm the sort of person who likes information to unpick that stuff. And so there just wasn't that information out there to help me with that. 

Laura:Yeah, that's so interesting that you, I guess, noticed that tension in yourself, because you're absolutely right.

There's social acceptance of, for want of a better phrase, maybe like ‘tomboyishness’, where girls can, you know, have names that are traditionally masculine names and they can wear trousers and they can climb trees and that's all very well, but we don't have the same leniency for boys who want to do things that are perceived as being ‘more feminine’.

And I have the same thing. I have a three year old boy, you know, assigned male at birth, but you know, we try, we like…we let him wear the tutu to the shop and it is, there is a discomfort that I've noticed in myself that I have to work through and kind of push through and I just haven't gone to the lengths of creating an entire magazine about it!

But I, I'm really impressed that you have to kind of work through your shit. You made a whole magazine about it. But I'm curious, like, why a magazine and not, say, a podcast or, you know, and I know you do a lot of stuff on social media, which we can also talk about, but why did that feel like the medium for you?

Kirstie: I think it's partly because of the way my brain works. So I prefer to organize things. In a way where I, I'm thematically grouping things.

Laura: Okay, yes. I just... I get that instinct very much.

Kirstie: I just wanted it to feel like, I didn't want to write a diary, I didn’t want to write a straight up blog. And I wanted it to be written content, that's where I feel most confident expressing my ideas.

But I didn't want to share too much actually about my children. Because, because... My experience as a parent is my experience, but their experience of being a child is their experience and that felt like that's…their private. It's not for me to talk about that for them. 

Laura: Right. You don't want to commodify your child, you know, to make money and capital.

Kirstie: That's not for me. That's not for me. And I didn't want to feel like I was sharing their lives without their permission, but also telling a story about their lives, which maybe isn't the story that they would tell later on. Yeah. So I wanted to sort of use what I'd noticed in my own experience of parenting to give me a jumping off point to think about lots of other things.

And so it made sense to me to work it like a magazine. I started online. So I would publish a series of articles grouped around a theme: clothes, books, screen time, whatever it is. You know, looking at these things, but through this idea of what have I noticed in this space about gender stereotyping and the constraints placed on children time after time, but through lots of different themes.

Laura: Yeah. So it becomes a lens to explore a particular topic.

Kirstie: Exactly. And the magazine lends itself to that. So each magazine now has a theme and I collate articles around that theme. Yeah. But all with that thread that runs through them, thinking about how you might just. poke at the things that we take for granted.

I think that's one of the things I really want to do is just gently point out the things that we take for granted that we say are normal or natural, but they're not. They're totally constructed. Many of the things that we just take for…oh yeah, pink and blue. Pink is a girl's colour. Blue is a boy's colour. We think of that as completely normal and it's totally made up and it's so recent that that has come into being.

Laura: Oh, really? Do you know the history of that?

Kirstie: Yeah, so basically up until the sort of 1800s, a bit later, all children are wearing white because...

Laura: Why? That's, that's a terrible idea!

Kirstie: Well, I guess it was probably grey, right? 

Laura: Yeah. 

Kirstie: But they're basically wearing stuff they can wash easily. You can produce it and wash it easily. So they're wearing simple, plain colours, stuff you can pass down. All children are wearing dresses until seven, five to seven.

Laura: It sounds like it's really, like, utilitarian, right? Like is that the right word? 

Kirstie: Yes. Yes. It is a bit. So there's this idea that children's clothing is, well, there's lots of things at play and I'm not a fashion historian.

Laura: For the purposes of this podcast, you are.

Kirstie: So children are wearing clothes that can be washed easily, that are good for toilet training. They're good for, you know, being out and about, right? There is a movement to make children's clothes less constrictive. Particularly for boys, and that's sort of in the 1800s and French ideas around children should be allowed to be outside more and, you know, changing parenting ideals. 

What happens is that there's a boom in fabric production, which is obviously based on plantations of cotton and exploitation of enslaved people. It's also based on the industrial revolution in places like the UK, which means that using child labour and industrial processes. Cotton can be produced on a huge scale. So there's a lot of exploitation that goes into mass producing fabrics. 

And then simultaneously there's a movement in chemical production of pigments. So you can start to make colours for clothes. And once you can mass produce fabrics and you can actually cheaply produce colours, for clothes, for the fabric to make clothes on, you know, you can have a boom in fashion for men, for women, and also for children, kids. 

There's a sort of like, Oh, actually. As a marketer, you know, as a producer of cloth, I want to sell more of this stuff. So as a marketer, what tools have I got at my disposal for that? So one of the things is, you don't want people to hand clothes down. So you don't want people to pass clothes just down and down and down. You want to make them so that they can't be passed on and they have to buy a whole new outfit every time their child grows. So it's building consumption into the processes

And so you come up with reasons for people to buy different things. So by the 1930s, 1940s, people are sort of thinking, Oh, how can we sell more of this stuff? So by the 1940s, there were catalogues going round the department stores and stuff like that saying, ‘these are the clothes that you should buy’, ‘this is our new season,’ ‘this is what everyone is wearing this season’. And it's the same for children's clothes. And they're looking at ways at dividing the children's clothes market by colour. 

So some of the catalogues produced around that time are saying pink is for brown eyed infants, because that's better for their complexion. And blue, you know…so all of these like weird things, but pinks and blues, but the idea was: pastels were the best ones for the children. And then someone comes up with it…there's a, I forget what it's called, but you can find a pamphlet, if someone comes up with the idea that pink should be for the girls and blue should be for the boys, though you can find other ones, other catalogues and fashion plates that suggest that pink is a stronger colour because it's associated with the red coats that men would have worn in battle, blah, blah, blah, that that should have been the colour for boys.

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Just made up, basically. Just all made up. Pink and blue is all made up. But it's stuck. And it's stuck with us. And pink got cemented as a feminine colour. By…now I don't want to get it wrong, but I'm going to say Mamie Eisenhower, who was the first lady in the 1940s, and she redecorated the White House and with all these special pink bathrooms and was her favorite colour. And it became sort of cemented, this idea of baby pink as being really feminine, definitely coded girly colour. And ties in with lots of other ideas around femininity that come in through the 1950s.

Laura: Yeah, well, you may not be a fashion historian, but I really enjoyed that little foray into understanding, yeah, the, I mean, just the super problematic history that that what we feel is so ‘normal’, was built on.

Like, you didn't have to scratch the surface, barely at all, to find the colonialism, the violence, the capitalism, like, the effects of all of these things on. Yeah, how we end up ultimately dressing our kids today and what is coded as feminine, what is coded as masculine…and yeah, I remember when, when Avery was born just me and my husband like eye rolling anytime we got a blue card in the post, you know, like there was just like a sea of blue and we really appreciated our friends who'd like, who knew us really well and went out of the way to, to find a card that wasn't blue.

And that's just, that's just such a small, like, meaningless thing in the grand scheme of things, like the colour of your baby card, but you know, there are repercussions to how we dress kids and I think this is something that you talk about so well, not just in terms of like the colour of the clothes – although that I think is, is important as well – but also just like the practicalities of dressing our kids. Maybe practicality isn't the right word, but I guess the functionality of how we dress our kids. And I think you've kind of got a bit of a reputation on Instagram for being the ‘pants lady’.

So I'd love you to talk a little bit about that, like what your research has found when it comes to, not just pants, but just generally the discrepancies between clothing for girls and clothing for boys.

Kirstie: Yeah. I mean, it's a dubious claim to fame, isn't it? The ‘pants lady’.

Laura: I would take it. It's a great moniker to have.

Kirstie: I mean, that is…some of the stuff that I've talked about is, that's one of the key things, I think, because people really notice it. 

It started because my daughter asked for a pair of pants with dinosaurs on them. And this is when we were potty training and I thought, great, dinosaurs, that should be easy. And then she'll want to wear them. And then potty training would be much easier. Yeah. And I went looking for them and I couldn't find any girls pants that had dinosaurs on them. 

Laura: It doesn't surprise me, but… 

Kirstie: No, I mean it is a bit better now. This is eight, nine years ago. Yeah, so I couldn't find any, and then I found some boys ones and I thought, oh, well she doesn't know.

And then I got them home and I was so shocked to get them out of the packet and find that they were bigger, roomier. They were beautifully…they had these incredible overlocked seams, all the elastic was covered. I noticed that they were about, they were two centimeters bigger in the waistband, basically, than the girls pants, same brand, and were made of a thicker, higher grade cotton. They just were better. They just were loads better. 

And so I thought, well, maybe that's just the, this is just an anomaly that I've picked up. Because you know, often when you go to a shop, you can pick up two things that are the same size, but actually when you try them on, they're not quite the same. They're different. So there's all of that. So I thought, well, maybe this is it. 

But actually having looked into it now over the last eight years, that is across the board that the girls' pants in particular are cut to a smaller pattern than the boys pants, and they're made with flimsier fabric. They're more badly made. They're itchy. They've got this lacy trim. They're made with a lighter weight cotton, which has less stretch and give. They're cut shorter in the backside, so they don't come up as high. So this is comparing girls briefs with boys briefs. They have a narrower gusset. So they're more likely to ride up your backside, basically, give you a wedgie.

Laura: Ah, is that why that happens? Because of the size of the...

Kirstie: Yes, because of how it's cut across the bottom.

Laura: Yeah, yeah. No, I can, I can imagine it. As someone who has, like, a lot of problems finding... Like decent underwear. Yeah, like don't get me started on how far downhill M&S underwear has gone over the past few years.

Kirstie: Totally agree.

Laura: But yeah, I guess I just, I hadn't thought of it…because that was going to be my next question for you was like, so what, right? What's the big deal here? And I think you've already kind of answered it, but it looks like you've got more to say, so…

Kirstie: Yeah, I have got more to say. Because the big deal, actually, what it made me realise is that a significant proportion of our children are going to school wearing an uncomfortable piece of underwear. So many people, when I post about this on Instagram, so many people say to me, ‘Oh, my daughter is always getting a wedgie’. ‘My daughter is always complaining that her pants are uncomfortable’.

I find it myself, I find the seams and labels inside clothing can be really irritating. Yeah. Giving this advice to oh, just wear them inside out, blah, blah, blah. No! Just let's make..

Laura: Buy the boys ones, 

Kirstie: Kids deserve to be comfortable and it made me think how different my life would have been if I had been wearing clothes that were comfortable, if I'd been wearing clothes that weren't for looking at but were for playing in.

It's not just pants actually, it comes across all areas of children's clothing. So you see it in girls’ trousers versus boys’ trousers. You're more likely to find a knee reinforcement in a boy's trouser than you are in a girl's trouser because the expectation is that boys are harder on their trousers than girls.

Well, yeah, I mean, obviously you are if your pants aren't riding up your bum all the time. And also, if your shoes…so if you look at the difference between girls’ shoes and boys’ shoes, you'll see that boy's shoes tend to have a thicker sole. They tend to be waterproof. They tend to be made with a toe cover so that you can climb or run more easily.

And if you look at girls’ shoes, particularly noticeable in very, very little toddler shoes and school shoes. You'll see that the girl's shoes come with really thin soles, no grip. They often have holes in the top, so they're not really waterproof. They're often made of patent leather, so they're shiny, so they…you can't scuff them up. I mean, you will scuff them up and then you'll be in trouble. 

So what is what you say? So what? The thing is, it's all based on our expectations of children, our expectations as adults on children. It's nothing to do with whether they, as individuals…what they like doing. You know, if you've got a child that likes running, they like running. It's not whether they're a boy or a girl, it's whether they like running. If you've got a kid that feels more regulated, if they've climbed something and swung on something, it's not because they're a boy or a girl, it's just who they are. That's what their bodies are asking for

But we are channeling them societally down these routes, down these expected routes of you should be more active and you shouldn't be more active just simply based on your genitalia. And it does actually have impact on children. You can see it if you go to any primary school, you can see who's taking up the space in the playground and it is 90% likely to be the boys.

Laura: And that wasn't a…in case it came across this way, it wasn't an accusatory…it was meant to be a provocative question because I am 100% with you on this.

And I think you articulated it so beautifully when you said, you know, we're setting a precedent, we're setting an expectation that girls clothes are to be looked at and are there to be pretty, whereas boys clothes are designed to be functional and for movement and yeah, to let them really be…engage in a full variety of experiences that we're inadvertently excluding girls from, right?

Movement, getting messy, getting scuffed up, getting dirty, whatever, whatever it is.

Kirstie: Yeah, it's two sides of the same coin, actually, because you see it with girls that the expectation is that their clothes will be pretty and good to look at. And I particularly don't want to have…in my children's underwear, I particularly don't want to have my daughter thinking that her underwear needs to be good to look at, right? It's gross.

Laura: It's a really disturbing thought when you, like, think about the kind of the implications there.

Kirstie: Yeah, yeah. It's actually like, what in the world? Children's underwear should just be functional. It should cover up their genitalia.

Laura: Maybe it should have days of the week on it. It could, yeah, I'm up for that.

Kirstie: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I'm up for that. I'm up for patterns. I'm up for that. I'm up for, like, things on the front so you know which side to get into. Yeah, that's all of that. But it doesn't need to be cut small. It doesn't need to be low rise. It doesn't need to be... skimpy in the gusset. Like none of that is necessary for children's clothing. 

Laura: It needs to be functional. 

Kirstie: It needs to, it just needs to do its job. Yeah. And I…and you could even argue that the people most likely to be wearing a skirt are girls. So the children who really need the big pants are the girls. So why is it, when I go to the shops, that the girl's pants are miniscule?


Laura: Well I wonder if it goes back to capitalism, because if you've got skimpy pants…you know I'm thinking of this from the perspective of a marketer, if I've got skimpy pants, then I can also sell a pair of shorts to go under the dress. Yeah. This is the only explanation that I could come up with.

Kirstie: I mean I have been and interviewed some people who've worked in childrenswear, and a lot of them were like….Oh. We've never thought of this because childrenswear is not a thing conceived of in many big shops. It's not conceived of as childrenswear. It's conceived of as girls and boys and they take their cues from womenswear and menswear. 

And so they're taking maybe what is the best selling hoodie, jersey weight in the menswear and then they're scaling that down for the boys. And then they're taking what is the best selling hoodie weight, say we're talking about sweaters, jersey for the women's and scaling that down for the girls.

And they're not talking to each other necessarily. So it's a sort of vicious circle or a chicken and egg thing where menswear is generally heavier weight and more comfortable and womenswear is generally lighter weight and less comfortable. And the styles from menswear are going to come down into boyswear and the styles from womenswear....

And that's the same for underwear. So when you look at women's underwear, that's actually what's going to be started to scale down. Lace trims, bows, the types of patterns that you'll see, crop tops, that sort of stuff is going to be scaled down for the girls underwear. And men's underwear is going to be scaled down for the boys. And I see that, but the fact is that children's bodies are not like men's and women's bodies.

That is not... Clothes for children can be clothes for children. Until, really, a long way through their childhood. There's no reason to be making them different. Often when I post about this, and I say, here's a pair of jeans and the jeans for the boys, jeans in the boys’ section, maybe are two inches bigger in the waist than the girls. And maybe they are…they've got more flex in the leg, and maybe they're also an inch or two longer in the leg than the girls. It's particularly noticeable in shorts, so when summer comes around, you'll see that the girls’ shorts are tiny. And that starts from toddler age, so the toddler girls’ shorts, which are often really nice, like they come in nice colours and nice prints and all of that sort of stuff, but they are cut inches shorter.

Laura: They're teeny tiny. I remember you posted a reel about this over the summer and I'll link to it in the show notes because yeah, it's…yeah, you're basically dressing toddlers in hot pants.

Kirstie: Yeah. The flip of the coin is that if you go into the boys section often you can only find things that are khaki, navy, black, burgundy, what I call sludge. Like you just get sludge colour, so you can't find the pretty prints or the…you can't find florals or butterflies or rabbits. 

My son loves rabbit, love rabbits for years and it's rabbits and cats…you can't have a rabbit if you're a boy. Because you can only have a shark. And then you think, oh, it's fine. I'll go and buy the rabbit top. It's in the girl's section. What does it matter? And then you get the rabbit top and it's cropped or it's got a cap sleeve or a boat neck, you know, so it's not so sun safe. It's not so easy. You know, it doesn't wash as well. 

It's very easy, I think, to say, this is obviously bad for girls. This is obviously bad for girls. It's obviously bad to create children's clothes that make girls feel that they are too big for their age. That is obviously bad. I can't see why we are doing this. I've had messages from people who've got boy girl twins who are the same size and if they buy a pair of joggers in the boys’ section, so two pairs of joggers in the boys’ section, they're enormous in the waist, age five to six. And if they go to the girls section and buy the similar joggers. They can't pull them up and these children are the same age and the same size and what does it do to you if by the time you're old enough to understand it, say you're seven, you can see the labels in your own clothes. What does it do to you to know that the age seven jeans are too tight for you? What does that do to you as a girl? What does it conversely do to you as a boy, if you're a slim boy? And you buy the age seven joggers and they're like a tent on you. And the expectation is that you ought to be bigger and you ought to be broader and you ought to be wider or taller. 

The expectations that this places on our children based only on their gender, you don't have to follow it very far to see how harmful it is.

Laura: Yeah. I mean, there's so much to unpack there as well. Like I'm thinking of it through my lens as well, which is thinking about body image and these pretty arbitrary sizes do to kids’ sort of body esteem, if they are, you know, maybe at the lower end of the growth curve or the higher end of the growth curve and they don't fit into that seven to eight, like maybe they're in 10 to 11 and the like the mismatch, I think, between ages and sizes of clothes. 

And I don't know what the workaround is, it's, it seems kind of like it's all wound up in this, it's a similar problem, right?

Kirstie: I think so. I think so. I mean, I think the workaround is what they do in a lot of European countries is…it's not, it's not done by age. It's done by height.

Laura: Oh, height. Okay. Yeah.

Kirstie: It's a measurement. And I think it's really telling, that if you ask a man what size he is, he'll give you a measurement. Yeah. So if you want to buy a pair of jeans as a man, you're buying a size, an actual size.

Laura: X centimetres or inches.

Kirstie: 32 inch waist, whatever it is, right? That's a measurement. And if you know what your measurement is, you can buy the right size. But as women, you ask what size we are, we have to give a random number. It doesn't equate to any measurement. Except to make you feel bad. And I think that sort of permeates the landscape of children's clothing.

This idea of functionality, that actually clothes are made for comfort and what they can do for you. And what they…they'll just be made to whatever size that you need. That your clothes actually…comfort is the least important thing on the list for women's clothes, often. I mean, I feel like underwear in particular.

I'm starting to enter into the preteen world. Yeah. It's really made me question a lot of things. Like this idea that when I was a kid, I guess I was 12, 11 or 12, and we went to get a training bra. And I thought about this… training bra? I thought, what's it being trained for? And I thought I was being trained because bras are really uncomfortable.

So to get you used to wearing a thing makes your body more palatable to society's view of what women's bodies should look like. It's not on my horizon yet, but it's something that I've got to have a thought aboout. 

Laura: How do you have that conversation? 

Kirstie: Yeah, I don't actually know how I feel about that.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, that's a really tricky one.

I don't know. I don't know if I've added an unanswerable question to that. Yeah, no, but it is, it's, it's just not something that I've ever given any consideration to. And I think what feels probably really sticky about it is that, you know, you can have these conversations with your kid about, you know, whatever, like some man invented a bra to make our bodies more palatable.

I don't actually know if it was a man. I'm making this up, but you probably do know the history of bras as well. I think I read, I read like a really interesting article about it once before, and I, and I really can't remember now, but the list of questions that I was going to ask you is completely gone out of the window. But no, it's great. 

But yeah, you know, you can have these conversations and you can, like, help your kid feel really empowered to not wear a bra or to wear a bra or to like make their own choice or, you know, about the type of bra that they wear if they choose to wear one. And, but then, you know, they go to school and all their friends are wearing, you know, these cutesy little training bras that probably actually do nothing. Yeah. Really. And so then you have to navigate, like, the social piece, with lining that up with, with your values and their values and it's their body. 

They ultimately…I think probably what we want to promote in our kids is body autonomy. Also that totally backfired on me the other day when my three year old was like, ‘I'm the boss of my body!’ when he didn't want to get in the bath. Yeah, I mean, this is... I wasn’t prepared for that. But, like, in general, you know, like, it backfires a lot when they're three and they don't want to get in the bath, but hopefully by the time they're, you know, 11, 12, and they're thinking about training bras, maybe a bit younger than that, even, that they...have a better sense of what their boundaries are around their bodies?

Kirstie: Yes, I think so. I think they do. But I think there is, I think also the, the influence of peer pressure becomes so much greater then like…actually, you see that you see your influence declines as a parent, you know, you can lay them foundations, but they're coming to the point where what their peers are doing and thinking is really important.

And they actually are going to have to navigate this like the foundation that you've laid in terms of what your family values are around bodies and body autonomy, but also, I hope, you know, like that word you used about body esteem. I think that's really great. But I also really like the idea that perhaps they don't think a lot about their bodies.

Like, that's what I would really love for them. 

Laura: That's the dream. 

Kirstie: Yeah, but there's just a…that's not something that occupies their thoughts all the time. And I, we talked a lot about girls, but it is, it's really important for boys as well. The reason that I want to talk about boys is because it's like the missing piece of the puzzle.

We want things to change for our daughters. You can see that the effects of gender stereotyping is,are really bad for women and girls. We have to have actual tasks…well, let's try that again, task force in government, exactly, for violence against women and girls. That's how big of a problem that is. 

90% of the perpetrators of violence against women and girls are men. So we have to also be looking at men in that equation. This is not a women's problem. This is a societal problem, a problem across all, everywhere in society about how we treat men and women. And if we're not talking to the boys about equality, If we're only talking to the girls, we're only going to get half of the population changing.

It has to be holistically talking to all of our children. And for me, it feels like that means we have to unpick some of that stuff where, you know, the boys are getting a bit of a privilege. You know, we're talking about clothes. That is a privilege for boys that their clothes are made for playing. But it's also, how do you treat a child if their clothes tell you something about them?

So if you see a child and they're wearing a top, which has got a bunny wearing a flower crown, what do you, as an adult, think of that child, as opposed to seeing a kid standing next to them, that's wearing a T-Rex with blood dripping from its fangs, right? As adults, how do we treat those children? What are the expectations that we have? Oh, you're big, you're strong, man up, don't cry. You know, the expectations that…that just tiny little cue might give us the emotional connections that we might allow a boy or a girl. 

These things seem tiny, but they are played out in all sorts of places through society. And unless we allow boys to be warm, be empathetic, to be vulnerable, to be…wrong. You know, to get things wrong and not always be the best at something, you know, we have to allow them some of the things that we're happy to allow girls and the same way that we have to allow the girls some of the things that we're happy to allow the boys. And that's what leads to a more equal distribution as they get older.

Laura: I'm really glad that you brought it back there. And I think what I appreciate the most is how you basically connected the dinosaur T-shirt, shark underpants to the toxic masculinity pipeline, right? Like that's, I think what…because I think it's all very well for us to sit here and be like, ‘Oh, girls pants are too small and dah, dah, dah, dah’. But if we can't frame that within the context of, you know, the bigger issues, which I think you do such a great job of bringing it back to, you know, the gender pay gap, for example, like you just did there, like…

Well, you didn't say this, but I'm thinking about how male suicide rates are really, really high. Because, and maybe you have some better insight into, like, the statistics around this, but I know especially there was a big conversation about it a few years ago about, yeah, just just like the gender norms that we foist upon men and boys means that they can't express their emotions. They can't tell us when they're struggling, they can't be vulnerable.

And I think a consequence of that is that they end up either taking it out on their own lives and ending their own lives, or they take it out on the women around them in the form of things like domestic violence, for example. Can you maybe speak just briefly to, like, yes, it's about pants, but it's about all these other things? You know, like the bigger picture things? 

Kirstie: Yeah. I mean, it is about pants in, in one way because it sort of lays the baseline. If you are comfortable in your clothes, perhaps you are running a bit faster at school, perhaps you do have a slight advantage in the playground, that sort of thing. Yeah.

If your T-shirt says on it, ‘I'm a genius’. Perhaps someone says that to you every time you wear it. Perhaps someone says, ‘Oh yeah, you're a little genius’. And perhaps that's just popping into your head drip, drip, drip day after day. And if your sister's T-shirt says, ‘Isn't she lovely?’ on it? 

LAURA: ‘I'm a princess’. ‘I'm a princess’ or just even, I mean, it can be so subtle, you know, ‘Always Happy”’.

If your T-shirt says “Always Happy” on it – I see that on so many T-shirts – what's that telling you about how you have to present yourself? So these just little drip drip drip messages, they make a difference. And it makes a difference in how we as adults therefore treat them. And then that gap between how they feel about themselves widens.

And what they…they get this idea that they are opposites, instead of things that are really similar: humans. Yeah, humans. You get this idea that you're super, super different. Instead of this idea that everybody here has similarities and differences. And this is just one of them, being a boy and a girl. That's just one of the differences. 

And we don't separate children by any other characteristics. We don't go to the park and say, Come on brown haired children, time to go home from the park. Like, we just don't do it. There's no other characteristic that we yell out. In the playground. ‘Come on, boys!’ So, you know, we make these binary distinctions really, really important.

And then by the time they get into secondary school, there's all sorts of things going on. Like, 45% of girls in mixed sex secondary schools have experienced some sort of sexual harassment at school.

Laura: I saw this on your Instagram the other day, and I just... It's, it's horrendous. I cannot, like…I mean, I can believe that, but also what?!

Kirstie: Yeah, I mean, I…it gives me the fear so badly. Like, what world are we throwing our daughters into? But what world are we throwing our sons into where they think – well, there's a significant proportion of boys in the school that think it's okay to treat women in that way. And it comes back to this idea. 

This is, that's why this stuff matters. Because it comes back to this idea that if girls are there to be looked at and boys are there to do things. That's how it plays itself out there. So, girls are for looking at. They're not full humans. Boys are the ones that do things. So it doesn't matter if I stick my hand up your skirt, ping a bra strap, whatever it is.

That's one pathway, but…as you call it, the toxic masculinity pathway. But the other one is actually...but you can see right through – this is unrelated to clothes really – but you can see right through that the way we talk about, or the way we talk to them, it differs. So studies show that if you know the sex of your baby before it's born, you're more likely to say that they're very active in utero. So you're more likely to use words like ‘active’ or say, ‘Oh, got a little footballer in there. So much kicking’. 

So colours, your expectation colours, your experience of what you're seeing. And then you have a confirmation bias. So when your child does something that chimes with your ideas of what you think boys must like, you notice it more. So you see your boy playing with something with wheels and you're like, ‘Oh, he loves wheels’. I've heard that boys love wheels. You give them more wheels, you give them a lot of praise or excitement or interest. And it creates a feedback loop where they therefore, yeah, they are going to be more interested in this thing.

You keep giving them and showing that you're really proud of them. But we also find that parents are less likely to use emotional language with sons than they are with daughters. When they read books together, they're more likely to talk about, what do you think this character's feeling with a daughter than they are with a son?

And in fact, the National Education Union did a survey where they looked at preschool, what were the activities that parents were more likely to do with their children, and they broke it down by gender. And parents are more likely to do singing, reading, painting, and expressive things with their daughters. And the only thing that they were more likely to do with the son was sport.

Laura: You think about how we are inadvertently training girls to do the emotional labour. And by not teaching boys how to do it, we're double burdening girls with it.

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Kirstie: It's exactly that. That's exactly it. And we are expecting girls to behave prosocially.

So girls are more likely to be punished for what we could call anti-social behavior…but not sharing. Not being kind, that sort of thing. We are more likely to punish, but whatever form that takes, you know? I'm not suggesting that…punish always sounds like a corporal punishment. But actually to come down heavily on…you know, you've gotta share, you've gotta do that.

And we are less likely to reward boys for the pro-social stuff. So when boys are sharing or being kind, we are less likely to say, ‘Oh, he's so good at sharing’. Yeah. You know, that's just a thing that people are less likely to say. So there's exactly, that we expect…the expectation that girls will do a little bit more of that emotional labour, but it comes into school where they can, they've been able to see that boys come with a more limited emotional vocabulary.

So they're less able to name their feelings and therefore, once you can name a feeling, you can process it. And if you haven't got the skills to name it, you haven't got the skills to process it. So then you see a third more boys are excluded from school. The stat you were talking about, about suicide. So suicide is still the biggest killer of men under 50.

And that speaks to not just a crisis in mental health, men's mental health, because I would say there was a crisis in mental health in general, but in the way that it is expressed and dealt with, and men and boys are less likely to reach out to ask for help. So Childline counsel more girls than they do boys, though the same number of them may be having suicidal ideation thoughts. They're more likely to talk to girls about it than they are to talk to the boys about it, and that is seen in the suicide rates, the death by suicide rates for boys. It being significantly higher for male than girls.

Laura: It's so horrendous, like, yeah, as a parent of a boy and, yeah, married to one as well, like, a man, yeah, just hearing that is, it's heartbreaking.

Kirstie: I suppose the only other thing I would think is worth mentioning, I don't want people to go away feeling like it's doom and gloom because I think It only takes tiny changes, I think.

Laura: I mean, I struggle with this a bit because ultimately it's a social issue. And so, I don't want to put everything on individual parents, like we need to change school policy, we need to change…God, even before that, preschool! 

My preschooler came home the other day, or we were playing in the playground, and he was like, no girls allowed in. And I had to like, I had to stop the play and be like, Let's talk about how we don't exclude people from playing. And I've, like…he had been at nursery for, like, two weeks before this happened. I was mortified. Where are you getting this? It's before they even get to school is what I'm trying to say.

Kirstie: Yeah, and I think it peaks actually around six or seven, that really binary thinking, because they want to find their groups, that's like developmental science, like they're coming away from their parents, they want to find their groups, they do want to fit in actually, it's really hard to not fit in.

Laura: Yeah, no, it's an evolutionarY…what's the word that I'm looking for? Like, it's evolutionary adaptive to be part of the group. If you're excluded from the group, you're more likely to get eaten by a predator, or like……I'm putting it in really, really simplistic terms there. 

But, you know, it's this conversation I have with my clients who are coming to see me about, you know, problems with, with body image.  I mean, problems with body image...! But I mean, you know, when they're struggling with how they feel about their body and they say, you know, I just want this last diet. I…you know,  can't let go of the idea of losing weight. And I'm like, well, of course not, because you're more likely to be accepted when you have thin privilege.  And all the privilege that that gives you access to. 

And that has an evolutionary basis, right? To be accepted, …there's safety in that group. So yeah, the exact same thing……sorry, that was just a massive tangent for me to talk about myself and my work, but…

Kirstie: No, I mean, it's... but that's really important because it's all the same thing, isn't it?

Because it's exactly…it's all tied up. Like you say, it's like a societal thing. It's so hard to fight against that. Like, I don't always want to be the person who steps out, speaks up. I mean, sometimes I can't help it. That is who I am. But you know, when I'm standing at the school gate, I just want to be friends. I want to make friends. I don't want to be giving people an earful about everything all the time. 

So it's the same for our children, isn't it? They want to slot in. I think the things that we can do that change that is try and reduce those divisions. I think putting our children in very, very different clothes based on their gender tells them that we think it's really important. So I think there's lots of things that we can do that just reduce those barriers. And I do think that it is a question of changing policies within schools. And I do think it is also maybe shielding them as much as you can from books or TV programs or…

I mean, it becomes impossible to be honest, but that, yeah, it's really hard things that don't constantly drip those messages into their heads. And it's really, really hard because they are absolutely everywhere. But if you're aware of it, you keep an eye on what you're reading with them or what you're watching with them or what you're seeing in the supermarket. You know, if you've just got that little thing running in the back of your head thinking, ‘would I let both my kids wear this’? That's one of the questions I ask myself. And the answer has to be yes, I would let both of my kids wear this. 

One of the questions I ask in the back of my head, like, does this paint everybody in a good light? Like when you're watching Peppa Pig, is Daddy Pig painted in a good light? What do you think it does to little boys to see that? Just think about that for a second. Like what is it when you're watching...

Laura: I've given a lot of thought to this.

Kirstie: Yeah, I'm sure you have.

Laura: Yeah, I wrote recently about – it's from a different angle – but the horrendous anti-fatness in Peppa Pig. And just how...harmful that show is but I hadn't thought of it, because I try and avoid it if possible, but like I hadn't thought of it from the gender perspective as well as, like the lens…

Kirstie: Daddy Pig is portrayed inevitably as an idiot. Yeah. And I just think that doesn't do anything good. But on that, I mean, I think it's really interesting now to see how the idea of talking about bodies…

We watch Strictly as a family and that's one of the things that my kids enjoy watching and it's hard to find things that everybody can watch together. And there is so much good representation now in the past few years in Strictly, you know, in terms of same sex couples, in terms of people who are openly gay, like, in terms of people from all different backgrounds and ethnicities, like, that's doing a great job, I think. 

But we watched the opening show and two of the men talked about how they were overweight. “A bit squashy,” one of them said, something like that, talked about, Oh, well, this is going to be hard for me because I've got a problem with weight. And I thought, I think if a woman was saying this, we would be listening to this in a different way. And we would be thinking about how we could positively respond. 

I think the conversation around body positivity, which is something I feel a bit uncomfortable about, but I think that conversation for women is at least happening. And I feel like that conversation is more complicated and perhaps nuanced for men because we've had this thing about the dad bod, but equally, I was interested to see that people were like talking about their bodies in this…the disparaging their own bodies. In this show that I think of as not being a…that sort of thing, and it fell down gender lines.

Laura: That…it's a really interesting observation. I haven't paid much attention to Strictly, but I think just more broadly speaking, I think – and it ties into kind of just not being able to express themselves, maybe in the same way or talk about the things that are bothering them, but also the shifting roles of body image pressures, I suppose, for men and boys. 

But I did – I'll link to this in the transcript as well – but so I spoke with Dr. Scott Griffiths, who's a psychologist and a body image researcher about sort of the shifting way that the male bodies are perceived and, and kind of the growing pressure and expectation of them to have this ripped, shredded body to the point that we are now seeing, in older sort of teens, we're seeing something called muscle dysmorphic disorder, so a body dysmorphic disorder, it sort of sits between a body dysmorphic and eating disorder.

Generally, boys who struggle with it consider themselves to be like insufficiently muscled and really lean and scrawny and they, they want to bulk up and, and get big and strong, like, you know, all the messages that they've been receiving since they were one and two and three years old. 

And so they end up…on the really extreme end of it, they might inject testosterone [I MEAN STEROIDS HERE!]. It can lead to infertility. It can, it can lead to all sorts of really, really. hugely problematic things. And again, if I just wonder about, you know…it's, it's acceptable for women to talk about how they struggle with their bodies for better or worse. And we obviously have a sort of counterbalance to that in the, the body positivity, body acceptance movement, but that doesn't exist for men.

There is no body positivity for men or…like, there is, but there's a few, you know, a few people talking about it.

Kirstie: You could argue that because it hasn't been necessary till now because it has been less of a concern societally for people to police men's bodies. But now we're finding ourselves in this highly visual culture where people are policing everybody's bodies.

And simultaneously, like you say, we're asking little boys to conform to these really rigid rules about what it means to be a man or look like a man.

Laura: And we're giving them like, if you think back to like what a Ken doll looks like, to what a G.I. Joe or like…I don't know if kids play with them anymore, but you know what I mean?

Kirstie: What they do play with is Spider Man or Hulk or Batman or, you know, all of these figures, they are all hyper muscled. And if you watch those Marvel films, those are idealised bodies and the idealising for boys and men is to have these bulging biceps and to have a six pack and things that actually aren't…you know, if you ever hear a film, a film star talking about what they have to do to look the way they do.

You know, if you ever heard Hugh Jackman talking about what it was like to be Wolverine, that is not okay. It's punishing. It's absolutely punishing. He didn't drink for days on end. You know, really, he was at the limits of what you can do and still be alive and turning up for work and doing specific sort of flexes and the pressure then that that could put on you if you were the, you know, if you're susceptible to, like you say, injecting hormones or steroids and the fact that that stuff is very reasonable, you know, very easily available or to be buying protein powders and being told on TikTok that you, you too can bulk up, you could, yeah, but actually your genetics are playing a part in this.

You can't. Yeah. Bodies are different.

Laura: So, so much playing, playing into that. And Kirstie, I feel like we could talk for hours about this stuff. And I, I'm, I'm really conscious about your time. It's a...

Kirstie: Yeah, so I've got to go and pick my children up from school! 

Laura: Okay. So, okay. There is one burning question that I have for you, which is...

I don't know if you have this, like, data, but do dads read your magazine?

Kirstie: Well, that's a good question. So I don't have this data. What I can tell you is, from my social media account is that it's like 90% women. That's slightly to do with Instagram. Instagram skews towards women. Yeah. 

This is a question that I get asked a lot: why don't more men write for you? So men are less likely to pitch me. And I think you'll find that men talking about parenting often have daughters. Yeah. And I do get it because I think when you have a daughter as a man, you have the same experience that I talked about where I suddenly was like, Oh, I don't know what it is like to be a boy in this world. I haven't done that. Oh, I see some of the things that you're going to run up against. 

I think that realisation for some fathers can be huge. Yeah. I think it can be absolutely massive for them. I think they can realise a lot about their own previous experiences to see that. And I don't like the fact that they have to have a daughter for this to happen to them.

But they suddenly realise, Oh, I see how you're going to be treated in this world and I do not like it. And I want to talk about parenting now.

Laura: I was just going to say, you have a much more generous interpretation of it than I do, which I think is that, and maybe – and I don't think it's one or the other, it's probably both – but I also think that this just speaks to the point that we were making earlier, which is that so much of the emotional labour of raising children falls on women.

Kirstie: Yes, I mean, I think that is true, that basically who buys parenting books is women, who worries and feels mum guilt? It's women. We don't, I, I mean, I haven't, I spend a lot of time on the internet, but I haven't seen loads of men talking about dad guilt. I haven't heard a lot of men saying how hard they find it to manage their children's emotional development throughout, through our difficult society.

Like that isn't a thing that a lot of men are talking about. It's not the case that no men are talking about it. So there are some prominent men who talk about this stuff. It doesn't fit with our societal narratives. So, I mean, I would recommend anybody to read, Robert Webb's, How Not to Be a Boy. I've really enjoyed that book. There's a really interesting, it's a half memoir, half…

Laura: Like parenting?

Kirstie: …musing on, well, yeah, it was useful in parenting, I think, in terms of he talks about how he would like to raise his children, bearing in mind what he's done. 

I would recommend Grayson Perry's book, The Descent of Man. That's a great small book. And it's, he's just got such a really great way of pinpointing the sort of weirdnesses of gender, like there's so many…and he's funny as well and warm, isn't he? He even made a TV programme that went along with that. Those books are relatively old, but I think they have a lot to say. 

I mean, Justin Baldoni, I don't know if you know him, he was in Jane the Virgin? If you've ever seen that. He was like the beefcake guy, I can't remember, he was called Raphael I think. He's written a book about how hard it was for him growing up and how much he struggled with his own body image. And the expectations placed on him as a young man and how hard he found it to be vulnerable and when someone showed him pornography when he was 12 or younger, he, you know, how he couldn't tell his parents and didn't know how to deal with this.

And, you know, so there are some people talking about this, but they are so few and far between. And also it doesn't fall into the easy categories, I think, that we find it, that marketers find it easy to sell, that book publishers see the obvious opportunities, you know. And I think, you're right, men as a general rule aren't being asked to think about this. How are they going to change the world for their sons? 

Laura: Oh, well, you've given some really cool resources for us to check out and buy for our baby daddies! Right. For Father's Day or whatever, Christmas, whatever's coming up, where are we, what is time? 

And I think, you know, the work that you're doing is so critical as well and getting these conversations started and just thinking about, you know, like the little things like pants and how they have these huge repercussions.

So Kirstie, before I let you go…at the end of every episode, my guest and I share something that they have been really into lately. So it can be a book, it can be…which you've just given us lots of books! But it could be something not to do with work. It could be an actual snack. It can be a podcast, anything that you would like to recommend to the listeners.

Kirstie: I had a long think about this. And the thing is, I was thinking that in terms of my actual snacks, I do not have a sweet tooth. Oh, I know this is very…but basically I just want savoury things all the time. So the snacks that I have been snacking on is, I mean, I just eat crisps. I just love crisps.

Laura: No shame in the crisp game.

Kirstie: Just love crisps. But the thing that I've been really snacking on recently is miso soup. 

Laura: Miso. Oh, yum. 

Kirstie: Yeah. Because I, what I really crave in the middle of the day. Is like a hit of that salt. Salty, yes. Salty. Tasty. It feels like a hot velvet drink and so I'm always delighted when it's got cold enough. I feel like, yes, it's soup time. And so that's like my hit of salty deliciousness.

Laura: Oh my God, that sounds so good. Actually, I never thought of just…I love miso soup, but like usually when I'm eating Japanese food. Yeah. I never thought of just like…cause you can get like, do you make up miso soup like with miso paste or do you do, like, the instant sachet stuff?

Kirstie: I do have the paste, which I just stick in everything because I want everything to taste like that basically. But I bought powdered ones. And they are brilliant.

Laura: And yeah, you just fill it up with the boiling water and…?

Kirstie: Yeah, it's like two o'clock in the afternoon. I've had my lunch. And eat something else that's delicious.

Laura: A little miso pick me up.

Kirstie: A little pep me up.

Laura: Yeah. Oh, yum. Okay, that's making me hungry just thinking about that. So I am going to be your inverse. And I am going to do a sweet snack. Because we both have food on the mind. It's like 3.30 snack time. Exactly. Right now, this episode is going to come out after Halloween, but at the time of recording it is before Halloween.

And M&S have just got all their Halloween sweets in, and I have been taste testing and comparing the Halloween Percy Pigs versus the Halloween Colin the Caterpillars, and the Colins are definitely better. They are sour and tangy, and I love those sour things. You can't eat too many of them before your tongue starts to feel really weird.

Kirstie: They've got crunchy on the outside?

Laura: No, not crunchy, just they're like jelly sweets, like snake sweets, you know. But they've got, like, a good amount of like whatever that coating is that makes your mouth feel weird, but I love them. Yeah, that's all I have to say about them. They're delicious and people should try them.

Kirstie: I would go for a sour sweet.

Laura: It has to like, like take..remove like a layer of your tongue. Yeah. For it to be like a sufficiently sour. Sour, sore, slightly sore.

Kirstie: I like a strong flavour, whatever it is.

Laura: I don't mind what it is. Just needs to have some punch. Yeah. 

All right, Kirstie, thank you so much for this. Before I let you go, will you tell everyone where they can find you and learn more about your work?

Kirstie: Sure, you can find me at but also sonshinemagazine on Instagram – and it's sonshine with an o so it's like sons and daughters.

Laura: See what you did there!

Kirstie: Sonshine!


Laura: Thanks so much for listening to the Can I Have Another Snack? podcast. You can support the show by subscribing in your podcast player and leaving a rating and review. And if you want to support the show further and get full access to the Can I Have Another Snack? universe, you can become a paid subscriber.

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Can I Have Another Snack? is hosted by me, Laura Thomas. Our sound engineer is Lucy Dearlove. Fiona Bray formats and schedules all of our posts and makes sure that they're out on time every week. Our funky artwork is by Caitlin Preyser, and the music is by Jason Barkhouse. Thanks so much for listening.

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ICYMI last week: Let's Lighten the Mood...

Can I Have Another Snack?
Can I Have Another Snack?
Can I Have Another Snack? podcast is an exploration of appetite, identity, and bodies. We talk about how we feed ourselves and our kids (in all senses of the word!), and the ingredients we need to survive in diet culture. We’re sitting with the questions: who or what are we nurturing? And who or what is nurturing us? Hosted by Laura Thomas - anti-diet nutritionist and author of the Can I Have Another Snack? newsletter.