Closing Keynote – April 17th, 2015


Hope for the Future: Transforming the Destructive Assumptions of Thin Privilege and Weight Stigma

Presenter: Kathy Kater, LICSW

Abstract: Whether it’s the “thin ideal” for appearance, a “normal” BMI for health, or the “right” weight for performance, comparing and judging bodies based on external standards inevitably lead to the question, “Am I good enough?”–as well as to marginalizing those who do not meet the criteria. Instead of inspiring good self-care, the resulting body objectification and dissatisfaction, internalized stigma, worry about weight and drive to lose it predictably lead to poor and disordered eating and fitness habits, diminished health, and weight gain (not loss) over time. A growing body of evidence documents that the more people experience messages promoting weight bias, the less likely they are to engage in self-caring, health-enhancing behaviors. Given the harmful effect of conventional, size/weight-focused approaches to health and well-being, it is critical that we begin to address the topic of weight with more awareness. This keynote proposes that for prevention of eating disorders and for universal promotion of health alike, our hope lies with learning to see the wrongness of thin privilege and to reject the oppressive assumptions of weight stigma—to actively transform our personal and community approach into one embracing true body equity.

Audience: All levels