Afternoon Plenary: From Marginalization to Love

From Marginalization to Love: How Resisting the Gender Binary Taught Me to Respect My Body



Conforming to expectations of what it means to be a man or a woman provides privileges: better jobs, greater social approval, and more. Living outside of gender expectations can mean bullying, discrimination, social rejection and worse. This cultural power is further complicated by intersections with other identities, such as race, sexual orientation, class, or ability status. Yet gender is socially constructed, not a fact of nature. Few of us feel completely comfortable in the binary boxes of “man” and “woman” all of the time and in all ways. Most people, for example, have at least twinges if not a constant feeling of not measuring up to gendered beauty standards. Some transgress gender norms in big ways, like transitioning to a gender different from that assigned at birth. For others, transgression can be more modest, like the stay-at-home dad or the woman who changes the oil in her car.

Body image concerns – and the eating disorders they spawn - are most commonly framed as a struggle in the chasm between our perception of our own bodies and idealized, gendered, portrayals. But what happens when we apply broader perspective, not just challenging cultural standards for what an acceptable gendered body looks like, but what it means to be a woman or a man?

Join us for what’s sure to be a riveting talk as Linda Bacon shares stories and lessons learned from her own gender journey and the value that comes from supporting all in full expression of self, beyond the gender binary.


Knowledge Level: All 


Presenter Biography

Dr. Linda Bacon is fostering a global transformation – away from our obsession with body weight and to body respect. Her mission is to provide the critical thought, inspiring vision, and practical strategies needed to empower individuals, organizations, and institutions to respect all bodies and support compassionate self-care. Dr. Bacon holds graduate degrees in physiology, psychology, and exercise metabolism with a specialty in nutrition. A former professor and researcher, for two decades she taught courses in social justice, health, weight and nutrition; she has also conducted federally funded studies on health and weight and published in top scientific journals. Dr. Bacon is co-author of the paradigm-shifting Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, or Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight. She also wrote the iconic and bestselling Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. Dr. Bacon’s advocacy for body respect has generated a large following on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, health and nutrition listservs and specialty blogs, and the international lecture circuit. She is committed to centralizing the ways in which power, privilege and disadvantage complicate our experience of our bodies. Health professionals – as well as people on their own personal journeys to body appreciation – call Linda’s work “life-changing” and “transformative,” providing the tools and confidence for personal change and inspiring others. A compelling speaker, writer and storyteller, Dr. Bacon delivers a unique blend of academic expertise, clinical experience, and social justice advocacy, all couched in a raw honesty and compassion that touch and inspire. Visit www.LindaBacon.Org for more information.