The PEDAW panel event went very well this year, with a four-member panel that brought diverse perspectives to Interrupting the Stigma: Putting an End to Size Shaming”. The panelists each sent a strong message about why the stigma of size-shaming needs to be interrupted; that our focus needs to shift away from an obsession with weight and shape, toward size-acceptance and the promotion of health at every size!
**Missed the event? Click here to watch: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HVKxIVJIec**
Caitlin O’Reilly, a PhD candidate at UBC has done extensive work on weight bias and stigma in the healthcare field. Caitlin set the day up with a rich research perspective on the systemic impact of weight and size shaming on eating disorders and on mental health. Caitlin is an engaging speaker and she made it easy for the audience to connect with the material and learn so much more about an area she is so clearly passionate about.
Tyson Busby is an eating disorder survivor who was able to incorporate a male perspective on living with and recovering from an eating disorder, and the role size-shaming played in both his development of and recovery from his eating disorder. It always takes bravery for someone to speak to an audience about their eating disorder, and Tyson’s story of recovery was riveting, heart-wrenching, and absolutely invaluable for audience members to hear.
Ali Eberhardt is a Registered Dietitian who works in the Provincial Tertiary Specialized Eating Disorders Program and with the Looking Glass foundation. Ali clearly believes in a collaborative approach when working with her clients. It was obvious that her knowledge, compassion and the ability to connect that she brings to her work resonated with the audience, and gave real perspective to both how difficult, and how hopeful, the journey to recovery can be.
Kristi Gordon, Senior Meteorologist on Global BC’s News Hour spoke about the impact size-shaming had on her when she became the victim of a veritable online hate campaign during her last pregnancy. Kristi talked about first feeling good about herself because at first she was able to just shake off the emails and tweets and not give them much attention. However, as they continued, she began to notice herself changing some of her behaviour and spending more time than she would like thinking about the messages involved in them. She took the brave step of bringing up what was happening to her with her colleagues, on-air, and to her astonishment, it went viral almost overnight. While she received an outpouring of support and encouragement from literally every corner of the world, she also came away from the ordeal with a much greater understanding of the impact size-shaming can have.