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Penn State 'Love Your Body Week' keynote talks about diet culture, fatphobia and domestic violence

Sonalee Rashatwar
Becky Marcinko
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Sonalee Rashatwar, also know as “@TheFatSexTherpaist” on Instagram, spoke about diet culture, fatphobia and domestic violence during a keynote hosted by Penn State’s Gender Equity Center and Health Promotion and Wellness in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in University Park, Pa.

This week, Penn State’s Gender Equity Center is hosting various events to celebrate “Love Your Body Week,” which promotes body positivity. Award-winning social worker Sonalee Rashatwar was the keynote speaker on Tuesday for both the week and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Rashatwar is also known on Instagram as @TheFatSexTherapist. They have over 150,000 followers.

Rashatwar identifies as a nonbinary bisexual butch queer who specializes in helping people with problems including diet trauma and sexual trauma.

The event primarily focused on an interactive element where Rashatwar asked audience members to consider their relationship with diet culture, body image and fatphobia.

“What diet culture looks like is if we change our body size, if we restrict or overexercise, then we can attain these things like love, happiness, success and confidence. What sucks about that narrative is it doesn’t tell us that we already possess those things,” Rashatwar said. “We don’t have to earn it by punishing our body or changing our body.”

Assistant Director of the Gender Equity Center Rebecca Geiger said Rashatwar’s keynote was just one aspect of “Love Your Body Week” and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“As somebody who works with individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence — body image, body autonomy is all a part of this,” Geiger said. “Certainly, diet culture and loving your body contributes to our path to recovery and healing.”

Other events for “Love Your Body Week” include body-positive themed workout classes, collage making and a session exploring how body image impacts mental health and self-esteem.