Presence in Body Positivity and Shame-Free Storytelling with Dr. Kate Browne | #9

Sep 3, 2019

A woman singing into a makeup brush as if it's a microphone with the words, "Presence in Body Positivity and Shame-Free Storytelling with Dr. Kate Browne | #9" superimposed over her

Dr. Kate Browne is a pop culture writer and rhetorician. She is also the Vice President of Communications for the Body Positive Fitness Alliance and the founder of Taking Up Space, a blog about marketing tactics in the health, wellness, and fitness industries. In fact, I have paid Kate for consultation work on my own website and marketing copy – she really knows her stuff!

Kate spoke with me about the use of shame-based marketing in health and wellness and shared alternatives to the typical before-and-after weight loss stories we’re all used to seeing. We also chatted about the difference between body positivity as a political movement and the “love yourself” version of body positivity that is currently popular.

We discussed:

  • Kate’s background in comedy and theater and how she came to do the work she is doing today.
  • Why the “your body is your billboard” mentality in marketing is unnecessary.
  • Diversity on SNL and the power of seeing people who look like you on screen.
  • Kate’s return to the stage as the frontwoman for a cover band.
  • Her experiences with Weight Watchers and how damaging it was for her to grow up dieting.
  • How Kate defines the “positive” part of body positivity as presence.
  • The “love yourself” version of body positivity as the gateway to the political aspects of the body positivity movement.
  • Why shame-based marketing is bad marketing, even though it technically works by keeping people coming back.
  • The clash between the promise of  intentional weight loss and body positivity, particularly from a fitness marketing perspective.
  • Why evangelizing body positivity, HAES, etc. can take autonomy away from other people when it comes to their bodies.
  • How before and after success stories are harmful and what kinds of stories we can tell instead that are also effective.
  • Kate’s upcoming academic book on the TV show, The Golden Girls.
  • How Kate defines health and wellness for herself at this point in her life, in particular, focusing on her emotional health.

Mentioned in this Episode:

  • The culture-making feminist marketing expert, Kelly Diels (if you’re an entrepreneur, I highly recommend signing up for her newsletter – it’s gold!)
  • TV Milestones Series from Wayne State University Press
  • The Golden Girls, Season 4, Episode 23 – Rites of Spring

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Featured on this Episode:

Dr. Kate Browne is a pop culture writer and rhetorician who writes about how body-based autobiography like before-and-after weight loss success stories teach us how to live. She is the Vice President of Communications for the Body Positive Fitness Alliance and the founder of Taking Up Space, a blog about marketing tactics in the health, wellness, and fitness industries. You can find Kate on TwitterInstagram, and her website.

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