The University of Vermont hosted an event featuring “fat sex therapist” Sonalee Rashatwar last week.
Self-described “fat sex therapist” and “body acceptance” speaker spoke at an event titled “Examing Race and Body Image” at the University of Vermont last week. A poster advertising the event featured a quote from Rashatwar: “Thinness is a white supremacist beauty ideal.”
Other promotional materials for the event featured other unusual quotes. “Oppressive systems are always looking for ways to devalue our bodies and perpetuate a white supremacist hierarchy,” one Instagram post from Rashatwar read.
Excited to be speaking at @universityofvermont next week during an electric moment of student organizing hxstory 🙏🏽🌈 #istandwithjohnmejia (who is on hunger strike) and all students supporting the black lives matter movement ✊🏽🙅🏽♀️ Join me [Thurs Mar 1] as we discuss the many ways anti blackness is morphed through capitalism, ableism, and beauty standards with @livingwelluvm ♿️ this event is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible♿️ [7-9PM, Silver Maple Ballroom]🍁 #vermont #universityofvermont #uvm (photo credit to @jayellemer who was present during the occupation of the UVM President’s office earlier this week)
In a series of Instagram photos, Rashatwar expressed her pride after finding posters featuring her quotes hung on bathroom mirrors around campus. “Literately throw your scale in the trash,” one poster read. “We cannot have conversations on body image and fatness without race, disability, and class analysis,” another read.
#uvm has been so kind to me. Thank you for the amazing turnout tonight, discussing body image and race 🙏🏽💘 it felt supernatural to walk into bathrooms in the student center and see mirrors covered with my words. Thank you to @jayellemer for inviting me to campus. I will repost the local Vermont cbs news segment who covered the keynote as well, thanks go to @evamckend for the rad local news coverage asking about fat microaggressions and colonized sexuality #everybodyuvm
Rashatwar, who uses “she/they” pronouns, claims expertise in a variety of subjects including “sexual colonization,” “decolonial sexuality,” “disability justice,” “South Asian sexuality,” “weight-inclusive wellness,” and “sexual trauma.”
Rashatwar’s website also emphasizes that she is staunchly “anti-diet,” which means that she “never invoke[s] moral food code by telling you to replace foods you love with foods you hate.”
The University of Vermont event is just one of many recent “fat acceptance” events taking place at universities around the country. Last week, a guest speaker at Johns Hopkins University argued that humans can be healthy at any body weight.
On social media last week, Danish comedian Sofie Hagen accused a cancer research organization of “fat-shaming” after they published an advertisement that highlighted the link between obesity and cancer.