Using feminist pedagogy to resist harmful weight-loss dieting practices

Project Summary:

This project aims to develop strategies to intervene in destructive weight-loss dieting norms aimed at women at a cultural level. Weight-loss dieting is a gateway to developing eating disorders; psychiatric conditions with a total socioeconomic cost of $69.7 billion in Australia and the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. This project uses feminist teaching methods to learn how to resist diet messages and create new messages to challenge their normalisation. The expected outcomes of this project are a novel non-diet framework and social movement to raise public awareness about the harms of dieting on physical and mental health.

Key Aims:

  1. To understand how women, health professionals, diet culture activists and health organisations have attempted to challenge prevailing weight-loss diet narratives, and to what effect.
  2. To determine what elements of women's, health professionals', diet culture activists', and health organisations' counter-narratives can be mobilised to resist weight-loss dieting as a normative practice give their structural and institutional contexts.
  3. To identify how feminist pedagogy can be used to develop, support and facilitate a feminist non-diet social movement, both in Australia and internationally.

School Priorities:

Prevention and management of NCDs (inc Cancer) and promotion of mental health

Funding Source:

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (Australian Research Council)

Funding Amount:


Research Lead:

Dr Natalie Jovanovski

More Information

Natalie Jovanovski