Taking Up Space: Fat Feminism, Body Liberation, and Being an Advocate for Radical Change

Keynote for BODIES, an interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Graduate Programs in Art History and English. Co-sponsored by the Luann Dummer Center for Women.

Date & Time:

Thursday, April 25, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM


OEC Auditorium and Lobby
Reception to follow talk.

In August 2015, Amy Pence-Brown stood in a busy public market in downtown Boise, Idaho, with a blindfold, black bikini with markers in her hands and a sign at her feet asking people to draw a heart on her fat body if they believed in her message of self-love and that all bodies are valuable. What resulted was not only one hour of extraordinary compassion, but a wider breakthrough in the body positive movement, as a video of Amy’s performance art/social activism spread throughout the world via media, currently standing at over 200 million views and an overwhelmingly positive outpouring of support, making it one of the most viral videos of all time. Working as a fat activist through performances, writing and art for the past decade, Amy will share her story of fat identity as a mother, her work as a fat activist through global constructs of fatness, and lived experience in a feminine and aging body. She will focus on her work using her body as a political vessel and a canvas for activism and art through an intersectional approach combining theories of feminism, art history, motherhood, social media and more.

Amy Pence-Brown is a fat feminist mother who believes in opening her mouth and her heart. From both of these places, she tells stories – as a writer on her blog and other local & national publications, as a historian giving tours for Preservation Idaho, and as a visual artist creating subversive stitchings and performance pieces. She’s been a body image activist for the past decade and recently became internationally known for her radical stand for self-love at the Capital City Public Market on August 29, 2015, in Boise, Idaho, which was documented in a blog post, photographs and a video viewed over 200 million times. Her message about the value of all bodies, no matter their size, has been covered by numerous media outlets, including CNN, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, People, TODAY, Huffington Post, Upworthy, HLN, the Dr. Oz show, SHAPE, xo Jane, and Fitness magazine. She continues to lead the body positive revolution through public speaking and education, including on the TEDx stage, to students young and old, and the Boise Rad Fat Collective, a radical Facebook group with 2,000 people of all ages, sizes, colors, genders and nationalities. She also leads RADCAMP: A Body Positive Boot Camp for Feminists and Feminist Teens and was named one of the 50 Idaho Women of the Year by the Idaho Business Review in 2017. Learn more at: www.amypencebrown.com‌.

This event is co-sponsored by the Luann Dummer Center for Women.

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.