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Professor Hannah Bacon.

In her talk, ‘Fat, ‘syn’ and sausage rolls! Feminist theology troubling the ‘gospel truth’ about fat’, Professor Hannah Bacon will look at how Christian ideas about ‘sin’ are being recycled by a secular commercial slimming organisation.

She considers how the appeal to ‘sin’ - spelt ‘syn’ by the weight loss company - supports everyday phobias about food and fat, resourcing a hatred of female fat especially. In her talk on Thursday (April 27), Professor Bacon goes in search of an alternative Christian approach that has the capacity to celebrate a diversity of bodies, of all shapes and sizes.

The Inaugural Professorial Lecture, at the University’s Exton Park site, will look at how the weight loss organisation adopts and adapts the Christian moral language of sin to speak about food, such as sausage rolls. It will ask if Christianity can offer any alternative view of fat and embodiment and will consider if the Christian idea of sin can help with this.

Prof Bacon will draw on the real-life stories of dieting women and on her observations from inside the weight loss group. She will use these to think about how the language of ‘sin’ could be used differently to resist rather than support fat phobia.

Prof Bacon said: “Fears about food and fat are commonplace in Euro-American culture and part of the Western ‘cultural catechism’ that insists that weight loss is the epitome of physical improvement for women. But this is not just a cultural truth, it is ‘gospel truth’, a view resourced, in part, by religion and by Christian thought in particular.

“Although very little time and space has been dedicated to the subject of fat in Christian theology and in feminist theology, fat and weight are theological issues that require urgent attention. If fat shaming and weight-based prejudice are diminishing the lives of a multiplicity of people across contexts and a diversity of women, we are in desperate need of theologies that will help women live in peace with their bodies, not wage war against them. This lecture gives a feminist theological take on how we might reform our thinking and acting in relation to fat.”

The lecture, celebrating the appointment as Professor, takes place from 6.30pm to 7.45pm on April 27 at the Anna Sutton building, Exton Park. Tea and coffee will also be served ahead of the talk, from 6pm in the foyer.

Prof Bacon is a Christian theologian with a research focus on the relationship between gender, theology and the body. For more on Prof Bacon, please visit:

The event is free and people are just asked to contact to book a space. The lecture will also be streamed online. Again, please email to receive a link.

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