“Diet Culture Is Unhealthy. It’s Also Immoral,” an op-ed written by Kate Manne, associate professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences, has won the American Philosophical Association’s (APA) 2023 Public Philosophy Op-Ed contest. The award honors “standout pieces that successfully blend philosophical argumentation with an op-ed writing style.”
In the op-ed, published Nov. 3, 2022 in the New York Times, Manne shares her struggles with body weight and puts her own experiences in the context of larger moral questions. She concludes: “But if dieting is a practice that causes a great deal of harm — in the form of pain, suffering, anxiety and sheer hunger — and rarely works to deliver the health or happiness it has long advertised, then it is a morally bad practice. It is plausibly not only permissible but obligatory for individuals to divest from it, to condemn it and not to teach it to our children, either explicitly or by example.”
The topic is explored in depth in Manne’s forthcoming book, “Unshrinking: How to Face Fatphobia.”
This is the second time Manne has won the APA award; the first time was in 2015, for “In Ferguson and Beyond, Punishing Humanity,” also published in the New York Times.
“Public-facing writing is so important to me, and it's terrific to see the APA valuing it. I'm honored to be recognized in this way,” Manne said.
Manne’s research focuses on moral, social, and feminist philosophy. Her previous books include “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny,” which received the 2019 Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) from the Association of American Publishers and a Book Prize from the APA; and “Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women.” Her newsletter, “More to Hate,” canvasses topics such as misogyny, fatphobia and their intersection.