How to Write Stigma-Free Health Content
Some health topics come preloaded with stigma: obesity, acne, sexual dysfunction. Don’t allow your writing to add to the shame.
Some tips for stigma-free writing:
Acknowledge barriers. Losing weight (and/or maintaining a healthy weight) in modern Western society is like a Westworld host trying to break free: tragically difficult. Structural and institutional barriers to weight loss are everywhere. Acknowledge those barriers. This doesn’t preclude you from giving readers lifestyle tips for success—because, certainly there are strategies that improve people’s chances of losing weight—but make sure readers don’t feel blamed for their weight.
Acknowledge root causes. An estimated 70-percent of low sex drive is hormonal—not psychological or related to personality. Most acne is hormonal, too, not a result of irregular face-washing or other stigmatizing practice. Obesity has a genetic component. Acknowledging root causes helps eliminate stigma.
Use inclusive language. “As humans, we __________.” “As women, we ___________.” As men in our 50s, we ____________ .”
Weekly writing affirmation: I will tear down the walls that separate us.