Addressing Issues of Stigma in Vulnerable Population


Stigma is a dangerous barrier to individual and household well-being. Stigma operates on several levels for food insecure families. First, food insecurity is associated with an inability to “provide” for the family. This is often bore by caretaker(s) and has a clear gender component, as women are socially designated providers and are often the household members who control nutrition and food. Second, stigma is associated with accessing resources to help mitigate food insecurity. In the US, accessing food resources can be a long, arduous, and humiliating process for those that desperately need them. Social welfare program recipients are often ostracized, scrutinized, and marginalized. Marginalization can be as or more stressful than the weight of hunger. For Americans, the expectation of a strong individualized identity is predicated on self-reliance: this exacerbates and institutionalizes issues associated with food insecurity and hunger.
– Explore the gender component of stigma within the context of food insecurity.
– Examine how the framing of hunger issues and food insecurity institutionalize stigmas
– Discuss ways of mitigating or managing stigma associated with food insecurity and program usage in general
Proposed session
This session will be conducted in a PechaKucha format – each speaker will present 20 Powerpoint slides that are 20 seconds long. After presenting, the audience will gather around tables for a breakout session where speakers will answer questions, discuss issues of stigma more in depth, and work with students to develop solutions.


Debbie Dougherty, MU Department of Communication; Rebecca Meisenbach, MU Department of Communication; Martha Dragich, MU School of Law; Ashley Vancil-Leap, PhD Student Sociology; Sean Ross, The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri




Concurrent Session 3
Location: Hampton Inn and Suites Date: February 27, 2016 Time: 2:00 pm - 3:45 pm Debbie Dougherty, PhD Rebecca Meisenbach, PhD Martha Dragich, JD LLM Ashley Vancil-Leap