Details

Biography
Topics
Art & Politics
Body Image
Comedy
Internalized Oppression
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer
Performance
Poetry/Spoken Word
Storytelling
Violence Against Women
Women & Feminism

Kimberly Dark is an award-winning writer and storyteller who wants you to reclaim your power as a social creator to make the world a better place. No, seriously, it’s possible. In her interactive and engaging presentations, Kimberly offers tools for all of us to live our best lives, and build the culture in which we want to live.
 
Kimberly is also a sociologist, and popular author of Fat, Pretty and Soon to be Old, and The Daddies, among others. She has been using humor and intimacy to bring complex ideas to campus audiences since the late 1990s. Lectures such as "Gender, Race, and Money" help students understand how race and gender influence income and wealth in America and what to do about it. Lectures such as "You Don’t Owe Anyone Pretty" and "Sex and Society--It’s Time To Talk About It" offer students a deep understanding of body and personal sovereignty, along with clear information about how to reclaim one’s time and resources from social expectations that keep us constantly seeking approval.

Kimberly brings decades of experience (and multiple awards) as a facilitator, performer/storyteller, and teacher, entertaining people with complex yet accessible messages about the human experience, the body in culture, and the ways we co-create our culture. Kimberly’s lectures, workshops, and performances engage with themes that include:
●    Gender
●    Sexuality
●    Body Size/Shame
●    Media Representations
●    Gender, Race and Wealth/Income
●    Understanding “the 1%”
●    Beauty and Appearance Privilege
●    Personal Sovereignty

By looking at the complexity in our lives, Kimberly teachers her audiences how to become the subject of their own stories, and how to co-create a better world.

Testimonials

"Kimberly Dark has an uncanny way of making you think hard when you think you are only being entertained. Her keen insights seep into your questioning mind as you laugh, are captivated by stories, and are wowed by the intimacy she creates with her to-the-bone honesty.  
— Carol Plummer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Hawaii, Manoa

 

"Your shows reach students with messages that promote healthy sexuality, gender roles and body image, and contribute to creating an inclusive climate on campus where these difficult issues can be discussed in a comfortable, educational atmosphere...you made every member of the audience--no matter what their gender or sexual orientation--feel comfortable and valued as a participant in the discussion."
— Abby Ferber, Director of Women's Studies & the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

"I thought this [Gender, Race and Money] was a fantastic event. What I most appreciated was how you made this all observable for students through activities and participation. In particular, the the exercise with the couple, which demonstrated the gendered dynamics surrounding reproductive labor within a heterosexual couple was fantastic. I also genuinely appreciated the discussion on income inequality, especially when you asked the crowd if people could name a TV show that focuses on a family from that income bracket... I saw that students were really engaged and learning a lot through your use of exercises and participation.”
— Dr. Cesar Rodriguez, Cal State San Marcos

"Kimberly Dark is a superior story teller... She expertly blends teaching with entertaining and takes the audience into her story circle where we are welcomed and challenged!"
— William J. Doan, PhD, Penn State University

"Our students absolutely loved Kimberly's Dark lecture on "Gender, Race and Money." Our audience ranged from students who had studied this issue in depth to others who were hearing this information for the first time, and they all came away with a deeper understanding of the implications of race and gender on people's income and wealth. They particularly appreciated the interactive nature of the presentation. If your university is looking for someone who will go beyond simply explaining graphs and throwing out overwhelming statistics, then consider Dark. She makes the material real and relatable to students, and she keeps them engaged with a series of interactive activities."
— Melissa Ooten, Associate Director, WILL Program, University of Richmond VA 

 "...an innovative and highly original approach to a host of potentially contentious social issues, which are rarely addressed outside the college classroom. Seamlessly blending comedy and high seriousness, Dark immediately puts her audience ease and thereby engages them in a profound and honest conversation..."
— Dr. Andrea Herrera, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Ethnic Studies Department

"The magic...lies in Dark's ability to send her pithy insights, enveloped as they are in gentle humor, straight to our hearts, the place where hope resides."
— Dr. Linda Shaw, California State University, San Marcos

"Dark is an exquisite tour guide for this heartfelt journey into the construction of the self. Through performance poetry, this soul searching and sometimes comical journey leads the audience through the blurred distinctions of gender identity which are precariously balanced between clearly drawn cultural stereotypes."
Theatermania, Chicago

"Dark's powerful feminine stage presence and poetic style held the audience transfixed from start to finish as she spoke on gender..." 
— Nouveau Queer Montreal

"Dark doesn't shy away from provocative, incendiary statements, but don't expect a rant. Her shows, leavened with humor, are more likely to explore how small everyday moments can inform the arc of our lives."
— The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City UT
 

“Dark’s skill as a storyteller gets to your heart by exposing hers.”
High Plains Reader, Fargo ND

Speeches

You Don’t Owe Anyone Pretty
In this program, Kimberly Dark explores how appearance privilege works in the U.S. and why focusing too often on our own appearance cannot lead us to personal peace, nor social equality. Students will laugh as they learn:
• How to listen for and see the social hierarchies that normally remain hidden because they’re so common.
• How to disrupt everyday injustice and shame through witness, kindness, humor and straightforward common sense.
• How to stand in their own “is-ness” – the power of being that transcends appearance (because our looks change through our lives, y’all).
• How to practice love and pleasure – in our own bodies and as advocates for others’ well-being and dignity as well

Appearance privilege includes being pretty or handsome, but also relates to racism, fat stigma, disability justice and more. This smart, funny program includes relatable stories and involves the audience in building strategies of resistance. The audience  leaves empowered, and aware of their tools and brilliance as social creators.Appearance privilege includes being pretty or handsome, but also relates to racism, fat stigma, disability justice and more. This smart, funny program includes relatable stories and involves the audience in building strategies of resistance. The audience  leaves empowered, and aware of their tools and brilliance as social creators.

Gender, Race, and Money
The gap between rich and poor in the United has been widening and this is particularly pronounced in communities of color and for women. During this engaging and interactive lecture, Dark teaches participants about trends in the distribution of wealth in America and how those trends affect all Americans. We can no longer afford to ignore the history of privilege and poverty, if we hope to create a world in which that American dream of fairness and prosperity can become a reality. In this hugely participatory event, Dark leads participants through exercises to help them understand their own wealth, how it is influenced by the privilege of birth and circumstances and how those who lack wealth may not be as personally deficient as some believe. The content of this lecture is applicable to each person who uses money - and participants will leave with the tools for making connections with others to work toward a more just economy.

Sex and Society–It’s Time to Talk About It
Kimberly Dark’s book, The Daddies, is an American Library Association recommended book–both a love-letter to masculinity and an indictment of patriarchy. In this program – including stories, insights, and discussion – Kimberly explores the importance of discussing sex and sexuality – not just for the sake of interpersonal relationships, but for the political impact our personal choices hold. We can absolutely love men and masculinity (in all its forms) and still dismantle the systems that harm women, children, and everyone else too. (Yes, of course we’ll discuss gender and gender identity too.) For those interested in the politics of knowledge creation, Kimberly can also discuss why we don’t talk about sex and sexuality more readily in the social sciences, given that our erotic urges are part of who we are; they influence the relationships and the society we create.
 

Media
The Daddies [TRAILER]
What does your bra have to do with the prison industrial complex OR What's in your mailbox?