The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Hilltop celebrates Love Your Body Day

The National Organization for Women (NOW) celebrated its ninth annual Love Your Body Day yesterday.

The Women’s Center, the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports and the Health Center marked the event, which seeks to raise awareness about the negative body image promoted by Hollywood, advertising and the fashion industry. Several activities were held throughout the day, including a presentation from SMU staff member Brook Dabbs about her own battle with eating disorders.

“We all have images of our body,” Women’s Center Director Karen Click said. “We all have opinions on how we look and how that makes us feel. Some people have very positive body images. Others do absorb messages from others, and this can lead to a distorted body image. We hope for an increased awareness on body image issues and hope that the discussion begins on campus that we need to be changing the way we feel about ourselves.”

The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that 80 percent of women are unhappy with their appearance. According to Birdie Barr, instructor and founder of the Wellness program, a negative body image can affect a person’s self-esteem, self-worth and how they perceive others.

“I think 95 percent of women just aren’t born with a model’s body,” she said. “Some women diet, exercise or take more drastic means to try to get a model’s body, and it’s just not going to happen.”

Health educator Megan Knapp believes that true beauty is self-confidence and a positive body image, not physical attractiveness.

“I think the media tries to tell us what beauty is and what sexy is, and it is very harmful,” she said. “We’ve still got a ways to go to change this image because we still see people with body image problems.”

Students surrounding themselves with people that make them feel good is one way to prevent a negative body image, according to Barr.

“You have to have a mindset that you’re not out to impress anyone,” she said. “Don’t compare yourself to others. We seem to be the only creatures who are not happy with who we are. A butterfly doesn’t care how it looks-it just flies around.

When it sees a bluebird it doesn’t say ‘I want to look like that.’ Just be proud of who you are.”

Barr said that a major part of the Wellness program is being happy with who you are physically, emotionally and spiritually.

“It boils down to life,” she said. “There are so many departments and people who want you to have a great experience at life.”

For students dealing with body issues, Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is available at the Health Center. A peer advising network is currently in the works with the goal of helping students prepare and teach presentations about a number of issues, including body image. Students wishing to help with the peer advising network can contact Megan Knapp at the Health Center.

“We’re part of a society receiving messages everywhere, in advertising, in the media, in our fairy tales, in our history, in what we give prizes to, in what we pay higher paychecks for,” Click said. “Everywhere standards of beauty are set that no one can meet. I think the biggest point to be made is that we are all different and we can never measure up to one standard of beauty.”

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