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College educates about body image

Mandi Stirone | Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This week Saint Mary’s students are being taught ways to love their bodies and the environment through events centered around the release of communications professor Terri Russ’ book “Bi***in’ Bodies: Young Women Talk About Body Dissatisfaction.”

The book, whose title uses the actual expletive, will be released nationally on Thursday.

The week, sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center, Feminists United, and the Women’s Studies Program, is geared towards the main topic of the book -women finding ways to feel good about their bodies no matter what their shape, senior and “Love Your Body Week” organizer Becki Faunce said.

An important part of the week is encouraging empowerment so that women might “make our difference in the world like we’re supposed to as Saint Mary’s women.”

It encompasses three major events, “Freedom with Friends” on Monday, “Love Your Body and the Planet” on Tuesday and Thursday’s book release, according to fliers posted around the College.

The fliers also asked for donations of “beauty and body products” for St. Margaret’s House.

As of Tuesday night, the organizers still hadn’t received any donations, but they were still hopeful, Faunce said.

“It’s still early in the week,” she said. “Our big event is Thursday.”

“I’m happy with the way that things are coming out now,” she said.

Monday’s event was a group discussion led by alumna Justine Ray, founder of the College’s Freedom Revolution, Faunce said.

“It was important that we brought in someone that students can relate to … bringing Justine in really helped,” she said.

About 12 students, faculty and staff joined in to discuss body image at Saint Mary’s, she said.

The part of the talk Ray emphasized was her assertion that if women spent the time they typically spend worrying about their appearance on something more productive “we would have so much more power,” Faunce said.

Ray discussed eating disorders and disordered eating and answered questions about what to do in situations where they or friends may have eating disorders, she said.

“She said it’s important to know that most people don’t have eating disorders but they can support each other,” Faunce said.

Love Your Body and the Planet was held in the Saint Mary’s Student Center Lounge last night. Nearly 15 people attended the talk led by Joanna Livierantos.

The main discussion was concerning “sustainable beauty” and prizes were given away, according to the fliers posed around campus.

Before the event, Faunce said she was hoping “we can get as many people that show up,” but there are “a lot of benefits to a small group because we can have a really good discussion,” she said.

The week culminates with Russ’ book release on Thursday. The release will include a book reading and signing and an interpretive dance called “Because of Barbie’s and Other Dumb Broads.”

“It’s not just going to be a book release,” Faunce said.