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GRC launches poster campaign

Megan Hemler | Monday, September 21, 2009

Notre Dame students may soon be seeing their friends, classmates and themselves in a whole new way. The Gender Issues Committee of student government is launching the “Love Thee Notre Dame, Love Thyself” poster campaign, which is co-sponsored by the Counseling Center, The Gender Relations Center (GRC), Feminist Voice and the Snite Museum.

The campaign posters feature pictures of body parts of anonymous volunteers that are accompanied by phrases emphasizing what their bodies can do other than just their appearance.

“With the publicity surrounding the “Thin” exhibit at the Snite, we wanted to circulate examples of positive body image,” Robyn Grant, co-director of the Gender Issues Committee, said. “Most advertising is not truly representative of the average human body.”

Grant also said that the goal of the campaign is to “dissociate emotions with physical appearance, and reclaim the body as a tool that does amazing things.”

The posters will be unveiled all over campus on Oct. 1 to kick off “Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2009” at Notre Dame from Oct. 1-8. The goal of the campaign as well as the overall event is to raise awareness of body image and eating disorder issues.

Along with the poster campaign, a screening of the movie “Mean Girls,” a Mass and Coffee House Open Mic Night are all among the events planned for that week.

“Both women and men at the University struggle with eating disorders,” Grant said. “We hope to alleviate some of the pressure to maintain a ‘perfect’ body.”

The photo shoot with volunteers took place Sunday afternoon. Twelve models participated, and the Gender Issues Committee created the positive captions for the posters. Model Aidan Gillespie said the photo shoot “was a fun experience. I can’t wait to see my leg on a poster somewhere in O’Shaugnessy.”

Grant hopes the posters will help improve self esteem on campus.

“Everyone came away with a renewed sense of confidence,” Grant said. “We hope that for those who view the posters, the confidence is contagious.”

There are a number of resources on campus for those struggling with eating disorders or other issues related to body image. The University Counseling Center in St. Liam Hall can be reached by phone at 574-631-7336, and the GRC in LaFortune Student Center at 574-631-9340.