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College urges students to love their bodies

Caitlin Housley | Sunday, February 20, 2011

This week, members of Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) are reminding others of the importance of loving their bodies.

Love Your Body Week was the idea of Saint Mary’s junior Laura Glaub, SGA’s student services commissioner. A communication major and women’s studies minor, Glaub noticed how often body dissatisfaction appeared in her coursework.

Not long after, Glaub noticed that some of her friends were demonstrating the same body dissatisfactions, and she wanted to make a change. She decided to create Love Your Body week.

“I want to empower my peers,” Glaub said, “and I want to show them that they are beautiful no matter what.”

Glaub plans to empower her peers through a series of lectures, activities and student presentations.

Today at noon, Dr. Susan Alexander, Saint Mary’s professor of sociology, will speak on “Disrupting Body Dysmorphia: Media Literacy as a Method of Addressing Women’s Body Image Issues” in conference room A in the Student Center.

Judy Fean, the Director of Campus Ministry, and Regina Wilson, Assistant Director of Campus ministry will give a lecture entitled, “Women and the Church: Father, May I Love My Body?” at 5 p.m. in the same location.

A Saint Mary’s student will discuss her own struggles with eating disorders at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium. She will speak alongside of a panel on eating disorders on “Biting Back.”

Glaub said the discussion would be very powerful. This student has yet to reveal her eating disorder to the general public, but she wants to share her stories with others now.

The rest of the week is packed with events, including a presentation by Connie Adams of the Belles Against Violence Office at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday in conference room A.

Also on Tuesday, students are encouraged to relieve stress by laughing with clinical exercise psychologist, wellness coach, and certified laughter leader/laughter yoga instructor Mary Labuzienski at 6 p.m. in conference room a of the Student Center.

“Mary says we all need fifteen minutes of laughter each day to remain healthy, so I wanted people to get their laugh in for the day,” Glaub said.

This event is especially fun and eye opening, Glaub said, because it teaches students “you don’t need to be on a treadmill to love your body.”

Later that night, Professor Bettina Spencer and Saint Mary’s student Gina Storti will give a lecture, “Love Your Body? Body Image at SMC compared to ND,” at 7 p.m. in Vander Vennet.

Dr. Terri Russ, a professor of communication studies at Saint Mary’s will give two lectures on Wednesday, one at noon in conference room A in the Student Center, and the other at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium. Her first lecture is entitled “Mother, May I Love My Body?” and the second is, “Beautiful Body Battles, Why Are We All Chasing Unicorns?”

Students can attend a Fashion Show sponsored by Flourish at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Noble Family Dining Hall.

At 8 p.m., the Student’s Activity Board will show the film “Eat Pray Love” in Vander Vennet.

The week wraps up with a presentation by Saint Mary’s senior Christina Grasso. Grasso will present her senior comprehensive project entitled, “The Cult of Thinness in Fashion Industry” at noon in conference room A in the Student Center.

The presentation will highlight interviews with models and fashion industry professionals Grasso has worked with in the past, and their views on the concept of thinness in the fashion world.

Grasso has interned with Elite Model Management during New York Fashion Week in 2010 and 2011. She also interned with Nanette Lepore at the most recent fashion week in February.

These internships have altered her perception of the fashion world and its impact on the public.

“We only see the finished product — the glossy images of seemingly flawless women,” Grasso said. “What most people do not see, though, is the heavy preparation that goes into a photo or runway show — the hours of hair and makeup and photo editing.

“Fashion, at its core, is a business and its purpose is to sell clothing. But somewhere along the line, it has become less about selling confectionary designs and more about selling a body-type as a utopian lifestyle. I am absolutely in love with the fashion industry, but I have to be mindful of my own innate values.”

Grasso stresses the importance of Love Your Body Week on an all-women’s campus.

“In today’s society as a whole there is an idea that there is only one kind of beauty, and that perfection is the vehicle to success and happiness,” Grasso said. “It is in this relentless pursuit, though, that we find anything but. Quirks and so-called imperfections are what make a person interesting, unique [and] beautiful.”

Grasso also said this week is especially important because it provides an open forum for women to talk about their concerns, achievements and aspirations.

SGA will also be distributing T-shirts and buttons in the Student Center today and during Grasso’s presentation at no cost to the students.

“I don’t want people to have to pay to love their body,” Glaub said.

All events are free and open to the public.