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Love Your Body Week connects SMC, ND

Jillian Barwick | Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Love Your Body Week” at Saint Mary’s College begins next week and aims to help women critically analyze the negative media stereotypes about their bodies.

Laura Glaub, a senior and founder of “Love Your Body Week” said the ultimate goal of the week is to foster self-confidence.

Glaub said this year the week will include a wide range of events, from speakers from the community to physical exercise.

Christina Grasso, a 2011 graduate from Saint Mary’s, will speak again this year about her struggle with anorexia. After coming forth last year to speak about eating disorders, Grasso saw an enormous response from students.

“Talking about it is so important. Whilst in the throes of anorexia, I was very, very private. Had I not eventually spoken up, the disease would have killed me very shortly,” Grasso said. “I see a desperate need for resources and awareness, and I am fully committed to seeing that it happens.”

Communication Studies professor Terri Russ, who has done research on gender and the effect of the media on women, will also speak at an event during the week.

“Basically, I am going to focus on how Barbie is a doll, but a doll that comes with a lot of baggage,” Russ said. “I want to talk about the connections between Barbie and beauty and the ideals that we think people want to see.”

Russ said “Love Your Body Week” is important in combating the hyper awareness society has on image.

“This is played out through potentially harmful practices like excessive exercising, eating disorders and many more extremities,” Russ said.

Glaub said this year’s “Love Your Body Week” will also feature a collaboration with Notre Dame’s Gender Issues Department. Katie Rose, director of the Notre Dame Gender Issues Department, said the teamwork has allowed the two campuses to coordinate events more efficiently.

“Our week is called ‘Body Image Week’ this year. Although our names are different, our mission will be the same as Saint Mary’s,” Rose said. “We have many events that overlap between the campuses.”

Glaub said the rich tradition between the schools allows the two to focus on issues encountered on both campuses.

“We are constantly in contact and share many of the same problems since our cultures are very similar,” Glaub said.

Rose said each school’s week has gender specific events as well as community events. She said she hopes this year’s body image weeks will have an impact on both campuses.

“I hope that through these programs we can work to change the culture on campus so that people can feel comfortable getting fro-yo when they have a sweet tooth, or skipping a day at the gym if they really need a nap instead,” Rose said.