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Missing the Point

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Perhaps we on this campus have a misunderstanding of what exactly constitutes art. If art is what is visually appealing to us and makes us feel warm and fuzzy after viewing it, we have some cleaning up to do around here.

Emaciated women are not beautiful … sorry Snite; rape is not beautiful … see ya, “Loyal Daughters and Sons;” impoverished villages are not beautiful … no photo displays for you, Center for Social Concerns; at the risk of sounding heretical, some might even say the image of the crucified Christ is quite disturbing.

While I thoroughly appreciate the concern for the mental and physical health of the students on campus, to speak of censoring images such as those in Lauren Greenfield’s “Thin” is to deny the validity of the suffering the women featured in the exhibit have endured.

Do you think if you avert your eyes from something ugly its atrocity will go away? Eating disorders and negative body image are a huge problem for women and men alike. The beauty in Greenfield’s photography is not in the skin and bones of the women whose lives she chronicles; the beauty we find in their continued fight against their illness and, most importantly, in our internal reflections the exhibit promotes.

No one is leaving “Thin” wishing they had the lives of the women featured; rather, the exhibit causes us to think seriously about the way we view ourselves and the potentially dangerous consequences of undue negativity in our personal body image.

I encourage everyone to stop by the Snite and check out the exhibit.

Kathleen Shircliff


Badin Hall

Sept. 8