Campus groups host Body Image Week
Nora Kenney | Friday, October 2, 2009
This week, five on-campus organizations are joining together to present Body Image and Eating Disorder Week, which will focus on raising awareness about diseases such as anorexia and bulimia.
The sponsor organizations include the Gender Relations Center, Feminist Voice, Snite Museum of Art, Student Government and the University Counseling Center.
The event began on Thursday with the “Love Your Body, Love Thee Notre Dame” poster campaign as well as a guided tour of the “Thin” exhibit with Steve Moriarty, Curator of Photography at the Snite Museum.
“I’m just really excited about this week, and the reason I’m so excited is that there is unity in trying to get this message out,” Mandy Lewis, president of Feminist Voice, said. Lewis said eating disorders and negative body images are both huge issues on campus as well as in society.
“The whole point of this week is to tell you that you’re not alone. This is a huge problem,” she said. “This is not just an individual problem. This is a reflection of societal problems.”
She says today’s event, a showing of the film “Mean Girls” at Geddes Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m., will specifically address eating disorders and negative body images as a societal problem.
“We have images in society, like Lindsay Lohan, who people try to emulate and you just can’t. It’s not possible,” she said.
Lewis said she hopes the dialogue following the showing will convey this message.
Patrick Tighe, who is the co-chair for the Student Government Gender Issues Committee as well as a student worker for the Gender Relations Center, said the “Thin” exhibit perfectly exemplifies the societal problem.
“In the Thin exhibit some of the girls don’t look much different from women you see in magazines – and we call that beautiful,” he said. “Worse, we don’t think anything is wrong with that.”
Tighe said the events and campaigns that are part of Body Image and Eating Disorder Week will confront these issues head-on, even if the confrontation is emotional or scary.
On Wednesday, a FIRE Forum addressing Body Image and Eating Disorders will be held in the Geddes Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m.
“It will be just a powerful moment that you give people an opportunity to give voice to their struggle and gain healing. I find that to be very special when you give people an opportunity to speak out,” Tighe said.
Lewis and Tighe both agreed the spirit of Notre Dame is conducive to healing.
“I think it’s about this sense of solidarity that we are all part of one big family and we have to be there to support each other,” Tighe said.
For Lewis, this spirit will be felt Tuesday during the “Love your Body, Feed your Soul” Mass and Dinner at Ryan Hall.
“We will take a holistic approach,” she said. “You are feeding your soul and your spirit at Mass and then with dinner you converse with other people and enjoy a meal.”
Both Tighe and Lewis hope this week creates awareness – for those suffering, as well as for their friends and families.
Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week ends Thursday, which is Love Your Body Day. The day will be celebrated with yoga, resource tables and “Love Your Body” open mic and coffeehouse at Reckers from 8 – 9:30 p.m.