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Conference to redefine beauty

Carolynn Smith | Monday, April 26, 2010

 The second annual Bold Beauty Conference at Saint Mary’s will aim to open the definition of beauty.


The Bold Beauty Conference will take place today from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Saint Mary’s Student Center.
“The goal of the Bold Beauty Conference is not to impose a rigid set of standards on what beauty is or is not.  Instead, through the conference we strive to help students expand their understanding of what and who is beautiful — to embrace and understand the beauty in difference,” senior Cassie McDonagh said.
Photoshop projects, Barbies on Parade and the Price of Beauty display will be going on during this time in Vander Vannet Theatre. Opening remarks will be at 5 p.m., followed directly by the documentary “Very Young Girls” at 6:30 p.m.
“A new and exciting addition to this year’s conference will be the screening of and panel discussion about ‘Very Young Girls,'” McDonagh said.
After the documentary there will be a question-and-answer session with Cait Mullen, who participated in the filming of the documentary. Mullen was also one of the drafters of New York’s groundbreaking Safe Harbor Act, the first law in the country to recognize that children who have been prostituted are victims, not criminals.
“Sadly, the average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is under 13 years old,” McDonagh said. “By studying the rapidly growing problem of the prostitution of children in the United States, we see the distortion and abuse of the female body in its most radical form.”
Dr. Amanda Littauer, assistant professor of Women’s Studies and History at Northern Illinois University, will be speaking in Carroll Auditorium on, “Teen Girls and American Sexual Culture in the 1950’s” at 7:30 p.m. 
“The conference will host and display projects that members of Saint Mary’s Female Beauty class have been working on throughout the semester,” McDonagh said.
Some of the project themes include an examination of how porn has lost its negative connotation and it is now pervasive, how women are hyper-sexualized and an examination of college-aged women and their thoughts on body image, sororities and femininity in light of the St. Mary’s lifestyle.
McDonagh also expressed the need for this conference and why it is important to examine what beauty is.
“After four years at an all-women’s college, we have seen first-hand the damage the unattainable beauty ideal has done to the females we interact with on a daily basis,” McDonagh said. “The Bold Beauty Conference helps to reverse these ideals that have been ingrained in our minds and help empower the women of our campus to overcome the narrow ideals of beauty.”
Saint Mary’s Communication Studies, Dance and Theater, Women’s Studies, History and Film Studies departments are sponsoring the event.