On the shelves of every store you enter, there is bound to be a rack containing glossy, high fashion magazines. And on every slick page of these so-called “bibles of image,“ obnoxiously thin, perfectly fit models look back at you. It seems as if everywhere you go, society is trying to project the same image about beauty. If you are tired of hearing that you must be rail-thin to be beautiful, then the newly instated Love Your Body month might be a breath of fresh air.
As a shared effort by the Counseling Center, the Women’s Resource Center, the Office of Greek Affairs, Health Promotion, Athletics, the Library, Campus Recreation Center and other staff, Love Your Body month invites Tech students to embrace a healthy body image. Love Your Body month will feature workshops, various activities, numerous guests and opportunities for students to be comfortable and happy with their bodies.
“Love Your Body“ month is celebrated nationally during February on most university campuses,“ said Dr. Jill Barber, associate director of the Georgia Tech Counseling Center.
The month has an emphasis on shifting focus away from the so-called societal standards of beauty to a perspective that recognizes and appreciates the nuances of the mind, body and soul. A sense of inner comfort and satisfaction pervades the themes for the month.
“The purpose of this month is to inspire us to think about the way we think about and treat our bodies. Hollywood and the fashion, cosmetics and diet industries work hard to make each of us believe that our bodies are unacceptable and need constant improvement,“ Barber said.
Barber deems societal standards as both superficial and unrealistic in many cases. “Magazine ads and billboards reduce us to body parts lips, legs, breasts airbrushed and touched up to meet impossible standards. TV shows tell people that cosmetic surgery, impossible work out schedules and dieting is good for self-esteem,“ Barber said.
Body image is an ever-present issue in society, and it is important to separate the facts from the myths. One in one hundred women between the ages of 10 and 20 starve themselves to obtain the “perfect“ body, and 4% of all college-aged women are or were bulimic. Surveys suggest that 10% of all people who are anorexic or bulimic are male.
On Feb. 14, Tech will hold a seminar on dieting and eating disorders at 11 a.m. in the Women’s Resource Center. Attendees will learn if their eating habits or weight loss behaviors are hazardous and unhealthy, as well as more about healthy diets and exercise routines.
During February, other activities are taking place in conjunction with Love Your Body month as well. On Sunday, Feb. 10, the women’s basketball “Think Pink“ game will be sponsored by Russell Athletics and Anaconda Sports. The first 1000 fans will receive pink shirts.
On Monday, Feb. 11, come to the Richards Gallery in the Ferst Center at 3:30 p.m. and again at 7:00 p.m. to listen to a reading of The Good Body. The book discusses how women feel about food, body image and themselves. Feb. 14 is not just Valentine’s Day, but also National Condom Day. Stamps Health Services staff and student volunteers will be in the Student Center Commons from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. discussing healthy sexuality, safe sex and sexually transmitted diseases. Free contraceptives will also be provided.
On Thursday, Feb. 21, the Student Center Theater will be showing a screening of In Her Shoes beginning at 7 p.m.
“I have talked with a number of students from around the world who have absorbed Western standards of beauty,“ Barber said. “They would love to change their hair texture, eye shape, nose size, [or] skin shade in order to meet media standards of beauty. I am not surprised at all to read the statistic that 8 out of 10 women in the United States say [they are] dissatisfied with [their bodies]. Our goal is to provide information so that we can begin to change that feeling. We want to send out positive messages. Love your body. Respect yourself.“
To learn more about Love Your Body month, body image and the events that will take place during February, visit www.womenscenter.gatech.edu.