Campus event promotes positive body image


Andrea Martinez, Assistant Copy Editor

To support positive body image and stand in solidarity with students, faculty and staff, the Gender Equity Center hosted Love Your Body Day.

The event took place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Kellogg Library Plaza.

According to Marquessa Castorena, a Peer Educator at the Gender Equity Center (GEC), self esteem and body image issues arise because people compare their own bodies to their perception of the perfect body and don’t measure up. Self esteem and body image issues don’t only affect women either; men can also suffer from them.

“We always compare ourselves to one another and we want to be what media portrays as the perfect, ideal body — the flawless skin, the slimness. Or if you’re a man, you have to be fit and very masculine and I think [it’s] an issue that everybody reaches at some point in their life, so it’s something that we can all connect with in a way,” said Castorena.

The GEC worked to reach out to at least 300 students and spread the message that we don’t have to fulfill the image created by society, but should focus on becoming comfortable with who we are instead.

Performers provided insights into their personal issues surrounding body image through dance, spoken word and music.

Participants also had access to a photo booth, personalized buttons and personal mirrors. Each of these sent a message of positive body image. Attendees were able to outline their bodies on a piece a paper and write what they love most about their bodies. There was also a catwalk for students to use at their leisure.

“You basically get to show everyone what you love most about your body,” said Castorena.

Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) co-sponsored the event and participated in a resource fair with other campus organizations to provide information to students and staff in an effort to promote positive body image.

“We want to really promote health and wellness and people’s acceptance about who they are,” said Cathy Nguyen, Health Educator and Coordinator at SHCS. “If they’re not happy with where they are – maybe if it’s a health related concern or issue – there are resources available.”

The Gender Equity Center used this event to spread the message that people aren’t alone in the way they feel.

“A lot of times, the ones we compare ourselves to also have the issues, so I really feel like…it’ll be able to show everyone that they’re not alone,” Castorena said.