Love Your Body Day aims to promote positive body images

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Today marks the seventh annual Love Your Body Day, an event created by the National Organization for Women that seeks to promote healthy body images among women and girls.

Citing negative body images in ads and the media as proponents of a general lack of female self-confidence, NOW has worked over the past seven years to promote a more positive and realistic image of women in the media. College campuses across the nation are participating in the event and are hosting a variety of workshops that encourage personal health and satisfaction.

Brown’s Love Your Body Day, sponsored by Students for Choice and supported by a number of organizations including the Rhode Island branch of the National Organization of Women, the men’s and women’s ultimate Frisbee teams and Health Education, will focus on informing both men and women about how to maintain healthy body images.

“We’ll be focusing more on healthy bodies,” Student Head Coordinator Vaughn Edelson ’07 said. “We’ll be having the rugby teams and the Frisbee teams playing around on the green – just people being active and promoting healthy bodies and healthy body images.”

Other events planned include a sex toy workshop hosted by Miko Exoticwear and a masturbation video screening at night – an annual tradition.

According to the NOW Web site, an estimated 25 million women are compulsive overeaters, and approximately 80 percent of women want to lose weight. The Web site also quotes the U.K.-based Social Issues Research Centre as saying that over 80 percent of girls have been on a fad diet by the time they reach the fourth grade.

“(NOW’s) whole thing is to dispel the negative stereotypes and to counter the negative media images with positive ones like positive ads,” Edelson said. “I guess it’s a little more focused on women, but everyone should love their body. … A lot of the groups (at Brown) are trying to include men also.”

But not all of the sentiments toward Love Your Body Day are positive. The event comes at a time when obesity has gained national attention as a health problem.

A vocal contingent has spoken out about the issue of an America struggling with an obesity problem versus Love Your Body Day’s encouragement to accept all types of bodies. On blogs, independent Web sites and in columns, they are claiming that NOW is ignoring the obesity problem, and perhaps perpetuating it, by condoning obesity as an acceptable body type.

Edelson said Love Your Body Day is meant to promote both healthy body images and healthy bodies.

“I understand how it can be interpreted that way,” she said. “And we want to be accepting of all body types but at the same time recognizing that eating disorders (such as) obesity hurt your body, and to love your body, you don’t want to be hurting it.”

Love Your Body Day events will take place today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Main Green. The rain location will be Leung Gallery.