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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Week of activities aims to bolster students’ body image

Marquette’s 14th annual Love Your Body Week, which seeks to inform students about issues of body image, self-esteem and overall wellness, kicked off Monday.

Becky Michelsen, a health educator at the Center for Health Education and Promotion and coordinator for the week, said Love Your Body Week is designed to develop positive attitudes, raise awareness about eating disorders and body image issues.

February is National Eating Disorder Month, which seeks to raise awareness about the realities of such issues — especially on college campuses.

Molly Malloy, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she recognizes great value in Love Your Body Week’s message.

“It seems like a lot of people are just so negative about their bodies,” Malloy said. “We don’t even recognize how often we do it. … I think this event helps raise awareness to stop that.”

One event planned for the week is the establishment of Health Huts, stands located throughout campus but specifically concentrated in the Alumni Memorial Union. There students can find resources regarding body image, eating disorders and healthy nutrition.

Organizations such as Active Minds are participating in the week’s activities by producing the “Anatomy of Loving Your Body,” in which the group will provide students with papers and pencils to trace their body’s form. The hope is to show participants the beauty in their shape.

The Tae Kwon Do Club will also be offering a self-defense clinic and dinner this week.

Other activities include a speech titled “True Life…The Reality of Dieting” taking place in Schroeder Hall, a Student Health Service open house, ice cream social and keynote speaker Robyn Hussa, who will present “SOAR! Healthy Body Image Through Arts and Mindfulness.”

Michelsen said free Friday fitness classes will continue this week at the Rec Center.

“I believe that Love Your Body Week is important because we are all bombarded with messages and images telling us how we should look or how we should take care of ourselves,” Michelsen said.

Malloy said she supports the week’s motives and thinks the events, although short-lived, may serve as permanent reminders for students to continue living positively.

Another student, who wished to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, particularly stressed the importance in recognizing the week’s activities as worthy events.

“I have many friends who struggle with eating disorders,” she said. “As a college campus, we need to recognize that this is reality and society needs to change.”

Michelsen agreed, and she added that about 8 million Americans suffer from eating disorders and nearly half of Americans know someone with an eating disorder.

“Since eating disorders commonly start during adolescence and early adulthood, this is a great time to educate students about it and how to get help for themselves or someone that they care about,” Michelsen said.

The student said while the week’s activities may inspire a change, she wonders if the impact will last.

One addition to Love Your Body Week this year was “Mirrorless Monday,” a residential event in which enormous sheets of paper covered mirrors in dorm bathrooms to prevent self-consciousness.

Meg Goeden, a senior in the College of Engineering and residence assistant in Schroeder Hall, said she hoped the event would make an impact.

“I think it makes a huge difference for students, because you don’t realize how much you look in the mirror each day,” Goeden said.

Goeden said in the typical morning routine of rejecting one look or accepting another, the mirror represents a constant source of judgment for many residents.

Malloy agreed, and stressed the obsessive nature of complete fixation on body image. She hoped the covered mirrors would encourage students to address not only how they look but rather how they feel.

“I think it is great to just have those reminders,” Malloy said. “Even if it is only for a day.”

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