Last week was Love Your Body Week, sponsored by Images, a student organization that focuses on empowering women and promoting a positive body image.
Students may have noticed the flyers and positive Post-It notes on the mirrors of restrooms throughout campus last week. These were a part of Mirrorless Monday, said the president of Images, junior Caraline Mikkelsen. The notes read things such as “You are beautiful,” and were aimed to boost women’s self-confidence, she said.
As a part of Get Talking Tuesday, Images encouraged women to call out sexist advertising campaigns on Twitter.
“Whenever a girl sees a commercial promoting a harmful body image, especially Super Bowl commercials, she can tweet a link to it followed by the hash tag #notbuyingit,” Mikkelsen said. This encourages women to break their silence by beginning to talk about an uncomfortable issue, she said.
A documentary about human sex trafficking called “Sex+Money” was shown in the Pier for Don’t Sell Yourself Short Wednesday. Images partnered with Students Stopping the Trafficking of People, or SSTOP, and the Global Health SSIR to show the film, which gathered an audience of about 60 people, Mikkelsen said. It gave people a different perspective on self-esteem and the objectification of women, she said.
Images tabled in the Tyler Haynes Commons on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to sell t-shirts and talk further about body image issues. Those who bought t-shirts also signed a pledge to not wear makeup on Thursday, as a part of No Makeup Thursday.
They were encouraged to wear the t-shirt instead of makeup to further support self-confidence and a positive body image, Mikkelsen said.
Even a few men on campus signed the pledge in support of a positive outlook on body image, Mikkelsen said. And although Images focuses solely on women’s issues, Mikkelsen said that maybe as the club grows it could expand to include male body image issues as well.
Mikkelsen transferred from the University of Connecticut to attend the University of Richmond her sophomore year. Coming from a large state school, she could instantly see a difference in the emphasis of appearance at a smaller school, she said.
“At a school where everyone knows everyone, it’s easy for people to become obsessed with their image, which can lead to insecurities and self-consciousness,” she said.
With Images and Love Your Body week, Mikkelsen said she hoped to bring awareness to these issues and help women on campus to be healthy and confident in themselves.
“The best way to take action is to take the stand yourself,” she said. Once one woman becomes comfortable in her own skin, it helps others realize they can do the same, she said.
Contact reporter Mia Webber at email@example.com