The Body Project, a club with a mission address eating disorders, hosted workshops on Tuesday October 1 and Sunday October 6 in Breazzano House. These event were hosted by three trained peer leaders and people of all sexes and genders were in attendance and participated in the activities.
One of the things that was discussed was the “appearance ideal.” Each member got to shout out any aspect of the appearance ideal that came to mind: “hour-glass figure,” “perfect skin,” “small waist,” “toned.” Most of these attributes were physical, but some also felt the need to shoutout “smart,” “successful,” “passionate.”
After mentioning various traits that were part of the “appearance ideal” today, the club thought about whether or not the appearance ideal has always been like this. The consensus was that it has not; the appearance ideal is always changing.
Some examples that were thrown out of older appearance ideals were thinner eyebrows, thin and toned all around, as opposed to the hour glass figure and very pale skin as opposed to the ideal tan nowadays.
Once the appearance ideal was heavily thought about, participants were able to look at the dangers of aiming for this ideal for the self, the school and society.
When examining costs to the individual of trying to achieve the appearance ideal, many said that it was a waste of time, energy and money, and that it also leads to destructive path of constantly trying to achieve something you physically cannot.
In terms of costs of trying to achieve the appearance ideal on the College and in society, some perspectives included that it increased unhealthy competition, it resulted in a lack of honesty and authenticity and that further damaged confidence and morale as a whole.
Much of the conversation was based on how social media has an effect on the appearance ideal and how individuals feel about their own body. With so many editing apps that are very user friendly, anyone and everyone can tweak their image to look like professional photoshopped picture on covers of magazines.
At the end of the workshop, there was a packet given out to participants that included the “homework” to be completed before the next session. Part of the homework was for each participant to write a lettter to a younger girl, either someone they know or for some their younger selves, about body image concerns and the costs of trying to reach the appearance ideal. The other part of the homework was for each member has to write 15 things you love about their body and youself in general. The last task included in the homeowrk is to pick a challenging thing for their to Do: not where makeup, go shirtless to the gym, wear your hair down, go to class in shorts, etc. and then do that at least once before the next Body Project workshop.
The Body Project is hosting more workshops this term with newly trained peer leaders.