Appearance isn’t everything, celebrate Love Your Body Day

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    Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror? How many times have we heard this question, particularly directed toward women? But seriously, do you like what you see?

    In the movie “Mean Girls,” to quote a beloved and, of course, credible source, one of the main characters who comes into the “popular crowd” observes she “never knew there could be so many things wrong with your body.” Another girl looks at her hands and says, “My cuticles are horrible.”

    Seriously?

    TCU students are, from what I’ve observed, very conscious of their appearances, but I wonder what and who have impacted that decision.

    While it isn’t negative or unhealthy to care about your appearance, statistics from the Social Issues Research Centre indicate more than 80 percent of fourth grade girls have been on a fad diet such as Atkins or South Beach.

    This means during the developmental stages of growth, 8 out of 10 girls aged 9 and 10 have probably been watching their carbs. Not only that, I recently learned a plastic surgeon performed liposuction on a 12-year-old girl.

    I know everybody likes to blame the media, and not to be cliche, but I think it’s important to recognize the impact the 3,000 images we see on average every day can have on us. Positive campaigns such as Dove’s Campaign for “Real Beauty” feature real-life models who are comfortable in the skin they’re in. In a culture that constantly perpetuates self-hatred, some companies have chosen to embrace the fact that the best way to love others is to love yourself.

    This week, TCU students have the privilege of having an important event on our campus. The Women’s Network at TCU in conjunction with the Women’s Resource Center is celebrating National Love Your Body Day Thursday in the Student Center Lounge from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    What we hope to accomplish through this is to allow men and women to talk about the images that tell them to become something they’re not.

    One-fifth of eating disorders are claimed by men, according to a study performed by Health Canada in 2003 and published in Psychiatric Times. It’s an astounding number if you consider that in a room of 15 men, three of them statistically suffer from an eating disorder.

    When men and women consume negative media and do not see through it, the impact it has on our society and our generation is tremendous. It is vitally important for us to understand remaining silent is equivalent to condoning the negative portrayal of our bodies and the unrealistic images for which we are supposed to strive.

    If you’ve ever seen “Pretty Woman,” you might remember a part of the movie where Julia Roberts says to Richard Gere, referring to her own self-esteem, “Did you ever notice how the bad stuff is easier to believe?”

    Instead of consuming the “bad stuff,” be active participants in creating a world in which people – male and female – can appreciate their bodies. For more information you can go to loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org and come celebrate National Love Your Body Day.

    JoHannah Hamilton is a junior anthropology major from Burleson.