Images is bringing Love Your Body Week to Richmond from March 23 to 27, which will include several self-esteem campaign events in the Heilman Dining Hall and the Tyler Haynes Commons and a documentary on America's obsession with appearance.
This is the second year Images has done Love Your Body Week, which started as Love Your Body Day in 1998 by National Organization for Women (NOW), said Leigh Ann West, Images president. NOW began the campaign to draw attention to the negative impact advertising had on women's and young girls' self-esteem.
Images' main goal with the campaign is to encourage men and women to embrace and love their bodies as they are, West said. It is important to be healthy, she said, but in today's culture, men and women are pressured to assume a specific and very unattainable physique.
"What we see in advertisements is not real," West said. "We want to change this culture to instead celebrate beauty in individuality and diversity."
The main event of the week is the documentary "America the Beautiful" directed and produced by Darryl Roberts. Roberts and the rest of his film crew, which includes Kurt Engfehr ("Bowling for Columbine," "Fahrenheit 9/11"), will screen the film in the Alice Haynes Room Wednesday at 6 p.m. and follow with an audience directed Q & A. The film focuses on America's obsession with appearance and how this vanity has led to a very narrow interpretation of beauty and attractiveness.
The film is the winner of Best Director in Chicago's 2007 International Film Festival and Best Documentary in the Beloit International Film Festival 2008, among many other awards.
Along with the documentary, several other events throughout the week will be featured.
On Monday and Tuesday, Images will run a "Freedom of Food" bake sale in the Commons, which is to encourage students not to calorie count, diet or label foods "good" or "bad." Students should eat what they want and when they want it because listening to your body and its hunger is a huge component of a healthy lifestyle, West said.
Videos will be playing on the Dining Hall televisions, revealing the powers of using Photoshop to manipulate images, advertising and the media, and how unrealistic images influence the perceptions of men and women. D-hall is also displaying a Love Your Body cake for the week.
There will be a banner available for students, faculty and staff to sign that is a pledge to love and accept your body, and Images will be selling T-shirts printed with "I <3 My Body" on the front and "I'm too sexy for this shirt" on the back.
They will also be selling pocket mirrors that read, "You're beautiful every day," and will serve to encourage men and women to accept and celebrate their appearances rather than to use mirrors as a tool for self-criticism. These mirrors are used to address how men and women will always look at themselves and care about their appearances no matter what people say. This is natural and even healthy, as long as it doesn't lead to vanity, West said.
Today, The Love Your Body campaign has expanded with ever more colleges across the country participating and an annual poster contest that accepts submissions nationwide. Some posters will be displayed this week on the televisions in D-hall and can also be viewed on NOW's Web site.
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