As the first member of my family, and one of the only students from my high school, to attend Boston College, I wasn’t sure what to expect coming in for my freshman year. I remember sitting down for the first floor meeting with my RA at the beginning of the year. My RA was enthusiastic about being a student at BC and spoke a lot about the many fantastic opportunities for students here as well as the culture and social atmosphere that exists at BC. Though most of what she spoke about was positive in an attempt to reassure 24 freshmen girls, one thing that my RA had admitted that had really stuck out to me was the existence of a “thin culture” at BC, that the “stereotypical” female BC student is expected to be incredibly smart, involved, successful, well put-together, and most of all, skinny. I didn’t expect it at first, but as time went on, I began to understand what my RA meant.
Even though the pressures to fit this mold aren’t always apparent, there is always a subtle pressure to fit the stereotype. This expectation of all BC girls only feeds the rampant epidemic of eating disorders that plagues college campuses, including BC. The issue of eating disorders is often very personal and difficult to address, in both the sense that it can be emotionally trying for those who have an eating disorder and their loved ones and that it can often be difficult to detect until it is far advanced. For these reasons, I applaud the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) for their efforts to address such a sensitive topic and form programs to promote healthy living,-physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Love Your Body Week (LYBW) was inspiring and uplifting, but this positive message is not something that can be fully addressed in a week and cannot be expected to carry through for the rest of the undergraduate experience here at BC. Once the week is over, lessons learned in LYBW are once again put to the test with the outside social pressures. The WRC, though, is putting in place new programs that will continue to address this issue and inspire others to have a healthy body image, which I believe is vital in conquering the pressuring BC stereotype that can escalate to eating disorders and unhealthy mentality. So thank you, WRC. Your increased efforts on campus have positively influenced my time here at BC so far, and have helped me break out of the stereotypical mentality. With more programs and advocacy for healthy body image, hopefully the BC community will be able to collectively question the “typical” BC student stereotype. Hopefully, one day, this mentality can be a thing of the past for the BC community.