Women’s Center, University Prepare For 15th Annual Love Your Body Week

Love Your Body Week (LYBW) kicks off this Monday and will carry on through the end of the week.

The week is a University initiative, geared toward helping students find a common ground of self-love and body acceptance. This year’s program will highlight topics of race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, ability, and masculinity in an effort to help students better understand self image and perceptions of their bodies.

Two student leaders guide the week’s activities. Marwa Eltahir, MCAS ’17, and Grace Na, MCAS ’16, have been developing a schedule for the week since August. Eltahir and Na worked together with Katie Dalton, the director of the Women’s Center, and other members of the Women’s Center staff to put the event together—as well as 40 volunteers to help staff the actual events and advertise on campus.

“Love Your Body Week is a week-long campaign dedicated to promoting a positive and healthy body image on the Boston College campus,” Eltahir said. “It features a week-long lineup of dynamic events that aim to empower students, both men and women, to embrace their own bodies and continue to develop a healthy relationship to their bodies.”

BC has been hosting an LYBW campaign on campus since 2001. It has been run through the Women’s Center and was started in response to National Eating Disorder Awareness Month. Since then, the campaign has included topics of a wider range of issues, but the main focus is to advocate for self-love of one’s body. All of the events are free, and organizers encourage students to get involved.

Additionally, an ensemble of female students will perform in Eve Ensler’s The Good Body to cap off the week. The show is staged annually with no acting experience required to audition.

“This year LYBW is focusing more on the integration of mind, body and spirit through events that specifically focus on the unity of these three and the physical, mental, emotional embodiment experiences of students,” Eltahir said. “We also decided to add the slogan ‘embrace your body’ to our marketing materials as an effort to emphasize both an inward and outward reflection of body image.”

A focus of this year’s LYBW is to “embrace, reclaim, own, and resonate towards” one’s body.

Co-leader Marwa participated in the opening event for LYBW: the Embodied Stories photo exhibit. She opened up about her personal stories and relationship with her body. Eltahir said that LYBW tries to break the mold and help students accept and love themselves holistically.

“It is time put ourselves first, and realize that doing good for others stems from being good to ourselves,” Eltahir said. “A self-love that is an evolving, difficult process but one that is worth pursuing.”

The events for the week are as follows:

Embodied Stories Exhibit: Featuring Photographer Ben Flythe

Monday, Nov. 9

4 p.m., 1st Floor O’Neill

This kickoff event for the week introduces members of the BC community and their stories through photographs of their bodies. Two student speakers will introduce the event and encourage participants to walk through the gallery.

Forms and Functions of the Black Female Body

Tuesday, Nov. 10

1:30 p.m., O’Neill 248

Rhonda Frederick, an associate professor of English & AADS, will be unpacking Nalo Hopkinson’s short story, “A Habit of Waste,” which discusses forms of social media, literature, and beings.

Skin Deep: Uncovering Experiences of Colorism

Tuesday, Nov. 10

6 p.m., Stayer Lounge 1st Floor

Co-sponsors: FACES, Black Student Forum, & ALC

A panel discussion about the role of colorism in the lives of each panelist and how it has affected their experiences at BC. The panel will be followed by a larger dialogue involving the audience.

The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women

Wednesday, Nov. 11

6 p.m., McGuinn 121

Co-sponsor: Women and Gender Studies Program

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising. An author and filmmaker, she is the creator of the award-winning film series, Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women. Kilbourne, who was recently inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, will discuss the perceptions of women in modern advertising and marketing in a thought-provoking lecture.

Embrace Your Body Through Yoga

Thursday, Nov. 12

6 p.m., Plex MPR

An intentional yoga session focused on tying together the mind, body, and spirit. The instructor will work with participants, stressing healthier, more accepting relationships with one’s own body.

Does Size Matter?: Rigid Expectations of Masculinity

Thursday, Nov. 12

6 p.m., Higgins 310

Co-sponsor: SANKOFA, Man Up

James Mahalik, assistant dean of and a professor of counseling, developmental, and educational psychology within the Lynch School of Education, will lead a discussion unpacking the rigid definition of masculinity and its detrimental effects on young boys.

Embodiment: Expressing Through Paint

Friday, Nov. 13

3 p.m., Devlin 413

A small, interactive workshop involving painting and reflecting on one’s own relationship with his or her body. This event requires pre-registration, which can be done by emailing [email protected]

The Good Body

Friday, Nov. 13

7 p.m., Devlin 008

A stellar celebratory performance of Eve Ensler’s play The Good Body, directed by Katie McGuire, which features student performances of monologues about women and their bodies.

Featured Image by John Wiley / Heights Editor