The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Body positivity should be more prevalent

As individuals, we often overlook how what we say can detrimentally affect our neighbors.

In our age group, a vast number of people are severely afflicted with a negative view of themselves and their physical appearances.  This is typically caused by the way society has concocted an unrealistic standard of beauty regarding the ideal skin tone and body shape.

Our culture isn’t the only culprit.  Seemingly insignificant comments like “You’ve lost weight” or “I’m not going to eat now so I can have a big dinner later” can be extremely triggering to people with underlying negative thoughts about their appearance.

It is in our best interest as a community to exercise acceptance and love of ourselves in our present state as opposed to setting unhealthy goals that can lead to eating disorders, body dysmorphia and depression.

Lisa McLeod, chair and associate professor of philosophy and professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, brought up an interesting point about the issue and Guilford’s approach.

“I think there’s some tension because there’s been a focus on wellness, and that can result in exclusion of different body types and also sometimes for people with disabilities,” McLeod said.

“Probably, during orientation for first-year students, there could be just an acknowledgment that a lot of people feel a lot of pressure once they get to college to sort of be the ‘new you’ when you should try to love who you are and know that your body is your body.”

Molly Anne Marcotte, Community Senate president, took individual initiatives last year as a peer health and wellness intern such as a body positivity week that focused on self-love.

“It had a multitude of programming surrounding scale understanding, and we put positive messages on the doors and on the mirrors,” said Marcotte.

Marcotte explained important factors to understand regarding eating disorders.

“Eating disorders are very much genetic and very much ‘biopsychosocial,’ so, although there are social components such as the unhealthy body image messages that we receive across society, it actually is very much triggered by genetic tags on our DNA that make certain people predisposed to manifest long-term eating patterns,” said Marcotte.

She commented on Guilford’s future approach with endorsing body acceptance.

“I think there should be a component in the FYE about body image and about the risk of eating disorder development on college campuses,” said Marcotte. “I was in the eating disorder (FYS), which is no longer offered, and I think that we need to bring that back.”

Another prominent conflict concerning how people view their bodies on campus is the pressure that athletes tend to face considering the degree to which they’re put on display.  These students tend to be affected so deeply by this because they possess the mindset that their value is determined by what their bodies can do and their physical capabilities.  We need to attack the fact that not only society hypersexualizes these students, but that Guilford is a contributing factor to this phenomenon as well.

No number of words on a page or interviews with esteemed faculty and students can properly explain the vitality and sensitivity of practicing body positivity and the crippling repercussions that result from lacking in it.  Spreading awareness and employing yourself as a positive influence regarding self-image can change the life of your neighbor and significantly lessen the load that comes with a negative view of yourself.

Outlooks are contagious, and you have the power to ensure that your peers possess a positive one.

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About the Contributor
Mae Wood, Executive Copy Editor
Senior English Major and Music Minor and aspiring music journalist. This is her fourth semester working on The Guilfordian. When she is not copy editing for the paper she is playing music and running around in circles.

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