The University of Oregon will once again focus on "positive body image" during the week of Feb. 18, in a campaign this week and this campaign meant to help UO faculty, staff and students feel comfortable with their appearance.
The third-year effort is being coordinated by the UO Counseling and Testing Center, Health Center, the Student Recreation Center and University Housing. The "All Sizes Fit" campaign features a week’s worth of displays, presentations and activities that promote acceptance of body shapes while raising awareness about a health-at-all-sizes approach.
“Due to societal pressures, individuals tend to focus more on achieving a particular weight and size than on an overall sense of health,” said Elizabeth Asta, a Counseling and Testing Center psychologist. “The goal of this week is to encourage people to focus more on body acceptance and health behaviors, such as moderate exercise, healthy and flexible eating patterns, and mental health.”
Americans spend more than $40 billion annually on dieting and diet-related products - roughly the amount that the federal government spends on education each year. Among males, the drive for “masculinity” is emerging among ever-younger age groups: 7 percent of 12th grade boys have used steroids to become more muscular.
All Sizes Fit organizers say people with negative body images are more likely to develop eating disorders and to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem and obsession with weight loss. Positive body image is the celebration and appreciation of one’s natural body shape.
The campaign will end on Friday, Feb. 22, with a “Love Your Genes” day. The day's focus on accepting your body as it is and for what it does for you. UO faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to wear comfortable jeans, no make-up and focus on appreciating their bodies. There will be a campus wide walk at noon on Friday to encourage everyone to get out and be active. In addition, the craft center will be hosting a “Make Your Own Soaps” class, for faculty, staff, and students to encourage more focus on self-care.
Highlights of the weeklong All Sizes Fit campaign include:
- A showing of the documentary “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments.” Directed by Darryl Roberts, this second film of the series explores the cause of America’s obsession with dieting, as well as the various opinions within the medical community regarding weight and health.
- An interactive workshop exploring biases about size and weight. This workshop will be facilitated by Jennifer Chain and Eric Garcia, two members of the UO Rehearsals for Life social justice theatre troupe, and will help students better connect to their own ideas, biases and feelings about sizeism and body image.
- A presentation on media and body image. Presented by staff at the Counseling and Testing Center, this interactive program will include discussion and viewing of various forms of media and how they impact American culture’s view of body image.
- A showing of the documentary “Miss Representation.” Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film illustrates how mainstream media contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America.
A full list of the week's activities and presentations is available on the UCTC website.