Love Your Body Week has been a Boston College tradition since it began in 2005. The event, run by the Women’s Center, aims to promote healthy body image and the building of a positive relationship between mind and body. Love Your Body Week programs kick off this Monday, November 9 and will run through the end of the week.
Event coordinator Grace Na, MCAS '16, emphasized the importance of unpacking the cultural stigmas about body image and creating an inclusive event for the BC population.
“We are constantly bombarded with images and messages that there is a specific perfect body type, and we are trying to combat that message for all genders on campus. We are intentional about all the events that take place during the week, making sure we always keep intersectionality in mind,” said Na.
The week opens on Monday, November 9 with a reception for the “Embodied Stories” photo exhibit in O’Neill library. The exhibit shares portraits of BC students and focuses on their relationships with their bodies and the evolution of these relationships.
Tuesday features two events, a talk by Professor Rhonda Frederick called “Forms of the Black Female Body” and a panel called “Skin Deep: Uncovering Experiences of Colorism.” Professor Frederick’s discussion will be based on Jamaican writer Nalo Hopkinson’s story “A Habit of Waste.”
The Skin Deep panel is co-sponsored by FACES, the Black Student Forum, and the AHANA Leadership Council, and will consider the role of colorism in the panelists’ lives as well as how the it has affected their experiences at BC. A larger dialogue involving the audience will follow the panel.
Wednesday brings internationally recognized author, speaker, and filmmaker Jean Kilbourne to BC for “The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women.” Kilbourne, recently inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, will discuss the perceptions of women in advertising and marketing and the consequences of these perceptions in a thought-provoking lecture.
Thursday also has two events: “Embrace Your Body Through Yoga” and “Does Size Matter?: Rigid Expectations of Masculinity.” The focus of the yoga class is promoting a healthy, more accepting relationship with one’s own body. “Does Size Matter?” is a discussion led by Professor James Mahalik and co-sponsored by Man Up and SANKOFA. The talk will center on society’s strict definition of masculinity and how it affects young boys.
On Friday, an event called “Embodiment: Expressing Through Paint” provides an opportunity to reflect on the themes raised during LYBW in a welcoming and intentional space. The event is limited to 30 people and requires an RSVP to the Women’s Resource Center, so if you intend to go, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot. Finally, LYBW concludes with an evening performance of Eve Ensler’s play “The Good Body,” featuring student performances of monologues about women's relationships with their bodies.
According to Na, the Women’s Center and its collaborating organizations have put a lot of care and thoughtfulness into organizing this year’s events in hopes of creating a dialogue about relationships between mind, body and society.
“We hope students come out of the event understanding that social pressures exist both the BC community and the larger community. We hope that the week empowers students to recognize that their relationship with their bodies is personal, and also that each relationship to their body will be unique,” said Na.