Movie screening to examine body image, true beauty

By Molly Dunn

In this generation, body image and self-appreciation are two areas in which many people struggle. Throughout this week, Baylor is participating in National Eating Disorder Awareness to teach and inform students about the impact of eating disorders.

Baylor’s Body IQ team, part of Student Life, will be hosting events all week. The first major event will be at 7 p.m. today in D110 Baylor Sciences Building. The movie “America the Beautiful” will be shown and followed by discussion.

“The movie talks about the media and how it relates to body image, male and female, and the way that people think about themselves, or think about others,” Van Davis, assistant fitness director at the McLane Student Life Center, said.

“America the Beautiful” is a documentary that analyzes the effects the media in the United States has on the youth. Through the media, cosmetics and celebrities, America is surrounded with the ideal image of beautiful.

The movie’s website said, “In ‘America the Beautiful’ we see how these increasingly unattainable images contribute greatly to the rise in low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders for young women and girls who also happen to be the beauty industry’s largest consumers.”

The movie focuses not only on eating disorders, but also on other issues closely related to this week’s message. Davis said the team hopes to incorporate eating disorder awareness and a positive body image by explaining how they are related.

With the help from the media, many individuals’ minds are skewed as to what is beautiful, which causes them to do whatever it takes to get there.

“I think your generation right now is just feeling the domino effects of the past, of 20 to 30 years of media influence of redefining beauty and what is acceptable,” said Sandra Northern, department business manager at the McLane Student Life Center.

“America the Beautiful” has been shown during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week before.

“Personally, it was very eye opening to me to realize how society defines beauty and how we let society define beauty,” Northern said.

The director of the movie, Darryl Roberts, spent two years exploring the impacts of negative messages about body image residing in America.

“I think the purpose of the documentary was education,” Northern said.

With the movie’s theme and underlying message, this week focuses on positivity and healthy promotions of the body to prevent eating disorders.

Davis said, “It is about loving me and loving who God’s made you to be, so that you can do more for others because it’s difficult to love others when you don’t love yourself.”

The screening of “America the Beautiful” is just the start to National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Throughout the week, other events, displays and informational areas will be available to students to educate and inform them of the effects of an eating disorder.

One display, “A Room with a View,” will be in the McLane Student Life Center Lounge area all week and has four rooms representing the four stages of eating disorders. A life-size Barbie doll will also be on display at the SLC.

Davis also encourages students to sign up for the workshop “I love Me” in order to promote loving yourself for yourself and not who society thinks you should be.

“What we want to try to do is change the culture, the Baylor University culture, to promote positive body image,” Davis said.