The Journal, University of Illinois at Springfield Weekly Campus Newspaper

Women’s Center encourages healthy body image

October 28, 2009
By Melissa Conrad
Staff Reporter

Greg Reyes, Diane Sahagun and Lisa Koerkenmeier

(l. to r.) Sophomore Greg Reyes, Sophomore Diane Sahagun and Women’s Center Grad Assistant Lisa Koerkenmeier make buttons at Love Your Body Fair.

The UIS Women’s Center teamed up with service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega to celebrate national Breast Cancer Awareness month and national “Love Your Body Day” last Wednesday. 

In honor of the month Alpha Phi Omega worked to raise breast cancer awareness by distributing informational pamphlets, encouraging women to get breast exams regularly. The groups sold pink cupcakes to UIS students and faculty to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for cancer research.   

Due to the funds and awareness raised by non-profit cancer research organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the incidence of breast cancer that increased at a steady rate of one percent a year in the United States has now leveled out. The breast cancer mortality rate that increased over the last thirty years has also decreased. 

The funds raised by these organizations have helped decrease the amount of cancer incidents by helping make the use of cancer screenings more common, encouraging men and women to get screened so that breast cancer can be caught in its earliest most curable stages, and overall educating men and women about the dangers of breast cancer and providing tips on how to prevent it.

According to the NOW.org, The National Association for Women’s website, The goal of national “Love Your Body Day” is to combat the façade that the fashion and advertising industries create of the “ideal” body.  The day is to promote awareness of the dangers of falling into the trap of images and ideas set by manufactured beauty and to show people that it’s okay to be the real “you.”

“Love Your Body Day” is good for college students because it gives us a chance to remember how important it is to love and take care of ourselves,” Communication Major Diane Sahagun stated.  “Having a positive body image is important because it affects our self-esteem, the way we interact with others, and our confidence.  We need confidence with everything in life.”

Diane Sahagun

Sophomore Diane Sahagun poses at last Wednesday’s “Love Your Body Day” event.

Photos by Melissa Conrad

Some of the issues that the Women’s Center addressed included creating positive body image, warning about eating disorders and counseling a friend with an eating disorder.  There was a table set up for making buttons of self love that read phrases such as “This is why I’m hot” and “I’m kind of a big deal because…” and left a space so that each individual could write something positive about his or her self or body.  UIS Recreational Sports also talked about the effects of supplements on the body and had information to help people go about finding their “happy” weight.

The National Eating Disorders Association reported that, “In the United States, 5-10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders.”  The NEDA also said that because of the shame and furtiveness connected with eating disorders many cases were most likely not reported.

To combat body image issues and eating disorders, the UIS Women’s center put out a “Ten Steps to Positive Body Image” sheet created by the National Eating Disorders Association.  The sheet has tips like “Remind yourself that ‘true beauty’ is not skin-deep” and “See yourself as a whole person, don’t focus on specific body parts.”

In addition to promoting positive body image and combating eating disorders, the UIS Women’s Issues Caucus club sold “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts to promote a domestic violence cell phone “Light Vigil” that will be held on the UIS Quad next Wednesday, October 28 at 9:30 pm. 

For more information on breast cancer and body image students can visit www.komen.org and www.now.org.