Love Your Body Day encourages positive thinking

The yearly event was geared toward both men and women.
Anne McClay hands out free Love Your Body Day T-shirts on Wednesday on Lowry Mall. Every organization that participated had a booth set up to help spread body-positive information and awareness.

The committee for Thursday’s Love Your Body Day wants anyone who sees themselves as unattractive to stop, think and look again to see their beauty.

The Love Your Body Committee worked with the Women’s Center, Kappa Delta and other organizations to make Love Your Body Day, held at Lowry Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., possible. Each organization had a booth set up to help spread information and awareness to help those who have a negative body image.

Volunteers handed out free shirts and posters and manned info booths. There was also a place to make buttons to express one’s own body positivity. These gifts serve as a reminder throughout the day or week or month or even longer to keep a positive attitude about one’s body.

“We hope that it will carry on into their everyday life and having a button on their backpack and wearing the shirt or putting the poster in their house will give them a daily reminder after the fact,” said Suzy Day, the chairwoman of the Love Your Body committee and Women’s Center coordinator.

Even if not everyone managed to pick up a shirt, Day said she hopes the time spent at the event was enough to help spread positivity.

“They had those five minutes where they made a button or picked up a poster and thought of body positivity,” Day said. “We hope that it carries on in conversations throughout the day or throughout the week with their friends.”

For its first year volunteering as part of Love Your Body Day, Kappa Delta set up a booth for its Confidence Coalition, a campaign started by the national chapter to help foster the confidence of women.

“When the Women’s Center approached us about participating in Love Your Body Day, we thought ‘This is great,’” said Laura Davison, vice president of community service for Kappa Delta. “This really aligns with our values that the Confidence Coalition tries to promote, which is healthy body image among girls and promoting positive thinking among women.”

Kappa Delta spread awareness by having people write a positive message on a balloon that they can carry around all day.

“We blow up a bunch of balloons and write a bunch of positive affirmative messages on them like ‘You can change the world’ or ‘You’re beautiful inside and out,’” Davison said. “The idea is to just do something small to brighten their day and make them smile.”

Even though the Women’s Center helped coordinate this event, negative body image affects men as well as women.

“I have heard people say ‘Oh, it’s a woman’s issue, never mind,’” Day said. "I think that when we see these after-school specials or all these videos are geared toward women, people just assume that it doesn’t affect men.”

Instead of feeling pressure to lose weight, men can feel pressure to gain weight and muscle, Day said.

“We see a lot of issues with men of bulking up instead of slimming down like women, like over-exercising, steroid use, eating only protein," she said. “We're trying to break down that stereotype that it only affects women.”

Men, like women, should accept who they are and love their bodies for what they do, said Joshua Johnson, volunteer and member of the Love Your Body committee.

“I have my own struggles with my own body image, but I discovered that regardless of how I feel about my body I should love it because it helps me walk, talk, run," Johnson said. "I can do all that stuff. I just need to love what it can do.”

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