Love Your Body Day gives students a confidence boost


Photo Courtesy of Claire Synder

Students talk to Kailey Rigdon, graduate assistant at the Women and Gender Center, about negative self-image in the Memorial Student Center.

Marshall University’s Women and Gender Center partnered with Contact Rape Crisis Center to spread awareness of the importance of self love and body image to Marshall students Oct. 16 at the Memorial Student Center, as part of Love Your Body Day.

Claire Snyder, program coordinator of the Women and Gender Center, said Love Your Body Day is not only a Marshall event but occurs nationwide to constitute the need for self love.

“Love Your Body Day occurs nationally every single year, and the purpose is to encourage young people to love the body that they’re in and to have a healthy self and body image,” Snyder said. “And this event is to take a moment just to have some happiness and celebration of bodies of all kinds, all genders, all sizes and all colors.”

A Love Your Body board was created by staff, and cameras were provided for students to place pictures of themselves to place on the board and write personal messages.

“We want the board filled up with positive images and messages,” Snyder said. “And we have mirror clings, so they can take their own mirror stickers home, where they can write a positive, inspirational message to themselves to look at every day and every time they look in the mirror.”

Snyder said it is important for students to love their bodies because media factors can have a negative effect on women’s body issues and can create insecurities.

“There’s been a lot of negative things in the news lately that puts women’s bodies in a vulnerable position,” Snyder said. “And with this being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a lot of that relates to the way women feel about themselves with self-esteem and self worth.”

Victim advocate for Marshall University Stacy Sexton, who works for Contact Rape Crisis Center, which serves victims of sexual assault and stalking, said many body image problems begin with anxiety issues and can be helped by having a kind neighbor.

“Often our anxiety and trauma is carried in our body and realizing that and being kind to your body and doing things to counteract that trauma is important for self health,” Sexton said. “And sometimes just having someone to talk to can really take the pressure off and elevate the mood.”

Sexton said this matter is more prevalent in college students.

“There’s high rates of eating disorders and self mutilation with young adults, and those things can be brought on by anxiety and trauma, so it’s all linked,” Sexton said. “So no matter what, your body always needs that care and attention.”

Kailey Rigdon, graduate assistant at the Women and Gender Center, said college students are more prone to have a negative self-image, and it is of high importance to keep an optimistic view of yourself.

“In college it’s very easy to hate your body and talk negatively on it, but you want to keep a positive body image and love how you look and who you are, and that’s what we’re trying to promote,” Rigdon said.

Rigdon said she would love if students walked away from the booth enlightened and assured with themselves.

“I would love people to walk away from this table having a true feeling that they are loved, supported, and that people other than themselves see them as beautiful, and are perfect the way they are with a little confidence boost throughout the day,” Rigdon said.

The Women Center and Gender Center’s next event, ‘Take Back the Night,” will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Drinko Library Atrium. The event is to raise awareness of sexual and relationship violence and will feature musical performances, poster art, poetry and survivor’s testimonies. A student’s march will follow.

The Contact Rape Crisis Center is open 24/7 to call anytime at (304) 399-1111, where counseling and resources are provided.

Lillie Bodie can be contacted at [email protected].