Body Pride Week redefines what sexy means to ASU students

What exactly is sexy?

You’re sure to have your own definition, just as I have mine. It’s important to remember that every body type should be celebrated, no matter what the media tells us.

This week, ASU Wellness teamed up with various organizations to tackle that very question through a series of events meant to raise awareness about body image, healthy eating and individual sexuality across the four ASU campuses.

 

 

As part of an overarching event titled Body Pride Week, events such as “Bring Your Sexy Back” and a “Mindful Eating Workshop” feature speakers and lectures meant to spark a discourse about media perceptions of sexy and the importance of mindful eating.

The cause is commendable, because it promotes being healthy over simply being sexy, a term which the volunteers at these events are attempting to deconstruct.

“We’re trying to show how the media portrays what we think is a healthy lifestyle is not always accurate,” said Teresa Aguilera, a sophomore volunteer at the Body Pride Fair in downtown Phoenix. “In our eyes, it’s not healthy to think you have to look like a supermodel. It’s wrong.”

Tables at the events include a life-size Barbie doll with unrealistic waist-to-bust proportions and guides that demonstrate simple ways of eating healthier.

Passersby are also invited to play games and answer trivia questions related to common health issues (Does a person have to be skinny in order to have an eating disorder? No.)

The message is especially important to young women, who are constantly harangued by media lecturing them on body image; too often they are either encouraged to look like Victoria’s Secret models or scolded for wanting to change their appearance, even if they are unhappy.

It’s refreshing to see a message on campus that being fit, regardless of an individual’s body type, is what is truly sexy. There should not be a one-size-fits-all mentality for beauty in our society.

Helpful tips are also given out in the form of free snacks and ASU nutritionists standing by, ready to educate students on the disparity between what they think they’re eating and what they’re actually eating.

“When I ask young ladies what they think of when they think of a muffin, they tell me it’s all high-fat, high-calories,” said Amanda Hagerman, Sun Devil Dining nutritionist for the Polytechnic, West and Downtown campuses. “In reality, when you make a muffin at home, a lot of the ingredients are very healthy and nourishing for you.”

It’s important to stay educated and informed about the facts before we make drastic, long-term food and lifestyle decisions that can negatively impact our bodies; after all, who doesn’t need a good muffin now and again?

“We’ve just got to remember to cook at home, pack our lunches and eat ingredients that we can recognize,” said Hagerman.

But perhaps the easiest way for volunteers to reinforce this point is by displaying cutouts and misleading depictions of celebrities that perpetuate the wrong idea of sexy.

After being thrust into the media spotlight last year, Internet darling Jennifer Lawrence commented on the media’s harmful tendency to manipulate her appearance.

“You look how you look; you have to be comfortable,” Lawrence said of her own Photoshopped images. “What are you going to do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb.”

It’s important to keep these words in mind and take advantage of the various systems ASU has in place to make sure its students succeed, both academically and physically. When we take a look at ourselves or others, we should remember that each person’s body should be celebrated.

For more information on Body Pride Week and upcoming events, be sure to visit ASU Wellness.

Reach the columnist at llonghi@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @lolonghi