ASU students bring awareness to disorder through art exhibition

Photo courtesy of the Herberger Institute of Design and the Art

Many people are able to recall a time when they were unhappy with their appearance. For some, it is only temporary; a bad hair day or an acne breakout does not interfere with everyday life.

Unfortunately, some individuals suffer from a disorder that causes them to have constant concern for their body image. This disorder reaches to such an unhealthy extent that when they look in the mirror, they see physical defects that are not there.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is characterized by “persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one's appearance,” according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. “They can't control their negative thoughts and don't believe people who tell them that they look fine.”

A group of ASU art students hope to bring awareness to BDD this week with their art exhibition entitled, "Beauty on the Brain."

Beauty on the Brain will feature various art pieces that embody the artist’s individual interpretations of the disorder collected from students and other artists.

“It’s all individual interpretations because it’s such a broad disorder,” Faye Edwards, a member of the exhibition group said. “Since it’s a mental disorder, you can categorize it in a certain way.”

The exhibition opens Friday at 6 p.m. outside of the Tempe Psychology building.

The exhibition is a project for the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts students’ upper division gallery exhibitions class which focuses on bringing awareness to the disorder and helping those in attendance reach a new level of self-acceptance.

“It doesn’t have a month, week or a day to its name, there’s only a few institutions that even service it, but it’s pretty prevalent on a college campus,” Taylor Godfrey, another group member said.

Rhiannon Pare was inspired by previous research she had done on the role media plays on psychology.

“I think it’s interesting that you can watch shifts in ideals (of attractiveness). Before the Industrial Revolution, heavier women were ideal,” Pare said. “I also think art should encourage conversation and look deeper within society and ourselves. I think it’s something that’s really needed … for people to examine themselves and realize that they are beautiful.”

This is the message the group hopes to drive home on the exhibitions opening night on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Psychology building.

The art pieces will be exhibited until Nov. 30, but spectators are encouraged to come to opening night so they can participate in the variety of activities the group is administering that night.

“We think it’s completely normal to hate our butt or hate our nose without really taking a step back and thinking it’s not healthy to think about ourselves like that,” Pare said.

The group hopes people in attendance will leave the exhibition feeling better about him or herself.

For more information on "Beauty on the Brain," contact


Reach the reporter at

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.