New organization Proud2Bme emphasizes an environment promoting positive body image

Proud2beme, which opened on the Downtown campus in November, focuses on body positivity

Proud2Bme is a student organization on the Downtown campus that is promoting body positivity and healthy attitudes about food and weight.

It’s part of the Proud2Bme national online community, with organizations cropping up on campuses around the country as more college students are embracing the importance of positive body images and as the problem of eating disorder grows.

The number of eating disorders among college students has risen from 10 to 20 percent for women and 4 to 10 percent for men, according to 2014 research by the National Eating Disorder Association.

Madison DeHaven, a junior studying nutrition, and Maddison Fitzsimmons, a sophomore studying criminology and criminal justice, started ASU's chapter in November after they both participated last spring in a workshop aimed at teaching college students to resist social pressures related to body image.

Proud2Bme, group members said, is an online community that allows young people to talk about body issues in a positive way with a supportive community.

“I realized I had a bad time coming to term with my body image, so I decided to start working on bettering my body image,” said DeHaven, president of Proud2Bme at ASU. 

She said she wants to share her growth with other students on the ASU campus.The club holds bi-weekly meetings where students can come for advice, comfort, awareness and support.

On April 21, Proud2Bme will host an end of the semester body positive mixer with guest speakers and counselors talking about body acceptance and eating disorders.

“We want to provide the tools to love yourself, not fix yourself," Fitzsimmons said. "Be confident in who you are, strut your stuff. Don't listen to the people who tell you 'you shouldn't be wearing a bikini,' because having confidence is more beautiful than having a bikini body."

Fitzsimmons, vice president of Proud2Bme at ASU, said she has struggled with body image her whole life. In high school she started cheerleading and lost 50 pounds, but then when she stopped she gained 60-70 pounds. She said she never learned to love herself because she was always told that she needed to lose weight.

Through Proud2Bme, Fitzsimmons said she found self love and self confidence.

Proud2Bme is a partner with The National Eating Disorder Association, and at the end of February, Proud2Bme at ASU put on “#Proud2Bme5Day” which was a social media campaign. That week coincided with National Eating Disorder Week.

During the Proud2Bme Day in February, the student organization handed out notecards on campus with a compliment, mantra or a nice thought.

Club members said it's not just girls who pressures of body image, men do too. According to Proud2Bme research, male beauty products have risen 70 percent, which may be due to men worrying more about their image.

Melody Pierce, a journalism junior and Miss Tucson Desert Rose, is a board member for Proud2Bme at ASU and helped post healthy self-love images during the five-day campaign in February to promote eating disorder awareness.

“I believe that by surrounding ourselves with people who love themselves, we are able to begin to love ourselves as well,” Pierce said. “It is so important to recognize that every body is beautiful, and that health cannot be measured by your appearance.”

Correction: Due to a reporting error, the campus Proud2Bme meets on was misidentified and the time a workshop took place in was incorrect. The article has been updated to reflect the changes.  

Clarification: Any student can attend Proud2Bme's bi-weekly meetings.

Reach the reporter at or follow @jkgordo1 on Twitter.

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