Last Friday, October 23, our Body Positive Program welcomed interns, staff, and community members to the Women’s Center for the annual Mother-Daughter Brunch. Guests were encouraged to bring their mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, anyone who may have an important role in or influence on their lives. Over coffee and muffins, our Body Positive team engaged guests in a discussion about body positivity and the resources available for students here at the Women’s Center.
Our interns posed insightful questions to our guests about not only the ways we may perpetuate beauty ideals but what we can do to change an environment to be body positive. Guests shared the ways they participate in “fat talk” whether it was through asking the age old question, “Does this make me look fat?” or even the more subtle act of telling a friend they look great after they have lost weight. One guest shared her own experience with fat talk as a type of bonding experience between herself and a friend, noting that she would work to eliminate that form of bonding from their relationship.
Everyone was asked to think of their bodies in new ways, focusing not on what your body looks like, but what it is able to do. Paper leaves were passed around with the simple request of writing down your favorite fall activity and what your body does in that activity. As one intern noted, “It’s nice to think of your body as productive.” After everyone wrote down their favorite activity, they placed their leaf on a tree created by the interns to showcase the incredible things that our bodies can do, like hiking, running, and planting flowers.
Throughout the program, Nora Arkin, Program Director for Body Positive, continued to say, “Don’t let the time limit now stop these conversations.”
There was a great air in the room as everyone engaged with not only their mom or friend that attended with them, but those around them. The Body Positive team did a great job in creating a comfortable space for everyone to confront the issues of fat talk, beauty ideals, and the ways that we all play a part in changing our environment to be more body positive.
Laura Widener, a Body Positive intern and facilitator of the event thought that the event went well, commenting, “To see mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends discussing the topic of body ideals and body positivity was rewarding to me as a facilitator and, I hope, to them as participants. Participating in discussion around body image can be difficult, but everyone there was willing to approach the topic and participate.”
Many thanks to the UVA Parents Program for their support of this annual event.