Wednesday, Oct. 20, marked a very special day for two student organizations on campus. Spectrum and Voices for Women both hosted campus- wide programming on the encouragement and well-being of students. The whole week was Love Your Body Week, an annual Voices for Women program. The week aims to promote a healthy and loving body image, especially for young women. Studies show that a disproportionate number of young women suffer from eating disorders and body image issues. The week included a potluck dinner and discussion about body image, a film and talkback about women’s bodies in today’s culture and media, and a panel about eating disorders.
On Wednesday, Voices for Women supporters gathered in front of the campus center during common hour wearing nothing but loosely secured towels and making their infamous “I love my beautiful ______” posters. While some of the posters proclaimed proudly that students love their hair, eyes, or even butt, other posters claimed “I don’t need ______ to be beautiful.” These were often more silly and fun, denouncing plastic surgery, push-up bras, those fake butt pads you can buy to put in your pants, and even male companionship. The posters were plastered across campus alongside many other mysterious messages written in crayon. These messages were proclamations of love and support for the You Are Loved campaign, written by Spectrum members as a response to the recent suicides of LGBT students due to bullying and harassment. The signs had no signature; they were merely there to anonymously brighten someone’s day.
For these two cultural organizations, overseen and supported by the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), taking a stand about the important issues of bullying, body image and oppression is extremely important. Voices for Women’s mission statement is very clear: “To empower women by educating members of the community and providing safe opportunities/ environments for the promotion of feminism/gender equality ideas.” Spectrum’s mission sounds strikingly similar: “To promote awareness of the LGBTIQQA community and to work toward a safe and comfortable environment for that community.”
Both mission statements embody the work that these groups do on a daily basis— education, awareness and support for traditionally underrepresented communities. These mission statements and goals fall in line with OMA’s mission for Rollins: “Rollins College strives to create a vibrant community that affirms the worth of each of its members. The college derives its strength from its diversity, and without this diversity, Rollins could not be successful.” You Are Loved and Love Your Body programming fulfills two organizations’ missions as well as OMA’s, while providing care and support for the campus, letting Rollins students know that they are loved no matter who they love or what they look like.