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Op-Ed: Embracing beauty on campus through annual event

Photo by Alessia Prenda

Whatever happened to the statues of the past? The worship of the natural figure in all its glory, creases, curves, cellulite, and all? Once, the ability of female-presenting bodies to create life made them holy ground based only on venerated possibility. Sculptures across the world, on every continent, have been preserved and put on display for all to admire, and yet, society merely acknowledges these masterpieces with a sideways glance and meanders back to the objectification and impossible standards of the current age without so much as a thought. Instead, we live in a world full of masterpieces feeling as though they are nothing more than scrapped, unfinished heaps of wasted potential.  

An annual event at Rollins, however, seeks to combat all that and glorify each of us as the epitome of beauty: Scale Smash. On Feb. 27 on Bush Lawn, the Wellness Center, Center for Inclusion and Belonging, and the Central Florida chapter of the National Alliance for Eating Disorders organized our third annual Scale Smash, also referred to as “Southern Smash.”  

Students, faculty, and visitors partook in a plethora of body-positive activities, from writing down insecurities on papers and throwing them in trash bins, to writing positive affirmations about their own bodies and things they love about others, to, of course, taking out all their anger and hurt regarding societal beauty standards by shattering scales with a bat.  

People could opt to bring their own scales, but for those who didn’t, scales were provided at the event (with no charge) in plastic bags on which people could write a phrase or word that has stuck with them in their journey of self-love that they no longer wish to carry. 

“It’s very empowering, the Scale Smash event. It makes students feel in control of their own bodies,” said Wellness Ambassador Maria V. Clark (Holt ’24). “It helps you take control, take your power back.”  

This was apparent from the expressions of all in attendance. There’s something truly inspiring about seeing so many people, especially volunteers who were not paid to help put on the event, support everyone and make such an effort to encourage all to let go of the beauty expectations society has placed upon them. 

“Over the last three years, [the event has] really grown,” said Community Interventions Coordinator Davey Olsen, who helped spearhead the charge. Countless on-campus and off-campus groups came together this year to create this great experience for our campus community, including representatives from local eating disorder treatment centers, like the Center for Discovery.  

Later that day, in the Rice Family Pavilion, a panel of nine medical professionals and individuals who have personally suffered from this issue spoke on the experience of those who struggle with eating disorders to reduce stigma and get people talking about the topic. 

One of the tables at the event asked attendees what they would have time for in their lives if they weren’t so preoccupied with insecurities, which really makes one think about the amount of time they spend obsessing over things others. We have so little time in the first place—no one should have the power to take a single second of it away. Only we get to define who we are.  

As aptly put by Clark, the Scale Smash event and all those involved in making it happen worked hard “to celebrate and embrace [everyone’s] true beauty…to put them back in the driver’s seat.” 

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