Kaylyn Boccia, Staff Writer
Contrary to what the media might teach us, beauty comes in all different forms. Oneonta’s Gender, Equality and Rights Society (G.E.a.R.S) honored the beauty in everyone by celebrating “Love Your Body Week,” all of last week. This week of celebration is a tradition that began in spring of 2011 and is something the members of G.E.a.R.S feel strongly about. The National Organization of Women’s (NOW) Love Your Body Day inspired this idea. During “Love your Body” week, the club hoped that people not only celebrate the beauty of their body, both inside and out, but also acknowledge how much it does for them. In focusing on the power and strength our bodies have, it can take away the attention from the socially constructed standards many hope to live up to. One’s weight or physical attributes does not define them, the beauty of a person starts within and that is the ultimate message the members of G.E.a.R.S hoped to get across during “Love your Body” week.
The week started with a relaxing session of yoga on the Hunt Union dock, led by professor Jeff Woods. Following this, at the G.E.a.R.S regularly scheduled meeting, members of the club treated themselves by indulging in foods without the guilt of the calories or weight gain that we all worry will follow. During this meeting, the members discussed the extreme amount of pressure the media puts on all individuals to be “perfect.” On the following day, Dr. Michael Brown presented a documentary called “Real Women Have Curves.” The members of G.E.a.R.S also were stationed in the quad, trying to get their message out to others, that were not in the club. They sold “Lovely Lady Pops” and “I <3 My Coochie" shirts. While doing this, they also passed out body positive stickers, to help people stay optimistic about the beauty of their body. Health Educator Rebecca Harrigton donated these items. Harrington also donated a "posimatic" scale to be used in the quad. This is a “weight scale” that does not show a number, but instead an encouraging message. The final event held on the last day of “Love Your Body Week” was a “makeup free day,” to encourage the natural beauty of women.
The members of G.E.a.R.S hope that this week will not only help to identify the negativity that is so often fed to us about our bodies, but also to help people realize that beauty does not come in one shape and/or size. The media’s images are very one dimensional, and they set unattainable standards for males and females, starting at a younger and younger age each year. People need to take time to look at the positives of their bodies and love who they are, inside and out, even if they’re not the “ideal” woman or man. “Difference is what makes this world so great. Instead of trying to fit in or look more like everyone else, people should embrace their differences and cherish them,” said Ariel Davis, treasurer of G.E.a.R.S.
“Love Your Body Week” includes a series of events the club intends to continue every year. Each year this week falls in October and April, and the members of G.E.a.R.S encourage everyone to join in and love their body, flaws and all. This week means something different to each member and to each person who participates. However, the ultimate message is that your body is beautiful no matter, the shape, size, weight, skin color or gender, and this is the week to really sit back and recognize that. “My personal goal for this club is to always be aware, to be critical and to be a big part of bringing awareness to the social climate of our campus,” says president Antoinette Astuto. So, come October, do not forget to participate in these events and love your body for what it is, no matter what any other person or advertisement tells you.