Colleen Rockwell ‘18
People all over the country, both females and males, struggle with body image and how they think their bodies should look different then what is shown in the mirror. During the week of February 8-12, Merrimack College celebrated loving the body and all that it does for people with many events. Many people joined in celebrating their bodies; all shapes and sizes.
Megan O’Hara, who works in the Office of Wellness Education, along with some Merrimack students worked closely to make Love Your Body Week a school-wide event.
“We want to provide a space where people can reflect on their own relationship with their bodies whether if it positive or negative or neutral at this point,” O’Hara said.
On campus, O’Hara hopes to change what everyone’s standards of beauty are and include everyone and let people be who they are.
As for the events, there was Glow Zumba to kick off the week. Glow Zumba took place at the gym. Emilia DeWyngaert, who is a sophomore, showed up to many events said she “Liked how [the events] made everyone come together and appreciate themselves and their bodies.”
Dr. Renee Engeln who is a Psychology professor at Northwestern University in Illinois traveled to campus Feb. 9 to give her Fat Talk Free presentation to students in Cascia. The information she collected from years of research was presented to the audience. She expressed that fat talking with friends is contagious and that many people never outgrow this phenomenon.
Further, besides the research, she told students how to reduce fat talking and instead talk about how the body is a vessel and that it allows people to do amazing things.
Kerri McCarthy, who is a sophomore, attended Dr. Engeln’s talk and enjoyed it. McCarthy said, “[Dr. Engeln] brought up some points that I never thought about before and I learned a lot.”
Other events included #nofilter which was a lunch that was held in Murray Lounge on Feb. 10 to talk about body image in the media. Poetry of the Body took place Feb. 11 and was held in the Writer’s House where students could express their relationships with their bodies through the words of poetry.
The last event held for the week was Feb. 12, which was Embodied Art: Expressing Yourself Through (Finger) Paint. This event required a pre-registration due to limited space. Finger-painting was a relaxing way to end an amazing week of body appreciation. Students finger painted on canvases what made them happy or how they felt about their bodies through paint.
With the end of Merrimack’s first Love Your Body Week it was a big success, and hopefully it will continue to grow.
Samantha Salem, who is a sophomore, is one of the students who worked with O’Hara on the planning of this event.
“Healthy isn’t one size fits all and [it] looks different on everyone,” Salem said.