Love your body week kicks off


Daniel Yun

Samantha Hinnenkamp (left) and Jenna Desmidt (right) speak to a student at the Love Your Body table Monday afternoon in the Memorial Union.

Stephanie Hollman, Staff Writer

The Women’s Center kicked off its annual “Love Your Body Week” at the Memorial Union by raising awareness about body-image issues, providing resources to those who are affected by them and hosting activities and freebies in celebration of body positivity.

On Monday, representatives from the Women’s Center and the University Counseling Center were enthusiastic, offering treats, pins and even home-made bath bombs to those who stopped by their booths on the main floor of the Union.

Along with enticing students by the colorful pamphlets and free snacks, Samantha Hinnenkamp, from the Women’s Center, believes in the importance of emphasizing body-acceptance and positivity at a time when the media and society has created unrealistic expectations of what is beautiful.

These expectations pressure even the healthiest of people with a good amount of self-esteem to find and obsess over what they are made to believe are flaws on their body.

“I think it’s important because it affects a lot of people. Almost anyone can relate to feeling pressure about a certain part of their body or have been told messages about how they should be or shouldn’t be, depending on what they look like,” Hinnenkamp said, “It impacts a lot of us, so in a way, it’s very inclusionary.”

Tiffany Shiu, a pre-med student who stopped by the booth, agrees the importance of Love Your Body Week comes from everyone somehow being affected by the rising unrealistic portrayals of beauty in the media.

“I like that it brings us together because we all of have some insecurities about ourselves,” Shiu said.

Daniel Yun
Students dip fruit into chocolate fondue duing Love Your Body week at the Memorial Union on Tuesday.

According to the Women’s Center, only five percent of women actually have the body presented in the media, and they are not the only ones affected. They also stated 65 percent of men believe that they are not muscular enough, and that they should improve their physiques.

Shiu stopped by the booth on the second day of the week, when, as per tradition, the Women’s Center also hosted their traditional “Fabulous Fondue” event. On Tuesday afternoon, they gave away some light snacks and the chance to try out a chocolate fountain to anyone willing to spin a wheel and answer a trivia question.

“I think that these events are great to get people thinking or talking about body conscious issues,” Shiu said, “So love your body for what is, and you can concentrate on things that matter more in life.”

Spreading body positivity is also important because it can prevent other physical and mental-health related problems. Meara Thombre, a counselor-in-training at the UCC, explains that although not so serious complaints about one’s body may seem innocent, they can actually be detrimental in the long term.

“Body concerns are a common issue,” Thombre said, “Typically, they may not even bring up a body issue. However, I see a lot of people come in and these issues seem to cause a lot of other problems for a lot of my clients.”

The Women’s Center is available to everyone who needs a safe, supportive and non-judgmental space to process thoughts and discuss life’s successes and struggles. The Women’s Center staff are here to provide a listening ear to anyone who may need it. The center offers everything from annual gynecological exams and pregnancy tests to Human Papilloma Virus (HIV) immunization shots and answers to any health-related question.

Stephanie Hollman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]