By: Moira Bonadonna – Staff Writer
As the month of breast cancer and domestic violence awareness, as well as Anti-Bullying Day, National Coming Out Day and Love Your Body Day, October strives to promote healthy minds and bodies. The University of Dayton’s Women’s Center combined these issues declaring October “Be a Better You: Love Your Body” month.
The Women’s Center is there to help the faculty, staff, and student women,” said Pattie Waugh, the University of Dayton Women’s Center programming coordinator. According to the Women’s Center website, it is “an educational space that serves to enhance the climate for women and men on campus.”
The Women’s Center has already celebrated “Be a Better You: Love Your Body” month with “Throw Back Thursdays,” a screening and discussion of “Real Women Have Curves” with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and The Mirror Project.
“Throw Back Thursdays” send a message about snacking.
“The idea is about not shaming yourself for snacking. Shaming or punishing yourself by saying, ‘I ate this much, so I have to exercise for this long,’ is not healthy physically, and it’s really not healthy mentally or emotionally,” said Kate Marrero, a graduate assistant who contributed the student programming in the Women’s Center. “It’s OK to eat candy, and it’s OK to eat chips as long as it’s in moderation and you’re eating healthy things as well.”
A table is set up outside of Kennedy Union each Thursday in October where the Women’s Center hands out “throw back snacks” and informational handouts on different health topics. “We’re in a diet-crazed culture, and we want to change that,” Waugh said.
The Mirror Project is based on the Dressing Room Project, an organization founded in 2000 by director Mimi Kates, singer/songwriter, and a group of passionate teenagers dedicated to making females feel good about themselves both physically and mentally, according to the Dressing Room Project’s website. They attach positive messages on the mirrors in dressing rooms of different clothing establishments around the country.
The Mirror Project is UD’s version. The Women’s Center made name tags with positive messages about body image and mental and emotional health.
“There were simple ones that said something like, ‘You are fantastic!’ and there were other ones a little bit more specific that talked about inner beauty,” Marrero said. “They were just these little messages that people could wear, take home or give to someone else if they thought someone else needed it.”
Waugh said this month is important to students.
“It’s that gentle reminder that you are OK the way you are,” she said.
Marrero said she wants to get students talking about wellness.
“We want to get the information into their hands, so they have those reminders in the back of their minds,” she said.
Waugh said the month ties into UD’s Rites.Rights.Writes. theme this year.
“It is a basic human right to say, ‘We are who we are,’ and accept ourselves as we are,” she said. “It is hard for any of us to help someone else rights-wise if we’re not confident about ourselves.”
“With ‘Love Your Body’ month, we do stress the fact that it’s domestic violence month, and breast cancer awareness month, and coming out day. Those are rights. You have a right to be healthy in your home, and you have a right to be whatever orientation you are,” Waugh said.
“Throw Back Thursdays” will continue through October.
For more information, visit www.udayton.edu/womenscenter.