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Love/Move Your Body Week Helps Students Reimagine Body Image, Confidence and More

UAB Self Care Night | Photo by Bethany Althauser | The Wright State Guardian

Thanks to the Wright State University Women’s Center, the week of Jan. 22 featured exercises and events encouraging students to gain a new perspective on their bodies while focusing on love and respect rather than the toxic expectations of drastic change that come with January resolutions.

Fitness and movement 

In honor of moving your body, the Women’s Center held fitness events throughout the week and encouraged students to participate and workout or learn the ropes of certain gym equipment. 

Monday provided a wide array of fitness classes with campus recreation, which held a class every hour. There was also a belly dance class held to teach students the basics.

Yoga focused on self-love and meditation was on Tuesday, along with a veteran-specific workout in the afternoon. 

Women on Weights taught students how to use equipment that the Student Union gym offers with beginners in mind. The beginner-friendly event was on Wednesday afternoon and had a good turnout of students excited to learn.

Bobbie Szabo, the assistant director of the Women’s Center, offered a self-love meditation on Thursday. A few hours later was another self-love class with cycling. It was the final set of exercises that the week offered, but it ended with a theme of self-love and positivity.

UAB Relaxation Night

The Relaxation Night that the University Activities Board held gave students a calm end to the first day of Love/Move Your Body Week by providing free supplies to make crafts, including friendship bracelets. 

The night also included self-care DIY sugar scrub kits and free journals to students who attended.

Brown Bag Lunch: Fat Liberation

Students were encouraged to bring a lunch to the fat liberation roundtable, which discussed questions such as “What does [fat liberation] mean? How does it differ from body positivity/neutrality? How can we achieve it?” 

While these questions were included in the Love/Move Your Body Week advertisements, people delved deeper into topics, such as fat liberation, body image and hopes and expectations for women around the world in the upcoming years.

Sisterhood and confidence

Wednesday introduced a series of talks from guest speaker Tina Rae Vansteenbergen, a professional speaker from Brooklyn who delves into topics many women find themselves insecure about in hopes of allowing more personal freedom and respect.

Vansteenbergen’s first speech of the day at 3 p.m. to women organizations focused on community and sisterhood. She talked about how the special connection between women is a vital way to improve their lives and make them better people, both towards others and themselves.

The “Creating Confidence” talk was about how society has been incorrectly taught about confidence our entire lives; often, we are told that confidence is simply a switch we can flip as we please. In reality, it is much more complex than that.

Vansteenbergen demonstrated that confidence is an expert-level hike that society tells us will get easier over time, but it never does. Each plateau offers another set of challenges following it. 

Despite these challenges, it is important to keep climbing.

Her speech was also very interactive and involved portions where listeners would get into groups and discuss question prompts. Groups found themselves racking their brains for moments of confidence or lack thereof, and the room was full of genuine compliments.

These group activities were used as an example of how people, especially women, can become more confident when they share their respect for those around them rather than isolating themselves.

While many attendees claimed their day-to-day confidence was roughly a four or five on a scale of 10, Vansteenbergen’s uplifting and positive speech left them feeling at a solid 10.

Enhancing positive body image

The third and final speech, “Enhancing Positive Body Image,” discussed the statistics of women’s perception of their bodies throughout the years and how we can learn to take control of the topic that is our bodies.

Vansteenbergen’s presentation revealed that many girls—as early as age six—have already learned to hate their bodies and fear becoming fat. Even worse, according to the National Organization for Women, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies,” growing to 78% by the time girls reach 17-years-old.

Many of these girls developed these feelings because of how society discusses women’s bodies—often talking about their bodies and nothing else about them.

The presentation included moments of discussion among students to discuss how they feel about their bodies and what small changes they can make to improve their physical or mental health, such as drinking water or sleeping more, without weight loss or gain being the main focus point. 

Salem Bartlett, a Sociology major and Psychology minor at Wright State University, was one of the dozens to attend these events. 

“Because [our perspective on self image] is so ingrained in modern society for so long, we need to learn how to fix it to better the world for the younger generation,” Bartlett said. 

Students ended the night feeling like brand new people thanks to the wise advice of Vansteenbergen.

Self defense

To wrap up the week, police helped to teach students about how to protect themselves in unexpected situations that may threaten the safety of themselves or others.

Women’s Center

WSU’s Women’s Center is a source for self-love and love from others, and the center dedicates much of its time to spreading information regarding topics that we may categorize as difficult to discuss with others.

After the successful Sex Week last semester, it is no wonder Love/Move Your Body Week performed as well as it did. 

To become involved with future Women’s Center events, keep a lookout on their official Instagram page and Engage page, or feel free to stop by their space in 023 Student Union.

The Women’s Center leaves readers with this quote: “The world is a better place when we treat ourselves as well as we treat others.”

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