Westridge Students Lead Work to Destigmatize Conversations about Body Image

Published : Thursday, March 15, 2018 | 2:07 PM

In recognition of National Eating Disorders Awareness Month in February, Westridge’s Peer-to-Peer (a group that helps students build skills to become conflict mediators, peer educators, and peer mentors) held its fourth annual all-school “Love Your Body” Week, a series of events that engaged students in healthy, open discussions about body image and promoted body positivity.

In an Upper School Town Hall on the topic, Peer-to-Peer member Maya B. ’18 addressed how being body positive does not necessarily mean feeling good about their bodies all the time. “It’s okay to have bad days and good days. If you feel left out of ‘Love Your Body’ Week because you don’t love your body right now, just know that you can take it one day at a time.”

The week’s events included:

• Middle School assembly to discuss body image with Advanced Peer-to-Peer members.
• 7th grade Human Development conversation about body image led by Beginning Peer-to-Peer.
• Upper School Town Hall Meeting and Ampitheater Discussion led by students in the Peer-to-Peer III class and during which anonymous testimonies (submitted by students throughout the week) about body image were read aloud, followed by comments and spontaneous testimonials by Upper School students.
• “Mirror Affirmations,” a campus-wide project involving writing kind words on Post-It notes and sticking them everywhere from the windows of the Commons to the bathrooms.
• Upper School lunchtime screening of a documentary by Quyen M. ’19 to raise awareness about and provide insight into the ways in which young LGBTQ people engage with body image. “My film focuses on young high school students who identify as LGBTQ, which can add an extra layer to this issue,” said Quyen, “but really they could be anyone. All kinds of people, regardless of their gender or sexuality, have found something in the film that they relate to.”
• Affirmation Projection Collage in which students were photographed with a positive word of their choice which was projected onto their bodies. The collage was displayed across from the Learning Commons.
• Celebrity quotation displays with quotes from famous women on body image.
• “I Love My Body Because” collaborative banner for students from across divisions to write personal affirmations about their bodies.
• Upper School lunchtime screening and conversation about Dove’s ‘Choose Beautiful’ campaign.

On the impact of “Love Your Body” Week, Ms. McCleese said, “This is totally student-driven and evolves year to year, addressing issues within our school culture that Peer-to-Peer identify that our students are experiencing. Every year I am so impressed by the important discussions happening during ‘Love Your Body’ Week. My hope is that it is not just a meaningful experience for students during this week but that they continue to have these conversations for years to come.”

This was Westridge’s fourth annual “Love Your Body” Week. During its first year, the events focused on issues of eating disorders and the influence of media on female body image, and since then it has evolved to include discussions about body positivity, social media, and the effect of body image on mental health.

The program was inspired by the National Eating Disorder Association’s (NEDA) identification of the month of February as Eating Disorders Awareness Month and their call for schools to host educational programs for students in February. While many colleges take part, Westridge is one of the only high schools to launch their own Love Your Body campaign.

Westridge School, 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena, (626) 799-1053 ext. 200 or visit www.westridge.org.










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