The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday January 31st

'Love Your Body' explores body positivity, combats social beauty standards

UNC students participate in a self-portrait drawing activity at the Love Your Body event in the Student Union on Thursday night.
Buy Photos UNC students participate in a self-portrait drawing activity at the Love Your Body event in the Student Union on Thursday night.

Love Your Body is an annual night of a celebration of all bodies, sizes and shapes meant to combat the beauty standards set by society and the media.  

This year's event was hosted Thursday by alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority, Omega Phi Beta Sorority and Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority.

The hosting sororities asked the crowd what came to mind when they thought of the term body image. This stressed the importance of taking the steps to work towards body positivity. 

Oftentimes, body positivity is just seen as a hashtag rather than an actual goal. 

Attendees expressed their experiences with the freshman 15 and adjusting to a new lifestyle in college. Many guests agreed they change their views of what is attractive due to changing norms of the media.

Junior Aryana Ainolhayat is a sister with Omega Phi Beta and helped organize the event. 

“It's just a way for us to bring light to this topic that is talked about, but bringing it in a positive light through positive activities and performances,” Aryana said. “I think on campuses we compete a lot with each other, and it’s really easy to kinda get caught up comparing yourself.”

Junior Hau Cheng, who attended the event to support his friend, shared his views on body positivity as a male student.

“We don’t get assessed as much as women, but there is still a problem," Cheng said. "Some people feel like they’re not as fit as other people. There are a lot of muscular people here, and I feel like that’s part of the culture here."

In addition to activities which challenged the audience's views on the topic of body image, a member of Ebony Readers/Onyx Theatre performed spoken word and alpha Kappa Delta Phi performed a dance to Fifth Harmony’s ‘Worth it.’

Senior Ingrid Chen performed the dance along with a few of her alpha Kappa Delta Phi sisters.

“We chose to dance to that song because a part of body appreciation is loving the body you’re in and being able to move that body if you are capable to do so,” Ingrid said. “The lyrics are very empowering to be honest. It’s a great song.”

For Chen, body positivity is a subject she has had to face after facing an alarming health issue. Last year, when she was only 22, Chen underwent a double mastectomy after her doctor noticed she had a few aggressive tumors in her breast. Although they were benign, her doctor suggested she undergo the procedure to prevent the tumors from growing into her chest cavity. After surgery, she was given the decision to get breast implants.

“Either way it’s a reminder of what my body has gone through and I am proud that my body was able to handle all the different stresses. It’s come a long way," Chen said. "Sometimes I will think of my scars and — they’re really big scars — look in the mirror and see them running over my body."

Chen believes plastic surgery is not portrayed positively in the media, despite its necessity for some individuals in certain situations. The event explored the fact that body positivity is not solely the acceptance of people’s bodies as they are, but it includes a myriad of other aspects of culture and physical bodies. 

“I’m still happy and healthy and living,” Chen said. “I’m happy that my body is there for me physically even though at one point it seemed like it was failing me.”

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