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Event smashes negative body image

Kelsey Bundra
News Editor

Saturday, Oct. 25 from 1:30 p.m to 3:30 p.m, the Center for Health Education and Promotion sponsored a scale smash in the quad. The event was held to raise awareness about body issues.

Peer health educators set up booths that provided activities and information to students.

Peer health educators ran the scale smash to promote a positive body image.
Peer health educators ran the scale smash to promote a positive body image.

The nutrition, physical activity and body image group of peer health educators worked on this event. Claire Merti was the project lead. Merti collaborated with Julie Mathers, an Millersville alumna who graduated in 2002 and returned for her Masters in 2007.

Mathers met Merti over the summer and they thought it would be great event to bring to campus. The two did a scale smash event in downtown Lancaster in September near the Franklin & Marshall campus. The event took a month to plan.

The idea came from Southern Smash, a non-profit organization to promote eating disorder awareness. The event they are best known for is when participants are given a hammer and can smash a scale. Universities can order kits to bring the event to their campus.

The event played music that had positive messages. At a table, jewelry was on sale that had positive messages on them.

At one of the first tables, students were encouraged to write what they did not like about their bodies on a cardboard tombstone. After they moved onto the next station, they would set up their tombstone next to a scale they smashed.

Nzinga Lloyd, a peer health educator said the activity is meant to stop “comparing yourself to society’s image of women and men.”

The scale smashing was done with hammers. Plastic bags surrounded the scales so no one was hurt by flying pieces.

Another booth featured full-length mirrors. Participants stood in front of the mirrors and then covered them up with post-it notes containing a thing they like about themselves. Faith McConnell, a peer health educator explained, “this is meant to show that looks don’t really matter.”

The Love Your Selfie [No Edits!] station included ‘real life’ Barbie. “This is what Barbie would look like in real life,” Marie Claire Egbert, peer health educator, said.

Two children took a selfie with 'real life' Barbie for the Love Your Selfie [No Edits!] campaign.
Two children took a selfie with ‘real life’ Barbie for the Love Your Selfie [No Edits!] campaign.
Janet Jaccinor, a peer health educator, added, “She would not be able to survive.” The Love Your Selfie [No Edits!] campaign is sponsored by Evolution Power Yoga, where Mathers works. Students could post their selfies on social media using the tags #epynoedits #epyselfie.

Student Alumni Association donated their props to take selfies with Barbie while dressed up.
Another booth at the event was where balloons were blown up. Students could write a negative thought about themselves and pop the balloon.

“Eating disorders are deadly,” Mathers said.

According to nationaleatingdisorders.org, physical repercussions of eating disorders include a slowed heart rate, heart failure, reduction of bone density, muscle loss, kidney failure, hair loss and fainting.

Both Mathers and Merti have personal ties to this event.

“I’m passionate about body image,” Merti said.

Mathers said that she had struggled with an eating disorder. When she was living on campus, her roommates didn’t know how to support her. “I want the next generation to not go what I went through,” Mathers said.

Mathers encouraged those suffering with the disease to seek help. “It is not a shameful disease,” Mathers said.

Mathers also helps out with an eating disorders support group for males and females ages 13 and up. They meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in 1 West Conference Room of Brandywine Hospital. The support group is available to people with no cost. There is also an Eating Disorders Anonymous Group that meets in First Presbyterian Church on Sundays from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.