By Jenna Rodcay
On Oct. 16, Ohio Wesleyan took part in the national celebration of Love Your Body Day, a campaign established by the National Organization of Women (NOW) to encourage and promote healthy body images.
The NOW website said, “The Love Your Body campaign was created as a response to media portrayals of women, particularly in advertising, that promote narrow and unhealthy ideals of beauty.”
This year marked the Love Your Body Day campaign’s fifteenth year of celebration.
Junior Natalie Duleba, a member of the Women’s House (WOHO), was the organizer of the OWU effort this year and did it as her house project for the semester.
According to Duleba, every member of the SLU community is required to do a house project that promotes their house’s mission each semester.
The WOHO works mainly to enhance knowledge about women’s, LGBT and feminist issues. Each year a different person takes Love Your Body Day on as a house project.
“I’m interested in body issues because they’re not talked about enough and they affect literally everyone,” Duleba said.
NOW encourages people to take part in the movement and bring attention to their communities.
Events take place on campuses across the country and the NOW website noted the diverse ways people express their support for the campaign; “they include blogathons, fashion shows, pickets, educational forums, athletic events and more.”
Duleba decided to incorporate a photo campaign into her project. She took photographs of volunteers for two weeks before Love Your Body Day and created two photo albums of the volunteers. She said the idea is a simplified version of what another housemate wanted to do.
The event’s Facebook page described the photo album as “normal people who love their bodies just the way they are.”
Each of the 39 models was photographed in front of past Love Your Body Day banners.
“There was no set number of people I was looking for,” Duleba said. “I got a lot more people than I was expecting.”
Duleba took head shots of the models, as well as pictures of them standing up, sitting down and showing off their favorite body parts. She chose four of her favorite photos to put in the albums and accompanied each of the model’s photos’ with a slip of paper that said their name, age, class year and favorite body part.
Duleba said most people chose their eyes and butts, while others chose their collarbones, legs, and wrists.
Though the NOW campaign focuses mainly on women, Duleba was able to photograph men and women of several different races and class years, Greek members, SLU members and those unaffiliated.
“I was super impressed by the amount of diversity I was able to get,” Duleba said. “I felt that leaving men out would be too limited. Body issues affect men too. I wanted to be more inclusive than NOW made it seem.”
Junior Gus Wood, a member of the WOHO, was one of the volunteer models. “I thought it would be an interesting opportunity,” Wood said. “It’s important for men to participate in this kind of project because it’s not just a women’s issue.”
Junior Katie Sponseller said she first participated in the campaign to help Duleba accomplish something she was so passionate about but found after participating she felt a real “inner beauty, outer beauty” experience.
“It was amazing to see the things that other people find beautiful about themselves,” Sponseller said.
Duleba presented the albums to the campus on Oct. 16, the day before national Love Your Body Day because OWU did not have classes on the national celebration day, while tabling in HamWill.
Duleba also encouraged people to sign this year’s Love Your Body banner. She said more than 50 people declared their favorite body part on the banner.
The banner will hang in the HamWil atrium from Oct. 22 to Oct. 26 and there will be a Love Your Body display in the atrium display cases during the first week of November.
Duleba said the campaign was a great first house project and motivated her to get more involved with other events, such as Written on the Body, a body image speak out sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center (WRC).
“It helped me express my passion for this issue and gave other people the opportunity to support a good cause,” Duleba said.
Editor’s Note: Natalie Duleba is an editor of the The Transcript, but the issue discussed is relevant to the campus as a whole. Duleba played no part in the construction of the article.