EmBODYing Empowerment: Student led exhibit promotes body diversity and self-love The Sheaf April 5, 2017 12:00 am News NATASHA HAUSERMANN On Apr. 3, the International Women’s Movement student group plans to shine a light on body diversity at the University of Saskatchewan. The event features a photo and sculpture series of U of S students to promote body diversity, positivity and self-love. The IWM group brings together a community of students to connect the diverse cultures and religions at the U of S and strives to create a comfortable atmosphere for women to empower oneanother and contribute to the greater community. Jessica Quan, fourth-year political studies major and president of the IWM, has been with the group for two years. She explains how the EmBODYing Empowerment event will allow students to support and uplift one another. “Students will be able to be empowered through solidarity. [The exhibit] promotes a conversation about self-love where we can support and uplift one another. It will contribute to an evolving mindset that breaks past barriers of what body standards are considered to be,” Quan said, in an email to the Sheaf. The event will be held in Upper Place Riel and then move to Louis’ Loft at 7 p.m. for a night of celebration. EmBODYing Empowerment has free admission and the IWM encourages students to bring donations of menstrual products, with all proceeds going to northern Saskatchewan communities. Quan notes that the media largely impacts how students see themselves and that the EmBODYing Empowerment event aims to change this negativity. Quan states that changing this ideal will allow students to better connect with one another. “Societal expectations and portrayals of bodies in the media have negatively impacted most of us, and we want to highlight the stories of how individuals have grown to love their body,” Quan said. “Media standards portray a very specific image. However, this exhibit will reflect what is, in fact, the reality of [what] our bodies truly are.” Anastasia Sylvestre, first-year arts and science student in the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program and a volunteer of the IWM, speaks more on what students can expect to see at the event. “In this event, we will have talks from different community leaders, poetry from some kick-ass artists, an open mic and a gallery of body casts and photos,” Sylvestre said, in an email to the Sheaf. Sylvestre hopes that students use this event to realize that self-love is important and empowering, especially for those students in minority groups. “Self-love and body positivity is so important, especially [for] women, LGBTQ people, and those of us who fall under the minority category,” Sylvestre said. “This event will hopefully help students see that loving yourself is super important, help students network with really cool people and maybe be a useful break from March madness.” Kirsten Samson, a second-year political studies major and a general member within the IWM, explains how this event will try to connect students and the larger community, as body image is an issue that everyone could face. “Although the event will be on campus, we are hoping to appeal to the larger community,” Samson said, in an email to the Sheaf. “University is ever challenging — between exams, papers and the inevitable stress, we can sometimes engage in behaviours and thought patterns that are body-negative. It’s so important that students can come together and see that they aren’t alone in their struggles.” Samson emphasizes that all students need support and that students should attend the event and connect with other students. “The pressures we face are real and they can be harmful. This event is designed to reach out and tell students that insecurities with our bodies are normal. But we have the strength to change these dialogues and engage in body-positive discussions and discourse.” — Image: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor Guest You’re healthy and beautiful no matter how much you weigh. Unless you’re a man of course.