Services students at the college hosted an event that offered displays and presentations on body image. Every semester, the Advocacy and Human Services class is assigned a group advocacy project that is supposed to reach a campus-wide audience.
The class of 15 decided to make their event target body image because of the growing pressures from the media to look a certain way.
“Everyone gravitated towards the issue when we were brainstorming ideas,” Human Services student Jeff Bryant said.
“We created the tagline ‘Let’s Get Real’ as a class to raise awareness about what the media does to photos we are exposed to on a daily basis.”
Each student is assigned a role in order to make the project run smoothly, such as media, poster making and research.
The class was happy to learn of a bill that is currently trying to get passed to Congress called Truth in Advertising (HR4341).
“The point of this bill is to help stop advertising that harms our children,” said Advocacy and Human Services professor, David Allen.
The bill currently has at least 10,000 signatures and if it is passed, photos in advertising that are digitally enhanced will contain warning labels similar to cigarette packages.
“This is not something parents teach their kids and tell them ‘hey, that’s not really what they look like,” said Allen when asked why he thinks this bill will help stop harmful advertising. The event provided computers where students, staff and faculty were able to sign a petition for the bill.
The group discussed recent events in the news that helped support the project’s idea, like Target store’s ‘thigh gap’ Photoshop fail in March of this year. The second largest U.S. retailer rolled out images for new spring 2014 swimsuits and it appeared that the models had been given a horrific Photoshop job that appeared unfinished.
“The models had been given the infamous ‘thigh gap,’ and the photos were edited to make the women look even skinnier than they were,” said Bryant.
The class agreed that what the media does to enhance photos contributes to the three most common mental issues in young women.
“The three most common are eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem,” said Allen.
“These distorted images of women in the media cause young girls to believe in unrealistic expectations,” he added.
The event displayed before and after images of re-touched models and even a video of a process of a woman’s body getting Photoshopped.
“The class agreed this would be a great topic because everyone knows about it but no one talks about it,” said Human Services student Adam Schweitzer, who mentioned the idea to his peers after coming across the video on Youtube.