FMLA Celebrates Body Image

By MEGAN KNOX ([email protected])

Allegheny’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) hosted its first annual “Love Your Body Carnival” on Wednesday. Shultz Hall was transformed into a funhouse to commemorate different body images and healthy lifestyles.

FMLA planned to achieve the Carnival atmosphere by assembling a funhouse which was split into two parts.

“The first [part] is about bad body image and how it is portrayed in the media,” said FMLA President Kat Bengston, ’10.

“The second part opens up into a mirrored side which embraces different body types and a healthy lifestyle.”

Another way in which FMLA tackled the touchy subject of body image was through a game of darts.  Participants hurled darts at words associated with negative body images and, when they hit a target, they received a prize for their efforts.

Other booths offered additional information about body image, sexuality, and feminism.

“Basically, the idea is to have a good time and feel more comfortable and confident about yourself when you leave,” Bengston said.

The “Love Your Body Carnival” is a new event for FMLA, although the goal of the carnival does not deviate from FMLA’s overall mission, which is, according to their Facebook page, to “inform and educate about the state of women’s rights on Allegheny College’s campus, the nation and the world.” FMLA, formerly SARO, has had an annual event that appreciates the body.

“Each year what the event consists of varies, but the actual message is always the same: to love and celebrate who you are,” said FMLA Treasurer Carli Luca, ’10.

Other FMLA events have featured Sarah Dopp, creator of and English Professor Aisha Lockridge, who spoke on the subject of Womanism and Feminism. FMLA also launched a campus-wide effort to make Plan B more readily accessible on campus.

FMLA’s ultimate goal is to dismantle preconceived notions about feminism and to make women more aware of their basic rights.  FMLA’s mission statement emphasizes the need to inform the college community of women’s rights and to dispel negative perceptions of feminism.

“Too many people believe that feminists are a bunch of bra- burning man-haters,” Bengston said.

“The reality, needless to say, is quite different- but that’s a stigma you have to fight. The faster that perception disappears, the faster issues that need to be addressed will begin to be resolved.”

Bengston said before the event, “I’d love for people to come, hang out and be ridiculous. Love Your Body Day is about being yourself and rejecting all of the idiotic media images that are tossed in your face every day. Quite frankly, it’s just a wonderful idea- a day to celebrate who you are.”