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BCSSH Talks Body Image At BC

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01


Kylie Montero / Heights Staff

In the spirit of Love Your Body Week, Boston College Students for Sexual Health (BCSSH) conducted a panel titled “Let’s Talk About Loving Your Body.” Students discussed body image as it pertains to sexual responsibility. The panel of five students spoke on a variety of subjects, including being comfortable in relationships, pornography, and even offering a male perspective on issues that are primarily female-focused.

BCSSH is a student organization that works to promote sexual education awareness and health on campus. Their mission is to inspire the whole person, mind and body, to make healthy and responsible choices, and also create a resource for students on campus for sexual health.

The goal of the panel was to foster discussion on a wide range of debatable topics, and to create a safe space for students to offer opinions about their experiences with body image on BC’s campus. The discussion was led by panelists describing the topics they felt most passionately about, and listeners could ask questions by passing forward notecards to preserve privacy.

Jessika Parry, A&S ’14, led her discussion by asking students to consider questions about how they feel about their body image in the relationships they have. She asked students to examine how they felt while in a romantic relationship, but also about what being single does to a person’s body image. She also spoke about the hook-up culture, and how drinking alcohol fuels and encourages hook-ups. She finally asked students to consider their own comfort levels.

“BC puts a huge pressure on people to hook up when they go out,” Parry said. “You have to know how to communicate what you’re comfortable with.”

Chelsea Lennox, A&S ’14, fostered a conversation about how pornography impacts relationships and body image, as it often creates insecurities in both men and women about how someone should act or not act based on what they see. Responding to Parry’s question, Lennox also emphasized the importance of the lines of communication in romantic relationships.

Erika Bjerklie, A&S ’14, and Don Orr, A&S ’14, offered opinions on how the media can affect body image in terms of consumerist attitudes and the male perspective of body image. Bjerklie spoke about how individuality is often split at BC by saying that one is encouraged to “be herself,” while also feeling the need to fit in with the norm. Orr offered a male perspective to body image, by explaining that self-consciousness is something men experience as well. He explained that there is an “invisible vulnerability” that men experience. Orr said that it is often difficult for males to find a safe outlet to explain their feelings because it is considered something men shouldn’t discuss.

These introductions by the panelists inspired several lengthy questions to be considered by students, and discussions were led by Lizzie Jekanowski, BCSSH president and A&S ’13. The panel’s overall message coincided with Love Your Body Week’s goal of celebrating rather than comparing individual differences, and allowed students to safely offer their opinions and perspectives on topics that frequently get overlooked.

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