Etownian Feature Article

‘Love Your Body’ event promotes self-esteem, confidence

Fashion. Confidence. Positivity. Natural Beauty. Whether tall, short, big or small, all the models strutted down the runway Tuesday, March 11 for the second annual “Love Your Body” fashion show.

That night, everyone was silent in the Elizabethtown College auditorium, until audience members began cheering and clapping after seeing the first model step into the spotlight. Walking down the runway to songs such as Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are,” the models showed off their individual body types and styles by choosing their own clothes to wear. The show incorporated the significance of appreciating one’s body regardless of size, color or style. “It sends a really positive image about the bodies and how everyone’s beautiful,” first-year participant Megan Bernth said.

Through this celebration of various body types, Health Educator Amanda Cheetham also hopes to raise awareness for the resources available to students on campus. “The college years are a time when disordered eating either begins, resurfaces or worsens,” Cheetham said. “It’s important to create this climate on campus where we’re talking about these things.”

There are several common eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia, among college students. However, others are less common, such as those related to over-exercising. These health issues are not solely relevant to women, but to men as well. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANDA), 10 to 15 percent of those suffering from anorexia or bulimia are men.

“The fashion show gives us an avenue to celebrate body image and positivity, which can let us open the conversation about some of those other topics that are a little more difficult to talk about,” Cheetham said.

During the show, seniors Amanda Sheckard and David Feuz co-hosted, comparing statistics of models with those of the average person. They told the audience that the average American woman is five feet four inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. However, the average model is five feet 11 inches weighing 117 pounds.

“We try to change the norms that exist,” senior Student Wellness advocate Jennifer Bitgood said. “No matter the size, everyone is beautiful.”

Emphasizing this belief of body appreciation and beauty, the models took their energy and confidence with them onto the runway.

“[The models] were just so excited to be able to show off their natural beauty and what they love wearing,” sophomore Student Wellness advocate Ashley Cox said.

The fashion show was reintroduced following a successful run last year. This year, the event was organized and run by Cheetham and the Student Wellness Advocacy Group (SWAG). In accordance with the theme of body-appreciation, Cheetham said that whoever signed up was automatically admitted to the show.

Cheetham expects the event to occur again next year. “I think it’s a very important message. It was fun, the models were having a great time and the people in the audience were having a great time. It was just very positive and I think we need more of that,” Cheetham said.