Look through a magazine. Turn on a television show or movie. They are visible all over the place: unrealistic representations of both men and women.
People are bombarded with images of thin women with the perfect body and men with rock-hard abs and broad shoulders. The misconceptions about the “perfect” body are what Dr. Nicole Hawkins is fighting, with the help of the Student Health Services program “Be you (tiful).”
On Thursday Feb. 24, Student Health Services is offering a workshop with Dr. Hawkins, who did her dissertation on images of women in the media becoming thinner and the effect these images have on people.
“I like to educate the public about the misrepresentation of body image by the media because of airbrushing and other photo manipulating tools,” Hawkins said.
Many popular television shows and magazines display “perfect” bodies without showing the extreme measures that people will go through to look good and setting an unhealthy standard for the public.
Student Emily Purdy feels that the media portrays women in a very negative way, generally inferior to men.
“Women are objects beneath men. Stupid, nagging, annoying and their only usefulness is sex,” Purdy said. “Women rarely get a positive spotlight in the media.”
Brandon Black, an Exercise Science major, and James Poai, an Illustration major, think movies like Twilight have made it bad for men. They also think that people are only interested in looks in relationships.
“It feels like in American culture, people will get married on looks alone, unlike other cultures who look for someone that will give them a better future,” Black said.
Hawkins, who has spoken at the school for the past six or seven years, will also talk about the dieting industry and the problems it has created.
According to Hawkins, the dieting industries are another major problem concerning body image and are a source of depression and eating disorders because diets don’t work.
Hawkins works for the Center for Change, a treatment center for eating disorders. She will explain how to recognize and help someone who has an eating disorder, something that is common on college campuses.
According to the Center for Change website, one in 150 females suffer from anorexia and recent studies on college campuses show that almost 20 percent of college females suffer from bulimia.
The workshop will be in SC 206 B and C from noon to 1 p.m.
By Thomas Larsen