Students discuss body image



Sunday marked the start of NYU National Eating Disorder Awareness & Body Positivity week.

Lexi Faunce, Contributing Writer

In an effort to combat the stigma attached to eating disorders, Jamiee Foster is hosting National Eating Disorder Awareness and Body Positivity Week. The program will run through this Saturday and is designed to teach students about eating disorders with events including movie screenings, panel discussions and residence hall photo shoots.

Jamiee Foster, CAS senior and president of the Class of 2015 Activities Board, joined forces with the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority to host events around campus that give students the opportunity to speak about eating disorders and body image.

Foster said her own struggles with eating disorders inspired her to organize these events.

“I found that talking about eating disorders and body image, and being able to see that I was not alone in this struggle was incredibly helpful for me,” Foster said. “I thought that if I found having a space to talk about disordered eating and body image helpful, there would probably be other students on campus who would as well.”

CAS senior Andy C. Ng, co-chair of the NYU Greek Alliance, said the event encourages students to play an active role in
body positivity.

“NYU Body Positivity Week coincides with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week,” Ng said. “It’s a time and space for all people, but especially current students, to think and talk openly about eating disorders and body image.”

Gallatin sophomore and president of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority Jillian Biegel said the pressure to have a certain body type is a huge issue for NYU students.

“The pressure of college paired with pressure from other women or men and living up to the harsh standards set by society to either be incredibly thin with large breasts or have a six pack — the city exaggerates all of these pressures even further, which is why body positivity has taken such a large focus,” Biegel said.

NYU previously did not have any programs addressing this issue, so Foster said many people suffering from an eating disorder may not realize they have one.

“Eating disorders are so stigmatized in our society,” Foster said. “People don’t talk about them, and often behaviors that are actually disordered eating are praised. Our society has serious issues with the way it talks and thinks about food and bodies, and I think it’s important to challenge those harmful narratives.”

Foster said the week aims to help people feel good about themselves while providing a comfortable space to have conversations about eating disorders, body image and body positivity.

“I hope these events help remove some of the stigma around eating disorders and educate people about the symptoms and warning signs of eating disorders,” Foster said. “I’m hoping that people who need help with their own eating disorders or body image struggles may feel more comfortable reaching out because of that information.”

Biegel added that NYU could do more things to further educate its students on eating disorders and promote body awareness.

“There could be more average size women on television rather than women of extreme sizes, large and small, there could be less photoshop used in magazine photos,” Biegel said. “The list goes on and on, but with NYU’s Body Positivity Week and Delta Phi Epsilon’s initiative I think there is a lot being done throughout the NYU community.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 24 print edition. Email Lexi Faunce at [email protected].