Algonquin’s Queer Student Alliance is encouraging self-confidence in students
“How familiar are you with the idea of body acceptance or body positivity?”
It was a question posed by Helvetica Bold as she was starting her workshop during Acceptance day on Jan. 29.
According to Bold, students tend to be younger and also unaware of the importance of body positivity. It renders them susceptible to commercials that enforce body image.
“I come from a business background,” said Bold. “Students are one of the most highly sought after demographics for marketers. If you get someone at a young age who is starting to get their own disposable income, that’s when you can build a brand loyalty for life.”
The Queer Student Alliance organized an all-day event, Acceptance Day, in which, Bold was one of the speakers.
People struggle with body acceptance because they are taught, at a young age, to be a certain way. They are taught that to eat cake makes you fat and you should be ashamed of it. And as Bold explains, fat jokes are still acceptable, though they shouldn’t be.
In order to combat eating disorders, we need to learn about body positivity.
How we perceive ourselves is usually shaped by other factors – media and society.
“I struggled with eating disorder my whole life,” said Bold. “It started when I was eight-years-old, it was in the early 1990s It so normal for children to hate how they look; it’s so unfortunate. We are not born that way, society and the media taught them that.”
Society tends to think that only women are affected. As Bold explains, body acceptance goes beyond just one sex.
“It’s very focused on women but men need it too,” said Bold. “It’s very important to men too. This is for everybody.”
Bold suggests that we block all the subtle negativity that the world tries to instil in our minds: commercials and Facebook weight loss ads. Not watching commercials and setting up a word replacer on your computers, are things that you can do to achieve body positivity.
Additionally, changing our rhetoric goes a long way, according to Bold.
“Making jokes about people’s appearance is something that we have told that it’s okay,” said Bold. “But if we start challenging each other and give more compliments, people can come around.”