February 10, 2011
London, ON – Brescia University College student Nikita Miller has watched and listened as women and young girls in her life struggle with the issue of body image. To bring attention to this growing social issue, and in recognition of Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), she initiated a photo display at Brescia and a video for YouTube that have made a real impact.
“I wanted to sit on the Eating Disorders Awareness Committee because I couldn’t imagine one of my ‘little sisters’ struggling with something like that. I personally can not imagine the torture or hell of being at the mercy of the media, other people, my own judgments, or an eating disorder. With society focusing so much on obesity, we are now encouraging eating disorders by trying to combat a different problem,” Miller said.
The committee decided to draw attention to body image as a social issue during EDAW. Within two weeks, Miller brought together a professional photographer, Vincenzo Pistritto; Brescia students Mimi Kaupp, Emily Bamford, Jazmyn Jansen, and Cailin Whincop; model Susan Chlipala; and University of Western Ontario journalism student Nick Mizera to shoot the video.
A display board in the entrance of Ursuline Hall features before and after photos of the six young women, taken by a professional photographer. “I watched people walk by the board and it was so priceless. I loved the look on their faces, but most of all, I just loved that people seem interested and are paying attention to something!” said Miller.
The women featured in the photos stayed after the shoot to watch Pistritto enhance their photos using Photoshop. “Keeping this event in mind, we put together a three-minute video. I had a short window of time from when the idea first came to me until the time of execution. There was no selection process for the video. The first group I could get together, I took.” Miller stressed this point in response to a comment posted on YouTube about the appearance of the women featured in the video. You may view the video on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzoaZI6CgfI
“I encourage you to share the link and help to combat the stigma associated with eating disorders and help to shine light on the idea of false beauty and magazines,” Miller said.
The EDAW committee also hosted a panel and a yoga session at Brescia this week. On Monday, February 14, the second annual Swap Shop will give Brescia students the opportunity to buy slightly used clothing for a good price. All proceeds will go to Hope’s Garden, an eating disorders resource and support centre in London. Miller hopes that an annual committee will continue raising awareness about this important issue at Canada’s women’s university.
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Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 1,100 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more information, please visit www.brescia.uwo.ca
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