5W Wednesday: Body Monologues by the Body Peace Corps

Our 5W Wednesday series highlights a variety of health care organizations, professionals and programs that keep our community healthy.

Who are they?
The Body Peace Corps is a University of Michigan student organization sponsored by University Health Services (UHS) that formed in order to create a body-positive environment on campus. Their mission is to educate others about the dangers of the “thin ideal”, support the pursuit of a “healthy ideal”, and build a supportive, inclusive community. They offer peer-facilitated workshops on campus, media literacy campaigns, campus activism and campus-wide awareness events. The Body Monologues is the Body Peace Corps’s latest body-positive endeavor.

Check out the Body Peace Corps’s youtube video on body gratitude.

Why is a body-positive movement needed on campus?
In the United States, we are inundated with messages telling us that thinner is better, and when we “fit” our culture’s impossible beauty standards, we will be happy. According to a UCLA psychologist, up to 60% of college students now suffer from disordered eating. Other studies report that 25% of college women engage in purging as a weight-management technique. More than one-half of teenage girls use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. Based on our experience, we know that vast numbers of students struggling with these issues never seek help, pointing to the need for improved outreach and prevention services on campus. Too many talented young women are losing their formative years – and their potential – to the obsession with perfecting their bodies.

What is the Body Monologues?
The Body Monologues is a performance piece similar to Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, but focused on body image. Performers include students from a variety of University of Michigan academic programs, mostly undergraduates.  Its aim is to give people an opportunity to rant and share their stories and experiences of our society’s body-negative culture. It will be a night of story-telling that inspires and empowers.

When is it?
The Body Monologues is one os several events hosted by the Body Peace Corps during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) Week, which takes place February 20th-26th, strives to “prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment.” The performance is on Tuesday, February 22 at 8:00pm at Rackham Auditorium. Check the NEDA website and the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week at University of Michigan facebook page for information and updates on additional events.

Where can you find them?
The Body Peace Corps will be performing the Body Monologues at 8pm on Tuesday, February 22 at Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St. (between S. Thayer and Fletcher). You can also find them online and on facebook. For more information, contact the Body Peace Corps at bodypeacecorps@umich.edu.

Sources for more information:
NEDA website: nationaleatingdisorders.org
The Body Positive website: thebodypositive.org

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