Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, February 23, 2019

AU redefines beauty

AU redefines beauty
MIRROR, MIRROR - AU Body Image Awareness Week welcomes 2008 Miss America Kirsten Haglund to discuss her struggle with anorexia.

Media outlets define the idea of beauty. The size zero woman in a barely-there outfit with long, flowing hair appears on every ad page of every magazine. Close your eyes and you can picture her because her image has been burned into your brain.

However, a movement has begun in which living beauty is recognized. But has society turned against those who fit the stereotype of beautiful? Filmmaker Liza Figueroa Kravinsky explores the questions, limits and labels placed on beauty in her new film, "Beauty: In the Eyes of the Beheld."

Following the life of a former beauty queen, an exotic dancer, a physician, a business woman and a musician, Kravinsky has decided that being a beautiful woman is harder than it looks.

"A pretty face can make life easier," Kravinsky said in a press release. "But it can complicate relationships and careers as well. Women who rely too much on their looks can end up being lost and lonely. Those that don't may still be stereotyped."

The film will be shown as a part of AU's Body Image Awareness Week at 8:30 p.m. Monday in Ward 2, followed by a discussion.

"The documentary looks at how society and the mainstream media objectifies and subjugates women and attempts to highlight the importance of looking at beauty from a more balanced perspective," said Alan Duffy, a health educator at the Health Center.

"[The film] is an important message for all women and girls, especially those that do dangerous things to be beautiful," she said.

Duffy said he is supportive of trying to show that beauty is more than it appears in magazines.

"We hope that students at [AU] start to realize that beauty and being beautiful is relative and that there is not one mold to fit," he said.

In addition to the film screening, Body Image Awareness Week includes a series of events promoting healthy living and self-confidence. The week will kick off with a high-spirited gathering including healthy snacks, good discussion and the opportunity to make T-shirts in honor of the cause. Women's Initiative will also sponsor "Healthy Night In," in which people will be able to watch "How to Look Good Naked," starring Carson Kressley. The week will end with the annual True Beauty Fashion Show, in which real women will bring all different types and sizes of beauty to campus.

2008 Miss America Kirsten Haglund's AU appearance will be the week's finale on Thursday. She will discuss her struggle with anorexia and her advocacy for body image awareness.

"I think Kirsten's personal account of overcoming an eating disorder will shed light on the issues of body image and how to feel comfortable with who you are," Duffy said.

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