Self acceptance portrayed in art show


(Jake Johnson / Photographer)

(Jake Johnson / Photographer)

The Be-You{tiful} Art Show opened Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the University Galleries.

The exhibition, which is a collaboration of Student Counseling Services and University Galleries, features around 50 works of art made by students from ISU, Wesleyan, Heartland Community College and Lincoln College.

The art show is part of Student Counseling Services’ campaign for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which also includes the MuscleBound performance on Thursday.

“The campaign encourages self-acceptance and promotes media literacy,” Jenni Thome, staff psychologist, said. “We want students to recognize that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors, and start thinking critically about the messages they receive from media and from society.”

The art in the Be-you{tiful} show spread the same message, featuring pieces of all mediums, from photography, including close-ups of eyes and black-and-white portraits, to paintings. One painting in particular seemed to resemble the female organs, including a fiery uterus.

One collage by Zoey Freistedt, titled “My Body is Not a Conversation Piece,” showed an image of a scantily clad woman with the words “sexy vs skanky” repeated over and over on the left side of the page. The piece seemed to symbolize the media’s interpretations of how women represent themselves, and how fine the line is between being defined as positively and negatively sexual.

Another collage in the shape of a mask, was titled “Self Portrait.” Made by Ashley Kagan, the mask was covered in cut-out words and phrases from magazines, such as “belly fat,” “weight loss” and “sexy abs.” This piece conveyed the extent to which people define themselves by the media they consume.

Many of the pieces seemed to be in reaction to the image society presents us with of what is supposedly the perfect body. Student Counseling Services had also set up tri-fold boards of the ideals for each gender with cut-outs from magazines and advertisements.

“For women, we see the tall, thin and beautiful image; men strive for the hyper-muscular, masculine look.” Thome said.

These different pressures create divisions between men and women and push them to different methods of finding that “perfect body.”

Attendees filled the gallery, appreciating the realistic representations of the body and the art that provided a contrast to the airbrushed, enhanced images so often seen on TV and in magazines.

“I think it’s a really good message.” Kelly Klupchak, a junior public relations major, said. “The art here gets the point across in a more interesting way than lectures do.”

Leah Christofanelli, junior rec and parks administration major, agreed. Christofanelli enjoyed the commentary the show presented on what the perfect body is.

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