By: Dawn Logg
This week on the USC campus is about loving yourself and loving your body, regardless of what society has to say. Every day, men and women are judged harshly due to the pressure of society and burden of social media holding people to an unrealistic physical standard.
"When I don't feel like I match the standard of beauty, it affects the way that I feel about how I'm beautiful," USC student Hannah Westfall said.
Westfall, a third-year marketing major, who goes to group exercise classes at the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center to maintain a healthy lifestyle, says she feels pressured by women on social media, magazines, and television to try to conform to the way women look.
"I've realized that the way my body looks doesn't match up to the pictures that I see," Westfall said.
This is what Carolina BeYOUtiful week is all about, celebrating individuality and diversity of beauty. Their mission is to promote all types of beauty among students, and raise self esteem around campus. Ed Madden, director of women and gender studies, is committed to this mission.
The University of South Carolina's Carolina BeYOUtiful coincides with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Carolina BeYOUtiful offers services, and speakers to help students celebrate their bodies in a positive way and to prevent the development of body image issues and eating disorders.
"Beauty, power, self awareness, all those things come in lots of forms, lots of shapes and we shouldn't stigmatize people because they don't fit societal ideals and we also shouldn't assume that societal ideals are the norm or the goal of anybody," Madden said.
USC senior Donavan Johnson says he's struggled with bullies and low self esteem due to his love for individuality.
"I used to go home and cry, I used to not want to go to school, I used to hide in the bathroom at lunch, I was that kid that got teased," he said.
Johnson said he was often hurt through his adolescent years, but the full of life senior continues to celebrate his individuality despite his struggles in the past.
Low self esteem is emotionally and socially harmful, and can affect peoples lives daily. This week at USC, there's an emphasis on dedication to celebrating personal image and self love.
For more information on Carolina BeYOUtiful week and the schedule of events, visit http://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/cw/cb/.