To the Editor:
The Bod Squad would like to express our disappointment with the misrepresentation of our intentions in the February 18th issue of the Signal. Based on the opinions in Talking Point, it appears that neither columnist attended any of our events or talked to our members. If they had, we feel they would have realized the errors in the assumptions they made.
We have never believed that “. pressures on men don’t matter.” We have always been concerned with the existence of body image problems and eating disorders in both women and men. However, males account for only 5 – 10 percent of eating disorder cases (http://www.eating-disorder.org/facts.html).
We do not believe that “Men can’t love their bodies.” We believe that all people should love their bodies; however, we stand by our decision to only let women wear the “I love my body” shirt. The decision to wear this shirt was difficult for many women because many do not love their bodies. For these women, wearing the shirt was a step towards self-acceptance, and symbolized an intense promise to themselves. It was a way to claim their right to love their bodies, even if they hadn’t yet accomplished that goal. The Talking Point columns trivialized and ignored these women.
Ms. Kuperinsky asked whether we were “afraid” of being mocked if men wore the shirts. We were not “afraid” of mockery: we knew it would happen. We were mocked by men who said “I love your body too, baby” when we wore our shirts. We were mocked by men who took shirts and changed the letters so that it read “U love my body.” We were mocked when a man ran around the student center with a shirt yelling that he “loved” his body. These men helped demonstrate why we limited the shirts to women. Unfortunately, there is no way to distinguish between men who have or have had legitimate body issues and who would benefit from wearing the shirts, and the immature men who would treat the shirt like a joke. These shirts were NOT about sex. This “mockery” further isolates women struggling with self-image, and silences the voices of women who are trying to make a statement.
The Bod Squad would like to pose a question to everyone who was upset by our women-only policy. By focusing on this trivial detail, what are you avoiding? People were appalled that men could not wear the “I love my body” shirts. However, nobody seemed upset that 1 in 4 college women suffer from anorexia or bulimia (Parisi, 2003). Nobody wrote an editorial about the fact that women all over this campus hate their bodies.
In response to Ms. Kuperinsky’s advice that “The Bod Squad should look carefully at its message,” we would like to respectfully extend the same advice back to her. She and anybody else who was upset about our policy on the “I love my body” shirts should take a minute to listen to our message before making these untrue assumptions.
Valerie Baker, Allison Bannon, Emily Bent, Dana DiCosimo, Heather McConnell, Maureene Meinert, Kirsten Schnetzer, Amanda Tesauro