BBC promotes self acceptance


Written by Nicholas Olivera/Staff writer

Shantal Meneses, a sophomore majoring in psychology, stands half naked in Panther Square at the Biscayne Bay Campus.

She’s blindfolded. All she can hear is the commotion of students around her. In her hands are an array of colorful markers, which she offers to students to use to draw on her exposed body in support of self acceptance.

Meneses is doing this as part of Panthers Love Your Body Day, an event organized by the SGA-BBC Campus, to promote self-esteem in students who may suffer with body image issues.

“At least once during your college career there must have been something that made you feel insecure about yourself,” said Chris Morisset, chief of staff for SGA-BBC. “What we’re doing here is a self-esteem awareness campaign to help students feel comfortable.”

Morisset had gotten the idea for the event by seeing Australian activist Jae West performing a similar demonstration a few months ago, but it was Meneses who stepped up to the task of exposing herself in such a manner.

From a distance, Meneses appeared reserved and unflinching in her demeanor.

She could not be interrupted for an interview.

“Girls and guys feel like they have to look a certain way because they’re told that’s how they need to look like,” said Roslyn Espiritu, a senior majoring in psychology. “A lot of my lady friends will gush over a man based on how he looks, but I always ignore that until I get the chance to actually hear him speak.”

The event also featured the reading of poems and raps that dealt with themes of self acceptance and the true meaning of beauty.

The poems and raps were written and performed by FIU students Moise Jerome and Gabriel Sanchez.

“I wouldn’t be happy with the person I saw in the mirror when I was younger,” said Sanchez, a sophomore majoring in English literature and author of the poem “You Are Beautiful.” “Looking back, I realized that I was fine the way I was and am now.”

The event, held on Monday, featured stations that provided students with different materials for promoting self esteem, including different educational materials on ways to prevent feelings of self-doubt and insecurity and a button-making station used to create badges for students to write and display what it is that they love about their appearance.

“You should feel comfortable as you are right now because it’s your body and all that should matter is how you feel and not what others feel,” said Morisset.
Photos Courtesy of Nick Olivera

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