Campus News

Love Your Body Day discussion emphasizes self care, body positivity

GWS professor and members of NOW spoke about the importance of loving one's body amid societal pressures. 

GWS professor and members of NOW spoke about the importance of loving one's body amid societal pressures. 

Image By: Will Cioci

Gender and Women’s Studies professor Katherine Phelps gathered Wednesday with the National Organization for Women’s UW-Madison chapter to cultivate an open discussion on body consciousness and self-love. 

She opened the discussion with a poem from Nayy-Irah Waheed, “And I said to my body softly, ‘I want to be your friend’. It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this’.” 

Members from NOW and Phelps discussed body politics, as well as what makes us view some bodies as good and some as bad. Students began sharing stories about the negative connotations that come along with bodies — whether it be associating age with disliking your body, the concept of “feeling shitty about feeling shitty” and wondering what are we waiting for to love our body. 

Phelps discussed various aspects of body image, including societal pressures on bodies to be a certain way. Phelps points to capitalist pressures and social media as part of the explanation for unreasonable expectations associated with bodies. 

The conversation also led into aspects of society that push us to love one another, to fill the spaces of healthy minds, bodies and souls, yet emphasized how it can be difficult to pin down the idea of how to love ourselves.

“What is the disconnect? We so profoundly want to liberate each other, yet we have a really hard time doing it here,” Phelps asked while pointing at her chest.

To wrap up the conversation, Phelps shared some inspiration with the class. 

“Bodies just exist because they do,” Phelps said. "What are we waiting for to feel good about this shit, because nothing out there is gonna do it for us.”

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