“I love my curly locks.” “I love my brain because its sexy.” “I like my booty.” “I wuv my Pecs.”
Northwestern students scrawled comments like these across a white linen banner in Norris Wednesday with “What do you love about your body?” written on it. The Delta Delta Delta sorority posed the question to passersby as it launched its chapter of Reflections, a new “sorority body image program” that targets eating disorders. Northwestern’s Tri Deltas were selected as one of 12 chapters nationwide to pilot the program this year.
“There’s always rumors running rampant about how common and prevalent eating disorders are within sororities,” said SESP senior Carryn Christianson, president of Tri Delta. Though she believes poor body image isn’t a sorority-specific problem, “When women tend to be eating around other women, it makes you a lot more self-conscious about the choices you’re making. Obviously, a sorority is a group full of women. You have that pressure.”
The idea, started by Dr. Carolyn Becker at Trinity University, is to use the “unique structure of sororities as an ideal vehicle” to improve body self-esteem, according to the program’s Web site. Becker “noticed that a lot of girls get to school, face body issues, and sadly, develop eating disorders,” said Weinberg sophomore Rohini Menezes, Tri Delta’s Reflections co-representative.
The focus on Wednesday was “fat talk.” The national Tri Delta organization calls the current campaign “Fat Talk Free Week,” “a 5-day public awareness effort to draw attention to the damaging impact of ‘fat talk’ on women of all ages and their impossible pursuit of the ‘thin ideal,’” according to a national Tri Delta statement.
Menenes and a fellow representative, SESP sophomore Cailie Lauesen, will travel to Arlington, Texas at the end of October for a two-day training on how to implement Reflections here at Northwestern. The national branch of Reflections will be visiting campus this January.
Susan Woda, the senior director of operations for Tri-Delta, said the problem isn’t limited to the Greek system. “Sororities don’t cause eating disorders,” she said. “It’s not a sorority problem. It’s not a college women’s problem. It’s a women’s problem.”
Communications freshman Alex Young, who wrote on the poster that he liked his nose, said this was a male issue as well. “Guys are less open about it,” he said. “Girls just like to talk about it more.”
For Weinberg freshman Lauren Sachar, Tri-Delta’s involvement in the Reflections program helped debunk that misconception. As a freshman, Sachar said she was nervous about the approaching the recruitment process based on what she had seen on TV. “Those stereotypical shows on sorority life [show them] judging you based on appearances,” Sachar said. “The fact that this was sponsored by a sorority makes me think it’s different here.”