If you are at the beach, your body is beach ready.

By Mirella Flores

summer-timeSummer is quickly approaching, and with it an influx of articles on how to get that “summer body.” I am all for taking care of your body, including being more conscious of what you eat and drink and exercising. What disturbs me about these types of articles are not the tips they give, but rather the message they convey – Your body is wrong and you need to fix it.

No. Your body is not wrong. Society is wrong. There is a difference between taking care of your body and fixating on “improving” it. If it is summer, your body is summer ready. If you are at the beach, your body is beach ready. Unfortunately, I cannot control the hurtful messages out there, but I can provide you with a couple of articles that may help you reclaim your body.

11 Easy Things You Can Do When You’re Just Not Feeling Yourself. As the title gives away, this article contains 11 things you can do start feeling yourself again. Numbers 5, 6, and 7 are some of my favorites. Number five is “Give yourself a pep talk you would give your best friend.” Yes, feel free to go Leslie Knope on yourself.

The Cognitive Triangle

The Cognitive Triangle

Number six is “Do something that tests your strength, endurance, or coordination.” Instead of trying to “fix” your body, doing something that tests your body’s ability would help you appreciate your body for what it can do. Number seven, “Come up with a badass mantra that actually gets you pumped up,” is something I use in my work with clients (as a counselor). This tip is effective because it taps into the “thoughts” of the cognitive triangle (see right). Allow me to get into counselor mode. Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are connected. The idea under telling ourselves a positive mantra is that we are controlling our thoughts, which then will affect our emotions and actions.

10 Little Spells That’ll Help Send Love To Your Body. Again, the title of this article is self-explanatory. Whether or not you are doing working for a flatter belly, take some time and do the spell for your abs, “Blow up a bunch of balloons to different sizes (or you can use bubble wrap) and attach them to your body, like you’re creating a balloon body suit. Jump up and down, dance, and roll around in your balloon armor because your belly is a beautiful shield that can expand and flex and handle a lot of crazy things that we don’t give enough credit for.” Silly I know, but no judgement whether you do it or not. The point here is to take some time to appreciate our abs (because we all have abs) and other body parts… you can have some fun with it!

Stop body shaming others and yourself. Get out there and enjoy the warm weather and water, or whatever outdoors activity you want to do.

How CrossFit helped me love my body


By Mirella Flores

For years I struggled with an eating disorder. It started with me restricting food and evolved into a cycle of restricting, binging on food (like anything I could get a hold of), and doing cardio for hours. My journey to recovery has been long and hard. Even when I was at a point where I no longer was engaging in disordered eating, I still struggled with my body.

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Source: CrossFitMatters Instagram

As a cisgender woman, I have been socialized to base myself worth on the appearance of my body and being sexually desirable to others. While I was working towards recovery, I was with a partner who was very affirming of my body. This helped me start to believe that my body is great and beautiful just how it is. However, I was still relying on someone else’s opinion of my body to feel good. I still can not say that I do not care what others think of my body, but I can surely say I have learned to value my body in a different way.

When I moved to Kansas City in 2014 for graduate school, someone asked me what I liked to do for self-care (if you’re a counseling psychologist or trainee, you are probably used to being asked that question). I told her I liked working out and she suggested I try CrossFit. I had grown bored of my gym routine (running and doing some weight lifting), so I told myself, “Why not?” I joined CrossFit Matters, and during my first day heard about the holistic approach they take to fitness. Being aware of my eating disorder history, I knew this would be a good change.

CrossFit showed me that I am competing against myself and nobody else. It also showed me that this too, like recovering from an eating disorder, was a journey into learning about my body. As CrossFit pushed me physically and mentally, I came to notice and appreciate my body for what it does. Yes, I have noticed my body change, but that is not what I have come to value. I have come to value my body because of what it is capable of doing. Every time I break a personal record, I am even more amazed with the functionality of my body and my own dedication. I rejoice, not because of how my body looks like, but because of what it does. I have not been alone in this journey. I have had other athletes and coaches be as excited as I am. CrossFit has given me a supportive community that encourages each other to keep discovering our strengths and improving our skills. Without my body being properly fueled, I wouldn’t be able to continue amazing myself by breaking a personal record!

 CrossFit helped me love my body and improve my self-image. What has helped you appreciate your body?

The Root of Eating Disorder isn’t About Food

Danielle Lyons

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Eating disorders are never really about food. It’s usually linked to a bigger issue or trauma. But that’s not what we see when we think about eating disorders. Our minds flash to some lifetime movie about a girl obsessed with her weight an appearance. But this isn’t Lifetime, folks.

Melissa A. Fabello insists, “Eating disorders are bio-psychosocial in nature, which means that there are biological, psychological, and sociological factors at play that make a person susceptible to, and triggered into, eating disordered thoughts and behaviors. Eating disorders are seriously complex. But at its root, your eating disorder is a mental health issue.” Although looks can be a part of the disorder, it’s a very miniscule part of the puzzle. Eating disorders are extremely complex in nature. At the heart of it, many people use withholding, purging and binging of food as a means of control through a different time. It is important to remember that an eating disorder is a mental health issue. It is just the surface of a deeper issue.

An Open Letter from your Vulva

by Danielle Lyons

Hey,

It’s me, your Vulva. Perhaps you and I got off on the wrong foot. I feel as if I get a bad rap or am known for being gross. Even Erin Mckelle from Everyday Feminism says, “We’ve created an entire culture around what vulvas are ‘supposed’ to look like, leaving a huge portion of the vagina-having population feeling less-than.” I feel like our relationship is a bit lacking. I was hoping to better that. Maybe get to know each other better. Because let’s face it, I’m a part of you. Literally. Let’s reacquaint ourselves shall we?

Diagram_showing_the_anatomy_of_the_vulva_CRUK_285.svg

By Cancer Research UK (Original email from CRUK) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There are some things that you should know about me. Now, don’t be intimidated, I’m just going to tell you what I’m made of. You’ll notice my Mons Pubis, which is the fatty tissue covering the pubic symphysis. Then we have the Labia Majora and Labia Minor. Often referred to as the inner and outer lips. Then, of course, the stars of the show are the vaginal opening and the clitoris. Last but certainly not least is the urethra and the anus. Not too scary huh? If you’re still yearning for some more information about me, hop on Our Bodies Ourselves. They have a pretty nifty diagram and extensive information.

Let’s face it, there is a certain ideal that vulvas are held to. That ideal is usually compact, hairless and delicate looking. Which is a total crock. We vulva’s come in many different colors, shapes sizes and haircuts. Unfortunately, that diversity is hardly recognized or represented. This leaves so many women pondering the question, “Do I have an ugly vulva?” Hannah M. Brasswell of Bleeding Feminism agrees, “Lack of information leaves many young (and old!) people under the impression that there’s something “wrong” or “abnormal” about their vulvas.” So, if you’re worried about how I look, don’t! I’m unique in my own right. Ignore all the hype. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with how I look. I’m downright amazing, no need to be ashamed.

Sincerely,

Your Vulva

Small Numbers with Big Impacts

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

 

By Matiara Huff

I recently a saw this commercial on TV, and I loved every second of it. I thought it was empowering, and I feel that it brought up some necessary food for thought. It made me wonder how are clothing sizes measured? So I decided to do some research to find the answer, and it brought me to this video created by Laci Green, with all of the answers that I needed.

Women’s clothing sizes are small numbers that have big impacts. As Laci states in the above video, making our sizes smaller implies that women should be smaller. Sizes like 0, 00, and 000 are literally not even possible, yet the tags on many fashion brands say otherwise. I think that clothing sizes should be determined by actual body measurements. This way, there would be a universal sizing chart, and there wouldn’t be any confusion from store to store. Though the sizing in the Special K commercial is unrealistic, it would be such a relief for me if my size wasn’t number, but universal sizing might be a great start. We have the right to remember that our value isn’t determined by our dress size

Happy Every Body is Beautiful Week!

IMG_1944 IMG_1932   IMG_1935 IMG_1936    By Kacie Otto

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. In conjunction with the national campaign, the Women’s Center, partnered with the Counseling Center and Swinney Recreation Center, hosted a few events to encourage students on campus to feel positive about their bodies, no matter what type of body they currently occupy.

For the whole week, students can stop at locations all over campus including the Women’s Center, Swinney Recreation Center, the Counseling Center, the Atterbury Student Success Center, the Student Union and all of the Residence Halls to pick up packs of post it notes. Students are encouraged to write messages of positive affirmation on them and post them all across campus.

Students were also able to check us out at three different tables to play a trivia game and learn more about eating disorders, pick up operation beautiful posters, make buttons with positive messages on them, and “trash their trash talk.” It was so encouraging to see so many students take a bit of time out of their day to make others feel good about themselves and embrace body positivity.

Did you get a chance to post any positive messages across campus?

I’m Joining the Fat Acceptance Movement

Image credit to http://mightyhealthyquest.tumblr.com/

Image credit to http://mightyhealthyquest.tumblr.com/

By Matiara Huff and Kacie Otto

I have noticed this happing a lot lately, and I think it is time that I blogged about it. Fat Shaming is when a person is made fun of or treated like less of a person because they are overweight. This can range from little comments like, “Wow! You’re having a muffin and a salad for lunch?!” to flat out bullying like “You’re so fat and such a waste of space” on someone’s body positivity blog. But fat shaming doesn’t end there, not in our society! Everywhere you look there is someone telling us what the perfect body “should” look like. Being a fat girl in this society means dealing with some pretty harsh bullying that is still accepted by society. It should no longer be accepted!

That’s why I’ve decided to embrace fat acceptance. The way I do that is by encouraging my fat friends in positive ways. The best way to start is by not making “fat” a bad word, Nowadays, calling someone fat is the same as cussing at them, and it is time we changed that. When someone calls themselves fat, don’t say “No, you’re beautiful.” Instead, say “…plus you’re beautiful”. This way it doesn’t seem like your friend is only allowed to be one or the other. Stop saying things like “As long as you’re healthy!” This can be offensive and condescending, because you wouldn’t say something like this to a skinny person.

We need to start moving toward more realistic and inclusive beauty standards for all body types. I think one way to do that is treat people the way you want to be treated.

Women’s Center Welcomes New Staff Member!

By Torshawna Griffin

TorshawnaHi, my name is Torshawna Griffin. I am a second year student studying Mechanical Engineering. I chose UMKC because of the prestigious engineering community and the distance from home, not too far away but not too nearby.

I am happy to be working in the Women’s Center because I have watched so many women in my life go through various hardships. I feel that working in the Women’s Center will give me the resources and experience to be able to give advice to different women, both young and old.

This semester I hope to continue to fight for equal pay for women on Equal Pay Day, and to encourage everyone to love their body, big or small. By the end of the semester, I also hope to know and share more about what it means to be a woman in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field. So, come visit me in the Women’s Center!

Sister Circle and Self Image

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 9.11.20 AMBy Rocky Richards

There are 365 days that make up a year and out of those days everyone receives one day (Halloween) to be someone or something else. Would you prefer to be someone else or be yourself for Halloween? Are you happy with yourself? That’s a question many think about but never dare to answer out loud. The woman of Sister Circle came together Monday October 27th to provide a space for women to actually discuss this topic.

Sister Circle is an organization on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus whose purpose is to provide unity amongst women on campus and to provide young women with a positive environment to discuss social, personal, and academic topics.

To narrow in on the topic the women decided to reflect more on self-image and self-worth. They started by writing down anonymous questions that they had on self-image and self-worth on small pieces of paper. They were then drawn randomly from a bowl to inspire discussion. Some of the questions the women wrote down included: “How do you overcome insecurities?” “What can I do to have consistent confidence?” “How do people cope with stretch marks?” “What types of characteristics gives you a bad image?”

In a short matter of time, the women became very open with discussing these questions. Not only were they able to give support to one another but they received support as well. They found that discussing these topics out loud helped them learn that they were not the only ones with these questions in their mind. It was great to see the women come together and discuss such sensitive topics! Sometimes we forget that we are human and we all have things that we won’t like about ourselves, we all have bad days, and we don’t always wake up FLAWLESS!! Yet, it’s up to us to that everyone struggles at one point or another with self-image and self-worth! It’s also up to us to build our own confidence and positive self image.

For more information on Sister Circle please visit Roo groups: https://roogroups.collegiatelink.net/organization/sistercircle

What if Women’s Roles were Played by Men?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6UUAE2CXXM[/youtube]

By: Maritza Gordillo

I came across this article on Buzzfeed.com and it caught my attention as it described something we’re not used to seeing: reversed gender roles. As you see the video it seems pretty funny and absurd to switch the women’s roles to men’s, but why? Could it be that we are so used to seeing women objectified on the big screen and internalize it? The answer is yes. Society has created tools tailored to view women as sex symbols or objects. Just think that if men look ridiculous playing these roles, why shouldn’t women look ridiculous too?