William & Mary

Uniquely Beautiful

unique3Our CAP addressed one of the largest body image and self-image issues we identified on campus: the tendency for college students (especially women) to connect over the negative instead of the positive, leading to self-deprecating comments and behavior. Inspired by a monthly article in Marie Claire called "What I Love About Me," we aimed to promote camaraderie around campus by boosting overall body and self image and recognizing differences not as imperfections, but as beautiful, defining qualities. To accomplish this, we initiated a blog on HerCampus.com/wm called Uniquely Beautiful that addresses various body and self image issues such women's portrayal in the media, self-esteem's relation to both body and self image, and society's unrealistic perception of an “ideal woman.”

unique1

After initiating the blog, we ran a weeklong sticker campaign to allow students to identify qualities about themselves they have grown to love (ranging anywhere from height to freckles to a specific heritage, or even an obstacle the student had overcome) and proudly display these qualities to others.

Because a body is never just a body and carries meaning to each individual, we stressed a connection about loving inner as well as outer qualities. If someone loves who they are on the inside they are less likely to actively work to change their unique outer qualities. Similarly, if one loves their outer appearance, they are more likely to embrace their inner qualities.

unique2Even though it is impossible to say that we changed our college community’s way of thinking about their bodies and their inner-selves, we can definitely say this issue was brought to their attention.  Simply by recognizing this behavior, students are more likely to take steps towards change by recognizing their inner and outer qualities as unique aspects that make them a valuable and irreplaceable part of the college community and society as a whole.

Because of the success of this project, we have chosen to continue the Uniquely Beautiful blog on HerCampus.com/wm! Any student is welcome (and encouraged!) to write an article for the blog. Blog posts can be sent to cjduckworth@email.wm.edu