Some students wore their shirts inside out Tuesday — for reasons besides not having time to do laundry.
As part of the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL), a student health organization, asked students to wear their shirts inside out to emphasize the importance of inner beauty. HEAL members also held up mirrors at the Arbor, telling passersby that they are beautiful. The week’s message promotes higher self-esteem in order to help eliminate eating disorders on campus and nationwide, said Diane Holland, a HEAL co-coordinator. Holland, a third-year English major, said the group will continue to educate students throughout the week by tabling at the Arbor, the Rec Cen and university dining commons.
Holland said she personally knew about 20 to 30 people who wore their shirts inside out yesterday, and those walking through the Arbor seemed to understand the organization’s message.
“We had a really good response,” she said. “People were really positive, and it was great to see people smile … I think it was not only important that we wore our shirts inside out, but also that we wrote positive messages on them. It really drew people’s attention and they would ask questions about it.”
Michael Takahara, a health educator at Student Health Services, said a 2002 survey of UCSB students found that 21.4 percent of women and 15.9 percent of men met the formal criteria for diagnosis of eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia. Louise Ousley, a former UCSB eating disorder educator and psychologist, conducted the survey.
Eating disorders affect students nationwide and should be addressed seriously, Takahara said.
“Eating disorders affect the social life and success of students,” Takahara said. “I think that issues of body image have been an issue on our campus, as [well] as across the country.”
HEAL also showed the short film, “Behind Closed Doors,” yesterday in Isla Vista Theater. The eight-minute movie is designed to increase self-esteem by revealing the aesthetic tricks used in the media, said Jenna Kruger, a HEAL intern and sophomore English major.
“The movie teaches people to become media-literate so they can recognize that a lot of the beauty shown in magazines and other forms of media is not real,” Kruger said.
Holland said some of the issues raised and tactics used this week are meant to challenge students to change their preconceived notions about beauty.
“Our focus is on the importance of nutrition, changing negative body image and encouraging high self-esteem in order to prevent future eating disorders and to repair those that already exist,” she said.