Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Wednesday, November 16, students, faculty and staff gathered together for an all-campus women’s luncheon facilitated by the Women’s Resource Center (WRC). Open to all female-identified members of the Swarthmore College community, the annual luncheon provides a forum for individuals to discuss women’s issues. This year’s luncheon’s theme was body image.
Raisa Reyes ’15, a board member of the WRC, says that the luncheon aimed to teach members of the campus community to appreciate and take care of their bodies. “You have to learn to respect your body and treat it well. It is a vital part of being a strong and happy person.”
The luncheon ran from 11:30 to 1:30 in Upper Tarble. It featured Indian food from Shere-E Punjab, a raffle, and good conversation. At each table, groups were given discussion prompts regarding body image and were encouraged to share their own experiences. Questions encouraged participants to think about what body parts they love and hate, the amount of time and money they invest in their appearance, the ways in which their perception of their bodies has changed with age, and what factors impact the ways in which they see their bodies.
Wendy Waltman, a staff member in the Alumni Relations Office who attended the event, stressed the importance of the discussion. “This issue is universal. Every woman has insecurities and most of us have a love/hate relationship with our bodies. It is interesting and informative to discuss these issues with a broad array of members from the campus community because you see the ways that body image changes, or in some cases doesn’t change, from the college years to later in life.”
The luncheon had a substantial turnout, with many students passing through between classes. Lisa Sendrow ’13, a WRC board member who helped plan the event, said the WRC was excited about the event and the discussion it was able to start about body image. She said, “We are starting the conversation. It is important for female-identified individuals to understand that our bodies play a crucial role in our wellbeing and deserve to be valued.”