Hairspray, brownies and the desire to become empowered brought together women across campus on Thursday. Giggles and the scent of nail polish filled the already tightly-packed room as women of all ages signed up for events.
The BYU Women’s Services and Resource center held its annual open house where guests were encouraged to snack, relax and learn about the center’s variety of resources and events.
“(At) our opening social, we try to get girls to at least know that we’re here,” said Carly LeBaron, a third year graduate intern studying marriage and family therapy. “You’ll at least be aware that we have support groups and opportunities to volunteer and learn about some of our programs like Voices of Courage or Recapturing Beauty.”
The center’s focus is about empowering women by helping them understand their true beauty, and doing so in a supporting environment.
“We want to help women figure out that it’s not just that one little thing that makes them beautiful — that there are so many things that we want them to walk around with their heads held high,” LeBaron said. “Two percent of women describe themselves as beautiful, so we want everyone to be able to walk around and feel beautiful every day and (realize) they don’t have to fit into some teeny-tiny ideal.”
After filling out a survey, the girls were given a brownie and could then sign up to get their hair or nails done for free by students of the Renaissance Academie of Cosmetology and Esthetics.
Emily Bean, a junior from Hershey, Penn., studying communication disorders, attended the event to learn about how she can volunteer for Girls Empowered, a program that matches middle-school girls with volunteer mentors.
“I feel like so often (girls have an issue) of understanding self-worth and really understanding that life is hard, but it’s really okay,” Bean said. “Life is great.”
Marian Spencer, a junior from Shanghai, China, studying English was having her hair curled as she said, “The women here are very approachable and it’s just nice to have a place on BYU campus that’s so specifically for women who are having trouble seeing themselves the way that they should.”
The center provides aid for those struggling with severe issues like eating disorders, but it also provides services for any woman on campus.
“We deal with really severe issues and we have a support group for girls that struggle with eating disorders,” LeBaron said, “but we also have events like our 10 Day Body Image Challenge that we do in October which is for pretty much anyone that’s ever struggled with body image, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl that hasn’t struggled with a body image issue.”
The 10 Day Body Image Challenge begins on Oct. 9 and will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in room 3228 of the Wilkinson Student Center. All women are invited to attend.