Women’s Services launches its annual 10-day Body Image Challenge

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More than 100 girls were illuminated by the light of the sunset as they did yoga to sounds of nature.

Some let out a bubbly giggle as they attempted a new pose and others contorted themselves like experts, but the smiles from the girls proved their pleasure at the relaxing exercise.  yoga wasn’t the only thing that brought them to the event.

The Women’s Services and Resources Center kicked-off its 10-day Body Image Challenge Tuesday evening by providing a free yoga night for women across campus. For the 3rd year in a row, the 10-day event provides participants with 10 individual challenges and journal prompts to help build confidence and self-esteem.

The event’s coordinator Erin McAdams said it is part of the center’s overall campaign to “recapture beauty.”

“It’s a campus-wide effort to broaden the definition of beautiful because right now, how the media defines it and how a lot of girls feel is that it’s very exclusive, it’s unattainable and not a real representation of beauty,” McAdams said. “So what we’re trying to get girls on campus to do through these challenges is to redefine beauty for themselves and for others and to also hopefully start to see themselves more realistically and how Heavenly Father would see them.”

Camille Gunnell, a sophomore from Burley, Idaho studying communication disorders, said she is excited to do the event for the first time.

“I’ve heard that this program is amazing and I saw the (Women’s Services) magazine and it made me so motivated to be involved with the women’s services.”

Last year, about 600 girls did the challenge and this year has already broken that record number. Young Women’s groups and other women’s organizations outside of the state have also asked to participate.

White t-shirts sporting the word “beautiful” are given to girls who complete the challenge.

LaNae Valentine, the Director of Women’s Services donned the shirt as she led the yoga class.

“Yoga will tell you a lot about your body,” Valentine said during the exercise, “And our bodies are wonderful, so we want to treat our bodies well.”

McAdams says she encourages all girls to participate in the 10-day challenge as well as the center’s other programs.

“I love the women’s services and resources center, especially because here at BYU it’s really competitive and a lot of people have very high high standards for themselves not only in church areas but in appearance and grades,” she said. “There’s a lot of competition with dating. There’s just a lot of reasons for people not to feel good enough here. I just like that the Women’s Services office acknowledges those things. They acknowledge that there’s girls with eating disorders, that girls have been abused and if offers support for them.”

The event ends on Oct. 18 and will conclude with a closing celebration and a free Zumba class at 6:45 p.m. in the Wilkinson Center ballroom.

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